BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

EMMARIGBY

Winding River: Chapter 5
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Alright, since you asked so nicely here's an early serving of the crossover fic that spends a lot of time in the Stargate verse (If you hate crossovers don't read!). A friend of mine stated that it was impossible to mix these two programs convincingly. Is he right? Let me know!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2245    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: see chapter 1 AN/ Thanks again to all those who have reviewed. It makes me do the Dance of Joy! Plus, thanks my friend Tom for the crash course on recent technological advances. He makes me sound clever! For those who are getting homesick for Serenity, please be patient just a tiny bit longer! Anyway, on with the story.

Chapter 5 Visitation

Samantha Carter ran a long fingered hand through her short blonde hair, leaving crazy peaks and tufts in the already tousled curls. A thick typed report had been well shuffled and fanned out over the desk in front of her. In four places the untidy stacks were pinned in position by mugs of coffee, ranging from tepid to skinned and wrinkled. Sam groped out an arm for her latest shot of caffeine, her steady sapphire gaze illuminated by the soft glow of the laptop screen in front of her. She took a long gulp then gagged, her eyes finally travelling down in disgust to the mug in her hand. She pulled a face as she tried to scrape the cloying film of curdled coffee from her tongue with her teeth.

“Not going well, huh?” Sam looked up, her body tensing with irritation at the interruption. She relaxed with a welcoming smile as she saw a slightly dishevelled Janet Frasier leaning tiredly in the doorway to the small, cluttered laboratory.

“Janet!” She greeted her in surprise. “I thought you were still on P1X-701.”

Dr. Frasier nodded wearily. “I just got back with the bodies of your two friends. General Hammond wanted me to confirm that they wouldn’t present a hazard before bringing them back for a full autopsy.”

Sam grimaced in sympathy. “And?”

“They’re clean.” Janet frowned in disgust. “Well, not exactly clean. Actually, they stink. They’re also emitting quite a high level of radiation, although nothing we can’t handle. As for the rest …” she scowled in recollection. “Well, you saw them!”

Sam shivered at the memory of that distorted snarl screaming down the hill towards her. “I may never forget.” She murmured, glancing at her friend with a wry, humourless smile. “Although I kind of avoided looking at them too closely.” she admitted, slightly abashed.

Janet sighed deeply. “No, that’s my job. Lucky me!” She rubbed her hands over her upper arms as if warding off a chill. “To be honest, I’m not exactly looking forward to digging any deeper.” She pulled a face. “My preliminary examination was pretty gruesome.”

Haunted brown eyes found comfort in the supportive blue summer sky of Sam’s gaze. “I thought by now I’d seen it all.” Janet took a steadying breath, her lips thin and etched with deep lines. “You know, I found epidermis from three different sources sewn into their clothing and, on one of them, even directly into his scalp!”

Sam gulped, swallowing down a wave of nausea. “You mean … human skin?”

Janet nodded solemnly. “Nice, huh? That’s one fashion statement I’m hoping won’t catch on.” Her grin seemed a bit forced as she attempted to relieve the tension. “Anyway, you can see why I’m a little reluctant to head back to my lab.” She shrugged wryly. “Hence the prevarication and the detour to go and interrupt someone else’s work. So?” she queried with a sympathetic raise of an eyebrow. “Seems like I’m not the only one having a bad day!”

Sam snapped back to the present and glanced down at the uncooperative computer with a look of reproach. She slammed the lid of the laptop down in controlled frustration. “I just can’t figure it out!” she growled. “All our current knowledge of the Stargate system suggests that this program should work, but when we tried it at the Beta site … Nothing!”

Janet hissed out a sympathetic breath. “Aren’t you supposed to be on leave? I’m sure I remember hearing that Jacob was coming for a visit.”

Sam glanced up at the wall clock and scowled. “Yeah, Dad’s due in about an hour, but I have to get this working. I promised the Colonel!”

Janet straightened from her tired slouch and stalked into the room, her posture radiating concern at the note of panic creeping into her friend’s voice. “Maybe I can help.”

Sam looked up in surprise and paused, groping for a tactful answer. “Um, I don’t …”

Janet grinned mischievously. “I come bearing freshly brewed coffee.” She pulled out a large thermos that had nestled unnoticed in the deep recesses of her lab coat pocket and waved it back and forth enticingly. She pressed on as she saw indecision flicker over Sam’s elfin face. “Look, you’re worn out!” She placed the thermos firmly on the closed laptop. “I prescribe a break and a gossip with a friend over a hot drink.”

“Janet!” Sam’s protest was almost a wail. “I have to get this done. That poor girl’s depending on me to get her home!”

“Sam!” The sudden steel in Janet’s voice cut through Sam’s whirling thoughts and she froze, blinking up in surprise at her friend. Janet unbent from her stern posture now that she had dispelled some of the frustrated desperation that had screwed the blonde scientist into a knot of nervous energy. “Look, River’s doing just fine.” The reassurance was spoken in soft, soothing tones. “I still don’t think she trusts me very much, but she seems calmer. I’m sure she can wait a couple more days for you to solve this. And we all know you will!”

Sam sighed as the familiar weight of other people’s faith in her ability to solve any puzzle settled onto her cramped and aching shoulders.

Janet continued, oblivious to her friend’s sudden weariness. “How often do you get to spend a weekend with your father?” she asked, her voice gently persuasive.

Sam smiled. “It’s ironic actually.” she mused, leaning back in her chair. “I’ve spent more time with him since he became a Tokra and emigrated to the other side of the galaxy than I did in the whole of the decade before.” The smile slowly slid from her face and the frustrated frown lines crept back between her eyes. “I won’t be able to relax though, knowing that I still can’t get this tracking program working. I just can’t get what’s wrong!”

“Crystals don’t remember the same.”

Both women started and spun to face the doorway, where once again River had appeared without warning. She looked less frail. Her hair had been brushed from its dark, sweaty ropes into a gossamer wave of chocolate that spilled over her shoulders. Someone had sewn and washed her torn dress and the light material rippled around her calves, billowing with unseen breezes. Her eyes, though, were still lost in dark shadows.

Janet took a step towards her, her face a mask of surprise. “River! What are you doing here?”

“I got bored.” River said simply. “I wanted to play with the numbers.”

The doctor rolled her eyes in exasperation and turned to Sam, catching her with a thoughtful expression on her face. “Sam, can I borrow your phone? I need to contact the infirmary to let them know where River is. Airman Groves will be panicking that he’s lost her again.”

Sam nodded absently, her eyes never leaving River’s face. “River, what did you mean …” She trailed off as River glided into the room and scooped up several of the sheets of paper from her desk with an absent gesture.

“These are wrong.” River was staring at the pages, a slight frown wrinkling her wide brow. She pounced on a large highlighter pen half hidden under the laptop and, pulling the lid off with her teeth, crouched over the desk to write furiously in long sweeping strokes that covered a whole page with an elegant cursive script in the space of a few breaths. She discarded it and reached for another.

“Oh, Honey! Don’t” Janet stepped forward in protest, reaching for the pen.

“It’s okay.” Sam waved her off with a smile. “I can always print off another. Besides most of it’s junk anyway.”

Janet hesitated. “Well, I should really get her back to the Infirmary and out of your way.”

River paused in her furious scribbling and looked up, her nose wrinkling. “I don’t like it there. It smells of death and disinfectant.”

Sam had taken advantage of River’s momentary distraction to liberate some of the crumpled report and was now staring intently at the thick luminous green whirls that looped over the neat black printing.

“Hey, this bit’s an equation. I’m not quite sure what …” Sam muttered, mainly to herself.

“The signal travels in the light. Different bits on different planes.” River’s voice was slow and patient as if explaining something obvious to a small child.

Samantha Carter fixed the young girl with a penetrating stare, her eyes narrowed in thought. “You’re talking about the optical technology of the DHD aren’t you?” She glanced down again at the lurid calligraphy. “This bit here, you’ve circled a mention of polarised light, but what’s this diagram around it?”

River rolled her eyes and snatched the page back, adding more lines with quick, flicking strokes of the pen. “It’s a crystal brain, all the thoughts running in parallel.” She flourished the page under Sam’s nose in an impatient gesture.

Sam stared at it and then at River’s face in wide eyed wonder. “An optical neural network! Of course! That might mean that it could have an auto-associative memory stored at a microcrystalline or even quantum level. That would explain why we’ve been having no luck interfacing with it.” She peered down enthusiastically at a particularly dense area of beautifully drawn letters and numbers. “What does this bit mean?”

River’s eyes had lost their bright focus and she put the pen down absently. “You’re hair’s a mess.” she told Sam solemnly.

Sam blinked and then grinned, a hand creeping up to her head to press flat the wayward tufts.

“Am I interrupting something?” A deep, warmly humorous voice shattered the moment, causing Sam and Janet to whip around to face the doorway once more. A flash of happiness lit up Sam’s face.

“Dad!” Sam leapt up from the desk and strode over to engulf the new arrival in a tight embrace. Jacob grunted and nodded over the shoulder of his human straightjacket at the welcoming smile of Dr. Frasier. Sam finally stepped back, a little embarrassed at her uncharacteristic display. “You’re early!” She continued, in a considerably less high-pitched tone.

Jacob held her by both shoulders and looked down into her sparkling blue eyes, a wide grin creasing his lean and leathery face. “Good to see you too, kiddo!” He glanced around at the scattered documents covering her desk. “Am I interrupting something?

Sam broke away to start shuffling the papers into more ordered piles with hurried, self-conscious movements. “Well, I was stuck on something, but we’ve actually just had a bit of a breakthrough.”

Jacob’s attention had shifted to the third occupant of the room. The young girl in the sundress hadn’t moved or acknowledged his entrance at all. Her delicate face seemed frozen into a blank mask, dominated by staring, Cimmerian eyes. “Who’s your friend?” he asked mildly.

Janet was the first person to register River’s unnatural stillness. “River?” she queried, taking a step towards her. As if the sound of her name had released her from a spell, River suddenly swirled into fluid action. She flung herself around to behind the desk in a pirouette of whirling skirts and pulled the swivel chair in front of her with a white knuckled grip.

“Nǐ bú shì rén!” she screamed in an unearthly wail.

Jacob took a step back, his alarmed gaze snapping from the wild, cowering girl to the perplexed face of his daughter. “Was it something I said?” he asked uncertainly.

Sam glanced questioningly at Janet, but the doctor’s attention was fixed on the terrified girl towards whom she was edging with reassuring gestures. “Um, I’m not sure!” Sam muttered anxiously. “It’s possible she’s picking up the presence of Selmac.”

The look of concern on Jacob’s long face was replaced by detached interest as his Tokra symbiote took temporary control of his body. “Interesting!” he commented, his voice now reverberating with a deep, metallic note. “How is that possible?”

River let out a whimper as the inhuman accent echoed around her. “Aten!” she cried with heart stopping fear. Janet and Sam exchanged glances of confusion, whilst Jacob blinked in surprised alarm. It was only because the room had fallen so silent that anyone caught River’s next words, expelled softly in a sob of despair.

“Blue sun!”

--O--

Chinese phrase:

“Nǐ bú shì rén” – You’re not human

AN/ So, questions, comments? As always, I drool over any comments, and like constructive criticism almost as much as praise! Drop me a line!

COMMENTS

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 12:38 PM

REAVERMAN


Very cool! I'm lookin' forward to seein' more athis, so make it quick, dong ma?

Friday, May 5, 2006 8:02 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Well now....River's uncovered part of the secret of the DHD, huh? Good on her;)

BEB


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