Overlap – Beginnings
Disclaimer: I do not own either BtVS or SG: SG1 and I am making no monetary gain from this story.
The story is set in the same universe as my story 'Job Interview'. It's not necessary to read that story to understand this one.
Contrary to popular mythology the universe did not begin as a paradise.
To be honest though, it wasn't Hell either. At least not as currently defined.
It was just different. Different in a way that cannot be described.
Image a world where everyone is blind and then one day a single person could see. Could that one person even begin to understand the experience, let alone describe it to others? There would be no points of reference, no words, no understanding.
That is what the universe once was. Utterly incomprehensible to us.
Life existed back then. Again, life beyond our understanding.
Beings of enormous, incalculable, incomprehensible … ok you get the idea. They were powerful.
These beings shaped reality itself to fit their needs. They believed themselves masters of all. And in all their vast experience, nothing contradicted that belief.
For all practical purposes they were Gods.
For eons uncounted they ruled this plane. Carving out their domains, battling with each other largely for amusement as death held no concern for their like.
And then, as is the way of such things, something changed.
It wasn't a big change. Not really any way.
What caused the change?
Perhaps something existed above the gods. Perhaps the universe itself made the change. Perhaps one of their own did it. Perhaps it was just fate or Fate.
All that matters is … something changed.
Again not a big thing. At least not at first.
The gods barely even noticed the change at first.
Something new, not of their creation, entered the universe. These somethings were small. Like a penlight next to the sun small (although that might be overstating their size).
For lack of a better word they could have been called … Souls.
At first the gods simply ignored the Souls. After all they were small. Many didn't even notice their presence in their universe (as indeed they still thought of it).
When they did notice the Souls they treated them as toys. Things to be played with and then discarded when they were done. A few of the gods found the Souls quite interesting. They studied them, even cultivated a few of them. After all they represented something new. And the Gods had not known anything truly new since the dawn of time (so far back even their memory could not be relied upon).
But small changes lead to bigger things.
The full nature of change remains a mystery.
But the universe itself started to behave differently.
Reality, once so easily bent and twisted started to become … hard in a way. It became more and more difficult for the gods to alter the fabric of space to fit their needs.
It felt as if the universe itself rejected their presence.
And then the most terrifying change of all took place. As reality rejected their presence the gods grew weaker. And for the first time a god … 'died'. Perhaps died was the wrong word. Such beings can not simply be destroyed. But one of their number somehow … ceased. Not one god understood the nature of what happened. But the implications were clear.
The universe was no longer big enough for all of them.
The battles the gods once waged for enjoyment took on a more serious purpose.
Again, the war that raged throughout the universe was beyond understanding. Its scope so vast … are you all getting the point that this whole thing just can't be explained in terms we understand. As best this whole explanation is just a pale little reflection of the truth.
The gods struggled with the change. Many blamed the 'Souls' that seemed to multiply around them as the change took hold. They took it upon themselves to wipe them all out.
Others took a different view. They studied the 'Souls' and found them capable of something wondrous.
For all their vast power, for all their ability to warp reality, the gods did not change. At their core they always remained the same.
But the Souls were different.
The Souls adapted to their environment. They grew. They … learned? To some of the gods, this was a wondrous thing. It held perhaps the key to their survival.
But others rejected the idea of change. In truth, they feared change, feared the new, feared what lay beyond the universe they knew. They sought to eradicate it at every turn. To freeze the universe itself in place.
The other gods embraced the change and in doing so learned a great deal. They began to truly explore the other realities and planes around, finding many able to except their power.
Many retreated to these new realties and left this universe behind forever.
But many more remained; some stubbornly refusing to accept the change, others to learn from it.
Over the eons the battles raged. God against god. The Souls were drawn into the war. By now they began to resemble life as we might understand it. And the gods still sought to destroy them.
The universe had become a 'hard' place. The Gods abilities to shape reality became more and more limited. Again, many of the gods blamed the Souls as they seemed to flourish in the changing universe while they declined. Their power, reach and scope growing ever more limited.
To destroy the Souls they created what we might now call demons. Pale limited, twisted reflections of the life increasingly dominating the universe. These demons could function, at least partially, in this new universe.
The Souls battled these demons, these avatars of the 'Old Ones' sometimes they had the aid of other gods (the ones who accepted their presence). Who even blessed it since they learned the wonders of change and growth from these Souls. They granted small portions of their power to the new life, giving them the ability to defend themselves against the demons.
And the Souls themselves began to grow and change. Some developed their own means of defending themselves against the demons, even learned how to tap the same energies as the gods to shape reality. Creating their own guardians.
Finally, the wars came to a close.
Despite their best efforts the gods could not maintain their hold on this universe. After many eons only a few remained. The universe itself changed so much there were only a very few places where the gods could exercise their former power and where those who had retreated from this plane could still influence events.
Many were forced to flee this reality. A few chose to sleep. Awaiting the day when the universe would welcome them again.
As the gods fled the demons grew weaker. No longer able to draw power from their creators. They were forced to blend with the lower forms that inhabited the universe. Mixing their power with that of the Souls, creating the first 'half-breeds.' The pure demons could no longer exist on this plane. Most retreated to other realities with their creators. Leaving the 'half-breeds' and the tainted behind.
It ended with a whimper not a bang.
With the gods retreat, life as we know it multiplied, filling the universe.
The old gods remembered that the universe was once theirs and they wanted it back. The demons they left behind missed their former masters and desired their return.
But the demons were limited to a very few small pockets where the energy and power of the gods could still be felt. Their energies permeated those few places where a few had chosen sleep instead of retreat.
Such places were defended by the Guardians the others left behind.
Throughout the rest of the universe life continued to prosper, expand, develop tools and science. Echoes of those past wars remained in the form of legends.
But through all that a few of the gods, the 'Old Ones' continued to cling to this reality.
The others were gone.
Hidden away in other dimensions.
Only he remained.
All around him the universe changed. In order to maintain his fragile foothold in a reality he could once shape and change with a mere thought he was forced to waste more and more of his power. It was as if the very nature of reality itself rejected his presence.
New life began to rise.
Trapped in weak shells that could barely perceive a miniscule fraction of the universe around them.
It should have been so easy for him to reach out and rule the weak pathetic creatures that now dominated this plane. But his own dwindling power stopped him.
A few of his kind that left this plane attempted to return on occasion. But there were only a very few spots in the universe where their power could be felt. Mostly those places near where the strongest of his kind still slept. Their old servants now roamed those places. Leaderless, becoming little more than animals. Mixing their power with the lower life that increasingly dominated this plane.
He was forced to avoid those places. Ancient enemies seeded them with guardians. Actually granting a small portion of their power to the muck that now invested the universe. And a few of the pathetic muck actually seemed to develop powers of their own. Nothing compared to his of course, but enough to threaten the god's former servants. Such guardians protected the weak creatures of this plane.
His physical form grew weaker by the eon.
But he fought on, determined to rule this plane of existence. The others surrendered. He would not.
And then a strange thing happened. Something unexpected. Some of the muck that came after his kind left actually began to shed their physical forms. They transcended the boundaries between dimensions.
How was that possible?
He entertained a thought. If these weak pitiful forms could transcend then perhaps he could as well. Perhaps there was a way to reclaim the power that once belonged to him.
A plan came to him. If his own form could not exist on this plane then he would graft himself onto one of these weak forms and use it to transform himself.
He spent the next several millennia searching for the right species. Soon he found what he sought. A parasitic race called the Goa'uld that could change hosts at will. Capable of living for centuries. Even longer with external aid. More importantly they had already begun to explore and learn from the tools the others had used to transcend.
Such tools were alien too him. He had never needed such things before. His own mind was capable of shaping reality. But in his weakened state the tools were all he had.
So he grafted himself unto one of the parasites, destroying completely its previous personality, imbuing the body with what little of his power still remained. He took as a host one of the creatures from the parasites home world.
Soon he became a power among the Goa'uld. His name spoken with fear even among the most powerful of the so called 'System Lords.' His vast knowledge, combined with a small fraction of his remaining power enabled him to carve out a comfortable domain.
Now he was free to carry out his plans.
Using subtle misdirection and carefully planted rumors he guided a few of his rivals to a world where some of his kind still slept. A weak spot between the barriers separating dimensions. A place where power still remained.
Old enemies watched such places carefully. As such he was prevented from visiting the world personally. His presence risked triggering their wrath or at least attack from the guardians they created.
Not unexpectedly the Guardians of that world, using power unknown to the other Goa'uld, drove the System Lords back. But it mattered not.
Using his own servants and some of the lesser Goa'uld pledged to him he managed to retrieve several critical artifacts. He even got a new body. One similar to the beings that ascended. Combined with the machines left by those who 'ascended' he was finally able to carry out his plan.
It took time. But with patience born out of eons of waiting he was slowly able to expand the power available to the physical form he now inhabited.
Then a truly lucky stroke. One of the ascended saw his efforts. In his new guise Oma did not recognize the true nature of the being she was dealing with. He fooled her into aiding him.
With her help he was finally able to achieve his goal.
His full power restored.
With might that exceeded even the pitiful beings that ascended before him the universe was his again. Nothing stood against him.
But he overreached and underestimated the so-called 'Ancients.'
By combining their strength they were able to cast him out. They could not destroy him. That was beyond even their combined power. But they could limit him. Prevent him from accessing the full scope of his powers. Regulate him to back to the physical plane.
And so he retreated. Disappearing for millennia. His former territory conquered and divided by the other System Lords, who foolishly believed they were responsible for his retreat.
He waited and watched. Ascension may have been temporarily denied him. But other avenues to power remained. He just needed patience.
And then he felt it. A shift. Something changed. Ancient powers stirred.
Spies reported that the Tau'ri had reopened the Chappa'i and were exploring the galaxy. They had even destroyed Ra and several other System Lords.
But that was not all. Something had changed on Earth. He felt the brief flourish of one of his kind reaching into the universe only to be thrust back again. In short succession several attempts to breach the barriers came and went.
Their attempts failed.
And then another old one who chose to remain behind by shedding its physical form entirely made a bid to return to its former glory. But as he did before, it overreached and underestimated its foes (not the least of which, former servants, who preferred their Masters stay away). Its attempt was blocked. But not before massive energies were released.
The battle irrevocably weakened the barriers between the planes.
An opportunity presented itself.
The time had come to return. First to reclaim his place among the System Lords. But that was a small goal.
The true prize was Earth.
Yes, the time had come.
The time of …