Part Five-Who Am I Living For?
“I didn’t want to ask while the temptation was still there. You banned us from going near the Tower on Eden. Why? The real reason.” Rodney was sitting on a bed in a room that Rodney was trying to decide if he wanted. The living quarters had been found on the ship and each living suite had two bedrooms and a living room. Rodney and John were deciding which room they wanted to share. John didn’t care what rooms they got as long as he knew where to sleep that night. He was taking care of making sure that everyone was OK with their new bunkmates. Everyone had to share a suite.
“That Tower was a relic of a day long passed. If someone had found the way into it then something bad would have happened. Someone would have come that would have destroyed our existence and we couldn’t have done a thing. Some things, Rodney, it is best not to know.”
“Then why did we stop there?” Rodney pulled out his tablet and turned it on. While he waited for it to boot up, he looked around the room. He thought that it would do. It was close to where he and John would be needed if an emergency popped up but far enough away to get some quiet.
“It was the only place with what I needed and the food and resources we all needed.”
“What did you need?”
“The Index. It’s something needed for our future with our Hero.”
“Then why is the Tower there if it is so dangerous? Why didn’t the Ancients put more protections up?”
“It was purged from all data banks. Even the Desinty‘s seed ships didn’t remember it being there. I am the only one who knew where it was.”
“‘Where it was’?” Rodney stopped inputting his password to look at Daniel. Daniel wasn’t looking at him. Instead he was looking out one of the windows in the room that looked out into the stars. There was sadness in his form and Rodney hated that it was there.
“Seventeen minutes after we left Eden, the planet blew up. When I retrieved The Index from the Tower, I set its self- destruct. I could allow no one to access it and I had to make sure. I couldn’t let them at Earth know about it. Eden is entirely gone. I took out the whole planet. Those that created it called it a Shield World. I don’t know what they were shielding but it is no longer there.”
“You blew up Eden?”
“I had to.”
“You’ve changed. Become harder than I remember. You can make those decisions now and not flinch. I had hoped you never would have to.” Rodney hated what Daniel had to lose to live. He lost so much of what he had been.
“Yes, I know. I had escaped turning hard for so long.”
“So are you and Ronon going to get rooms together?”
“Which of these rooms are you two going to use?” Daniel asked, evading the question. He knew which rooms Ronon wanted, the ones across from this set. He wanted to be closest to the heart of the ship so that he could go where needed to do what was needed and get there first.
“What?” Rodney looked at Daniel in shock. They had it so well.
“I’ve known since the moment I came to Atlantis during the whole Ori problem and the thing with Morgan Le Fay.”
“Don’t worry. I only knew because of knowing you so well.” Daniel smiled at him and winked. Rodney laughed.
“So what do you think of Keller and Radek?”
“Radek and she are sharing apartments.” Daniel went back to staring out the window. Rodney didn’t know what was so fascinating about space to Daniel. He had always been obsessed with it since starting at the SGC. Even now, years later when it should have been old hat, Daniel was obsessed with it. He loved looking at the stars. It was like he was looking for something. Something that he never finds. Rodney hoped that one day he would find what he was looking for.
“No.” Rodney was shocked at that.
“Yes. Radek blushed while telling T.J. they wanted to share. It was so cute.”
“How long will it take to get all the rooms ready?”
“Not long. Due to security, John is only having eleven apartments readied. Greer is getting the lone room that he will have to share with the Hero when we find him.”
“Young and T.J.?” Rodney asked as he stood up and moved to a small window. He wanted to see what had Daniel’s rapt gaze. Even if he could see nothing in the darkness.
“Sharing. They have all been assigned and everyone else is moving into theirs. It will take a day and then we will head out. I brought something along with me. Doses of the ATA therapy.”
“Why?” Rodney stopped what he was doing and looked over at him. “Why would we need it?”
“For the ship. Before we leave I want to make sure that everyone has the ATA gene. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I was on Earth. I had a dream one night and the next day I had the urge. I was able to sneak some out of the R&D department the day we left. I just know that we are going to need it.”
“I don’t think that I even want to know why. At least you won’t have to worry about us from Atlantis. Even Ronon got the therapy while we were there. It was right before we had to flee but he still got it. You said that we had to get refueled. The ship was at max before we came out here.” Rodney moved away from the window and over towards the beds again. He sat down and put his tablet in his lap, tying the whole time.
“Not really. I had a few more fuel cells opened.”
“Opened?” Rodney stopped his typing.
“They were hidden. A safety measure. We will be stopping at three stars and filling up on energy on the way to our ‘gate.”
Rodney turned to look at Daniel from his place on the bed. Daniel was looking at him, facing him. “Stargate?”
“Where do you think that the Ori got their idea for a Supergate from? The Ancients did it first, a very long time ago.” Daniel pulled a tablet from his backpack that was on the desk in the corner. He woke it up from sleep and entered his password. He showed Rodney a picture that he had drawn. It was of a Supergate, all right. Except that the details showed that it was of the same generation of the ‘gates that were on Atlantis.
“We are going to a Supergate?”
“Yes. I told you that I didn’t trust the walls and their ears. Now I can lay the entire plan out for you.” Daniel flicked his finger over the screen of the tablet and it moved to the next page.
“I had a wife once.”
Ronon stopped in his tracks. He didn’t know to whom Daniel was talking. Daniel was standing at the foot of the Stargate. It was the middle of the night and they were the only ones there. He assumed that Daniel was talking to him but he could really be speaking to himself.
“Her name was Sha’re and she was beautiful. I had been so long away from love. My parents died when I was eight and from then on I had no love. Not true love. Oh, I had made myself believe that it was love but it wasn’t. People who love you take you as you are. They don’t change you or even try to change you.”
“What happened to her?” Ronon asked. When Daniel didn’t move, Ronon knew that he was talking to him. He hadn’t scared Daniel when he had spoken. That meant that Daniel knew that he was there.
“We were on Abydos, the first planet that we discovered when we opened the ‘gate. I wasn’t happy with life. I wanted to explore. I unburied the ‘gate. The Goa’uld came through and took her and her brother, Ska’ara. The Goa’uld made her a host, the consort and wife of our biggest enemy at the time. For three years, I searched for her. It was my every waking thought. She was the center of my universe, even though she hadn’t been while she was by my side. I was obsessed with saving her. To show her that I loved her and to prove to everyone else that I loved her and she loved me.”
Daniel paused and Ronon didn’t say anything. Sighing, Daniel turned to face him. Ronon could see where Daniel had been crying.
“She died by Teal’c’s hand while her Goa’uld was trying to kill me. I forgave him long ago. He understood something that I did not. Sha’re could not have lived if she, even hosting a Goa’uld, had killed me and she lived. While I loved her, still she had not been with me in three years. I could live without her. I had been living without her. He also saved the life of a man that had been his friend over someone that he didn’t know.”
“He chose as any friend would. Your pain at losing her was not as great as her pain would have been had she killed you. It was the lesser of two evils as McKay often says.”
“Yes. She also gave me memories and dreams. I was able to get my anger and grief straightened in my head long before coming back to work. It was a different experience. I surrounded myself with my friends and they became my life.”
“You’ve never lived for yourself, have you?” Ronon stepped closer but still stayed back. Daniel hadn’t made any motions that meant that he wanted to be touched. Daniel was so finicky about being touched. He didn’t like being touched when he was upset. Ronon had heard the talk about the SGC. O’Neill used to be the only one who he would allow to touch him. Carter and Teal’c followed and then some others but everyone else knew not to touch.
“Not until I came aboard this ship. Yes, I am striving to save the world and the galaxy but I am also living how I want to. I could have walked away. I could have told them no Ronon and they would have sent me back human and weak with no way to fix this. I had a choice and I chose this. This test is my own cross to bear. I can see the heavens but I can still hear the flames calling out my name. I can see the writing on the wall. I can’t ignore this war. At the end of it all, who am I living for?”
“For the first time in my life, yes. I do everything that pleases me and I don’t care about anyone else’s feelings at all.”
“Some would say that makes you dangerous, but I know you. You might not care about their feelings but you care about their lives, otherwise you would have just let us all come here without you.”
“At the end of it all, I won’t be back. When we have fought all of our wars, the Earth will be changed and I won’t be happy to live there. I will go back to where the warrior we find is from.”
“So after this I will never see you again?” Ronon asked as he stepped closer to Daniel, again. Daniel just watched him but didn’t stop him either.
“Why do you never call me Daniel?” Daniel asked as Ronon stopped just inches from his chest. “You don’t want to call me Jackson anymore but you just never call me anything.”
“You have never asked me to. I am too familiar with you to call you Jackson, but you have not given me permission to use your given name. I am sure that you understand. It’s cultural.” Ronon laughed as he spoke. He was sure that his breath ghosted over Daniel’s face in a mockery of a touch.
“Call me Daniel.”
Ronon nodded and cupped Daniel’s face. He gave Daniel plenty of time to stop him as he moved their faces closer together. The kiss he placed on Daniel’s lips was soft and easy. It lasted tens of seconds and only stopped because Daniel gasped and bent over clutching his head. Ronon not knowing what to do, he just grabbed Daniel to hold him up. When Daniel straightened, his eyes were completely white. Ronon touched his ear piece. He had heard McKay talk of when he had seen Daniel with white eyes. He knew what it meant.
“Sheppard, McKay, ‘gate room now. Alone.” Ronon stepped in front of Daniel and forced him to look at him. Daniel’s white eyes focused on something that Ronon couldn’t see. It was only about a minute before both Sheppard and McKay entered the room.
“What’s up?” Sheppard asked. Ronon just pointed at Daniel and stepped back. McKay was the first to reach him.
“We were talking and he gasped and bent over then when he straightened up his eyes were like that. He’s looking at nothing and hasn’t said a word. I called you at once.”
“What were you talking about?” McKay asked as he checked Daniel over for injuries and checked his overall health status.
“His wife and about living for oneself instead of others.”
All three looked at Daniel for a few seconds before making a decision about what to do. McKay snapped his fingers in front of Daniel and was rewarded with Daniel’s eyes turning back to normal and focusing on him.
“It’s Ancient. Roughly it means that ‘they come’ or ‘they draw near’.”
“Alliance. I think that he means the Lucian Alliance is on their way.” Rodney touched Daniel’s face and sighed in frustration. Daniel’s features softened but then he started to collapse. Ronon caught him easily and picked him up to cradle him against his chest. “Take him to your rooms. I think that he had a full vision and his body is not used to them. We can discuss it in the morning. He may or may not remember what he saw. Let’s all get some sleep.”
Ronon carried him to the apartment that they shared. Radek was sitting on a chair, looking at one of Daniel’s books on the Ancients, and aware that something had happened.
“They are coming.”
“Yeah.” Ronon laid Daniel down on the bed and covered him up. Ronon moved to a chair in the living room and picked up Daniel’s computer and opened it up. Radek joined him in a few seconds.
“What are you doing?”
“Starting some music. I don’t want the music over the speakers of the ship. It doesn’t sound right.”
“He gave me an account. I can access the music.”
“Rodney tried to hack the computer but didn’t get past the passwords.”
“Should have asked me.”
“Yes, he should have.”
“You should sleep. We have much to do to prepare.”
“Night.” Radek nodded and stood up to leave. Everyone knew that Daniel believed they would come but it was in the future. That future was now, and it was scaring Ronon. He wasn’t used to dealing with those who could see the future. Daniel was a conundrum. He was so strong but so weak at the same time and he was going to kill himself fighting things that happen to stop them from happening. Ronon was going to make sure that it didn’t happen.
Daniel was sitting on his bed the next morning alone when John and Rodney entered the room. Radek and Ronon were sitting on a few chairs looking at the computer in Ronon’s lap.
“Two days. They will come aboard at midnight. They think that with the information that Telford has given them, they will overwhelm us. We will need bait.”
“Bait?” Rodney asked. “Why can’t we just space them when they get on the ship?”
“Because they need to know that they are beaten. They need to feel fear so that they never again try and reach for things that are not theirs.” Daniel looked at those in the room. Rodney was almost sure that he saw fire in Daniel’s eyes.
“Are we ready?” John queried in a soft voice. He didn’t want to speak any louder and break the moment. He could see why some of the people at the SGC would follow Daniel anywhere. Daniel could have made a pacifist take up arms and fight. He was glad that Daniel was on their side.
Daniel smiled. T.J. was in the ‘gate room. She was waiting for the Lucian Alliance to arrive. She was obviously pregnant and the least likely to be killed on sight by the Alliance. All the civilians and military personnel not participating in the operation were on the part of the ship farthest from the ‘gate room. John, Rodney, T.J., Ronon, Young, Greer, and he were the only ones running around.
Everyone’s eyes jerked to the screen as the ‘gate lit up.
“Ready?” John asked.
“Go, T.J.,” Daniel said into his radio. T.J. nodded on the screen and drew up her P-90. The second a person exited the wormhole, she ducked down behind the blast shield erected in the ‘gate room. Then she started firing through the hole. Four were dead in a few minutes and then a group of five came through the ‘gate. She fired off shots at the two closest to her, wounding one in the shoulder and the other in the knee. When the numbers became great in the room, T.J. put her arms in the air with the P-90 in one.
“Raise up!” someone yelled and T.J. stood up so that they could see her better. She stood there while the rest of the Lucian Alliance filed into the room. The last one through was a woman. She turned and looked at the ‘gate, acting like she was waiting for some more people to come through. The ‘gate shut down quickly and Kiva looked at the other people in the ‘gate room. Daniel knew who she was.
“I am Kiva and you are now my prisoner. Is there anyone else in here?”
“No one. I couldn’t sleep and was wandering the ship.”
“Alone and pregnant?”
“There are only about twenty of us left. We guard the ‘gate room only by remote monitoring. They know you are here.”
“Then they know we have you.” Kiva stepped up to T.J. and took the gun from her. Then she looked around and watched as her two injured men were seen to. “Give me your radio.”
T.J. pulled the radio from her vest and handed it to Kiva. T.J. knew what she was allowed to say and so far Kiva wasn’t any the wiser that she was being played. T.J. allowed herself a small smile.
“This is Commander Kiva. This ship is now under my control. I demand to know why the ‘gate was shut down and what happened to my men on the other side.”
Daniel look at John and they both nodded to Young who then raised a radio to his mouth.
“This is Young. I do not know what happened to your men. What are your demands?”
“Why should I demand anything? This whole ship is now mine. I outnumber you.”
“You would rather have us surrender than have to kill us and if you don’t give us T.J. back that is what will happen. I will trade you medical supplies for your hurt men for her.”
Daniel picked up a backpack at his feet and slung it over his shoulder. Ronon and Greer followed him as he exited the room. He was going to the area where they would do the swap of T.J. for the supplies. Ronon and Greer stopped outside a set of doors but Daniel went two steps into the room and waited for the doors to shut behind him. Once they were shut, he set down the pack and waited. He listened to the chatter over the radio and when the plans were finalized, he pulled a gun from his holster and set it down so that people in front of him could not see it but T.J. would be able to when she was on this side of the room.
Kiva opened the door and found just a single man standing in her way. It was Jackson. She wasn’t sure how he had gotten there but there he was, standing there with no weapons drawn. At his feet were the supplies needed to save her men. Daniel kicked the supplies out into the middle of the corridor.
“Why did they send you?”
“Because I wouldn’t let them send anybody else. I am offering you a onetime deal, Kiva. Let T.J. go and your men won’t die.”
“You and what army?” Kiva looked at Daniel like he was crazy.
“No army. Just me. Haven’t you heard the stories, Kiva. About me? I do miraculous things.” Daniel waved his hand theatrically in the air just to show her that he was a little odd. He wanted to keep her on her toes so that she wouldn’t be expecting what was coming.
“You are just a human, Jackson. You can’t do anything. I am Kiva and this is now my ship. Just surrender and get it over with. There is no way that you can overpower my might. Your little woman has told me everything that I need to know about this ship. Of course she didn’t tell me about you but that doesn’t matter. Do your people surrender?”
Daniel didn’t answer; he just smiled and then the ship’s power went out. Daniel reached out and pulled T.J. towards him as he flipped a switch in the control center. The air was being sucked out of the ‘gate room. He waited for the lights to turn back on. T.J. was behind him, safe with the pistol that Daniel had set down in her hands.
When the lights finally flicked back on what seemed like seconds later, Kiva had a gun trained on Daniel. Daniel didn’t react at all. He knew that she would have a gun out. He was prepared for it.
“What was that?”
“Your entire team, dying. Just like the ones who didn’t step through the ‘gate. Your entire Lucian Alliance team is now dead.” Daniel gave a dry laugh at the look on her face.
“I removed all the air from the gateroom, Kiva.”
Kiva didn’t answer; instead she started to fire at Daniel. She emptied her clip before she stopped firing. Daniel was standing with one hand raised in front of him and all the bullets stopped three feet away.
“I am going to rip the Lucian Alliance apart and it starts with you.” Kiva’s gun flew out of her hand and onto the floor several feet in front of her. She moved to pick it up and found that she couldn’t move. Her feet were stuck to the ground. She watched as the door behind Daniel opened and two men stepped in. T.J. stood up and Greer helped her out of the room. Ronon moved towards her with a set of cuffs in his hand. He bound her hands behind her back and then her feet freed themselves from the ground. When she looked up, Daniel was gone.
Daniel was in the ‘gate room just staring at the ‘gate. The visions were coming faster and faster and they all spoke of a flood. Daniel still wasn’t sure of what kind of flood it could be. They were on a ship and there wasn’t enough water on the ship to flood above a foot. They had survived the encounter with the Lucian Alliance with no lives lost on their end but all the Alliance members were dead except for Kiva.
They hadn’t known what they were in for. They hadn’t expected being submitted to a vacuum. They had come to the ship with the plans to take from those who were on it and Daniel hadn’t been okay with that.
Daniel knew the point at which he had become a killer. It wasn’t one choice, but several, over years. It was when his life and the life of his friends became more important than anyone else’s, even if they were just ignorant of whom Daniel and his friends were. Daniel stopped fighting for them because when he did, someone got hurt and it wasn’t the other people. It also helped that in the beginning his team didn’t try to outright kill them; they just tried to wound them. Then the Ori came, and the people of the galaxy started wanting to really kill them. That’s when it changed, when the Ori came. Sacrificing a few in the galaxy to rid them of the Ori seemed like a small price to pay for saving the rest of the galaxy.
Killing those of the Lucian Alliance was easy. They were interfering with the lives of everyone in existence for the next million years. Their lives were corrupt and needed to be ended. Daniel wouldn’t lose sleep over their lives at all. He spent nights crying a few years ago and he wouldn’t do it again. They were not worth it.
Several hours later, Ronon found Daniel in the gym sparring with Greer. There wasn’t a word being said at all. That was odd for Daniel. He watched as they sparred. Greer was not able to land any blows. This was an oddity because Greer was always able to land blows. Daniel was focusing his whole mind on sparring and it made it impossible for Greer to hit him.
A cracked echoed through the room and had Ronon running to Daniel. Greer landed on the floor in a heap from where Daniel’s foot had connected with his legs. Greer started laughing and Daniel tried to help him up but Ronon didn’t give him a chance. Instead, he grabbed Daniel and pulled him into the hall. He didn’t stop directing him until they were outside their new quarters.
“You did what was right. They couldn’t have the chance to kill us.” Ronon watched Daniel pace around the room.
“I know that. I know it all up here.” Daniel pointed at his head before he pointed to his heart. “But here. I basically pulled the trigger on forty two people and gave the information that had over a hundred killed before they could leave the base.”
“And they would have gladly done the same to you if they had the chance.”
“I won’t allow you to do this. I’ve done some dirty deeds. Their deaths were easy compared to what they could have faced from the Wraith if they had won.”
“Fine.” Ronon stalked to where Daniel was still pacing. “I asked nicely before. Now I am going to take.” Ronon grabbed Daniel’s head and pulled his mouth to his own. Daniel tried to pull back but Ronon didn’t let him. After a few seconds of fighting, Daniel gave in and let Ronon take the kiss from him. He didn’t let himself get carried away though. “You are mine now. I will protect you with my life.”
“I know. I am not oblivious. I just hoped that you would move on.”
“Never. You intrigued me from the moment I met you. The words you spoke, I did not understand them but the way you moved. You handled yourself better than some soldiers. I wanted you for your body then. As I watched you and saw what you went through at the SGC. What you allowed them to do to you and you never showed it. You never showed them that they were getting to you. Your strength is so great but you need to learn to let someone else shoulder some of your burdens.”
“I can’t let you in right yet. I have to do a few more things. I can’t be distracted.”
“I know that but I won’t let anyone else have or harm you.”
“If I were in anyway insecure, then I would worry that you thought I couldn’t take care of myself.”
They were just leaving the third star when Daniel saw it: a ‘gate that looked exactly like the ones in Pegasus. It was beautiful and elegant, not like the ones the Ori had created. Rodney was sitting beside him in the Bridge, practically bouncing out of his seat.
“We don’t have a DHD. How are we supposed to dial the ‘gate?” Radek asked.
“We won’t have to. The Ancients will, I think. I never see us dialing anything. I just see the ‘gate spring to life.” Daniel looked at the display on the screen. Two words were on the screen. Daemon insidiari. Daniel smiled. Most would have been scared but he wasn’t. Demon’s lying in wait did not scare him but it would scare the Wraith when the time came.
John’s gasping made the three stop their talking and look out the window. The ‘gate was activating. When it settled, the ship started forward. Daniel waited for the feeling of going through the ‘gate. He closed his eyes as he saw the ship in front of him go into the ‘gate. When they emerged on the other side, all the sensors went active. Rodney and Radek tried to find any signs of life while Daniel scanned the stars to figure out where they needed to go.
“I’m looking, John. I need to find one constellation that I have inputted that the computer knows.” The computer made a trilling noise and Daniel looked back down at the screen. “I have the direction.”
“Why can’t we take shuttles from ‘gate to ‘gate?” Rodney looked over to Daniel as he spoke.
“Because there are none near where we are going. We are eight hours away from where our Hero is trapped.”
“Why are we the ones who save him and not his friends?”
“Because they don’t know that he is alive or even where he is.”
John stood up from his seat and stretched a little. “What’s the name of the ship we are looking for?”
“Forward Unto Dawn.”
There was the ship. Daniel was looking out of the observatory and staring at the half broken ship. What they needed was in there. The Hero that would save them from it all with the crew’s help, of course, but still. There was only one essential piece missing. He knew the AI’s name and it was only a matter of time before he knew how to get his hands on her. Forward Unto Dawn had been a wonderful ship when she had been whole. Daniel could tell that from the memories he had of watching her in her final battle but all warships are destroyed at some point and she went in a blaze of glory. Her shell now protected the only person alive that could save them.
Docking with the Dawn was a bit of a problem. The front half was missing but after an hour they were able to. There were only three people leaving the ship with Daniel: John, Rodney, and Ronon. After half an hour of searching from the back of the ship they found the section they were looking for.
Daniel looked at the cryo pod and smiled. Written on glass were three words that were written in what looked like black ink. unus unus septum. One one seven. Not one hundred and seventeen, that was another set of words all together but one one seven. He knew that they were in the right place. He touched the surface and said just a few words “Unseal the Hushed Casket.”
The End of Part One-Escape
To Be Continued in Part Two-Salvation