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January 1st, 2005


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10:38 pm - First fannish post of 2005
And it's not only fandom related, it's a fic. My very first SG-1 fic. All comments welcome, particularly ones to point out if I have abused canon or characters (particularly character voices). I always write for a new fandom with fear and trembling.


IMPOSSIBLE QUESTIONS

by izhilzha
Episode-related: The Nox
Rating: PG

~~~~~

The skin was smooth, unmarked and unbroken. Her eyes told her that, and her fingertips confirmed it. And yet she could still feel the tearing jolt of a staff weapon’s blast. It had caught her right here, at the base of the sternum. Had ripped right into her, shredding skin and flesh and bone. Her fingers moved again, probing gently, but there was no pain now.

“Oops. Sorry, Sam....”

It was Daniel, backing out past the exam curtain in a hurry. Sam snatched a black T-shirt from the table beside her and tugged it over her head. “It’s okay, Daniel, come on in. I thought the Colonel was next.”

“Uh, he is. Janet said I should go ahead and wait in here.” The archaeologist hung back near the curtain, careful not to look at her.

“Daniel. I’m decent.” Sam slid her right foot into a regulation boot and bent to tighten the laces. “And you’re not the first guy here to walk in on me. Or vice versa.”

Daniel flashed her a grateful smile. His face was a bit pink. Sam concentrated on her other boot, as a substitute for wondering why Daniel couldn’t seem to stop fidgeting. When she straightened, he had unfolded the bundle he’d brought in--a jacket and vest, each with a hole charred through the front. “I told Janet the Nox didn’t use technology–at least, anything we would understand by the term–to revive us, but she said she still wants our clothes.”

“Can’t stop a scientist from looking for answers,” Sam said lightly. She shrugged into a clean, undamaged jacket and fastened it neatly. “I mean, that residue is the only physical evidence that we...died.”

Daniel refolded his bundle roughly and side-stepped to let her pass.

Now or never, Sam thought. Instead of getting up and walking out, she said, “You’ve died before, right, Daniel? On the first Abydos mission?” The archaeologist nodded warily. “What was it like, being brought back by a sarcophagus?”

Daniel tucked his bundle under one arm, then took off his glasses and meticulously wiped them on the hem of his shirt. “It was...powerful. A very disorienting rush.” He looked up at Sam, glasses still loosely in one hand. “Resurrection by brute force.”

Aha. “So whatever the Nox did, it was different–in quality, not just in style.”

The glasses went back on, and Daniel blinked a few thoughtful times before answering. “Yes. I’d say so. How–what did it feel like to you?”

That took Sam a minute to process. “Well, it.... I’d have to say it was disorienting, but only because I expected to be dead and wasn’t. Other than that....” She closed her eyes for a second, and was back in warm darkness, in a sense of wholeness, of safety. “It felt like waking up. On the first day of leave.”

“Heaven on earth, huh?” At Sam’s look, Daniel cracked a wry grin. “No, I understand. They treated it like a ritual, but it felt...natural. As natural as being brought back from the dead can be, anyway.”

“And their whole society is the same way. At least, what we saw of it.” Sam leaned forward, excited. Finally something about this was starting to make sense. “They do the impossible, and for them, it is natural.”

Daniel frowned at her. “That doesn’t mean they’re super-natural,” he pointed out. “Just that they know more about nature than we do and can harness it better.”

“Sure, sure.” Sam nodded, placating. “If all we’re talking about is their technology, I agree completely. But that’s not quite what I meant. Daniel, they don’t take sides. Not just in action, but in considering, in learning, in judging. I’ve never thought an entire, complex society could afford to offer unconditional free will to anyone it came into contact with.”

“That offer could have destroyed them.” Daniel’s voice was almost a whisper.

“I don’t think it would have. I think they exist in some way that would enable them to find a path to peace regardless of the actions of others.” Sam stopped, unsure where she was going with this. “It’s– I don’t know, it’s beautiful. Impossible, and beautiful.”

“Definitely much further advanced than we are,” Daniel muttered.

“That doesn’t explain how they manage. I can see how a highly advanced race might be able to naturally do things we find incredible, but why did it feel natural to us, Daniel?”

“They’re psychic,” Daniel said.

Sam crossed her arms and stared at him. “Ah. So they read our minds and made something as unnatural as a sarcophagus feel right to us? Does that sound like something Lya would do? Because I’m having trouble believing that everything they told us was part of some grand illusion.”

Daniel pulled off his glasses again, massaging tired eyes. “I didn’t say I thought the Nox were lying. I don’t think they were. I just think we aren’t capable of completely understanding them.”

“Agreed.” Sam stretched, and stood to leave. At the curtain she turned back. “Do you remember what Anteaus said, right after he showed us their city?”

Daniel put his glasses back on and pushed them up. “Uh... ‘fear not,’ I think.”

“What do you think he meant?”

“Well,” Daniel shifted his stance, arms crossed in introspection. “He showed us their city, showed us the kind of power and technology they have, so we wouldn’t worry about them. So we wouldn’t be afraid for them. So we would go away and leave them in peace.”

“Are you sure that’s what he meant by ‘fear not’?”

Daniel focused on her abruptly, lips thinning as he pressed them together. “The Goa’uld are not gods, the Asgard are not gods, and the Nox are not angels.”

Holy Hannah. Sam hadn’t expected to get such a rise out of him. “Daniel! I didn’t say they were. The wording just sounded familiar.”

“They’re psychic, remember.” Daniel stopped, then sighed gustily and rushed on, “They wouldn’t be ‘angels’ as we define them, anyway. Angels were messengers and warriors for God or the gods. The Nox won’t fight, and they didn’t seem too anxious to pass on a message from God to us humans.”

Sam stared at him. “I’m not so sure they weren’t.”

“What, ‘The young do not always do what they are told’?” Daniel shrugged. “That’s nothing we couldn’t have heard here at home, is it?”

“How about, ‘There will be no more death’?”

Daniel shifted the bundle in his hands, then dumped the shredded clothes on one end of the exam table. “I don’t understand why you’re so obsessed with this.”

Sam opened her mouth to snap back, then closed it again. In memory, fingertips brushed new skin. “Haven’t you ever had a feeling that made no logical sense...but it turned out to be right?”

Daniel glared at her.

“Haven’t you two had enough adrenaline rushes for one day? What is this, Philosopher’s Monthly Live?” Neither of them had seen the dark-haired, petite doctor appear at the curtain. Janet Frasier glanced from one to the other, then waved a hand at Sam. “Go on, it’s Daniel’s turn.”

Sam nodded to Janet, but Daniel’s voice stopped her before she could leave. “Sure, I’ve felt like that before. But in this case, we’ll never know, will we?”

“Maybe not.” Sam glanced back at him, one hand holding the curtain open. “Or maybe all they wanted was for us to start asking impossible questions.”

~~~~~

ETA: I forgot to thank JD, who brought up the Nox in that spirituality post I did; and kerravonsen, who gave me The Entirety of Daniel's Rebuttal Argument (ie, "they're psychic"). :-)

Current Mood: nervousnervous

(9 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:January 2nd, 2005 11:33 am (UTC)
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That is... I like this very much. Asking impossible questions. So good. Because that's what you want the reader to do too.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 3rd, 2005 05:37 am (UTC)
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Thank you! Good to hear...I wasn't sure if this would work or not. Sounds like it did.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 3rd, 2005 04:11 am (UTC)
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Enjoyed this.

-JD
[User Picture]
From:reveilles
Date:February 16th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC)
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Hm. Interesting. :)

I like the idea that Daniel is touchy about spiritual questions. It fits.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:February 16th, 2005 10:12 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you think so. I wasn't sure how well it would work, since Daniel is the myth guy, and Sam the "hard" scientist; but imho, she's also more willing to look for extreme theories and so on (thank goodness, cause at the SGC, that's what they need). And Daniel can be ridiculously stubborn at times.

Oh, here's one place I go to get "proper" SG1 spellings:

Jemima's Stargate Dictionary
[User Picture]
From:reveilles
Date:February 17th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the spelling reference! I will be able to write with more confidence (if I ever write an SG-1 fic :).

I think Sam is a hard scientist, but that also means that she's probably more aware of the limits of her knowledge when it comes to questions of cosmology. I don't think she'd be a strong proponent that would try to convince anyone else to believe in God, but I wouldn't be surprised if she were open to the idea, or had a general sort of belief/acceptance of the existence of God since childhood. It wouldn't be the sort of belief that impacted her science in any way, but it might affect her heart and coping mechanisms.

Daniel, on the other hand, seems to me to be either an atheist or an agnostic (or would just prefer not to talk about it altogether). His whole thesis was that the Egyptian "gods" were just aliens. He could probably argue well at this point that anyone claiming to be a god in human history was actually an alien. Given how many cultures we've encountered where the ancient "gods" were aliens playing in the human sandbox, his argument would carry a lot of weight. If confronted, he would probably defer to Sam in matters of cosmological argument (and she would hedge around it, just presenting all current theories on the topic and not making a public decision about it herself) and he would otherwise remainly justifiably skeptical of any arguments based on historical veracity.

Also, he's got plenty of reasons to be carrying a grudge against an all-powerful God, if He does exist: Sha're, the baby, the existence of the Goa'uld, the deaths of parents and his grandfather's abandonment of him, the general ill will of humanity (and aliens), the basic "if God is good and all-powerful, how come there is so much evil and suffering in existence too?" argument.

No, I don't think Daniel believes in God, or would be willing to consider doing so. Even if his heart wanted to believe that everything would work out, that justice would be served, that there is peace in the afterlife, etc., his mind would refuse to allow him to.
[User Picture]
From:aurora_novarum
Date:September 12th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh! See, redial_the_gate is useful! :-)

I loved how Daniel and Sam discuss the different styles of "resurrection." I can see Sam and Daniel discussing faith like this too (even if my personal fanon Daniel would be a bit more open...but that's just me. Your Daniel was equally believable). I loved the dichotomy of the discussion, and Sam's study of faith.

Very Nice!
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:September 14th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! I was a little worried myself about the "positions" I gave to Sam and Daniel, because I was pretty sure most people would go "Daniel=soft sciences=more open" and "Sam=hard sciences=total hardcore skeptic." I felt quite vindicated re: Sam, at least, when I saw "A Line in the Sand." :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed it!
[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:September 15th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
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I, for one, have observed that the "soft sciences" people tend to be less open on the subject of spirituality, as a whole, while I seem to know more math and physics people who are, if not out-and-out religious, at least more open to religious ideas. It seems like it should be the other way around, but that's what I've observed. There are exceptions, of course, but still, that seems to be the trend. So this piece really worked for me, and seemed more real for the fact that it didn't put Sam and Daniel in the positions that logically it seems like they should have. Those two are nothing if not old hat at defying logical expectations.

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