- Prologue -
A/N: I don't own squat, except what I write.
Throw out the second half of the final season of BSG, except for the parts of "No Exit" that pre-date the fleet reaching Earth. The end of "Revelations" where they get to Earth is where I'm changing the grid. (Completely stupid to show Earth constellations in the map room, and have them not apply to our planet.)
Post Ori and Continuum for SG-1.
Guess this could be called BSG-1.
"I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I - I want to - I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws; and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
"I'm a machine, and I can know much more." ~ One/John/Cavil
"I know what you did to Daniel." ~ Ellen Tigh
"Don't! You! Dare!" ~ One/John/Cavil
Daniel was tossing in his sleep again. Having worked himself to exhaustion on another newly discovered artefact, he stayed overnight in his quarters at the SGC. This was nothing new. Neither was what had his brain in another storm.
Unlike the nightmares where he saw his parents being crushed, this one was somehow worse. There was always this man who completely repulsed him. Even though he was older looking, the words spat at him spoke of a petulance more deserving of a spoiled five year old.
It was always the same. The room he was in was white, with what looked to be a corner of it set aside for painting supplies. An unfinished portrait of a smiling woman sat on an easel. The furniture – of which there was a bed, a couple of chairs and a table – were all done up in white fabric. Even his loose clothing was in various shades of white. Music that was familiar and foreign was quietly playing from some unseen speakers.
Always the same, a door would slide open to reveal that man, whose face was twisted into such scorn of hate that always surprised him. That visage was haphazardly quelled into a look of superiority as he entered the room. "Hello Epta. I see you're working on another painting of mother again."
Glancing at the painting in question, Daniel smiled. "Yes. I'm not sure why, but I always seem to get her eyes wrong. Too flat, somehow."
"Mmm," the man mused. "What about your other projects?"
Lulled into talking about the mundane, Daniel's voice veered towards what would be considered a lecture as he turned to the table. "Well, from what I've gathered from Sam and Tory…" A sharp pain in his back stole the breath from his lungs. Feeling a hand in his hair, his head was pulled backwards.
"I have a surprise for you," the man's voice hissed in his ear.
Stunned and unable to move, Daniel saw a bloody knife come around and go for his throat. Normally, this would be where he would wake up with a shout and a cold sweat. Somehow, the dream continued and he fell hard on the floor.
Looking up at the man, he mouthed out the word "Why?" before his vision was blurred into a swirl of red.
The last thing he heard was cold. "She's mine."
The swirl of red intensified, and he could see streams of changing symbols that seemed familiar to his conscious mind. Intermittent flashing of static hit his visual and audio cortices, and the symbols flowed like a river; diverging from the main and stole him away in a rush. There was a roar of the noise of wind in his ears, then he found himself to be extremely wet and sticky. Gasping for air, he struggled to free himself from what felt like a tub of slushy gel.
"Ah, there you are," the man's voice sounded harsh. "That's enough time. Get him out and cleaned up. We're almost there."
Metal hands lifted Daniel from the tub, and Daniel realized that things were too large. Seeing his own diminutive hands, his own voice sounded high pitched. "What?"
"Be silent," a mechanical voice intoned in a monotone.
Looking up, Daniel saw a robotic face with a red eye moving back and forth. The eye stopped to stare at him, and there was a loud whine. The red light of the eye seemed to penetrate his mind, and he could feel everything slipping away.
"NO!" Daniel screamed as he sat up in bed like a shot. Shaking like a leaf, he ran his hands through his soaked hair, doing his best to breathe. "What's happening to me?"
Showered and shaved, Daniel did his best to remember while distancing himself from the emotions the dream evoked. He only came aware that he was eating in the mess hall, when Sam waved her hand in front of his face. "Daniel?"
Completely startled, Daniel nearly spat out his cereal. Hands flying up, he pushed back from the table. The sound of the chair scraping on the floor was an added highlight. "Gah! What Sam? What?" he shouted.
"Jesus, Daniel. Are you all right?" Sam asked. It was rare to see him like this, and her concern was plain on her face. "Here I thought… What's wrong?"
Caught out and embarrassed, he scooted his chair back to the table. "Nothing. It's nothing. Sorry, Sam."
"You know, you usually don't get that far in your head, unless you're up to your eyeballs in some Ancient thingamabob," Cam said with a smirk. "You sure you're all right, Jackson?"
Startled again, Daniel looked to his left to see Vala staring at him with large eyes. Cam was across from her, next to Sam. Looking about the mess hall, he was confused. "How did I get here?" he whispered.
"Now I'm insulted," Vala said with a bit of a pout. "I've been telling you about…" She paused, then stared at him again. "You followed me to the mess hall, Daniel. Wondered why you let me hang on to your arm, but I never thought it was because you weren't paying attention."
Seeing the look of confusion on his face, Sam reached across the table to place her hand on his forearm. "Daniel?" Glancing at Cam for a moment, she frowned. "All right. It's time to get you to the infirmary."
"I'm fine," Daniel protested quietly. "It's just a dream." He did his best to ignore the situation by focussing on his breakfast.
"Like the dream you had that led us to Merlin?" Vala asked. "Please tell me it's treasure this time. That last one led us on a merry chase that went nowhere."
When he didn't rise to the bait, all three of them knew something was wrong. "That's it," Cam said, standing up with Sam. "You're going to see the Doc, even if we have to drag you."
Several hours and more pokes and prods later, Daniel was sitting on one of the beds in the infirmary, letting his legs dangle off the side. His arms were crossed, and he wasn't paying attention to what was going on around him. All of his attention was on the images and symbols from the dream.
"Now I know something's wrong," Cam said. "Usually, he's fit to bust wanting out of here."
"Too much confusion," Daniel muttered, causing Sam and Cam to turn and look at him.
Dr. Carolyn Lam entered the room, carrying a clipboard. Stopping in front of Sam and Cam, she shook her head. "Well, none of the tests came back positive, but his EEG was a bit unusual."
"How so?" Cam asked.
She sighed and looked up at them. "It's normal, but more active."
Cam looked over her shoulder to read the clipboard. "What, is he thinking too hard or something?"
"You're guess is as good as mine," Dr. Lam replied as she flipped the pages back. "This is his previous EEG, and it's normal." She flipped the pages. "This is his current, and it isn't unusual except that it's more involved."
"Hyper awareness?" Sam asked. "But if he's more aware, why is he so non responsive?"
"Because I'm trying to think, dammit," Daniel said, startling them. They were across the room and talking quietly.
Vala, who was sitting on the other bed with her arms around one of her knees, reared her head back. "I didn't say anything."
Daniel stood up abruptly, looking around. "I need a book."
"What book?" Vala asked.
"Dictionary," Daniel said absently, heading for the exit.
He was blocked by Dr. Lam and the others. "Hey now, sparky. She hasn't released you yet," Cam complained.
Looking sharply at the doctor, he snapped at her. "Did you find anything wrong?"
"Well, no…" she started to say.
"Thank you," Daniel said, shoving past them. "There must be some way out of here," he mumbled as he left.
Knowing the look on his face, Sam patted the doctor's shoulder. "Thanks. We'll bring him back if something turns up." Turning, she and Cam followed him out.
Vala stood up from the bed and held her arms up, completely exasperated. "What is going on?" Pout in force, she stomped her way out of the infirmary after them.
Dr. Lam simply shook her head and went to add the current set of tests to Daniel's medical file.
The team found Daniel in his office, going through his small library. "What are you after, Jackson?" He didn't respond, so Cam spoke louder. "Jackson! What are you looking for?"
Glancing up from his search, Daniel's face was rather blank. "English Greek Dictionary." After he explained, he continued his search.
The others looked at each other, confused. "I thought you spoke Greek, Daniel?" Sam asked.
"I do," he replied, finally locating the book in question. "I have the syntax down, but the rest… The dream had a lot of unrelated script in part of it, and I'm verifying the alphabet."
"Okay," Vala said slowly, plopping herself on his desk. "What does this have to do with the treasure?"
"There is no treasure," Daniel said irritably. "The man in the dream called me Epta, which is Greek for the number seven."
"Did you recognize him?" Sam asked.
He shook his head. "Only in the dream. He called me Seven like it was my name, then distracted me."
"From what?" Cam asked.
"The knife he stabbed me in the back with," Daniel muttered angrily.
"He literally stabbed you in the back?" Cam asked. "Ouch. So, not a nice guy," he reasoned.
"Up till that point he was," Daniel said, shaking his head. "Usually ends with the knife coming around to my throat, but it didn't this time."
"So you've had this dream before." Vala stated, rather than asked, her tone a bit more serious. "I've had recurring dreams of my time as host for Qetesh, and those are never pretty."
Daniel looked up at her in sympathy. "Yeah, but I've had this dream off and on all my life. It always ends with the knife at my throat."
"But it didn't this time," Sam prodded gently.
"No," Daniel replied. "This time I fell to the floor, looking up at him. Tried to ask him why, but my throat was cut. He must've read my lips or something, because he said 'She's mine'."
"Fight over a woman?" Vala asked, her eyebrows up. "I didn't know you had it in you. So if I flirt with Muscles, will you fight him?"
"Wasn't like that," Daniel said with a frown. "And those were Greek letters I saw. Just more stylized." He sat in his chair, looking completely confused. "The next part didn't make any sense at all."
They kept quiet for a bit, then Vala nudged him. "Daniel…"
"After feeling the life literally bleed out of me, there was this reddish light. Amongst it was…" he paused, looking up at the other two. "You saw The Matrix, right?" When they nodded, he continued. "Remember how they depicted it with the scrolling green mix of English and Japanese text?" They nodded again. "This was like that, only it didn't fall like rain. The letters were Greek and in a sort of grid, changing all the time. Felt like I was falling, then was pulled to my right, like being in a lake only to slip into a stream that runs away from it.
"Next thing I know, I'm all wet and sticky, choking for air. That man was there again, and a robot pulled me out of a tub of some sort of gel. I could tell I was younger, because my hands were so small."
There was a beat of silence, then Cam spoke up. "Damn, Jackson. That beats that bunny dream of mine. So… What's it all mean?"
"I have no idea," Daniel said slowly, shaking his head.