The original premise was an alternate Stargate history: Daniel Jackson didn't get involved in the Stargate program until the Atlantis expedition was organized. This has a number of consequences, notably that Jack O'Neill suffered weeks of torture (instead of days) when he was imprisoned by Baal. What with one thing and another, Jackson and O'Neill both wound up on the Atlantis team.
Also, everyone is gayer than Christmas. (Part of the backstory is that Jackson and Rodney McKay went through a hit-and-miss romance in college.)
So anyway. Pegasus B has attracted a whole lot of fan-writing. Much of which is about O'Neill, Jackson, McKay, and Sheppard lusting after each other in various combinations. That's not my kink; but I did have an odd thought about the way the alternate history was evolving, and the way fanfic alternate histories evolve in general.
That led, approximately, to this story.
This is, in a sense, parasitical fiction, in a way that some fanfic is but Pegasus B emphatically isn't. I am not creating the story(ies) of these characters. I'm referring to them, and relying on the audience's knowledge of them. The other Pegasus B authors did create those stories and characters -- inspired by, but not relying on, the canonical characters from the TV shows.
So maybe this is fanfic's fanfic, but I do think it has a bit of a point of its own. And it attracted positive commentary, so I'm willing to feel good about it.
"Let me think let me think something's wrong."
"You mean, besides the Gate? Rodney, I need an answer. Any answer."
"Every answer? Elizabeth. This is worse than it looks. Let me think."
"Let me think, Weir. Something's wrong."
"What is wrong?"
"I'm not sure, Doctor. Keep moving."
"Look, maybe the atypical horizon is just a side effect. If the eigenstates--"
"Doctor Carter, this has as much to do w-with eigenstates as wormholes have to do with the Lincoln Tunnel."
"And you have a better idea, Doctor McKay?"
"Let me think. Something's wrong, Sam."
"We have to keep moving, Rodney."
"Yes, yes. Keep moving. Do you think the boundaries form isocurves on a conservative field? Gauss's theorem would imply--"
"Oh my god. Look at the Gate."
"Who are you talking to, McKay?"
"Nobody, nobody. Something's wrong."
"Yeah, there's a gigantic swirly snotball where the puddle should be."
"Not just that, Colonel. You shouldn't be here. And don't give me that hurt look."
"After everything we..."
"I mean in Pegasus. Colonel O'Neill!"
"Rodney! What's going on?"
"Keep moving. Something's wrong -- not just the Stargate."
"You wouldn't believe who I just met."
"Jack, listen to me. There's something -- no, let me think--"
"General O'Neill? Tall, grey hair, graduated 'most likely to be beaten to death by an interrupted scientist'?"
"O'Neill is on Earth, Rodney."
"I know that, Sheppard, let me think. Something's wrong. Do you remember--"
"What? Rodney, we have to close the damn Gate."
"I don't think it's precisely open. Keep moving. Do you know anything about mapping isocurves?"
"Is that what they're calling... hey!"
"Much as I'd love to, Shep, this isn't the time. Hands off until we've gotten the Gate closed."
"Don't start thinking I'm your type, big guy."
"If the Gate is even open, precisely... something's wrong."
"You mean, besides the Gate? Doctor, I need an answer."
"I know, General, I'm working on it."
"Is the phenomenon a danger to this facility?"
"No. Yes. General Hammond, that 'Texas-sized immie' as-you-so-poetically-put-it is a complex subspace boundary condition."
"Which means what?"
"Let me think. Keep moving. Try to follow the isocurves."
"Paths of constant, constant, snot. Follow them. Otherwise you're liable to slip again."
"It's times like these that I really miss Sam Carter."
"The physicist? Did she ever work with the SGC? Wait, let me think."
"Oh, thinking. Don't let me interrupt that."
"I didn't mind last night, but now is not the time."
"I dunno, Rodney, I've never made love in a complex subspace boundary condition before."
"A what? Daniel, you're a genius. Keep moving."
"I've often said that. And that."
"Try to follow the isocurves."
"What's an isocurve, Doctor?"
"Paths of constant..."
"What? Let me think, Doctor Jackson. What if you weren't here?"
"You'd be talking to yourself?"
"I mean in Pegasus. Imagine a universe where you didn't join the Atlantis expedition -- maybe you didn't even join the Stargate program."
"Yes, the quantum mirror."
"The quantum mirror, Lieutenant. Not shootable, so you wouldn't know about it."
"Doctor, we need to close the Stargate."
"It isn't open. Let me think."
"Keep moving, Doctor."
"Why? Because the isocurves keep shifting?"
"The paths--. The isocurves only look like they're shifting, because we keep moving. If we stop, we'll be in static nodes, and there'll be no way to -- let me think, Lieutenant."
"Congratulations. Keep moving, Shaure."
"What must we do, Rodni?"
"Let me think. Oh my god. The isocurves aren't shifting at all."
"Yes, good Doctor! They only appear to shift, as we move along our, our, gsut-cha etak."
"Spacetime worldlines. Which means that the boundary condition is static. It can't be closed, it can't change at all, we're so screwed."
"Keep moving, good Doctor."
"Oh my god oh my god let me think. Ask Selmak if he's ever heard of a subspace rupture like this before."
"Never in the history of Gate travel, Doctor."
"Shit! You want out of this as much as I do, buddy, so hands off."
"We do not require the assistance of prey."
"You damn well require the assistance of somebody, and I'm your only choice."
"Your kind created this disaster, human."
"We'll fix it."
"It cannot be repaired. The srraahhah eisss is static."
"The what? Oh my god. Let me think, something's wrong. The rupture couldn't have been created, any more than it can be destroyed. It's always been here."
"That is correct, McKay."
"And you've never encountered anything like this before?"
"No, McKay. But only the Ancients truly understood the wormhole. The technology was mastered by the Fyrlings, the Nox, and ourselves; but not the most basic principles."
"Which is presumably why you're still here instead of glowy fairyland. Let me think."
"The question is whether the isocurves are closed in 4-space."
"You Goauld really know how to cheer a guy up, don't you? If they're closed, then we've been going around the same loop over and over again, saying the same things. Over and over again."
"Talking to you. Not how I had contemplated spending eternity."
"Was that a joke?"
"By no means, Doctor McKay."
"I think we're screwed. We're probably following a closed loop in a static--"
"I have experienced a time loop before."
"No, you have not. You and Colonel O'Neill were the only ones on the open curve. Everyone else was experiencing a closed loop."
"...and they could not perceive it."
"I think we're screwed. Let me think."
"It looks like the Gate splash got... stuck."
"Stuck? Holling, don't be -- oh my god."
"Keep moving. The horizon instability--"
"Let me think. It can't get stuck in a static boundary condition. But it could intersect one, in fact it would have to -- oh my -- wait."
"Keep moving, Rodney."
"Svetlana, all along we've been assuming that the gradient field is laminar. If it isn't--"
"Then there are no isocurves, only stable points and strange attractors."
"You have no idea how sexy your accent makes that sound."
"Not now, Rodney."
"Let me think. The rupture itself must be stable, but we've moving along--"
"A strange attractor!"
"No, Felger, two strange attractors. We're not coexistent, thank god. Distinct paths, only briefly aligned."
"That can't be right. We've been discussing this for hours."
"How do you know? --Shut up, let me think."
"At least they're not closed icocurves. Are they? No."
"Yes, Felger, very comforting, we're making progress."
"No we're not."
"How do you know? --Shut up, let me think."
"That sounded like a closed loop!"
"Shut up. Something's... what if nothing's wrong? Oh my god."
"What if this happens every time the Stargate opens? The horizon instability intersects a chaotic boundary condition... it would have to. Let me think."
"Rodney, you're exhausted and you're getting hypoglycemic. You've been on your feet for hours."
"Hours doesn't cover it, Janet. There's no exit path from a strange attractor."
"You mean we're trapped here."
"This must happen every time the Stargate opens. We never perceive it because we're in the stable regions."
"But we perceive it now. Why is it different this time?"
"It isn't different, Anise. We don't perceive anything unusual. We're not us. We're them. I'm making record amounts of no sense, aren't I."
"We're the ghosts."
"I don't understand."
"We're like virtual particles, thrown off in the wormhole interaction. We orbit in the chaotic subspace region of the horizon instability."
"Passing through an infinite number of possible worlds, never repeating, never stabilizing. Stability is for them."
"I don't understand, Rodney."
"This must happen every time the Stargate opens. My god."
"You're a good man, Rodney."
"I wonder if the Ancients knew."
"We know it now, Rodney. It is part of what we perceive."
"That's fine for you. It's just the rest of us who are totally screwed."
"Even you know that consciousness is a chaotic phenomenon. Nonlinear."
"Now you sound like bad Star Trek dialogue. I'm a physicist, not a phenomenologist."
"Physics will do for now. The boundary between the strange attractor and the basin of stability..."
"...is of zero measure, I know."
"You're a good friend, Rodney."
"Let me think."
"Don't think. Continuity is an illusion."
"Everywhere discontinuous. I am as much the Rodney McKay of the stable region as I am Rodney McKay the ghost."
"It's different for everyone, Rodney McKay."
"Principle of least free energy. Follow the gradient."
"Where do you belong, Rodney?"
"Infinite permutations. Planes of existence. Every possible world."
"I love you, Rodney."
"What did you say?"
Thoughts of Days ( <-- Previous and Next --> Thought)