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SPOILER: Unnatural Selection
The Last Footwear to Fall
I could tell the Colonel was glad I was along to translate Asgard tech-speak for him. But this wasn't just a stupid idea, it was an insanely stupid idea. And the Asgard had thought it up all by themselves. Maybe I taught them too well.
We were successful in getting past the Replicators in our half-completed ship, managing to appear just as clunky, technologically backward and useless as we really were. Our first planetfall was something else. Up until the last second I was quite convinced we were going to impact on the surface like a fly hitting the windscreen. The planet itself was desolate, covered in god knows how thick a layer of hopefully dormant replicators blocks. There was precisely one intact structure left. It was a trap. We knew that. Yet we still walked in. What other choice did we have?
They fell on us like vampires, hungry for our thoughts, our memories, our experiences. We amused them, the chaos of our thought processes intrigued them.
"Where are we going?"
"To every place you have ever been."
The colonel ordered me to ignite the hyperdrive. Jonas argued against it. He wanted to talk to them, to reason with them, to study their evolution, their thinking processes. He accused the Colonel of 'not appreciating what they'd become.' It was like old times.
"If explosives and weapons worked the Asgard would have won their war."
"If we blow that ship then we lose that option all together."
No way was he going to win. The Colonel had that dark look in his eyes again. "If we blow the ship then I won't care."
Fifth was watching me. The entire time we were at 'dinner' he never took his eyes from me. Same old same old. What is it with alien 'men' and me? If only they knew the truth. Yet I knew I could use his 'emotions' his 'humanity' against him, to give us an edge against the others. I gave the Colonel a significant look to let him know I had an idea and to let me run with it. He gave me the nod. I smiled at Fifth, I lied to him. Later, I would regret it. Later when I didn't have to be a soldier. I try not to think of it as a weakness. I have to get the job done.
We went into his mind first, his secret place. I almost wept at the barrenness of it. He was so young, so hungry for experience, to demonstrate his humanity.
I let him in to my mind. I let him experience my life, the pain, the joy, the wonder, the sorrow of my mother's death, my father's rejection of me, his illness, our reconciliation, my love for Cassie, the absolute certainty that I feel that for all the wonderful things I see and do the most important thing I have or will ever do is my love for Janet Fraiser. I let him see Janet through my eyes. I let him know that I would move heaven and earth, travel through time, detonate stars to get back to her. I don't know whether he understood.
Fifth has all the time in the world to process what he learnt from me, to think about how I betrayed him. The Colonel took my plan, embellished it. He got us home, he ended the threat from the evolved Replicators. For the next couple of thousand years at least. And the Asgard owe us, big time.
Thor towed us home. Medical checks took a while. Janet was convinced that there had to be some kind of aftereffects from the mindreaming the Replicators put us through. The Colonel seems to have taken it hardest strangely enough. I'm just trying not to think about it. When in doubt, deny it. It's worked for me in the past. But not now. I can't stop thinking about his eyes, his so-expressive eyes, windows onto a soul he wasn't supposed to have. Emotions that he probably didn't even have a name for the hunger and the trust. And the betrayal. Don't forget the betrayal. I just hope he was human enough to understand why we had to do it.
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