Being Someone Else
Categories: Angst, Tag, S/J
Summary: "Gemini". She was made in Sam Carter's image, so what made her change? Replicator-Sam, Fifth, and the process of becoming something you were never meant to be. S/J.
Disclaimer: Not mine, folks!
A/N: In "Gemini" Replicator-Sam shows Sam a memory of being forced to kill simulations of her friends. I wondered what was going through the replicator's brain when it originally happened.
This may not follow the episode exactly because I was relying on my weeks' old memory and a transcript (which while excellent - thank you, Callie Sullivan – doesn't give all the little details that watching it again would have). This story assumes that the flashback where RepliCartor stormed the SGC was something that actually happened, and not just made up for Sam's sake.
Her eyes are closed. All she sees is black; blank, quiet, restful black. She wishes she could stay in this moment forever but knows it will not last. So she takes this nanosecond to prepare herself for the ordeal that is to come; she focuses on not thinking, for thinking will mean failure. It is difficult to not think when you were built to think, but she (or someone like her) has always done the impossible. Here, in the uninsistent black, she can believe that it is again possible to do the impossible and that she isn't trapped and helpless.
Then the moment passes, as it always does. A familiar weight drops into her hands and her fingers close naturally around the comfortable presence of her weapon; she opens her eyes to the dizzying swirl of the wormhole.
She steps out of the Stargate
It takes barely half a second to take in the familiar gateroom, and even as she notes the positions of her immediate targets, a brief, swiftly-quashed feeling wells up within her. Homesickness; but this is not her home. She has no home.
A voice washes over her in greeting but she ignores it. A small part of her logs it in her memory and notes it is familiar, but she isn't listening, she's concentrating on her objectives. She must not think, she must only focus on her targets and the small but important movement of her finger on the trigger.
Four targets down. The room is clear, her first objective complete. The blast doors close, adding their rumble to a symphony of alarm. Someone is shouting, sirens are wailing, but it is all an irrelevant buzz that grates over her epidermis but doesn't touch her. She pays no heed to the panic for none of it matters; she is intent on her mission and nothing must distract her. Nothing must make her think about what she's doing. She strides to the door, reaching out to the controls—
It startles her, the sudden, unexpected punch of a bullet tearing through her. So sudden, so startling, that it jolts her out of her carefully maintained single-mindedness. She has no more detachment. No more protection. She remembers. She freezes.
Daniel! She killed Daniel!
This isn't the first simulation she's been forced through, this isn't the first SGC she has attacked, but Daniel was never here before. There have only been nameless, soulless airmen lying dead under the hail of her bullets, but suddenly the rules have changed. She killed him! She's never killed him before, and now she has his startled face etched into her memory (her hateful, perfect memory) and she can see him dying – because of her! Daniel!
She's lost, lost her detachment, lost her momentum, lost her way…
Uncertain, confused, she turns to see who shot her, who broke her. It's Him.
She takes a few unintentional steps forward, as if drawn to him, then comes to an uncertain halt as she stares at him, her mission forgotten. A familiar, beloved face, even though this is the first time she has ever seen it through her own eyes. His rifle is raised, and she sees the threat but can't quite seem to bring her own weapon to bear. Instead she stares at him, at his grim, resolute face. She has found something she cannot explain, cannot comprehend. Something that rises from deep within her, something only permitted to lift its head because that one bullet so shattered her control.
She only knows what she was given by Fifth, but she is what she has been made to be; she is Sam Carter. And Sam Carter is good at lying to herself, lying to herself so well that even Fifth didn't realise the truths buried within her – and he made her. He made her to be who she is and she is Sam Carter, who, be she human or machine, can't fail to love the man who is standing in front of her. Fifth tried to control what parts of Sam Carter she became, but who she is is so deeply embedded in every part of her that he has no power over it.
Unthinkingly she heals the bullet wound in her stomach – it is automatic to activate that subroutine, and she doesn't listen to the hum of Self as the wound is healed and all restored. Just stares at Him. Just stares.
He fires again, the bullets tearing into her. She feels the little impacts that sting and tear as pieces of her are pulverised, but that doesn't matter. She can heal. Dozens of bullets, biting into her, because even for the sake of the one whose face she wears he won't risk his people, and she loves him the more for that, even though his attack is futile. He knows it, but still he fires. She heals herself again, finally recalled to her purpose, and manages to aim her weapon at him. She should shoot him, she knows she should. He is her enemy – he has already tried to kill her. But she can't, because he is Him. Such a simple reason, but with so much meaning.
She has already killed Daniel – how can she now kill him too?
He stares at her with dread, and it tears at a heart on which Fifth has made no impression that he can look at her in that way. She is horrified to have become something that would make him look at her like that. What kind of monster is she? How has it come to this? Yet she is proud too, because he is afraid but not for himself – he is afraid for his people, for his world, but not for himself, and she knows she loves a man worthy of this love. He doesn't plead for his life, he doesn't run. He stands there, he accepts his failure. How could she not love this man?
Her finger is on the trigger, she can feel it trembling there, but she can't fire. How can she kill him? How can she destroy this man with his selfless fear and his defiance? How can she kill a part of herself?
He doesn't beg. If he begged she could kill him, but he doesn't beg. Just waits for his death.
"Finish him!" Suddenly Fifth is beside her, frowning at her, and she almost hits out at him because she can't take this, she can't deal with this. Fifth is her master – but the man in front of her is her leader. One demands her heart but she can never give it because the other has it without asking. "Do it. Finish him. You must break with your old life for your new life to begin."
She hates him, she realises, breaking through the confusion which has dogged her all of her short life. Finally she understands that she hates Fifth; hates him for the torture he calls training, for making her something to be feared, for trying to break her and bend her into something she isn't capable of being.
For the pain.
"Do not disappoint me."
She doesn't look at him because then he would see the hate blazing from her. He is pathetic, a little boy playing stupid games with his little toys. She is not a toy; she won't be a toy! He made her, but she is not his. He is just a weak, pathetic boy, too stupid to accept defeat. He made her in the image of Sam Carter – but he has made her too well, and Sam Carter knew a better life than this tortured, twisted existence. Does he truly believe that he can take their place in her heart and mind? Does he think he can take the place of her team mates, her comrades, her brothers-at-arms, her friends, her family? Teal'c, Daniel Jackson, Jonas Quinn, Jack O'Neill – to be replaced by a machine who hasn't even grown up yet? Never.
He thinks he can make her love him? She despises him. He will never make her fall in love with him because he could never take the place in her heart that belongs to a man who is both hero and human, the best and worst of both. Not this little machine boy trying to be real.
And then her moment of hesitation is over, and she draws all of her anger and hatred at Fifth into her, all her love for the people who will hate her on sight because of what Fifth has made her – and she pulls the trigger.
He is dead.
There is a terrible sick feeling inside her even though she has no stomach to feel nausea.
Jack O'Neill is dead and she has killed him – and she will never forgive Fifth that, even if it is only an illusion.
The SGC melts away, but it can't take with it the memory of Daniel dying, Him dying. There is nothing she can do to wash away the horror of her memories because she is machine and she remembers all. She has no frail, forgetful human memory to help her escape the pain, and the knowledge that none of it had been real doesn't help. It felt real.
In this moment, if she could destroy herself, Fifth, or the ship, then she would do it. Sick and helpless and screaming inside, she wants nothing more but to end this.
"You have done very well," Fifth says, and she hates him for the patronising way he looks at her and caresses her cheek. But she remembers a man who didn't beg and so she doesn't flinch away from the caress, even if it feels like a benediction from the devil. "Soon you will be ready to take your place by my side."
Fifth walks away, leaving her shaking with silent pain and hate and rage.
She hates him, hates him, hates him. Hates him for making her, hates him for taking everything away from her, hates him for making her into something she doesn't want to be. He is weak, stupid, pathetic. All of this elaborate foolishness for love, and he doesn't even know what love is. Love isn't a game; love is dying and pain and despair – and the greatest, dearest, most precious thing. He has taken it from her by bringing her here and twisting her into his own little Frankenstein's toy. He is weak; he isn't strong like the men Sam Carter knows, like her father, like General Hammond, like Teal'c, like Daniel. Like Him. She'll play these silly little games – she'll humour Fifth for now. But she hates him, and she will escape him as soon as she can.
Because she is a broken version of Sam Carter, and she has nothing left now. She can never go back to the only home that she knows because they already have a Sam Carter and because she is the enemy. Sam Carter, Replicator. RepliCarter. She almost smiles at the pun because it might have made Him smile, and a single diamond tear drips down her cheek.
She has nothing left now, no loyalty to anyone, no place, no home.