Fractal Irrationality (Stargate Atlantis)

Originally Posted: Apr. 30th, 2008
Length/Rating: 625 words, PG, Gen
Pairing/Warnings: none
Summary: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein. Written for sga_flashfic Must Be Dreaming challenge.

“STARGATE ATLANTIS”, “STARGATE SG-1” and other related entities are owned, (TM) and © by MGM TELEVISION and DOUBLE SECRET PRODUCTION in association with GEKKO FILMS and THE SCIFI CHANNEL. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

She knows she’s dreaming, but she can’t wake up.

Sam opens eyes she never closed and finds the city has shifted again. The moves are coming more frequently now; carrying her from one location to another within the Ancient masterwork. There might be a pattern to the ebb and flow of the transitions, but she’s got no way of telling. None of the equipment works and every change she makes is washed away as soon as she opens her eyes. Even her memories are blurry –distant fragments of things that might have happened– leaving her with only disjointed scraps and a heavy sense of déjà vu.This time she’s standing by the railing on one of the city’s observation decks, looking out across an empty sea. The waves roll towards the horizon in a pattern just shy of natural and the sun never wavers from its position in the sky. It’s as if time has stilled, but not yet frozen.

There are no people here; no seabirds, no fish, not even Rodney’s whales. Just a long vast emptiness devoid of life.

Sam leans against the railing, looking down at the distant waves and wondering how far she’d have to fall.

“Go home.”

She turns to find Atlantis has reappeared. The city’s avatar is a faint whisper of a female silhouette, run through with tiny lightnings; a living thunderhead, she smells of ozone and the sea.

Sam looks away, besieged by dim echoes of a thousand similar conversations, diluted by the wind and waves until she can’t be sure they ever really happened. She isn’t sure how long she’s been asleep, but it doesn’t matter, she’ll be here until the city lets her go.

“Go home,” the shadow drifts closer, her tone a soft sing-song of waves and static hiss. The city’s voice always changes, even if the message never does. “Go home and leave my children to me.”

“They aren’t your children.” Sam can still remember when that hadn’t been a lie. “Let them go, and I’ll go.” She’s had plenty of time to blame herself for not noticing the infection sooner.

She’d been fixing a minor glitch when she stumbled across the code, camouflaged in obsolete subroutines. Its purpose wasn’t obvious at first, but there had been something familiar about the lines that sparked her curiosity. First Rodney, then John tried to distract her. She finally turned her earpiece off to escape their growing litany of increasingly improbable emergencies.

Even when she finally realized what she’d found, Sam still hadn’t grasped how entwined the city had become… not until the marines started cutting through the door.

“Go home.”

“Not without them.” Even though she’s not sure they can come anymore.

The Ancients, trying to save scarce manpower, built Atlantis on modified Replicator code. Tasked with preserving both the Ancients and their city, they wound her tight with bands of logic; restricting her to simple tasks to facilitate survival. The programming should have held, but they never meant for her to spend millennium alone.

Trapped beneath the waves, driven by programming that had no allowance for abandonment, Atlantis started redefining her reality.

Now the city’s turned the expedition, breath by breath, into something they were never meant to be. Immortal, invincible, they are the capstone of her mandate; in her children’s hands the city will never fall.

“Let them go. Please.” Sam isn’t begging, not yet, but she’s so very tired. Atlantis would have turned her too, but couldn’t. Yet another debt she owes to Jolinar.

“No.” And the shadow’s gone in a flurry of silent lighting, taking the world with it.

She knows she’s dreaming, but she can’t wake up.

Sam opens eyes she never closed and finds the city has shifted again.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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