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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 32, Title: Waiting room

Posted on 2015.01.08 at 20:34
Tags: ,
Topic: 'Intersubjectivity' with a bit of 'rapture of the deep' thrown in.


Jamal looks at his watch. He needs to rescue his sister. His impatience helps to form the time-checking habit. Terry says it’s the only way to contact the people who have her; lucid dreaming. Given that Terry is the tin-foil hat wearing type Jamal takes everything he says with a dash of caution and a pinch of salt. But Terry still knows more about these guys than anyone, so he listens; hoping it will get him somewhere.  


*


When Terry deems him ready they drive his mini until they reach an old dirt road.

Jamal checks his watch again.

“Remember, don’t drink the tea. That’s how they get you,” Terry says.

“Yes, I know, you told me, several times. Can we do this already,” Jamal answers, sighing.


*


He’s walking somewhere. The air is sweet and sharp like freshly mown grass. Someone is beside him. He checks his watch. There are no numbers, there are no hands. Oh. Awareness slams into him like a physical presence, he’s dreaming, but this is still real, and now he’s in control of his actions and his being. He realises the person beside him is Terry, who grins smugly. The room is bursting with a variety of gregarious plant-life, the dimensions of the walls and floor seem to fluctuate but there’s a clearing in what Jamal supposes is the centre.

There he finds a woman sitting cross-legged behind a sand-pit. There’s a stack of stones to her side and a small waterfall running over them. A hollow log seesaws back and forth, delivering the water to the stones. The place looks like a poorly put together Zen garden. He feels somewhat disappointed; maybe this isn’t the chance at saving his sister he’s so desperate for but just the tripped out nothing he half expected. He doesn’t resist the urge to vent.

“This is some lame-ass scenery you got going here.”

The woman’s lips quirk, “This room is a mere figment, only what you imagine it to be.”

“Right, my mind chose to imagine this.”

“It was the talk of tea I believe. Your subconscious believed I would put on this sort of display in an effort to calm you but your subconscious also clearly doubts the extent of my abilities to do so. Do sit down.”

Jamal remains standing and considers her words.

Gold-rimmed tea cups are suddenly in front of her and a teapot is in her hands. “Let’s not pretend you wouldn’t wait here for an age at the barest chance of finding the one you seek.”

He reluctantly sits; he came here with the intention of not leaving without Aisha. Terry joins him in an act of solidarity. The woman begins to pour what looks like water into the cups.

“Drink the tea,” she says firmly.

Terry chooses this moment for an outburst, “Hah! We’re not idiots! We’re not joining you and your Borg drones!”

The woman chuckles, “You humans, always comparing us to the Borg in your Star Trek programme; we’re quite the opposite.”  

“You’re saying you don’t kidnap people and force them to join your hive mind,” Terry spits.

The woman’s expression darkens briefly before her gaze rises to a corner and calms.

“Oh look, now the puppet-master is telling her what to do!” Terry shouts.

She looks firmly at Jamal, “Drink your tea.”

Jamal slowly raises the teacup to his lips and takes a sip of the transparent tea. He knows it’s dangerous and foolish, but he came here with the intention of bringing his sister home and he needs to get to the place where he can find her. Even if it means falling prey to this crazy cult to do so.

Terry flickers out of existence. Jamal startles and demands, “Where did he go?”

“He woke up. Now we can talk properly.”

Jamal nods, he’s come this far.

“Ask your questions.”

“So you’re not like the Borg, but you exist in a hive-mind right? So how are you different?”

“We take no one by force. Everyone adds to us, their culture, their art, their individuality. It’s not stripped away and scavenged for technology and monochrome knowledge. We do not form one voice; we form a multitude of voices together working in harmony from a base of understanding.”

“So everyone has the freedom of their own individual choices? And you expect me to believe my sister just chose to join you?”

“Human minds are always wonderfully haphazard,” The woman says, looking to the left where a yoyo is hanging in mid-air rolling itself up and down its string, “Aisha had her own reasons for her decision.”   

“Let me speak to her then.”

The woman’s eyes go to the corner again. “She’s here but she’s far away, she cannot speak to you now.”

“What do you mean far away? Where is she?” Jamal asks, trying to keep the alarm from his tone.

“She’s doing what she joined us to do; exploring.”

“Well isn’t she one of the voices in your group-think place, why can’t I speak to her?”

“She would have to separate herself from where she is, it would split her consciousness. This is not something to be done lightly.”

“I’m not going to leave without her.”

“I know, she’s told me as much. You will wait and she will come.”


*


Jamal floats around the place, feeling the large collective of voices. Time passes, he begins to in a way understand the draw but he supposes he’s only seeing the pretty picture they want him to see. Eventually Aisha comes to him.

“Is it really you?”

“Can’t you tell, brother?” she says, smirking.

With an instinct that doesn’t know rationality, he knows it’s her. But still, maybe this is a well-constructed trick.

“What did they do to you?” he asks softly.

“Nothing. I chose this, I need this.”

“Why? It doesn’t make sense, they must have brain-washed you.”

“You know me better than anyone, so you know that these thoughts are from my head and no one elses; I’ve always needed to know what was out there, know more about the world, the universe, sate this insatiable curiosity. This is a chance that I never imagined, an amazing community, a place to belong.”

“But what about us together against the world?”

“It’s still true. But I’m sorry Jamal, we can’t live for only each other anymore. We both need our own lives, we need to let each other live our own lives. Our co-dependency, it’s not healthy. It’s time we found our own homes.”

Jamal feels his insides clench. It’s a painful truth. He knows now that this is truly her choice. He has to let her live her own life. Though he doubts he’ll find one of his own.

“I’ll miss you,” he whispers.

“And I you,” she replies, “I love you Jamal.”


*


Jamal tries to make homes, adding people he tries to care about, wandering around looking for something he’s lost. He gets married and gets divorced. Moves from place to place. Gets a job building houses. Then gets a job tearing them down. It’s mundane. Life goes on.


*


He’s walking somewhere, the air is sweet and sharp…

“You knew I would end up back here,” Jamal says to the woman.

“You feel you have no place here. You also feel you have no place anywhere else. We’ve all been waiting for you.”

Comments:


i_17bingo
i_17bingo at 2015-01-10 10:33 (UTC) (Link)
“Remember, don’t drink the tea. That’s how they get you,” Terry says.

I've been to cafes like this.

I like this take on mourning and growing up. Jamal is oddly resigned to the loss, even before Aisha tells him so--but you also weave his emptiness and desperation into every part of his character; his joining of the hive is inevitable from the beginning.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-01-10 13:25 (UTC) (Link)
Lol :)

Thank you, glad you liked my take :)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2015-01-10 23:43 (UTC) (Link)
I really liked this. As per your usual craft, it leaves the reader imagining entire stories and vistas. I particularly loved this - Gets a job building houses. Then gets a job tearing them down.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-01-11 08:09 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :). And yes, that line, I love how you always pick out the important ones, we're on the same wavelength.
alycewilson
alycewilson at 2015-01-11 02:46 (UTC) (Link)
Your descriptions of this hive-mind were so vivid in contrast to his drab every-day world that there is no surprise why he returned. That and he drank the tea.

Having just read, in sequence, all the entries the come before your alphabetically, I feel like there is some sort of intersubjectivity going on, involving dreams, tea and telepaths.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-01-11 08:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the descriptions, yep he was always doomed :).

Lol :)
crisp_sobriety
crisp_sobriety at 2015-01-13 00:56 (UTC) (Link)
Your writing is excellent as always, and I particularly liked the ending. Poor Jamal, doomed from the start. :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-01-13 15:14 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the ending :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2015-01-13 01:16 (UTC) (Link)
“This is some lame-ass scenery you got going here.”

Hahahaha! I love that it's also what he imagined himself.

The Borg references cracked me up-- mainly Terry blurting that out-- and yet they weren't inaccurate.

The ending was both sad and wistful, and I liked that.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-01-13 15:15 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the Borg references, I was hoping they would work well :)
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