OUT OF TIME
A/N: Even if you ordinarily skip Author Notes, please take the time to read this one, in spite of it's length.
This story was inspired by the Fandamonium novel Stargate SG-1: Relativity by James Swallow. I encourage anyone who hasn't read it to find themselves a copy and do so. It is one of the best Stargate novels out there. When I read Relativity I was haunted by the timeline we did not get to see and by the relationships that were only implied, not detailed. I could not rest until I explored this timeline myself. I have never before written an ATL story; my works have mostly been based off of Sam and Jack canon. It's a testament to the impact Relativity had on me that I felt compelled to write this, in spite of my usual bias. Please note that the character of Jade, the background against which my story unfolds, the time travel and the future Jack O'Neill are all the creation of Mr. Swallow; I hope he feels I have done them justice. For those of you who want to know how the timeline was fixed, you must read Mr. Swallow's book.
I would also like to acknowledge and give special thanks and hugs to mara-anni who not only kept me on the straight and narrow but suffered through the telling of this story with me. It was not an easy fic to write. A great big thank you also to Seahen, our resident USAF expert, for helping make sure I passed inspection.
Because of the length, I will be uploading chapters daily, even though the work is complete. There are six parts not including the Prologue and Epilogue.
Finally, there is major character death in this story. Don't say you weren't warned.
"She's just like her mother. I see so much of her in Jade it cuts me like a knife sometimes."
He hadn't meant to say that. Hadn't meant to give even that much away. As for the offer to tell him who…well…he knew the guy well enough to know he'd have to weigh that one for a bit. And that had given him just the amount of time he needed. Jade had managed to slip away from Daniel and join him on the deck. The times he'd dreamed of bringing her here, showing her this place when she was a little girl. What a life they might have had, the three of them. Well…maybe now they would. Or, hell…maybe they wouldn't. Because it was the damned Aschen who'd driven them together in the first place. Desperate refugees on a wasted planet who'd finally realized there was nothing left of their lives but one another. And even that had almost been enough. But not quite. Not quite.
He looked at his daughter and remembered when she was born. Her mother had wept. Not the tears of joy most women weep, but of bitter regret for the galaxy she had brought their child into. It was the only time he'd ever seen her nearly beaten like that. Never before, and after that, never again. For all the horror that followed, she never once broke down. Even when the bastards…
Stop. He could almost hear her reprimand. It was as if she were standing right beside him. Was she? He blinked. No. It was Jade. For just a moment he'd thought…. Well…he was almost a doddering old fool anyway.
Jade smiled. Oh God! It was her smile…the one that went to her eyes and made them shine…he'd never noticed…but then, his daughter had had very little to smile about in her life, so it was no wonder.
The moment was here. Considering what they'd done, there was a high probability that they were about to cease to exist. Not die…simply not be. Or ever have been. It was an odd feeling. Death he'd thought about plenty of times. But non-existence…somehow that was a whole other ballgame.
And yet he did exist…would exist…just not as he was now. And wasn't that the point. If he could stop the guy in the cabin from ever seeing what he'd seen, knowing what he knew, losing what he lost… it was worth it. And if the price he had to pay was oblivion—well…that wasn't so bad, was it. To forget…to never know…to be…free.
There was an inherent blessing in that. A profound relief. A welcomed respite.