magibrain: The gateway to the stars stands waiting. (Stargate)
[personal profile] magibrain
V is for Vellum, by [personal profile] magibrain (T)

Summary: Heimdall holds the past close.
Word count: approx. 750 words
Characters: Heimdall, Freyr
Era: Season 5-6, just post-Revelations
Categories: Character study
Author's notes: I miss the Asgard.

Excerpt: Heimdall regarded him. The controlled mutations in their genome manifested in such strange and curious ways, sometimes – his own significantly divergent voice, Freyr's tendency toward cynicism. That faint pessimistic outlook made him a conservative military commander – adaptive, in its way.

Still. He missed much of the... wonder that Heimdall could see. He was not temperamentally suited to the sciences, as Heimdall was.




Excitement, in a physiological sense, was as distant a historical genetic curiosity to Heimdall as gestative reproduction was, but he had to admit a pleasant sense of anticipation at his return to Ida, to Othalla, to his accustomed lab. Here, significantly closer to the main research efforts, he could do much more with less delay – though with the tide of the Replicator containment effort turning in their favor at last, perhaps that delay would have been shorter in any case. Asgard ships moved much more freely, at least for a time.

Humans were, Heimdall reflected, rather more useful allies than most Asgard had foreseen.

He was directing the installation of the recovered stasis pod when he had an unexpected visitor in the form of Freyr. That was cause to pause a moment.

"I had expected you would have duties on the High Council," Heimdall said.

"The Council is in recess," Freyr told him, and walked into the room, examining the environs with what looked like suspicion. Heimdall let him; he took a walking circuit of the room, at last stopping before one of the containment clusters and returning his attention to the scientist. "Tell me, Heimdall, have you made any progress on this issue, or is our ancestor to become simply the most significant addition to your hall of historical curiosities?"

Heimdall regarded him. The controlled mutations in their genome manifested in such strange and curious ways, sometimes – his own significantly divergent voice, Freyr's tendency toward cynicism. That faint pessimistic outlook made him a conservative military commander – adaptive, in its way.

Still. He missed much of the... wonder that Heimdall could see. He was not temperamentally suited to the sciences, as Heimdall was.

Heimdall walked to one of the smaller containment pods, and set the casing to transparency. "Do you know what this is?"

Freyr approached, and narrowed his eyes at the case. "No."

"It is a communication," Heimdall said. "A sequence of communications on a static medium between two distant ancestors. The topic – fittingly – is their mutual desire to create a sexually reproductive relationship. To our ancestors, this was a topic about which much negotiation had to be performed."

Freyr's dubious look turned to Heimdall. "Surely such cultural data is of no use to you."

"No use," Heimdall agreed, "though I must admit my interest. It is in my collection for a different reason."

Freyr inclined his head.

"The material," Heimdall said. "In ancient times, it was called vellum. It is the denatured skin of an animal."

Freyr took a small step back, clearly repulsed. "I had forgotten," he said, with the tone of one who wasn't grateful to be reminded, "how appalling even our own ancestors had been."

Heimdall brushed off his reaction. "However distasteful the material, the skin originated from an animal which shared our evolutionary context," he said. "And the communication passed between these two individuals many times, from one hand to another."

That enlightened Freyr. He turned to regard Heimdall evenly. "Surely any DNA from either source would be degraded beyond recovery."

"Degraded, yes," Heimdall said. "Beyond recovery? Perhaps. It is true, our current technology cannot extrapolate the DNA sequences from what remains. However, my colleagues in the science of scanning technology are... investigating solutions."

"Improbable," Freyr pronounced. "I have been informed of a number of attempts to reverse our genetic decline. This is perhaps the most improbable yet."

"Improbable," Heimdall agreed. "Not impossible. Given the scope of the issue, I have chosen not to reject any solution with a nonzero possibility of success. Although I prioritize–" he turned to look at the ancient Asgard body, safe for now in its suspension pod, "–those avenues where solutions seem more probable."

"Yes." Freyr looked at Heimdall carefully. "One thing concerns me."

Heimdall tilted his head.

"All the solutions currently prioritized by the High Council," he said, nodding to the ancestor, to the vellum. "They fixate on the past. Even the controlled mutation project has been deprecated in favor of your work and your colleagues'."

"We must prioritize our resources," Heimdall said. "This offers our greatest chance of success."

Freyr was silent for a moment. Then, he said, "Perhaps."

"You disagree?"

"I am concerned that, with all this exclusive attention paid to past times, our species may forget it has a future."

Heimdall said nothing to that.

After a moment, Freyr looked at the tall ancestral body in its pod, and glanced at the container holding the ancient vellum preserved, and then turned, and left Heimdall to his history.



Date: 2016-03-27 07:25 pm (UTC)
fignewton: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fignewton
"I am concerned that, with all this exclusive attention paid to past times, our species may forget it has a future."

What is this Unending of which you speak?

I liked the Asgard a lot. They deserved better. So thanks for this. :)

Date: 2016-03-27 07:57 pm (UTC)
fignewton: (daniel hmm)
From: [personal profile] fignewton
Yes! It was Aelf's. I think it was called Zephyr. ::rummages through rec archive:: Here's the link to the rec.

...Should I be alarmed that I remembered that? Nah. :)

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