by Alara Rogers
Summary: What's it like to be Harvey?
Author Notes: What can I say? I'm a villains fangirl. Expect Crais next. (I'm working my way up to the real Scorpy.)
Story Notes: Spoilers: It is most likely that this story takes place *before* "Eat Me", but it absolutely takes place after "Different Destinations."
Disclaimer: I'm not 100% certain who *does* own Scorpius, the neural clone, or John Crichton, but I'm absolutely sure it's not me.
Author's Website: http://www.alara.net/
I'm having something of an identity crisis. Bear with me.
To be, or not to be, that is the question.
If John's high school memories of English class are to be believed, the actual poem deals with the decision to commit suicide, or not. Which isn't a sentiment unfamiliar to me, believe me. But that isn't my current topic of concern-- I have more or less decided to live, if one can truly call this life. The question, then, is-- is this life? Do I exist?
Who am I? What am I? What is real?
Another of John's people, the philosopher Descartes, says, "I think, therefore I am." (An aside-- it is strange that my only vocabulary to discuss my situation seems to come from John. My own memories are sadly lacking, a point I shall come back to. I assume that I, or my originator at any rate, must have read works by great Sebacean philosophers at some point, but I can't honestly remember a single one. In fact I'm rather taking it purely on faith that there are great Sebacean philosophers, since it doesn't seem to be the sort of thing Officer Sun would know, even if I could ask her. But I digress.)
In any case, I think. Therefore I must be. But be what? Who am I? What am I? How should I think about myself-- my existence, my goals, my beliefs?
I'm not Scorpius. Although, in my mind, I feel very much as if I am. But there is the incontrovertible fact that Scorpius has an independent existence, running about in the real world outside John Crichton's head, and therefore, obviously, I'm not him. I have the same basic personality, and some of the same memories, but so much is missing. John still sees me as Scorpius, and I can't quite imagine having a different visible avatar, but no, I'm obviously not Scorpius.
I'm not the chip either, and that's very disconcerting. My memories, after all, take into account that I'm not the real Scorpius. I never believed I was. I did, however, believe I was the chip. Or no. I was the chip. Or no. I was never the chip, because I, the entity that I am, am the neural engrams imprinted on John Crichton's brain by the chip. So the chip is someone else, from whom I was copied. Which leaves me in the position of having the memories of being the chip, being absolutely certain that I was the chip and unable to comprehend how I can be here when it is not. I think that really a lot of my despair at still finding myself here when Scorpius took the chip came from a sense of being disembodied. I had expected that I would do my job and then be reintegrated with Scorpius, returning to my true self in a sense. And I'm sure that is what happened to the chip. But it isn't what happened to me. Somehow the chip copied itself into Crichton's brain, and I am what was left behind.
So what am I? I'm a collection of neural patterns imprinted on John Crichton's brain. I have more access to his memories than I do to my own. If I were to have a body to walk about in, it would be his. In a sense, I am him.
I am John Crichton. What a terribly disturbing thought.
Without access to his knowledge and memories, in fact that might be the only way I could think of myself. It's yet another irony that his own knowledge gives me a way out, even as the thing he has knowledge of has probably created this predicament for us in the first place. Humans, apparently, can split their minds into multiple entities. They call it Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder; the basic idea is that there are multiple egos inhabiting a singular brain, taking turns in taking control. This is unheard of among Sebaceans. I think if Scorpius had known such things could happen to humans, he might have chosen a method of extracting the information from Crichton other than a chip with his own neural clone on it; certainly neither he nor I ever expected that Crichton's human brain could actually be permanently imprinted with an alternate identity.
On the other hand, it's entirely possible Scorpius would have gone ahead with the plan, without particularly caring that he would be condemning a fragment of himself to become an unwilling prisoner in John Crichton's brain. Knowing what's at stake, I can't fault Scorpius for such ruthlessness-- obviously, I'd make the same choice myself. But it does... change things.
When I was the chip-- no, rather, in my memories from the chip's existence-- there was no conflict between my goals, and Scorpius'. The chip was programmed to carry out Scorpius' directives, and having Scorpius' personality, it had no difficulty in doing so and no desire to do otherwise. And it completed its objectives, and was taken away-- and left me here. With no idea of what I'm to do, or where my loyalties should lie.
My purpose in existence is over. I'm done. Yet not dead. What do I do now?
And my goals have been rendered meaningless. I don't truly believe Scorpius is dead, although John is convinced of it; I was always more devious than that, and I don't believe I would have died so easily. It was a trick, I think, though I haven't told John that. But if it's not true, then Scorpius has what he needs to defeat the Scarrans, from the chip, and my role is over. And if it is true, then what? I doubt I can convince John to take on the entire Scarran empire; if he gets wormhole technology, he'll use it to go home.
And yet I still want him to discover how to make wormholes. I want to know. I am Scorpius, or imprinted on his model, and I am the chip, programmed to seek out wormhole information. I am neither of those, but I carry them with me. I want to know all about wormholes, even if it doesn't directly benefit the Peacekeepers. And of course, I also want wormhole technology to be used to destroy the Scarrans, or at least bloody their noses so badly they go scampering back to their holes and leave the Sebaceans alone.
So I suppose I do have a goal. I want wormhole technology and I want to talk John into using it against the Scarrans, if Scorpius is dead, or had it over to Scorpius, if he's not. Which means it is in my best interests to keep John alive.
But then, suppose Scorpius is alive, and has wormhole technology already? Then why keep John alive? He'd no longer be of use to Scorpius. The only reason to keep him alive... is that his life is my life. And so it hinges on whether or not I desire to live. Not to complete a purpose, not to solve the wormhole puzzle and hand the data over to Scorpius, who may well have it already-- but to live, for my own sake.
Is that, indeed, what I want? Do I want to live? And if so, what should my purpose in doing so be?
This is not much of an existence, to be condemned to be a fragment in someone else's mind, with no body of my own, and no one to talk to but my unwilling host, who sees me as an enemy. John would probably find this life unbearable. Yet as Scorpius, I would have seen the loss of physicality, the existence as a creature of pure mind free of pain and temperature and unfulfillable lusts, as desirable and pleasant. Most of the problems in Scorpius' life stemmed from a body that betrays him every chance it gets. And I, or rather Scorpius, have never exactly had friends, nor been surrounded by congenial company; at least Crichton is intelligent enough to be worth talking to. And, too, my only benchmark for what I'm missing is Crichton's memory; aside from a few brief moments when I-as-the-chip took full control, I have never had a physicality to miss it. My memories from Scorpius carry no kinesthetic output, no physical memory. I remember his life as full of physical pain, but I can't actually remember what it felt like, or any bodily feelings associated with being Scorpius at all. What little I can remember of what it is to have flesh references John's flesh, not my creator's.
So. As a prison, Crichton's head is far more interesting and pleasant than my cell on the Scarran dreadnought, and Crichton a positively delightful companion in comparison to Tauza. My life is full of intellectual challenges, and I've the freedom to explore an entire alien world in here, one I find more enjoyable and intriguing the more I review it. I can enjoy the sensations of John's body vicariously any time I wish, or block them if I wish, and there are no frelling temperature fluctuations. This is not a bad life, really. In some ways it's more enjoyable than Scorpius' life was, in fact.
If this is the case, if I enjoy my life and I want to live, then naturally my interests will align rather more strongly with John's than they have in the past. And that raises an interesting conundrum.
Of course, if John does develop wormhole technology, or even significant clues, I would like very much to share them with Scorpius, or whoever is in charge of Peacekeeper wormhole research if Scorpius is dead. But not at the expense of John's life. Not anymore. And since it is very likely that John will destroy himself rather than be Scorpius' prisoner again... this places me significantly at odds with my original purpose.
The chip was programmed. It could not have contravened its orders from Scorpius. In some ways I find it quite frightening that I am able to contemplate doing so.
In other ways I find it... freeing.
The genie is out of the bottle, the ghost is no longer bound to the machine. I am neither Scorpius nor a programmed construct created by him.
I am... myself.
And I will do as I choose. If that means defying Scorpius to save John's life, so be it. It is an interesting puzzle, to try to figure out how to give Scorpius John's data without endangering John. But I will rise to the challenge.
I choose... to be.