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[personal profile] windemere
Title: Atlas Rising
Summary: Plato had it all wrong.
Rating: PG-13?
Warnings: Non-canon character story (mostly)
Disclaimer/Dedication: Kate, thank you for making me start this and making me continue every time I stopped. If not for you, I doubt this story would have ever been more than a glimmer of potential in my head. Although, that might have been better.

Also and especially to the writers, actors and crew of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, since you own this universe. It’s been twelve years since Children of the Gods and I still love this. I hope you don’t mind letting me play in your sandbox for a while, but it’s not like you told this story yourselves.

And in case anyone spots it and decides to call me on it, the names Gehn and Atrus belong to Robyn and Rand Miller and to Myst. I failed utterly with creating anything more original. But I have the two of them to blame for getting me started on sci-fi/fantasy anyways.



Author’s Note:

It’s been bugging me. The sort of annoying mental itch that writers often get and just can’t stop thinking about. You put it aside; tell yourself it’s too much trouble and it’ll never work out anyways and you’ll probably kill yourself if you do it. But then I went to Greece and stood at the top of the caldera on Santorini, and it really started bugging me. And then the line, Plato had it all wrong got stuck in my head and that, as they say, was the end of it. Or maybe, the rest is history. Of course, really, the whole thing is history. I’m still trying to figure out how to do this for my Ph.D. The big problem with that plan is that I deal with actual HISTORY. Which this is unfortunately not. It’s a small kink; I’ll work it out eventually.

This is the story that killed me, at least one essay (and if I’m honest, probably the first dissertation too), and two beta readers (thanks to grav_ity and aleathiel). So enjoy it; this is as canonically accurate (we are missing info from the shows so I only had so much to go on) and as historically (meaning I didn’t rewrite our own history anymore than the script writers did) as possible. The only thing that I did change was that Merlin begins his weapon on Camelot and not Earth, but to protect his research he stores it under Glastonbury in the hopes that the others will not look for it there.

As most stories do, this one does not begin at the beginning. It is far too large a story for one person, much less one story alone to tell. The past is full of other hands that have shaped this, and other voices that have carried it, and the future will be full of even more. That is the nature of myths and legends; and this, my own small contribution to it all, I hope doubly so.


“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot

**********

And so the story goes… And so it was that in a history that has been forgotten, in a place far away, a great people rose to power, and they prospered, and they evolved, and they became divided. And those that were the proponents of knowledge and learning left the place that they had once called home and they found new lands free of all life. And they prospered still and made many more advancements, but those that they had left behind rebelled against them and made war on them and the people abandoned their new home and fled far away to another place. And still they prospered, and still they grew and evolved. And then they set foot in a dark place unlike any they had yet seen and there was evil and hatred unlike anything they had ever known. But they believed in their power that could triumph against any enemy, and they were prideful and in this was their downfall. And so it was that in the days before the days of civilization a forgotten people returned to a land they had once called home, and they saw that the land was no longer uninhabited, but full of beings very similar to them in face, and they marveled that their children had come so far in all the time they had been gone. And they left their children to grow in peace, but they passed the story of their history on to their descendents, so that they might never be forgotten through all the long years that were to come, until their children came into the inheritance that was to be theirs, and returned to the lost city once more.

**********

He leaves her with only a look, but it’s all they need now. Words have already been spoken, strategies planned to the nth degree, and she has made her choice. As has he. There is nothing left to say or to do.

It is hours later when Maket finds her. He says nothing, just waits patiently in the doorway until she finally pulls her gaze from the ice and darkness and looks right at him. He stares back silently.

She still cannot fully believe that it has come to this. They fled the stars all those millions of years ago; stars that had been their home, their creation, their own, to this distant land. And now they are fleeing once more, and for the same reasons. Things should change in ten million years. But they have not.

“Ayiana?” Apparently she has been staring at him for too long.

“Yes, Maket, I will come.” She moves from the window, each step easier to take, and she feels the connection break. He is gone. All gone. “Killia?” she asks, knowing the answer already.

“Soon.” Nothing else needs saying.

How has it come to this?

***

The blue shifts in ever changing tones through the window. Each second further away from her. And closer to a new home.

Currus sighs and walks away.

***

She holds Killia in her arms as her sister takes her last breath, and she can’t help but want to scream, because this should not be happening. They did nothing to deserve this.

She raises slowly, her body wearier than she knows it should be, even though she has not taken sleep in two rotations. She has already known for a day now that she carries the illness, though she is one of a blessed few who will not succumb, not yet at least. It was her only reason for staying behind, but she could not find the words to tell Currus. Better he think this some final act of heroism on her part.

She has time, but not as much as she either wants or needs. There are so few of them left now; the quarantine was too late. She has marked the passing of thousands, and now she will live to see these last few die. The knowledge that her people survive, somewhere out there, is not a comfort.

She nods to Maket as she leaves the room. She needs her own rest; there is nothing more she can do now. Nothing more she can really do at all.

Just wait to die.

***

It is just like home, which is why they have chosen it, but Currus believes that was a poor choice. Too many memories that they cannot bring themselves to forget. If they must start again, he wishes it to be all new.

But they did not ask him. Deneira has not consulted him at all over the last few months of their travels. Somewhere along the way he lost his position on the Council without being told. Perhaps he deserves it. He fought to stay, after all, when the others agreed to leave. He is only here now because Ayiana begged him to go. And even at the end he was willing to do anything for her. Even leave her to die alone.

The system is so small, and utterly empty. And they believe that that makes it safe. They can begin again; seed this galaxy as they did the last; cover it with their cities and their protection, and hope that they will not have to leave it, as they have left so many other places.

The Gateways will come first, as always, set on viable planets of at least some use to them. They will investigate resources and transplant flora and fauna and make those few chosen worlds habitable for those to come. They have time, hopefully.

***

Maket lies abed, burning with fever. It will not be many hours now before he succumbs. And then she will be alone. She has had long enough to decide what to do. She has days left to live, though she could shorten that. But somehow she cannot bring herself to end it. Currus would not have wanted that.

She has been left instructions by the Council that the facility is to be buried. They cannot chance that one day another race may discover it. Even keyed to their genetic code there is no knowing. They will not take the chance.

She does not relish the thought of being buried alive only to die of sickness. Still, she does not see any other way. She listens to Maket’s breathing grow worse.

Soon.

***

He misses her more than ever, even after all these years. Every child he sees reminds him of the ones they did not have. He wonders how long it was for them. Stranded amidst ice and death and he hates himself for having left her.

The city prospers around him; growing, creating anew, and moving forward. As he has not. He has fumbled for a purpose these last years. It has seemed like everyone else was leaving him behind. It will not be long now before he leaves them instead.

Soon.

***

She allows the tears to fall as she watches Maket’s body burn to ash. She has already set the controls to send the complex to sleep; to bury it under a thousand feet of ice for eternity. She clutches in her hand a vial. It will make her sleep, and hopefully, by the time it wears off, she will be dead or near enough to make no matter. And she will be rid of this place at last.

Once the flames die she turns off the power; flipping switches one after another until she is left in darkness, but she knows this place well enough not to need the light. The liquid is bitter and she remembers it as a trace from her youth. Its flavour has not improved. It will take only minutes before she succumbs. Her hand hovers over the last switch, the one that will end it all: allow time to bury her memory and her people and leave behind only dregs of a forgotten civilization that once ruled the stars. Before they lost them.

Her eyes close against her will and she stumbles slightly, hand flipping the switch before she loses all control. She hears the explosion as a dim noise at the back of her mind, and then there is only darkness.

The beginning of three million years of sleep.

***

Currus takes his last breath and let’s himself drift away into the darkness of death and beyond; now he will find her at last.

-----------------------------------

Urun prefers this world over home. Atlantis is too enclosed and much too controlled. Here it is wild and free and like a memory of the childhood he has long left behind.

He has always been different. And now, at last, they have left him here to be as different as he likes. To fiddle in peace.

The only thing that has changed in the five hundred thousand years since they arrived here is that his people have become more arrogant. It does not bode well for their future. A future it has been made clear to him that he will not be a part of.

He doesn’t mind at all.

***

Hersha, daughter of Urun, was not born like her father. They never did see eye-to-eye, even after the Council sent him away to save themselves. But that did not mean she forgot him. Nor did she love him any less.

And somewhere along the way he changed her too. She thinks it fitting that the daughter should end up living like the father who made her what she is. She does not hate him for it; cannot hate someone who is dead. But here, on this far-flung world so different from the home she never wanted to leave, she has finally discovered that perhaps she was always like him. She just never wanted to admit it.

Her husband fiddles behind her with something that he has put together using pieces of other things that should not, so far as she understands physics, possibly work in conjunction with each other. But then, he’s always been like that; trying to make something that should not be possible. He told her once that every time he succeeds the thrill of it reminds him that even one person can change the impossible to the possible, and that is all the reason he needs to keep trying.

She knows, in truth, that each success reminds him that one day he might be able to change the most impossible thing of all.

Time itself.

***

He misses his wife and daughter sometimes. But Hersha is grown and married and happy, and Intara had long since returned to her own life before ever he left. He doesn’t think they miss him, but he also knows they have not forgotten him.

His newest, and probably last, creation is nearly finished. He’s been fiddling around with it for years, and he’s only now starting to believe that soon it might actually work. If it does, it’ll be the only success he’s ever had in his life. He supposes that it could be worse.

He has left all the instructions he can, for whoever finds them. One day it may lead to other things and still others. And in a thousand years, or a hundred thousand, perhaps it will make things better.

It is the only thing he has ever hoped for.

***

It is her husband who finds the notes her father left behind. They are handwritten on some sort of thin fabric, and the script is beautiful and barely legible. She does not understand why he did not use a data device to record the information. Her people have not used handwriting in millennia and she thought the practice forgotten. But it intrigues her that he would go to such lengths to immortalize words that likely would never be read by any other then himself.

She has never been a scientist, and the words she can read make little sense to her. But her husband is fascinated; he abandons all of his other work to delve into this new project. Out of a sense of discovery, she thinks, rather than the want to keep alive the work of an old scientist after thirty years alone. But some small part of her desires to know what kept her father all those years; what he poured his heart, his life, his family, into.

Why he needed to be so different in order to be content.

***

The Lanteans have always been a race with the desire to separate themselves. It had led, they knew, to the original dissension among their people. That which was different they shunned; that which they did not understand they feared.

Urun was not the first they exiled, but the world he had chosen: still young and beautiful and empty, was never one in the grand designs of his people. It was a world forgotten; already abandoned long before he was born.

It seemed fitting.

***

There were others who came before Hersha died. And still many others after. If Atlantis would not accept them, they would find their own acceptance. A new home, as their people were so familiar with.

It was a young man named Kylen who named the world. It meant “Haven of the Others”. He had thought it appropriate.

---------------------------------

Parren’s sister was different. As a child he had no notion of this concept. She seemed normal enough, after all, but his parents would whisper about ideas and notions and Filia would spend hours yelling at them until she screamed herself hoarse.

The year Parren entered the Academy and chose the path of science, Filia left Atlantis. He did not, at first, know where she had gone, but others seemed to. They whispered behind his back, believing perhaps, that he would develop similar notions and follow in her footsteps.

But they needn’t have worried. Parren did not understand his sister’s strange concepts of the world. He did not understand her hatred of Atlantis and its people. How she detested science and law and order. She thought him arrogant for thinking he could control the universe; to bend things to his will.

He could not understand. Filia loved the natural order of things. She preferred to let things live as they would; to not interfere. And her own deep-seated hatred of the Lanteans, born from her understanding that knowledge did not make them better: it did not make them gods.

Parren did not think of himself as a god. But naturally, his people should be above others; they were more advanced, more learned, more powerful. The planets they seeded with life needed help, and nurturing. The fledgling races that developed needed guidance and control from those that knew better then they. Otherwise, Parren believed, the whole system would collapse.

He could not see; could not understand what Filia knew to be true. What so many others who had left knew as well.

That that was exactly the attitude of a god.
--------------------------------

They are no better than the Others the stories speak of. He remembers from his childhood the tales his mother told him late at night. He remembers the warm ocean breeze and her soft voice, and imagines pictures of evil creatures and horrors only a child can dream of.

He knows that was not the way of it. Those they left behind so many millions of years ago that they have lost count, were no different then. And they are less different now. He knows that that is the way of the universe in all things.

Still, he had hoped once, many years ago when childhood gave way to an innocent belief of superiority, that the universe needed them.

Shan knows better now. He sees it in everything around him. In their science, their inventions, their medicine, their need to dominate everything around them. They have meddled for far too long; it cost them their home twice before. He knows it will cost them much more this time.

They have been here two million years, as near as anyone can count. The planet they left is but a distant note in forgotten data files stored in the system that only a rare few ever access. They have forgotten because they are ashamed. They believe themselves to be better than they once were.

He knows evolution does not work like that.

***

Maris tried to change the system once. They threw her off the Council for it and now no one comes to her for advice. She is not the first to suffer such a fate. It has always been so.

For a people so advanced she does not understand why they fear change.

But she knows it is not the change, but the loss of control that truly frightens them.

***

Shan met her on his last trip to Proculus. He knew her name, then, of course. It would have been impossible not to. But he did not turn from her as so many others did. She had tried to make the difference he wanted to, and failed. But at least she had tried.

He knows he loves her; also knows that at this point in their life cycle they are too old for such concerns or bonds. But she is content just for his company; for someone who does not shy from her.

When he suggests leaving the city for good, she almost cannot bear the thought. It is still her home, whether she is welcomed or not. But Ghandorus has become a refuge for those who think to fight the system and she knows she will be welcomed there.

Indeed, they treat her like their savior.

***

He has not been here for many years. There are so many things for him to see; new research to go over, experiments to observe. Maris comes with him wherever he goes; delighting in the achievements their people have made even disconnected from their home.

Indeed, he knows without a doubt, that they have come further than any in the city. They continue to evolve as the others grow stagnate.

But someone must work to save this galaxy from those that created it.

-------------------------------

He was born on Ghandorus. Or so his mother told him. He does not remember her, but somehow he remembers her stories.

Back then it was a world full of the promise and light of their civilization. A world fast growing towards a majesty so great it would rival Atlantis itself. But then, his people were never happy to allow such things to be. He remembers leaving. He has not seen his family or friends since that day.

He has not settled since then, not really; but rather travelled the stars by gateway, hopping from planet to planet. Searching for what, he has never really known. Maybe he just needed to find a reason for it all.

Atrus knows that his people are nearing their end. He can see the signs of decay. And yet, for the people of Atlantis, who have come to be separate from the rest of them, they can see only their greatest advancement. He has heard talk of ascension. He found a world only last year that his people had declared a sanctuary for those who chose the path to a higher life. He left shaken and disgusted.

They came here, to this galaxy, millions of years ago; seeded it with the life that is now growing and blossoming into new species, and now they have decided to abandon it. This way of living is no longer good enough for the high and mighty Lanteans.

How did they fall so far off the path to enlightenment? He cannot comprehend it, though he knows it has taken millions of years; that it started before they left their last galaxy. Perhaps it even started before they left their first home. It does not really matter.

He only knows, as his mother once told him, that it is his duty to protect that which they have created. He will not fail her or them.

----------------------------------

They had found the world thousands of years before. A bitter place, prone to darkness and little life. They left it to itself at first, to develop as it would, but gradually life began to grow of its own accord.

It seems not so long ago now that they seeded it with intelligent life. Gehn knows it has been longer than that. He has been sent to observe the progress of the inhabitants. No one has been here for many generations, and Gehn wonders, as they finishe the dialing sequence, what he will find.

He always wanted to explore other worlds. As a child he had looked at the stars and wondered what was out there. Atlantis had never been enough. Now, for three years, he has been taxed with exploration missions. To observe seeded worlds and report on their progress. He has been to so many he has very nearly lost count. Most of them blur in his mind; only a few remain distinct. Those are his favourites.

It is night on this world. Their ship flies up above the trees to see the vague sense of dawn on the horizon. They will simply wait until it is light to explore further.

Gehn’s instrument panel shows life. Groups scattered here and there in small numbers, but obviously some sort of communities. There is animal life too, of some kind. It seems, at first glance, similar enough to the other worlds that he will soon forget about it.

Dawn comes slowly at first, but when the sun crests the horizon line it leaves a dim daylight in its wake. Though the sun climbs higher, the light does not brighten. He wonders what the people here are like, living with that as a constant. Perhaps he should put in a request to the Council for transference to somewhere…brighter, at least.

Their pilot lands in a clearing not far from a river. Gehn is the first to step out and breathe the air. It is slightly dank and lacks the sea-ting that is still his favourite scent. No other planet he has ever been to has ever smelled quite the same as the current Lantean home world.

Gehn is cautious as he begins to explore. Though his portable scanner will alert him to any natives nearby, animals are often able to pass undetected. There is a clustered group of signals not more than half a rel away. He creeps forward slowly, eyes and ears peeled to the dim forest. The others follow just as silently behind.

He hears the noise of voices before he sees them. They sound harsh and unyielding. Not the voices he is used to hearing. The language is like nothing he’s ever encountered.

Moving aside tree branches with extra care he sees them. Shock steals his breath away for a moment. This cannot be right. The seed of life they planted here, as on other worlds, was akin to them. These are not.

Danos stares wide-eyed at him. He is young and this is only his third expedition out. But Gehn has no better reaction. He has never seen this before.

They are bipedal in form, but tall and their faces are deformed in some manner. The low levels of light? No, that cannot be the cause. Something went wrong with this world; something here affected the evolution of the life they seeded.

A branch cracks suddenly to his right and Gehn looks sharply at Danos. The young scientist looks momentarily ashamed. But the creatures have heard it. Their talk has stopped short and they are turned outward now from their group, surveying the woods.

They need to leave. Gehn signals the others and slowly they retreat backwards.

The attack comes so suddenly he is not certain at first what has happened. But then a snarling being is on top of him and he’s lying flat on the forest floor and for the first time in his life Gehn knows true terror. It is the last coherent thought he has before agony rips through his chest and the dim sky goes black.
---------------------------------

Chaya had not chosen Proculus. She had come there by accident on her travels and fallen in love. The people were kind and welcoming and she knew she could help them. She quickly became their teacher; their protector. And she came to love them as she loved their world.

When the Wraith came she destroyed their ships. She had heard of their kind; word had been sent out from Atlantis to even the distant stars. She had not thought they would come to Proculus. That mistake had nearly ended them, but she saved her people at the very last moment before destruction could be brought upon them.

She had not believed she would be punished for her action. For saving a whole world. Chaya had not thought her people had fallen that far.

They did not tell her at first. Not until the initial recall went out across the galaxy and she replied asking for a ship to be sent for her through the Gateway. A simple request, she had thought. The reply was not a ship alone. It was Marrus who came to explain to her the Council had decided that her interference could not go unpunished.

Unpunished perhaps she could understand. This was permanent exile in a galaxy now controlled by a race bent on their destruction. They were, Chaya thought, sentencing her to death.

Marrus did not apologize. He left her standing at the temple her people had built for her as he flew off towards the stars and to safety. She had thought for a long time that she would hate them forever. Most of all for punishing her for doing what was right.

The Wraith did not come again, and the galaxy seemed for a time to grow quiet. Her people began to prosper; each new generation reaching greater heights then the one before. And she grew complacent. When the attack came, centuries later, she was unready and nearly failed once more in the duty to which she had cursed herself. But she had saved them. And all was well once more, for another few centuries. Over time she came to anticipate when the attacks would come. She was not caught off guard again.

And, slowly, she forgave the Council, because although they had perceived this as punishment for her sins, without her the people of Proculus would have been defenceless. For that, she would never have forgiven herself.

She lived on; such as living was when one was mostly non-corporeal. It never stopped her from wondering how things might have been different. But it was not until the strange group arrived on the heels of another Wraith attack that she learned exactly what had happened to her people.

And she knew her choice had been the better one.

-----------------------------

At first Llanara is intrigued. The woman is almost a figure of myth. A female from a race of people that were barely a thought when they had departed the old galaxy. And now they are travellers: inhabitants of this city thousands of years in the future. To Llanara this feels like a bed time story such as her mother used to tell her when she was very young. Just as fantastical it seems too, but the Council believes the woman and so must the rest of them.

She does not speak directly to the stranger. Elizabeth, she learns her name, and wonders at the linguistic background of the word. Instead she observes as the scientist she is. She tries to understand one who is more primitive then her. She does not eavesdrop, exactly, on the Council meeting, but she does overhear. Llanara cannot find a reason to disagree with the woman or Janus, though she knows she should. They are threatening the very foundations of Atlantis. But she begins to wonder at the merit of those foundations.

When she departs through the Gateway to return to the world they once left she knows that everything will change. She has no desire or interest in ascension as so many of her people do. She is too much the scientist; the seeker of facts and practicality. She cannot abandon a life’s focus for the chance at eternity.

She found herself wandering those first few months after they left Atlantis. She worried about the future of the planet but also the future of the one they had departed. And then she found Janus. She had never agreed with most of his theories and never assisted him in any of his work, but that had been before. Before she encountered a woman far out of her time that cared for nothing except to save the future. Elizabeth may have had no effect on the rest of Llanara’s people, but it only took one person to change things. And between the two of them, Llanara thought she and Janus might be able to change everything.

-----------------------------------

It was not, at first, the Wraith that encouraged his interests. Janus was never so stupid to believe that he could go back and change things. That stopping the evolution of one world would save the galaxy. Certainly his fellow scientists did not believe such a thing would even be possible.

No, it was not the Wraith, but simply the fact of a young, eager mind searching for a way to make its mark on the universe. It had started that way, back when he was young and easily swayed by the others around him. Back in the days that he thought control was everything and that controlling time would simply be one more notch on the perpetual ladder his people were always trying to climb.

Janus is not old, but he is no longer young either, and he knows better now. He knows why people whisper behind the Council’s back, and why others leave through the Gateway and never return. And why there are worlds out there, populated by his people, about which no one in Atlantis ever speaks.

He was but twenty-three cycles the first time he set foot out of the city and ventured to a new world. And then another still, and another. For years he travelled, seeking answers to questions he didn’t even know. He spent three years on Ghandorus before he came to understand the truth: his people were dying or leaving and one day he would have to choose which path was his.

But he was a scientist, as his mother had been, and Janus was not willing to admit defeat. He still desired to make his mark, but now to make it for the better. To leave behind something that would make such a difference that it would change the future forever, and maybe the past too.

Ghandorus kept its own library. And its own librarians. They were more scientists themselves; millennia of research was hidden within the walls and it was their duty to keep it safe and keep it going. Janus fell in with them easily in the time he spent on their world. And under their guidance he learned much. It was Yaren, the eldest of the researchers, who gave him the files. Research so old Janus could barely comprehend the millions of years in his mind. That so long ago one of his people had been so forward thinking, so advanced, shocked him to the core.

Janus took the files with him when he left. Perhaps it had not been his best idea. On Ghandorus such knowledge was kept safe. On Atlantis there was too great a chance of another stumbling across his work and then he would be exiled right back to Ghandorus for his troubles. He cared very little either way. But Atlantis had the technology and the space to further such research and Janus knew that if he could just get it to work, he would have made his mark ten-fold.

And perhaps, in so doing, he would save his people.

***

When he left, he took his research with him. Oh, the Council had tried so hard to destroy it, but he had known for years that it must be kept safe where they could not find it. He has already succeeded once and he will be able to do so again. He is sure of it. In fact, now that he has seen the proof of his achievement at work right before his eyes, he knows that he will.

Janus also knows that it will take a great deal of time. He had brought the research back to Atlantis originally because he knew there was no ability on Ghandorus to continue it any further then it had been. Their old world would be much the same. They were fleeing back with nearly nothing and it would take time; a considerable amount of it, to rebuild to a point that he could continue his project and build another time ship. And so save his people again.

He simply hoped the Council members would be too preoccupied with other things to bother with him anymore. Peace to work would be welcome after all these years.

He should not have been surprised to find a desert wasteland on the other side of the portal. They could not return to their outpost near the southern pole of the world, since they believed the entire complex buried. But none of them had exactly known where the second astriaporta was. Certainly the land would have been much changed over the course of millions of years. But there was nothing whatsoever here.

Of the few hundred that had departed Atlantis, Janus well knew that most would not remain on this world that their people had so long ago left. Many, in fact, departed to other planets before sunset on their day of arrival. Only a few dozen of them lingered on; curious of a world their people had once called home.

It was four sunsets before they found inhabitants. Janus had never thought much of the galaxy his people had fled so long ago, and even less of the galaxy before that one. He had never considered that perhaps, as had happened in their recent occupation that his ancestors would have done the same here before they had left.

And millions of years later a people had emerged much similar to them in appearance but of much darker skin. That would be caused by the near-constant brightness, of course. They were nowhere near their creators intellectually. They appeared timid and afraid and could not communicate in any linguistic frame that his people could understand. Janus found them fascinating.

Only a dozen of them remained on that world in the end. Janus was one of them.

--------------------------------

Moros was not the tired old man he had once been. The years of the war had weighed heavily on them all, but they had done him the worst hurt. He had been so tired when they had arrived here. So in need of a long sleep, but this world was primitive and young and its people helpless.

Some of them had stayed, of course. They had created the life on this world, as on so many others, and some of them still believed they owed this galaxy some compensation. For what, he was not entirely certain. He did not stay out of obligation. He had stayed because, at the time, it had seemed easiest.

And besides, it had not been long. The dozen of them that had spread themselves across this world, in seclusion and meditation, had not been far from the path of ascension. After the war it was all they longed for. And he most of all.

But although ascension had given him the rest he had so long desired, he had felt himself at something of a loss. Perhaps he had been too used to meddling in the affairs of others, and his duties as High Councilor had kept him perpetually busy. An entire city to manage, and now…nothing.

He watched the galaxy grow. Watched the civilizations his people had planted prosper and evolve. And he began to wonder that now that there was life here, perhaps their lost brothers would no longer stay as quiet as they had been.

There were people now to worship them. The others did not see it, though; perhaps they were simply convinced that after millions of years they were free of their past. Moros did not think it was so easy.

He remembers a particularly vehement argument with Ganos. That woman had been a constant annoyance since his time as Councilor. But none of them had really listened. He might have known had he stopped to consider it. He had been less than willing to interfere back on Atlantis. Had he not been the first to suggest they leave?

Why, exactly, was he changing his mind now? Moros firmly believed that his fear was born out of wanting to protect his own people. Even if it did protect the lower races at the same time.

***

It had been been nearly nine millennia since they had returned. The seeds some of them had planted among the early tribes of man had grown. There was civilization now, more than there had ever been in the galaxy they had been forced to leave to the Wraith.

They had watched the Gou’ld grow slowly in power. Watched them gain control of more and more worlds as they cabbaged more and more technology. And his people had done nothing. They had sworn, all of them, not to interfere. Moros knew he could do nothing on his own. But he also knew that the Gou’ld, no matter how powerful they became, were only a passing part of the history of this galaxy. They would rise and they would fall, even as his people had done. And there would come a time, thousands or tens of thousands of years in the future, when the parasites would give way to others; to the Ori as he feared.

He had chosen this world because it had seemed safe. Not dissimilar to their home world either. He walked among them now, as an old man; a sorcerer they called him. He could do such wondrous things; things they could barely imagine. In that, they were still primitive. They left him mostly alone to do his work, for which he was thankful.

It was not for some years before he realized that he was not as alone as he had thought. He should have suspected the others would not allow him to leave so easily when they had argued so strongly against what he hoped to accomplish.

But that they had sent Ganos riled him. She was still young and beautiful and the village near which he had taken up residence thought her amazing. He had heard all sorts of stories surrounding her sudden appearance. Each more improbable then the next.

She came to visit him sometimes, wandering in late in the evenings when those in the village would not see her. He assumed she came in an attempt to dissuade him from his studies, but they both knew it had not worked before and would not work even now.

It was barely light outside and the moon was still riding high in a sky covered in clouds. The cold of late winter was getting to him. The old man groaned as he levered himself into a chair.

“Do you know what they call me now?” her voice broke through the silence. “Morgaine the Faerie. They are still so primitive they believe me to be some small creature of myth! How absurd,” she said from her position near the open doorway.

“They are young still, Ganos, give them time,” the old man smiled at her.

“Time, yes, perhaps that is all we need. But it’s always time, is it not? Always too little or too much. Time; it is a concept I could do without. An ascended would have no need of it,” her voice was bitter with weariness.

“Then perhaps it is time you returned to our people, Ganos. Clearly you have grown tired of this life once more.”

She glanced sharply at him. “Yes, you would love that would you not, old man? I was given a duty and I will not run from it. Even if you have forgotten what we are.”

Moros sighed. “I have not forgotten. Never. Not after everything. But I know that what I am doing is necessary; it is right. And if I must turn my back on our people for that, then so be it.”

She gazed out at the bleak dawn. She hated this world. Sighing, she turned back to him once more. “So be it,” she echoed, and took the path down from the house into the grey light.

“It is right, Ganos. I know this. I trust, one day, you will all believe me,” he sighed into the stillness.

***

The boy had been barely eight summers the first time Moros caught him looking in the window. A dare, perhaps, from his friends. He was just one of many children in the village that held a perpetual awe and fear of the old wizard that lived in the hill. Perhaps they were right to fear him, but Moros often wondered what he had done to deserve it.

He was so close. His research had taken much longer than he had thought it would. And the years were weighing more heavily as of late. He just wanted it to be done.

“Myrddin? Are you there, grandfather?”

“Yes, my boy,” he emerged from the workroom he’d tucked away in the back of the house. “How are you Arthur?”

“I am well. I had not seen you for many days. I worried…” he did not finish his sentence.

He was by no means the eight-year-old boy that had gone peaking where he shouldn’t have anymore. Now grown and bearded, Arthur stood taller than most men. Moros allowed himself a moment of pride in that.

“I’m fine, Arthur. I’m always fine. No need to worry yourself. Surely there are others more deserving of your concern. Your kingdom, for instance.”

“And are you not part of my kingdom, grandfather? Does that not mean you also should be my concern?” Arthur smiled in victory.

With a long suffering sigh, Moros nodded his consent.

“Well then, since you are a member of my kingdom and I am therefore allowed to worry. When was the last time you slept? You cannot go on like this, Myrddin.” Arthur took a seat at the table that Moros had sat down at.

“I am not so tired,” he said, even as Arthur shook his head. “I am nearly finished and I fear there is no time to give to the fault of mortality. I will sleep when I am through.”

“And when will that be?”

“Soon,” was all the old man replied. “Soon.”

“I wish you would tell me. Even if you don’t think I can be of any help. I have known you since I was a child, grandfather. Do you still not trust me?” Arthur looked at him piercingly.

“It is not a matter of trust, I assure you. But yes, one day soon, I will tell you. For I have something of utmost importance to ask of you, but first you must know the truth.”

“Then I will wait,” he seemed satisfied. “But please, take some rest,” he beseeched.

Moros nodded. “I promise.”

“Alright. I’ll leave you to your work. I’ll be back in a few days. Percival’s been asking about you. Do you mind if he visits?”

Moros smiled. “Oh, no, not at all. I am happy to receive any of your comrades, Arthur, you know that.”

“I’ll tell him then. Take care, Myrddin.” Arthur rose from the table.

“I will, my boy. So long as you do,” Moros smiled slightly in humour.

“Always,” Arthur said, and disappeared out the door.

***

The night he finished the device Ganos came to see him. He supposed that somehow she must have known; he shouldn’t have been surprised when she arrived on his doorstep.

She greeted him coldly. “You know why I have come.”

Moros simply nodded. He had known from the beginning, but he had thought, perhaps, that the others would see the error of their ways and allow him to finish. But even this, this potential was apparently interference enough.

“You were warned Moros. You were warned and yet you did this anyways. But no more. I let you fiddle when I should have stopped you, but I swore I would not allow this. It ends here.”

No, Moros smiled, it doesn’t. He had kept one thing secret from the others because he had not been the one directly involved. They would never have suspected he would put so much faith in a mortal man, but he trusted Arthur not just with his life, but the fate of the entire galaxy. Perhaps Ganos would destroy him and the device too, but his research, everything he had worked so hard to uncover and learn, would be safe somewhere across the stars. He had made certain of that. He could only hope that one day, if necessary, it might prove useful.

“Very well,” he rose slowly. “I am an old man now, Ganos. And I am tired. Do what you will.”

She took him by ship to the astriaporta and then she took him to a planet he had never been before.

“Do you think this will keep me?” he said to her as he surveyed his surroundings.

“Oh, I know it will, Moros. I am not as stupid as you seem to think. You will find no way off this planet; I have made certain of that.”

“And how long will I be a prisoner?”

“That is not my choice to make,” she glanced skywards. “Perhaps they only wish to give you time to consider what you have done. What you could have destroyed.”

Moros sighed. “And the weapon?”

The smile did not suit Ganos’ face. “It will be destroyed. Of that I promise you. Enjoy your stay, old man.”

She left him there. He attempted, of course, to dial out and found he could not. It soon became obvious as to why. At least she had left him shelter of some sort, though he was not overly fond of caves at anytime. The thought that he could be trapped here for years disturbed him; but then, he had wanted rest.

She was not gone as long as he thought. The planet was a desert wasteland when she returned.

“Is my captivity over so quickly? How fortunate.”

“No, it is not.” Ganos sighed loudly as she followed him back into the cave and out of the winds. “Arthur came looking for you,” she added without preamble.

“What have you done with him?” he demanded.

Ganos looked cross. “Nothing; I sent him on his way. The villagers that betrayed my location, however, were not so lucky. I do not take well to such things.”

“No,” he agreed, thinking of all the time he had known her. “None of us do.”

“Still, I have made certain he will not find you.” She took his favourite chair. “I have been…considering…the work you did.”

She paused and did not seem willing to continue. “And…?” he encouraged.

“We have had some contact with Altaira. And perhaps…perhaps you were right to fear. They have grown powerful in our absence.”

“Then nothing has changed.”

“Perhaps not. Still, I begin to wonder if I was not right in following orders. We have no protection now.”

He hesitated only a moment. “I have my research, I would be able to reconstruct the weapon.”

“Not in this lifetime, old man. I do not think even you are capable of that. And we have no need of it now. But at some point, perhaps, you will then be needed.”

“You will put me in stasis?” Moros shuddered at the thought.

“Yes, and I will ensure that, if required, you will be here to offer assistance. And that the weapon can be rebuilt in sufficient time. I see it as the only way.”

“And do the others know of your plan?”

She shook her head. “It is better they do not, as you must know. It is all that I can do; I cannot interfere directly.”

“No,” he paused. “Thank you, Ganos.”

“I am sorry now that I cannot do more, but perhaps at some time in the future…I will do everything I can to protect this galaxy. We cannot afford to lose another.”

“Then that is all I can ask of you.” He glanced around the small room. “Rest would be rather pleasant, I should think.”

She returned his smile.


**********

And so the story ends…In the years that followed their children learned of discovery and science and the universe, and they committed acts far worse than their ancestors. But in their darkest history they found the legacy of their forebears and set out on that path their ancestors had once trod to discover new skies and new life and return to the lost city once more.

**********

And so it all comes to the conclusion, or perhaps not. The story still continues; that is the way of history to be forever trodden until there is no more history itself. Thank you, one and all, for coming along on this particular journey with me. It was a path never meant to be walked alone, and I am glad I had others to share and enjoy it with.

“From the end spring new beginnings.” Pliny the Elder

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