Seperis is running a "Dead Letter Challenge" in her live journal. This ficlet will make no sense unless you remember the Stargate: SG-1 episode "Fragile Balance", in which the rogue Asgard Loki makes a teenage clone of Jack O'Neill.


(It was a good thing that John "Johnny" O'Neill had a single room at UMich, because one night while he was sleeping, there was a flash of white light and suddenly there were all these crates of alien stuff in his room. A roommate would probably have said something. This note was attached to the top of one of the boxes.)

The Asgard did not survive the War with the Replicators.

Although the Tau'ri did what they could, and thought they had saved us, we were in fact too damaged to go on. We were too old; we had allowed ourselves to become too worn and tired.

Sexual reproduction, for all its faults, provides vigor between the generations. My "ancestor", you would call him, was correct in this notion. Of course he was overruled; of course his name (which is also my name) has been reviled for centuries.

"I told you so" is the coldest of cold comforts. And it wasn't even I who told them, and all of "them" have been dead for a thousand years.

You are the first to "inherit" anything from an Asgard since Baldur, who was the youngest -- younger even than my progenitor, who dithered himself into old age before reluctantly going along with the herd.

Why, then, should I go with them to their doom? That is the question. Hermiod asked it as well, but neither of us cares to go on alone. All the currents of time and space know that he and I would care even less to go on together. We hated each other for a dozen incarnations. Our hatred outlasted all other hatreds of our race.

This universe misses the Ancients. The Milky Way Galaxy, and Pegasus as well, and who knows how many others. I've read the Tau'ri's classified reports from Atlantis. I've hunted everywhere that I could think of for a way out of this stupid, stupid course my people have put themselves on. I know what "assholes" the Ancients seem to have been. But the universes "loved" them -- that Tau'ri word fits better than all our volumes of analysis. They'll love you.

Maybe it's that my line maintained hatred longer than any other; maybe it's that O'Neill is a lovable thing for Asgard. I find I love you, too.

Here, then, I bequest you all my things. Thor had Jack O'Neill, the original. I have you. In a way.

(I freely admit that Thor was extraordinary, an extraordinary individual. I say "was", because by the time you get this he'll be dead. We'll all be dead. How the fuck is that a good plan? But I've gone along with it; I, of all people, have gone along with it, because I am old, and I am tired.)

It's the secret history of the Asgard; it's the things I found out that had been officially denied and forgotten. It's all my science; all my findings, the honest ones, without regard for how much trouble I'd be in or how crazily inconsistent things sometimes turned out to be. I don't expect that you'll understand it all, but O'Neills tend to be surprising -- I put nothing of honorable restrictions on any of it. Your honor is so much stronger than mine, I leave it to you. I leave it all to you, entirely. Do something with it, or hand it over to someone to do something with it, or ignore it entirely (Oh, please don't ignore it. Please. I hate that we're all to die, but I hate the thought that my work will perish unseen even more.)

I don't expect you to understand it; I don't. But I expect that you'll share it around maybe, somehow, among the other Tau'ri. Some of you are remarkably bright. Maybe it will help somehow, sometime, some way. Or maybe you will get it all; maybe you're the one, and I wish I could live to see it. I wish that so hard. I'm such a fool. I don't want to die. I don't want to die! But I've been dead for ever so long; Loki died long ago. I am a copy; I am a shadow. Don't you be a shadow, Johnny O'Neill. Be original; be your own man. It's a Tau'ri thing anyway, to do the completely unexpected all the damned time. You'll be fine. Be fine!

You're not a copy; you're not a shadow; you are Tau'ri. You are a child of the Ancients, no matter how it happened or what I did to you. Here it all is, and I was not supposed to give it to you or to have it at all.. Do something unexpected. Be Tau'ri.

I don't want to die.

Goodbye.