Title: Five people who strongly influenced Rush
Author: Shenandoah Risu
Content Flags: non-SGU characters
Spoilers: pre-series SGU through Season 2 "Twin Destinies"
Characters: Nicholas Rush, Gloria Rush, Chloe Armstrong, Everett Young, other characters
Word Count: 1,755
Summary: "History was never made by people who played nice and alphabetized their bookshelves."
Author's Notes: Written for prompt set #133 at the LJ Comm sg1_five_things. Dedicated to all the Rush fangirls out there.
Disclaimer: I don't own SGU. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Now, Young... Young I'd know what to do with. ;-)
Thanks for reading! Feedback = love.
Five people who strongly influenced Rush
He was just a wee little boy, back in Glasgow, dirt-poor, ill-mannered and always up for a fight, with no future except to maybe work in a failing shipyard facility, living from paycheck to paycheck and probably drinking it all away, dying early of liver failure or some fatal accident at work. Little Nicholas Rush had a bleak prognosis; nobody gave the snot-nosed shrimpy kid the time of day.
Except for Sahir Rangarajan.
He was the local garbage collector, and little Nick was fascinated by him because he looked so utterly different from everyone else he knew, and when he spoke he had this weird accent, and he always seemed to smile.
One day Nick sat on a garbage can when the truck came around and Sahir jumped out. He saw the scrawny and filthy young boy and waved.
"Time for a brrreak," he said, rolling his "r", pulled out a pack of cigarettes, and settled down on top of the can next to Nick.
Of course Nick bummed a cigarette and stole another one without Sahir noticing, and they sat in companionable silence, smoking.
And then Sahir told him he was from Kerala, a place in faraway India, and he had come to Europe to start a new life, a better life for himself and his family, and Nick listened, openmouthed, and he had never heard of such a thing – of leaving everything you knew and getting out of a dead-end situation. Granted, being a garbage collector wasn't exactly a top of the line job, but Sahir was content, and Nick admired him for that.
He told him that maybe he should go to India and become a garbage collector there. Sahir laughed and clapped him on the shoulder.
"No, no – you must go to school and study very hard, and become smart, go to university and then become a world-famous scientist."
They both laughed at that, but once the treacherous thought had been planted in little Nick's heart it began to root and grow.
Week after week he met up with Sahir and showed him his homework, and Sahir, who was far more educated than he'd ever let on encouraged and praised him, and let him talk about what he'd learned.
The year after someone else took over the route, and Nick never found out what happened to his Indian friend.
But much later, during his research for the 9th Chevron, he named one of the missing proofs "The Sahir Equation".
Nicholas Rush did actually work in the shipyards – two shifts, as long as he didn't get caught, and he paid his way through school with his wages. He was never good enough for one of those coveted full-ride scholarships – and by "not good enough" he knew the reason was that he didn't covet mainstream physics but chose to seek out new risky areas instead – but every rejection made him work that much harder, and truthfully, at times he still felt most comfortable among the rough-and-tumble men who did the hard and dangerous work of repairing and building the ships in the docks. This was the world he'd grown up in, those were his people, and as much as he wanted to get out, sometimes he fell back into the welcome physicality of the job, the fights and brawls and the coarse language, and the world that was all about work and sex and alcohol.
And then he met Stephen Hawking.
He had applied for another scholarship and had actually made it into the final round, a presentation of his current research in theoretical physics. Hawking was on the scholarship committee, and Nicholas was intrigued by the man – the incredible mind trapped in a crippled body that tried so hard to thwart his spirit but could do nothing to detain it. Hawking's mind was as free as a bird.
They chatted afterwards, in the cafeteria, via a speech synthesizer, and Hawking told him that his theories were absolutely harebrained and insane and the craziest thing he'd ever heard – and that he should pursue them with all his heart and mind.
"History was never made by people who played nice and alphabetized their bookshelves," Hawking said. "You need to be fearless in your research – fearless of what you are working on, of what you may discover, of the dead end that might lie ahead, and most of all, of what other people think of it."
He did end up getting the scholarship, but he knew it was not by the merit of his presentation.
Nicholas Rush's first love was always his work, and, by extension, himself – perhaps to make up for the distinct lack of affection in his younger years. As he worked on his latest theory he ran across the notion of the Musica Universalis, "The Music of the Spheres". Until then, music had never played a role in his life, but there was something about this ancient concept that clawed its way into his brain, and on impulse he bought a ticket to a classical violin recital.
Sitting in the last row he soaked up the music like a sponge, and suddenly his world shifted and numbers and figures, graphs and tables flashed before his mind's eye, and he began to scribble furiously on his ever-present notepad.
He never noticed that the concert had ended and the audience had left, until a beautiful woman sat down next to him and gently pried the notepad from his shaking hands.
He saw the violin case in her lap and she smiled, asking him whether she should repeat the concert since he obviously missed it.
He stared at her, completely dumbfounded. "Yes, please," he finally stuttered, and she laughed, and it was a sound like silver bells, and then she took her violin out of her case and played for him, and the tears were streaming down his face because for a moment there he'd literally seen his answer. She stopped, pulled a handkerchief from her purse and gently wiped his face. "I'm Gloria," she said.
"Nicholas," he replied.
They got married a month later.
He'd had no patience for Chloe Armstrong, the pretty young senator's daughter, from the very start. Yes, she blamed him for her father's death, and, despite his steadfast denial, he surmised that she was right, but there was nothing he could do about it, and the open hostility of the girl towards him was no more than a minor barb. He suspected he did feel a little bad about it, but he'd never intended for it to end this way, or for anyone to die, and so denial warred with guilt within him whenever he saw her.
Until they both were abducted by the Nakai, and while he'd had a transmitter with a locating beacon implanted in his chest she had been infected with an organism that slowly threatened to take over her mind and body.
His surgery – though very painful – was relatively easy compared to what Chloe eventually had to go through, and once again he wished it could have been him instead. Their shared experience, more than anything else, bound them together, in nightmares and never ending chills.
For a short time, he even used the alien creature that was emerging within her for his own purposes, but she was too strong for him, and to his surprise her newfound mathematical abilities remained, even after the organism was removed.
Suddenly he had yet another genius around him, someone else who never had to fight for anything, whose gift was entirely organic and not bought with blood, sweat and tears and endless hours of study.
He both hated and loved her for it.
The fact that she felt inexplicably drawn to him didn't make the situation any easier, and having lost both his wife and his short-term lover he fought her fondness for him at every turn.
She was there for a reason, and little by little he saw that it wasn't to help him with the math, but maybe to keep the human being in him alive, an innate kindness, a connection to the physical world and the occasional flash of joy and gratitude.
Rush had hated a great number of people in his life, but none quite so much as he hated Everett Young.
Young was the exact opposite of him – pick any one characteristic of either man, and the other would be diametrically opposed.
Rush cursed the day he'd first met him, this strict, immobile, stuck-in-the mud military mind who was used to being in command and getting his way.
But to Rush's great dismay Young was also extremely stubborn and way smarter than anyone gave him credit for, and try as he might, he simply could not outmaneuver the man – the subtle strategist in him was always a step ahead.
Their acrimonious relationship came to a head more than once, with attempted murder on both sides. Later Young admitted to him that he didn't respect himself for what he had done, and that's when Rush saw a way to dig in his own crow bar. His mutiny was a pyrrhic victory, though, and after many months of being cooped up on the Destiny they finally had to grudgingly attempt to work together. One final attempt on Rush's side to seize control failed when they discovered he had had access to the ship's Bridge for some time now, and somehow Young had simply known, long before he'd had proof. And while this could have put Young in the lead he surprised him by turning the tables and being the first one to believe him about Destiny's true mission.
They would never truly be friends, but Rush saw that they both needed to be there, and Young proved him right when he chose to stay on the Destiny to continue her final journey.
He saw Young's losses as equal to his own, and just like two sides of a coin could never meet they were nonetheless inextricably linked, the yin and yang that are both mutually exclusive and absolutely essential, and that thereby define each other. Over time, he realized that all of them were necessary, that their suffering was necessary, that even their distrust and pain were necessary – all were needed to get them to where they were ultimately going.
It was a difficult admission to make to himself, and maybe one day he would even discuss it with Young, but deep inside he knew that Young already understood it.