The Thousandth Man
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate or Transformers. Unfortunately.
Warnings: Language, Spoilers for the Stargate: SG-1 finale and the 2007 Transformers movie
AN: I'm pretty sure this was inspired by a prompt on the tfbunnyfarm, but for the life of me, I can't remember it. Also, I took artistic license with Stargate canon.
One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
The Thousandth Man, Rudyard Kipling
They weren't furry. He knew they wouldn't be, but Jack couldn't help but be disappointed when he first saw them. All shiny metal and sleek lines. Walking, talking robots that for once actually looked like robots. None of that humanoid replicator crap or even the original, almost spider-like things. These were real robots. And their Primus on a pogo if they weren't huge!
Carter would drool when she finally got a look. Hell, that big black one and Teal'c would probably get along great. Compare cannons to staff weapons or something like that. Doc Frasier would've loved their medic, and Thor would've found them fascinating.
Ah, Thor. He really would've loved them. Perhaps he already had. But Jack would never know now. Never learn if Thor had remembered them, had known them from somewhere other than his history files.
And he supposed that was the very root of the problem. Once there had been four great races, and now, there were only three. Two and half if he was feeling really annoyed because the Ancients were big, glowy wastes of space. And the Nox were unapproachable at the best of times with their pacifism and wonky magic tricks.
As for the last…
Furlings. Only they called themselves Cybertronians. Or Transformers as they'd been nicknamed by that Army captain – Lennox – and his unit. Daniel had probably mistranslated the word. And wasn't that a kick to the pants? Something for Jack to tease him about and to mention at the worst and undoubtedly most embarrassing moment.
But that was for the future. This was now. The present. Looking out at the assembled robots and their new friends in front of him.
There was the big tall one, complete with blue paint and red flames. Very retro. With a voice like either God or a demagogue and enough patience and inner strength to make Gandhi look downright churlish.
Then, there was the slightly – as if ten feet was slight! – smaller black one, who spoke like Clint Eastwood and looked like an overgrown linebacker with enough firepower to invade a small country. Ironmonger or Rawhide. Something like that.
And the medic, hideous in his chartreuse paintjob but apparently a genius at his work. It didn't hurt that he had an arm that would make many a baseball pitcher weep with envy or that he could clock his comrades square in the face with a wrench at fifty yards. That took talent. And a hell of a lot of practice.
Last but not least, the smallest of their lot. He was yellow with doors on his back in an almost wing-like arrangement. Something about him just screamed teenager to Jack. Maybe it was the way he held himself. Or perhaps the way he spoke through his radio, using the most amusing clips possible. Or it could've just been how well he took to the two human teenagers with him. Like recognizing like and all that jazz.
Still, he wondered why there were only four here. Jack had heard rumors of a fifth bot, but he had no idea where the final one was. If he'd even survived the battle in Mission City. He hinged on asking. After all, no solider liked to be reminded of fallen comrades. Of people they were supposed to have saved but couldn't.
Jack understood the sentiment perfectly. Felt the memories trickle in one after another. A never-ending torrent that kept him up at night and sitting on his back porch. Half-drunk beer in one hand as his head was tilted back and he stared at the stars. Remembering. Regretting.
As alien and strange as these people – bots – were, Jack couldn't help but feel a kinship with them. Fighting a war that they didn't start. Fighting to survive. To protect themselves. Losing so much in the process. Their home. Their friends. Whatever amounted to the robot equivalent of a family.
It was like losing Charlie all over again as he looked at them. Like watching the light fade from Kawalsky's eyes. Like having Carter show up at his door and tell him that the Asgard were gone.
He knew that they were supposed to be the remnant of a once great race. One powerful enough to be on equal standing with the high and mighty Ancients themselves. He'd heard about the cube, what it could do. He'd even seen pictures of the damned thing. And if at least some of that writing wasn't Asgard, Jack would give up the Simpsons and only watch PBS for the rest of his life. He might not have the Ancient database still stuck in his head and he might not have seen Thor for years, but he knew their writing when he saw it. Couldn't read a word of the stuff, but he could damn sure recognize it.
And as he stood there, Jack knew that he should probably tell them. Knew that they deserved the truth. That he should walk up to the big one with the flames and explain. Tell them about their interstellar neighbors.
But even as he thought that, Jack knew he never would. In place of a powerful race of fantastic aliens, all he saw was a bone-weary group who only wanted to rest. Who just wanted a chance for peace after so long. They'd lost so much already. It would only hurt them more to learn of this. To learn that they'd had friends watching for them. Waiting for them. Only for the Asgard to die mere months before they would've met once again.
So close and yet so very far away. A hairsbreadth. Nearly a millisecond in cosmic reckoning. Coming around the corner just as someone stepped out of sight.
That was all he could think about as he watched them. The only thing on his mind as the army group laughed when the medic hit Mr. Cannons on the head and the big bot stepped in between them with a stern voice but an obvious smile behind that mask. As the human girl danced to the yellow robot's music and beckoned her boyfriend to join her. As the bot nudged the teenager to his feet, only to receive a playful swat in return.
The smile on the boy's face was so painfully obvious. Just like the robot's amusement.
And a part of Jack ached at that. At the reminder. At the idea that he was getting older and that most of the people he knew were now dead. That those who should've outlived him, who should've survived were now lost forever.
He thought of Thor and coincidence. Of possibilities and could have been. Of honor and loyalty. Of friendship.
If that didn't cinch it, nothing else would. It wasn't about politics. Or protection. Or even gratitude. At the end of the day, there was more to life than mutual enemies and fear. More than regret. More than even alliances.
It would've made Thor happy. Made all of the Asgard happy that their new friends and their old friends got along. That they'd met each other and bonded so closely in such a short time. This was the start of something monumental. Something spectacular. Something that was fantastic but so fragile. That could fall apart at any moment.
But already, he could feel his resolve hardening. Knew it had become stronger than steel as he heard the teenagers – all three of them – laugh out loud. As he saw Lennox nod to the biggest robot, one leader to another. One soldier to a friend.
The Asgard were dead. But Jack O'Neill would make damn sure that these bots… that these people wouldn't follow them.