|Rebuilding A Life: Discoveries|
By: Lady Shelley
Summary: The life of Arrom before SG-1 finds him.
Transcripts of the episodes were found at Gateworld
Many, many thanks to Lyn for offering to beta read! Thanks Lyn!
Memories and/or internal thought are in italics.
For an indeterminate amount of time, the only sensation he was aware of was cold. The air entering through his nose was cold; the feel of the breeze on his skin, and most important there was a cold feeling that he was being punished. The last awoke another cold feeling, fear. Why would he consider his current state a punishment? Who was doing it and why?
Next, he became aware of the wet smell of dirt and vegetation. Am I outside? Other smells invaded his senses, the musky scent of animals and the dry, chalky smell of stone.
After he processed that, he became aware of sound … a rustling noise, the breeze teasing nearby plants. And in the distance he heard another sound, droning vocalizations of some kind. Was it dangerous? How would he know? Now the droning was louder the mysterious vocalizations forming words.
Last, he became aware of light. He realized he had opened his eyes to a world tilted at an odd angle, feet were near his head, and a face was looking down at him.
"Who are you?" a voice asked him.
"I don't know," he replied and the cold feeling of fear grew with his statement. He had no idea who he was. He tried to sit up only to find his extremities very sore and unwilling to hold his weight. One of the natives crouched beside him to help; he was surprised to feel the warmth of the man's hand as it lightly supported him. He closed his eyes again as a sudden wave of dizziness accompanied his new position.
"He cannot stay here like this," an older voice, one with the air of authority, stated. "Malkesh, go back to the village and bring back robes and food for … what shall we call you, friend?"
Realizing the man was speaking to him, he opened his eyes again to see an older man bending over him and a smaller figure behind him. "Malkesh! Now! Our guest needs clothing and food," the elder yelled to the young man.
The smaller man, no more than a boy really, turned and ran off, presumably to the village the elder mentioned. A third man turned from surveying the surrounding area to watch the conversation between the elder and the stranger.
"Friend," the elder spoke again, "What shall we call you? Though your means of travel is very strange to us, you are welcome in our village."
The man on the ground merely stared at the elder, though a feeling of panic was growing. My name? Why don't I know my name? Where do I come from, and why am I here?
The elder watched the man intently. He could see the man had no idea how to answer his simple question and that the lack of information was terrifying him. "We will call you Arrom, then."
"Arrom?" the seated man asked quietly.
"It means 'naked one' in the old language," the elder replied. "I am called Shamda, and the man beside you is known as Romic. You are welcome in our village, Arrom."
"Thank you, Shamda," Arrom said. Arrom, well it's a start, anyway. Maybe I'm from this place, then. Maybe another village some distance from Shamda's people.
Arrom had spent almost two moons living with the villagers, and yet he still didn't remember much about his own past. He would stare up into the night sky or at the flames in the evening fire and memories would flit just at the corners of his mind escaping back into the night before he could capture them. As the days passed, Arrom concluded he had been punished for a terrible deed, and it may be safer to not remember anything from his life before he came to Shamda's village. He knew there were people in the village that saw him as a bad omen for the settlement; they feared retribution by those who had removed Arrom from his past life.
Despite the efforts of Shamda to encourage him to participate in village life, Arrom remained outside the ebb and flow of the day-to-day interactions of the people. He was polite to those around him and offered his help when asked, but spent his time either in a tent he was given or hiking the terrain surrounding Shamda's village.
When Arrom left for his hikes, Shamda insisted one of the village boys went with him. The first time this happened Arrom was not happy for the company, but as Shamda pointed out Arrom did not see especially well and the boy was there only as a means to alert the villagers if Arrom ran into difficulties in his travels. Soon the boy, Chava, and Arrom were a common sight to the villagers as they left the settlement early and returned in the evenings.
Arrom found the chappa'ai early in his travels. He was fascinated with the structure and its companion, a pedestal of sorts. Even as he gazed at the circle, he could feel Chava tensing beside him.
"What is this thing, Chava? You seem afraid." Even though Arrom was curious about the objects before them, his voice was as flat and toneless as it had been ever since Shamda had found him.
Not dissuaded at Arrom's tone, Chava was eager to show off his knowledge and story-telling to someone who hadn't heard the tales many times before. The problem was Chava didn't always listen when Shamda or one of the other elders told the stories about the past so his version of events was seldom close to the original.
"It is a dangerous thing, my friend. Shamda tells a story of evil men coming out of the chappa'ai and stealing people from the village. The evil men would take their captives back through the chappa'ai. No one, not even Shamda, knows where they go or what happens to them. His lesson is to be aware of your fellow man and watch out for his safety. He says that is the only way we can be safe from the Jaffa."
"Through? How does that happen? It's just a circle of stone."
Blue water shimmered with a life of its own.
Chava didn't know how to answer, but it didn't matter as Arrom had walked past the stone ring and on into the forest. As Chava moved into the lead, Arrom looked back at the circle again.
Even though Arrom never again stopped at the circle on their hikes, he would often find reasons to pass it and look at it from a distance. It was on such a hike that Arrom found the ruins of a temple, hidden back in the trees. It seemed strange that this ruin would be so distant from the rest in the village.
"Chava, do you know anything about this place?"
"This is the lightening ruin, Arrom. Shamda and the village elders don't like the boys coming here, they say it is a bad place and the gods will punish anyone who comes without their leave."
Arrom was only half listening to Chava; he was gazing at the wall next to him and tracing the etchings in the rocky surface with one finger. "These writings are all over the ruins in the settlement as well," he said softly. "But it's different from the writing used by the villagers," he mumbled under his breath. "I wonder why."
Turning to Chava, Arrom asked, "Why is it a bad place? It's just another ruined building like the ones in the village."
Chava thought for a moment and then said, "Shamda says the lightening gods meet here once a cycle and anyone who's nearby will be zapped with one of their lightening bolts." Chava puffed out his chest and continued, "We boys know it's just a story Shamda tells to keep us away from here. He thinks the stones and rocks will hurt us. We know better," Chava almost sneered. "I have been here many times and I have never seen a lightening god."
Returning to the village at nightfall, Arrom surprised Shamda and a gathering of the village men by joining them at their fire instead of sitting alone as was his usual habit. Shamda was happy to include Arrom in the evening gathering and hoped this was a sign that the younger man had accepted his place in the village.
"Shamda, what can you tell me of the temple in the forest?" Arrom asked in his quiet voice. It was rare for Arrom to show any emotion in either his voice or manner, but Shamda could see he was curious about the temple. There was a light in Arrom's eyes and his hands were more expressive as he described the crumbling stonework. "It looks as though it was a huge building, stretching for several hundred feet in each direction. And there is writing covering the remaining walls."
A few of the men gathered around the fire groaned when they heard of Arrom's 'discovery.' The temple ruins had long been a place for the young boys of the village to prove their courage and daring. Invariably, one or more of the boys would be hurt while showing off to his friends. When this happened, Shamda used it as an excuse to bring out another one of his oft-repeated stories. The men had accepted Arrom as a member of the village, but they wished he wouldn't feed the old man's need for an audience so often.
"I am sorry, Arrom, I know very little of the temple. It has been abandoned for many generations. There is a story of our beginnings here that says the temple and even the ruins you see around us were here even as you see them now."
"Will you tell me the story?" he asked.
The other men froze. They knew what was coming. Shamda could no more pass up the chance to tell a story than a child could walk past a puddle in the forest and not step squarely in the water.
"I would be glad to tell you the story, Arrom." Shamda, ignoring the reaction of the other men, paused to get his thoughts in order and then began.
"It is said our people traveled here long ago from the old land. No one remembers now the old land, but we honor the old ways and we still remember some of the old language. Those who brought our people here insisted we speak a new language, but we resisted and kept the old words as best we could," Shamda said with a note of pride in his voice.
"When our people decided to settle in a village, scouts were sent out to discover the land and find animals and plants for food. One scout named Shek, found a building in the forest, the same one of which you speak, and brought back the news to his elder. There was excitement in the village, people hoped the temple could be used for shelter from the weather and as it was in the forest would make the hunting of game much easier.
"Shek led a group of men, including his elder to the temple and the elder was pleased with Shek's discovery. The building was indeed large as you say, Arrom, and all of the villagers would be able to escape the elements inside.
"However, as the elder left the temple, and while several of the village's strongest men were still inside, a sudden storm came and a bolt of lightening struck the temple. The falling stones crushed the men inside and the elder barely escaped with his life, though the stones falling around him hurt him.
"After that, it was decided the people would not settle in the forest. Instead our ancestors settled here amongst these broken stones and so we are still today in that same village. The lesson, Arrom, is to know when to enter and when to leave."
Arrom was quiet and still for several moments after Shamda finished his story. As he stared into the flames, he asked, "May I go back to the temple tomorrow, Elder? I think it's the correct time to enter."
Arrom rose early, eager to visit the ancient temple again. Shamda had given his blessing for Arrom and Chava to explore the temple and discover its secrets three days ago. Arrom had spent the time sitting by one of the walls tracing the ancient letters with his fingers trying to understand them. He could just as easily study the etchings in the settlement, but he preferred to be alone out in the forest. The letters seemed vaguely familiar to him, yet he couldn't decipher their meaning.
Arrom added another layer under his blue robes for warmth and stepped out of his tent. Even though the weather was temperate, he couldn't shake the feeling of cold he still remembered when he first woke up to see Shamda's men surrounding him.
Chava was waiting at the edge of the village to begin the trek to the temple. While going to the ruins with Arrom wasn't the most exciting way for him to spend his day, it did release him from other chores around the village; sitting under a tree listening to Arrom mutter at the rocks was much better than cleaning the stalls of the village animals.
As the two were setting out for the ruins once more, Chava's mother came up to them.
"Chava, you are needed here today. You and your brothers must finish the new stables before foaling time," she said with a stern look at both of them.
Chava looked from his mother to Arrom.
"Go, Chava. I can find the ruins by now without you and your mother requires your presence. Go," Arrom said in a flat tone.
Before Chava could say anything else, Arrom turned and walked up the stairs and out of the village.
After many trips back and forth from the village to the ruins, the beginnings of a path were starting to form in the undergrowth of the forest. Arrom was lost in thought about the letters on the temple walls and trying not to think of his missing past. He walked with his head down, letting his feet move along the path on their own. The sound of voices ahead of him was ignored.
"We need to sweep the area, sir. There was no report of anything near the 'gate but it's been fifteen minutes since the last check," a female said.
"Maintain a secure perimeter, fifty meter radius from the gate, Lieutenant."
Arrom walked into a clearing near the chappa'ai to find a group of strangers setting up camp. Just as he was about to speak, another man Arrom hadn't seen raised a weapon at him. Keeping one eye on Arrom, he half turned to speak to his commanding officer, "Sir!"
"My god. Dr. Jackson?" The man sounded stunned, disbelieving what he was seeing.
Arrom turned to face the man. He noticed all of the weapons had been lowered a little and the people in the clearing were backing away from him. It seemed they were afraid of him.
"Why do you call me that?" Arrom asked.
The man stared at Arrom. "That's your name, Daniel Jackson. Don't you know who we are?"
Arrom shook his head. "No, I don't even know who I am. The villagers call me Arrom."
"Captain Pierce?" the man in front of Arrom asked.
"At ease, soldier," Captain Pierce said. "Well, Dr. Jackson, it's certainly good too see you again. Colonel O'Neill isn't going to believe this; he's in the village now. I think you need to follow me." He walked past Arrom and into the nearby trees, moving in the direction of the village.
Arrom was shocked. These people knew him. They called him Dr. Jackson, and seemed to be surprised to see him. Arrom wasn't sure he wanted anything to do with these people, but at the mention of the village he acquiesced and followed the captain and his group back into the forest. He wasn't sure what these men were doing or what the villagers would do when they saw the newcomers, but he didn't want to see either group hurt because of him.
Arrom could hear voices in the village as they approached, one of the voices belonged to Shamda, the other was unfamiliar, or was it? There was the briefest flicker of an image in his mind. A man stood gazing around with a concentrated look.
"It has to do with flocking ... and togetherness ... and ... to be honest I'm not that familiar with the particulars myself. The point is we're not your enemy. Give us a chance to prove it."
Arrom was glad to hear this. He could see that the weapons of these outsiders were far superior to anything in the village.
They were walking down the stairway to the village when Captain Pierce spoke. "Colonel!" he yelled from in front of Arrom. "We found something I think you might want to see."
Arrom followed the captain down the stairs and looked up in time to see three people, two men and a woman, gazing at him open-mouthed, a fourth man stood a little behind them, also looking surprised.
The woman didn't look much older than him; he saw she had blond hair, a rarity among the villagers, and a comfortable ease about herself.
The dark skinned man definitely matched Shamda's descriptions of the Jaffa, muscular with a design on his forehead. And Arrom had his first look at the deadly staff Chava had mentioned once while telling lurid tales of battles with the evil men from the chappa'ai.
Arrom decided these people might not be as peaceful toward the villagers as
he first thought.
Arrom noted that he seemed hesitant, almost afraid when he saw Arrom. Were these the people who had punished him?
As the three people moved closer to him, Arrom stopped.
"Daniel?" the silver-haired man said.
Daniel. He called me Daniel and these others called me Dr. Jackson.
Another image flashed in his mind; walls made of gold with drawings covering them.
"Arrom," said Romic interrupting Arrom's train of thought. The image was lost again.
"Arrom?" the man repeated glancing from Romic to the elder and back to Arrom.
"It's what we call him," Romic replied.
"It means naked one," Shamda explained.
"It's how we found him in the forest two moons ago," Romic added helpfully.
"Seems he doesn't remember who he is, Colonel," Captain Pierce said.
Arrom wanted to leave, the confused babble of voices was making him edgy and his head began to hurt. He wasn't sure who these people were or what they wanted, but he knew he had to escape and consider things. They know me. They seem genuinely happy to see me, almost as if they never expected to. Do I want them to tell me who I was, this Jackson, or not? Maybe it's better not to remember, no regrets or guilt to worry about.
The blond woman slowly approached him and lifted her hand toward his face. "Daniel?" she said softly. She moved her hand closer to him. "It's okay, it's me, Sam." Before she could finish, Arrom blocked her hand and stepped away from her. He needed to go. Now. He had to get away from these people and think.
"Do you not recognize us, Daniel Jackson," the Jaffa-looking man asked.
"I'm sorry," Arrom replied shaking his head. As the three moved closer to him he stepped around them and disappeared into the village.
"Not even me," he heard the silver-haired man shout. Arrom shook his head again and ducked under the flap of his tent. He was panting from the effort to escape the newcomers and his head was now pounding. Please leave me alone! he yelled in his mind. I don't want to know about my past, who I was. Or what I did to deserve not remembering it. Do I?
Arrom was sitting staring at the dim walls of his tent lost in thought when Chava entered. He acknowledged the boy with the barest hint of a nod, but didn't offer anything else in greeting. Chava came and sat on the bench in front of Arrom and asked, "Arrom? Are the strangers going to steal us away from the village."
"No, Chava, they don’t seem to be the men from the stories. They won't take anyone that doesn't want to go with them." Arrom glanced out the flap of the tent and noted the activity surrounding the strangers. The silver-haired man was giving orders to the others, pointing off in different directions. With each statement, two or three of the newcomers would move off in the direction the silver-haired man pointed.
Arrom watched as the last of the strangers moved off and began to study the ruins around the village. The silver-haired man glanced at each group, seeming to nod to himself in agreement with what he saw, and started to walk in the direction of Arrom's tent. The blond woman glanced up from her study of an instrument in her hand when the silver-haired man walked past her, but she didn't move to follow him. The Jaffa-looking man stood rigidly and watched the villagers move around the settlement until another of the strangers, the man Arrom recognized as the fourth person in the group that spoke to him earlier, came up to him and gestured off to the south. The Jaffa-looking man nodded and followed him across the village.
"Chava, I think you need to go check with your mother and see if she needs you for anything." Arrom nodded out the flap of the tent. Chava saw the silver-haired man walking toward them and got up hurriedly. He wasn't as sure about these strangers as Arrom. Chava ducked under the flap just as the silver-haired man reached the tent. The man stepped back far enough to allow Chava to escape, and then entered.
"Please leave me alone," Arrom said quietly, holding up a hand to stop the man from entering.
The man ignored him and sat on the same bench Chava had recently vacated. He watched Arrom for a few moments and then spoke. "I'm Jack O'Neill," he said softly. "And barring any freakish similarity, you are Dr. Daniel Jackson."
Arrom sat staring at the far tent wall again in silence. You are Dr. Daniel Jackson. An image flshed across his memory.
A tall pyramidal structure, the musty smell of poorly circulated air.
You are Dr. Daniel Jackson.
He tried to grasp the pictures in his head and hold on to them, but again they floated away.
Arrom sighed. "This tent is all I know. These people, they're all I know. Before I woke up in the forest I don't remember anything. I've tried; I've tried to remember who I was before." More pictures formed in his mind,
A large lake fronted by a beach of rocks and small craters bubbling lava.
A dark, dank smelling pit.
Arrom closed his eyes, and the images vanished. "Sometimes I think it's right there, floating in front of me, and all I need to do is reach out and grab it. I try and then it's gone."
Both men sat in silence for a few moments, then Jack said, "You were a member of my team, SG-1. You're a friend of mine. Last year, you died."
You’re a friend of mine …
Then the last part of Jack's statement sank in. "I'm dead?" he questioned.
"Well, obviously not, you just sort of died. Actually, you ascended to a higher plane of existence. Last time I saw you, you were helping us fight Anubis."
Higher plane of existence, right. So why aren't I still, what was it, ascended? And what is an Anubis?
"Anubis?" he asked cautiously.
"Yeah, kind of an over-the-top, cliché bad guy. Black cloak, oily skin, kind of spooky," Jack said wryly. "Anyway, obviously since then, you've retaken human form. Somehow. I..." Jack stopped speaking; Arrom assumed it was because he knew he wasn't making any sense. "Actually, I can see how this might sound a bit unusual..." he trailed off.
Arrom wasn't ready to believe this man yet. "A bit," he said in agreement.
"Why am I here?" Arrom asked. Answer that, friend of Daniel Jackson. What did your friend do that was so terrible he's no longer higher, ascended, whatever.
"Hey, why are any of us here?" Jack responded with a crooked smile. Arrom just looked at him and Jack continued more seriously, "Honestly, I don't know, but you've gotta trust me. You are Daniel Jackson. Think of it this way, out of all the planets in the galaxy, why this one if not for us to find you?"
Arrom didn't know how to answer that. There was a sort of strange logic that of all the places this group of people could have traveled to, they came here; where he had been -- existing -- for the past two moons. And he realized the images and impressions he had been trying to grasp for the past days were clearer than ever before, and he was actually remembering some of them now; they didn't glance off his consciousness and evaporate as before.
"So you're saying a higher power had a hand in putting me here?" Arrom asked skeptically.
"I don't know. That was generally your department."
My department, Arrom mouthed to himself. He's already decided that I am his friend; back from the, well, dead it seems.
Arrom shifted his eyes back to the tent wall, dismissing Jack from his awareness.
He heard Jack sigh as he stood to leave. Before he ducked under the tent flap Jack said, "Daniel, I know you're in there somewhere. Let us help find you again." Then Jack was gone.
Arrom continued to stare into space barely acknowledging Jack's parting words. Let us help find you again.
A young couple holding a baby.
A boy standing alone, clutching a toy.
"Can I come in?" a voice interrupted the images passing through his mind.
Arrom shook himself and looked toward the tent flap, the blond woman stood there hopefully, watching him. When she saw him look at her, she slipped under the flap and waited for him to respond.
"Sure," he said glancing at the bench in front of him.
"So," she prompted sitting down to face him.
Arrom looked at her and realized he couldn't think of her name. She had started to say it before outside, but he had cut her off and walked away. "Umm, what did you say your name was again?"
"Samantha Carter. You used to call me Sam." She smiled and leaned forward to touch his knee.
You used to call me Sam.
"Yeah, well, like I already told Jim …" he began.
"Um, Jack," Sam interrupted.
"Jack? Yeah, I told him." Arrom looked away from Sam. They really want this Daniel Jackson back in their lives. Do I take the risk? Do I go with them and bring back Daniel Jackson?
"I guess what I don't understand is why you aren't dying to know all about who you are," Sam said seeming to read his mind.
"I am ... and I'm not," Arrom replied quietly.
"See, it’s that 'not' part …" she stopped and smiled.
Maybe if I try explaining it to her she will make the others understand.
All of Arrom's anxiety over the past days came out in his flat unemotional voice. He had to make at least one of them understand. "What if I don't like who I was? What if I don't want to be that person? What if I don't have it in me to make up for something I've done wrong?"
Arrom watched her face as understanding dawned. A surprised look was in her eyes as she realized what his fears really were.
"I have to admit, that never occurred to me," she said slowly, then her voice rose as she continued. "Look, we all thought we'd lost you at one point. It was one of the hardest things I have ever been through." She paused and looked at him in earnest. "You were ... you are ... brilliant. One of the most caring, passionate ... you're the type of person who would give his own life for someone he doesn't even know."
Arrom turned away and thought a moment, weighing what Sam had told him. "Well, that doesn't sound so bad."
"If you had one fault," She continued quickly, "It was that you wanted to save people so badly, y-you wanted to help people so much, that it tore you apart when you couldn't make a difference." She was so passionate in her words that, for a moment Arrom forgot his fears of his unknown past and actually wanted to know this Daniel Jackson; a man who could inspire such loyalty in his friends.
Then his suspicions reared again. "That actually sounds kind of hard to live up to."
Possibly realizing she was losing her argument, Sam tempered her next words. "All I know is that if I were you, I would definitely want to get to know me ... you."
Arrom gave her a small smile as she stumbled to a halt. "I get it."
She watched him for a moment and then said, "Come back with us. Let us show you who you are instead of just telling you."
"I'll think about it," he told her and was surprised to discover he meant it.
"Okay," she said and stood to leave.
There was one last thing he wanted to know.
"Samantha Carter?" he said as she reached the tent flap.
She turned back to face him and replied, "Yeah?"
"Was there ever anything ... between us?"
The look on her face was proof enough, but he let her answer. "Us? Uh...no. No, not in that way. We - we were really, really good friends." With that, she left the tent and Arrom was alone.
Arrom realized he had to make a choice: remain here with Shamda and his people and always wonder who and what he used to be, or leave with Jack and Sam and discover the truth.
What did he want?
He thought of Chava and their many treks through the surrounding woods.
'I've been here many times and I've never seen a lightening god.
He thought of the ruins scattered around the village. Would Daniel Jackson understand the text?
He thought of the strangers.
You're a friend of mine.
You used to call me Sam.
We were really, really good friends.
Let us help find you again.
Last, he considered Shamda and his lessons wrapped around a tale.
The lesson, Arrom, is to know when to enter and when to leave.
"The time has come to leave, Elder," Arrom said aloud. "I choose to be Daniel Jackson."
Gathering his few possessions into a bag, he stepped out of the tent in time to hear the Jaffa-man say, "What of Daniel Jackson?"
"He's going home," Daniel answered.
~~ End ~~
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The series continues with Rebuilding a Life: First Steps
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 November 2005 )|
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