Acceleration

Only Vala's feet are visible poking out at strange angles from under the console. Daniel is reminded of the Wicked Witch of the East disappearing underneath Dorothy's house. But then a crystal comes flying out, shattering loudly on the hard floor of the tel'tac followed by Vala's disheveled head, a smirk firmly planted on her face, one Princess Leia bun listing determinedly to the left.

Daniel's fingers twitch.

"Now I'm sure that's the last booby trapped system," she says, brushing her hands off on her pants and returning to the controls. "Harrod may have been paranoid, but he was also lazy."

And also dead, Daniel mentally adds to the list as he leans down to sweep up the broken remains of the crystal with his hands. He feels the surge of the ship as it slips back into hyperspace, a moment of disorientation rolling across his skin.

The crystal had been blue.


He doesn't dwell on any lingering guilt for being the one to discover the Ori, the ultimate vanquishers of the mighty Tau'ri homeworld. He just tucks them away on his scorecard, somewhere near the Goa'uld and Abydos.

Vala can afford to be philosophical about it all. "Something else would have come along eventually," she says with a flick of her wrist as they walk down the crowded streets of Grannius, one eye always on the lookout for Priors.

Part of him knows she's right. But it's not particularly comforting to think that human negligence would have burned the Earth dead given enough time.

Hiding in a back alley later that night like the homeless nomads they are, catching what few moments of rest they can, he watches her sleep. In the darkness, Jack's garbled voice, blase even at the end, reverberates for Daniel long after the transmission had become nothing more than scattered energy bouncing through space.

"They're here."

Daniel considers writing them down, the last words spoken from the civilization of Earth, even if just to free himself from the incessant feedback.

His hands are still.


Her hair is thick and surprisingly silky as he carefully removes each of the barrettes and pins hidden in its depths. Conditions on board their lumbering ship are sparse at best, but her hair always smells of spice and lavender. She sits quietly on the edge of the blankets, knees drawn up against her chest, chin resting on her knees. A dim sliver of light from a nearby gas giant traces patterns of purple down the creamy expanse of her back as his fingers pull carefully through the cascading hair and down the soft curve of her spine.

After a while she turns, her hands warm against his chest, pushing him gently backwards.

He closes his eyes and submits to the pull of simulated gravity.


She steals their first supplies with a guileless smile and a quick slight of hand and he remembers wondering if she enjoyed it, being free once more from the pesky shades of wrong and right set upon her by the SGC, the price for belonging.

But he sees the shadows there when she turns away. She knows she's on the losing side once again.

She keeps moving, because she is incapable of anything less. And Daniel follows.

"We'll need a ship," she says, slipping a small juranthi fruit into his pocket when the shopkeeper turns to address a customer.

He agrees, wondering if this is piracy and why it feels so much like desperation.


He dreams. He wishes he didn't.

He adapts to life out in space as much as any human can, letting go of ideas like up and down or the relative safety of carefully balanced spheres of oxygen and carbon hurtling through space around stars. He read once in one of Sam's fancy science magazines that if Earth had ever stopped spinning, everything would be thrown hundreds of feet as if they had just been hit by a mac truck. Maybe it's the spinning that he misses most. Or the feel of Sam's glossy magazines in his hands. But Earth still spins quietly. There just isn't anyone left to feel it.

And out here, Daniel's just stopped.


The ship isn't large, but it flies, mostly. Vala flitters about, poking in and out of panels and running her fingers along ledges, wrinkling her nose in picturesque disgust at the untidy conditions. Harrod watches her, a fond, befuddled look on his face.

A weighted lead case hangs from Daniel's arm, holding a small fortune of dummy naquadah. One of Vala's oldest tricks.

They agree on a price.

"Hallowed are the Ori," Harrod proudly proclaims as he grabs for Daniel's hand.

Vala replies in kind, her eyes sparkling, but Daniel freezes, Harrod's sweaty palm in his own. Thick tendrils of faith rise out of the man reaching ever higher.

Daniel's hand jerks.


Every time they dare dock somewhere, driven by the basic need to eat, they are confronted by the rapid expansion of the Ori hold over the once protected Galaxy. Daniel begins to think there are only two people left who dare remember the idea of resistance.

He starts waiting for the day there will only be one.

In the dimness of space, she lets him play with her hair, tracing each strand from scalp to tip, using it like a brush to excavate the hollows of her back. He tries to memorize the feel of it, but things just don't stick like they used to.

He can tell she's finally made the connection and is working it through, the riot of personalities all locked up in her head warring over her choices. Adria, for all her supernatural, Ori-granted powers, is still a child longing for the redemption of her mother.

Daniel hopes she will take it. At least then one of them will still have an out.

Vala's hands reach for him, soft and almost awkward in their sincerity and he knows she's moved just one step closer. He doesn't have the words to tell her it's okay, that he understands, but he spends long hours tracing it on her skin.

He knows the next time he dies there's no salvation waiting. He can't feel the Universe the way he used to, like his skin has become too thick to break past. He's become a prisoner to his flesh.

Vala's nails scratch down his back.

He hopes he bleeds.


The pulse blast is overly loud in the enclosed space of the tel'tac and Vala visibly flinches, hands covering her ears.

Daniel leans over, fingers drawing lines in the warm blood spreading across the floor.

See, want, take. They have a ship now.

Harrod's blood doesn't feel any different for being a believer.

The ship jerks away against the planet's gravity, an alarm ringing somewhere in the distance. But a soft curse from Vala and a few bumps later their new ship breaks away out into the black.

They leave jolly old Harrod floating in space above his planet.

Daniel reholsters the pulse pistol.

His hands are still.