Title: Hedging Your Bets
Warnings: Non-Consensual Genetic Manipulation
A/N: I know this is creepy as fuck and so unethical it’s insane. Not gonna lie, I think this is the better version of what might have happened, maybe, in that universe we know as Stargate.
“What are you doing?”
Janus looked up from his work and grimaced. “As a saying I just heard goes, I’m hedging my bets.”
“What do you mean?” Councilwoman Metris demanded. “What are you doing?”
“Making sure that in ten thousand years, when our descendants arrive on Atlantis, they can help her rise again and not die,” Janus snapped. He stared at Metris and made a decision. He plucked the memory of him getting into the herctum arbitrium from her head and sent her on her way. The future was too important for him to get overly attached to his morals. Janus made certain to retrieve a broad selection of herctum sources and get them ready for transport.
He quickly packed up his acquisitions and headed out. Tapping one finger against his lips he ran through his lists as he walked down the hallway, making certain to be unseen. Janus wasn’t certain that he had gotten everything, but he had to make sure. His footsteps took him back to his lab and sighed when the city told him he had a visitor.
Sitting in it was the woman who had come from the future and sparked so much mayhem. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here. You aren’t getting ready to flee with the rest of us?”
“I’m not leaving,” Elizabeth admitted. “And something tells me you aren’t going to be going quietly either.”
“Not a hope,” Janus agreed. He moved over to where he had laid out what he was bringing when the council finally sent everyone through to Tau. He needed to pack everything carefully. He had to make sure that his recent acquisitions were safe.
“What can I do to help?” Elizabeth asked.
Janus looked up from his mental organizing of his pack and tried to shift to the new topic. There was one thing he had to know and it was important. “Tell me what I have to do to keep Atlantis from dying,” he demanded.
“She has to rise,” Elizabeth reminded him. “And we have to be able to use the city too. We had only three people who could use your technology and even then, only one was good at it. We thought it was because he was a decedent of your people that he was able to do so.”
Janus thought of his clandestine removal of genetic material from the City. “I think I can manage that. What else?”
“Power,” Elizabeth said, voice grim. “When we got to the city, there was no power. The city was basically inert. Lifeless. She barely had the power to run the lights.”
“That’s unfortunate,” Janus mused. He tried to figure out what he could do to get around that.
“I’m staying here,” Elizabeth reminded him. “How long can the city survive on the three potentia?”
“Roughly four thousand years, if nothing disturbs the city and she remains underwater and under shields,” Janus said after several moments thought.
“But we have to wait ten thousand years,” Elizabeth reminded him.
“Let me think about this for a moment,” Janus requested. He needed to pack things up and while he was doing that, he could think things through. While one part of him was contemplating the power needs of the city, he had other questions. “The three people who carried our legacy… What did they have in common?”
“Not much,” Elizabeth admitted after a brief moment of thought. “One of them is the man who piloted the ship that brought me here. John rarely talked about his family, but he did say that while it was only him, a brother and his father, there were a large number of cousins scattered around the planet.”
He made a note to go look at the corpse. He needed to check the man out and get a fuller idea of how the Alteran legacy had been integrated into him his genetic code. “Anything else?”
She closed her eyes and cocked her head to the side. “The two men who had the legacy on my expedition were related to each other. It was a distant relationship, but there was something there. When we left Earth, our people were looking into the ancestry of everyone who carried the genetic code to see if they could find anyone else with it.”
“Right,” Janus made a note to arrange to give the legacy to a family grouping. If it was a family that had carried it forward, that had the best bet of success. He would need to check the corpse and get a good read on his genes so he could find the closest genetic match among the population living on Tau. Dividing the legacy out in random dribs and drabs wouldn’t work. “Ah, ha!”
“Ah, ha? What ha?” Elizabeth asked.
“We divide the potentia up. The city will be sunk and she’ll sleep for the ten thousand years it will take for your people to come back. With her on the bottom of the ocean, she’s not really going to need most of her services, so the potentia can be used one at a time to allow the shield to stay up.”
“And how will we manage that?” Elizabeth asked. “You will be gone and I will be dead within sixty years or less.”
“You can sleep the time away in suspended animation,” Janus offered absently. “We can adapt it to you so you don’t age too quickly. “You’ll wake up about every three thousand three hundred years and add the next potentia to the plinth. I’ll make sure it’s initialized so there are no issues there.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth looked back at him. “And then what?”
“Well, you will be sleeping and I’ll be back on our origin world and arranging things to allow our legacy to be passed on,” Janus directed. “You’ll be safe enough while the city is underwater and the Wraith won’t be able to find you.”
“I know,” she said.
Janus took a deep breath and nodded. “Let’s get you ready for your stay. You should only be awake for a few days and I’ll show you how to set the timer to wake you in time to add the waiting potentia.”
“What happens when the third is done?” Elizabeth asked.
“What do you mean?” Janus asked.
“If there are only three potentia left on Atlantis, and the last is emptied about the time my people come back, what happens?” Elizabeth leaned forward, obviously trying to press her point. “We need at least one more to make sure that we don’t die.”
“Point,” Janus admitted. He tried to figure out how to make that happen. “I’ll think about it.”
Janus moved through the city quickly and tucked himself into the line of his people as they moved through the gate. He shrugged once and tried to settle his bag more comfortably against his back. When Metris looked at him with suspicion, he raised an eyebrow at her in challenge until she looked away. Elizabeth was well taken care of and he was leaving his city in her hands. Spreading out his consciousness, he tried to get a feeling of the future.
The universe moved serenely around him and the city seemed satisfied. As he approached the horizon, he pulled everything back within his skin and bid the city farewell. He sincerely doubted he would ever see Atlantis again.
“What are you doing?”
Janus sighed and rolled his eyes to the heavens. “Haven’t we done this before?”
“I don’t know, have we?” Metris asked. She sounded upset and Janus could objectively see why.
If he didn’t know what he was doing was for the good of Atlantis and the future, he would be really suspicious too. He had several of their co-inhabitants of the planet tucked into shelves in his workroom. None of them were awake or in any distress, but they were still there. He was…modifying the genomes of the men and women to pass on the Alteran Legacy. And the council hadn’t given him permission to do what he was actually doing. To be fair to the council, he hadn’t bothered to ask them if they were good with him going ahead with his plan either.
“Not that I remember,” Janus offered with a smile.
Metris gave him a stern look and waved at the unconscious people around them. “Uh-huh. What are you doing with these…puerili?”
“Well, we’re not breeding with these people and we’re not passing on our legacy to our own children, so I’m making sure the future we got a glimpse of has a chance of actually happening. Because you lot certainly aren’t,” Janus snapped. The anger he felt at their inaction was strong and he had to work at it not to lash out at her. He had waited ten years for the council to do something and all they had done was hide. At least he could say that he had been doing something constructive with his time besides meditate.
“And whose genome are you using?” Metris asked. She seemed to be ignoring the comment on the lack of children.
“Well, I’m certainly not using yours,” Janus sneered. That had been the only thing he had made certain of when he had gotten the herctum. “You got your position by playing politics, not by any ability to make use of much of our technology or your intelligence. Might be why no one wanted to share their genes with you when we had access to the uterine replicators.”
Metris looked offended and upset at that. “Do you really think your genes are any better? You aren’t even working on ascending!”
“I don’t need to work on that,” Janus told her with nary a hint of pride. Why be proud of what was fact? If he relaxed his control, he was going to ascend. If he actually made it to old age and died, he was going to ascend. Ascension was guaranteed for him.
“If you die without ascending, what use is your life? Why are you bothering with these animals? They are barely sentient and only useful to keep the parasites away from us,” Metris reminded him. She seemed like she wanted to shame him into changing his behavior. “They live and die so quickly that doing anything with them is useless. They will never move beyond where they are now.”
“Really? You say that after meeting Elizabeth and seeing the technology she brought back with her?” Janus asked. He turned his attention back to his work and made sure that the process was going smoothly.
He was carefully splicing the Legacy into the genetic code of the clan he had come across. His examination of the man who had died to get Elizabeth back in time had shown genetic sequences that matched up with the people he had found. It had taken him years of scanning and hunting among the peoples of the planet to find anyone with the same genetics and he had almost given up hope until he had found them by the middle sea.
And there were a lot of them. Over a hundred when he had found the clan and they were breeding more with enthusiasm. Janus was making sure every child they had carried the Legacy as a dominant trait and all the adults of the current generation had it as a recessive. The three people in the lab with him were the last of the adults that needed to get it. Once he was finished with them, he was going to be out of his supply of the Legacy Atlantis had given him.
When he looked back at Metris, she was staring at him with suspicion. “What have you done?” she demanded again.
“Made sure that the future we glimpsed has a chance. That’s been what’s been driving me since we saw our future written out in blood and tears. If you lot aren’t going to do it, I damn sure will,” Janus informed her. He gave her another push and shoved her out of the room with the force of his mind alone. “Don’t come back.”
He ignored how she was pounding on the door and finished his work. Once he got these three returned to their clan, he had more plans to put into motion. He wasn’t going to trust that this was going to work. He needed to make sure he hedged every bet he could. His city wasn’t going to fall to the Wraith. Not while he could help. Even a little bit.
herctum arbitrium – Heritage Controller
puerili – children/childlike