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Okay, so I wrote this ages (wow, almost a year) ago for a prompt on [livejournal.com profile] sg1_five_things. The prompt was "Five ways Rodney ends all life in the universe by accident."

I then promptly (pun intended), forgot to post it. Then life got all hectic and it languished on my hard drive ... for almost a YEAR. Sheesh, I need to get on eljay more.

Anyways, here it is. Poor [livejournal.com profile] aithine did outstanding beta duty on this for me, but it's been so long she's probably forgotten all about it by now. Please to be excusing her for all errors, they are mine, mine, mine.

Warnings: Um, the universe ends? Repeatedly? Also, spoilers for SG1 "Redemption" and SGA "The Game". Hmm, that should be all.



1. Meredith Rodney McKay was absolutely convinced that he could kill people with his brain. Or, at the very least, he was convinced he should be able to do that. He was the smartest person in his class, including the teacher. It wasn’t his fault that none of them could keep up with him. So, when he snapped one day and wished they’d all go away, part of him wasn’t surprised that it worked. What he didn’t know was that it all went away. Meredith was only eight years old; he hadn’t seen that episode of Twilight Zone yet.

2. When Rodney McKay was twelve years old, he had two great passions – music and science. The bookshelves in his room sagged under the weight of Sagan and every recording that Glenn Gould ever made. Rodney had even convinced his parents to buy him a Commodore Vic 20 so he could do his science fair project on translating sheet music to Basic. He won the regional science fair, and would have won in Toronto if even one of the judges had owned a computer.

That same year, his music teacher told him that he could probably have a career in music, but he’d have to apply himself. Rodney was in the middle of trying to prove that the opening chords of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony could serve as a musical interpretation of the Big Bang. Given a choice between completing research that no one else understood, and focusing on a potential scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Music, Rodney and his parents decided he should shelve his studies alongside the Sagan. When Rodney moved to Toronto to attend the Conservatory, his books went with him. So did his computer.

His recording of Bach’s Variations, with a background of interstellar wind translated from mathematical data gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope, was Rodney McKay’s introduction to the world outside the limited circle of classical music aficionados. He was performing it at Carnegie Hall when the Goa’uld Anubis attacked Earth. Samantha Carter tried desperately to discover a way to stop the attack, but nothing worked. Cheyenne Mountain, and most of Colorado with it, seemed destined to be destroyed. Finally, Daniel Jackson and Oma Desala convinced the other Ascended Ancients to stop Anubis, thereby righting a mistake they’d made millennia ago.

Unaware of the near destruction of Earth, Rodney moved on to his next project. Meanwhile, the Ori noted that the Ancients had abandoned their principle of non-interference. As Rodney wrote a piano concerto commissioned by a planetarium to provide musical accompaniment to their presentation on celestial drift, the Ancients revealed the wonders of Atlantis to Stargate Command and the Ori entered the Milky Way galaxy.

Three years after his performance of The Stellar Variations, as they had come to be called, Rodney McKay ascended the stage at Carnegie Hall once again. The chords of Beethoven’s Fifth rang out as the Ori ships surrounded Earth and engaged the forces of Stargate Command. The end of the first bar was accompanied by a static burst of sound that astronomers said had travelled through space and time to reveal the origin of the universe. As Rodney reached once more for the keys of his piano, Oma Desala and the Ancients massed their energy to defend against the Ori attack on the ascended plane. The resulting battle bathed the universe in cool blue light, harsh red fire, and a sound that would carry forward over millions of light years.


3. The CIA, Rodney McKay decided, were not a fun bunch of guys to hang out with. The supercomputer they had was cool, though.

“Rodney? Rodney? Rodney!”

Rodney jumped away from the glass panel housing the Cray and stared at the man. “I was just looking. I didn’t touch anything.”

“Yes, I know.” The tone was gentler, although Rodney thought that might have something to do with the not-yelling thing. “Would you like to see the simulation now?”

“Oh, yeah.”

Rodney had been surprised that the CIA wanted to talk to him. They’d told his parents it was about his science fair project and national security, but come on, it hadn’t even been a working model of an H-bomb. His mom totally bought the line about the pre-teen terrorists, but Rodney knew better. Plus, he was Canadian, so whose national security was it about? So he wasn’t surprised when they didn’t talk to him about his science fair. He was curious about the simulation though.

“Rodney, have a seat.” A new guy took over from almost-yelling guy. “This simulation is based on the projected yield of the device you built for your science class.”

Huh, so maybe this was about his science fair. But - “The yield? That was just something I added in at the last minute. Mr. Steffler said the way I’d configured the U-235 wasn’t going to work so I wrote a quick proof to show him. That’s just a theory.”

“Yes, well.” Rodney heard coughing and suddenly wondered how many people were going to watch this simulation. Before he could turn his head to look, the new guy continued. “We ran your quick proof through the Cray, Rodney. Would you like to see what we’ve extrapolated?” Without waiting for an answer, the man gestured and the screens in front of Rodney lit up.

It started with equations. Perfect equations that built on Rodney’s proof. He followed them for quite a while, longer than he thought he would anyway. The diagrams followed the equations. The first diagram showed the standard yield of a one megaton bomb; the next showed the improved yield of Rodney’s design. When they shifted to a fifteen megaton bomb, Rodney realized the increased yield was actually exponential, and he almost asked them to pause the simulation for a minute while he did the math. Instead, he let the simulation run to the end.

“I did that?”

“Yes, Rodney.” Another new guy stepped forward. He was wearing a lab coat, and Rodney figured he was one of the scientists who set up the simulation. “By reconfiguring the design, you created a situation where the pressure on the U-235 drives it to critical mass more quickly, while at the same time creating a sustained reaction that increases the yield.”

“Huh. Cool. So, if you could drop one of these bombs into a black hole, I bet the reaction would go on forever. Neat.”

No one bothered to run a simulation when they found the perfect black hole. Rodney really thought they would. Maybe he should have reminded them it was just a theory.


4. John and Rodney found the game during that first year in Atlantis. It seemed fairly straightforward; they each managed a civilization and traded for advantage. Okay, there was that one small glitch when Rodney tried to increase the level of technology of his country a little too fast, but the game presets stopped him, and no matter what John said, it totally wasn’t cheating.

By the end of the first year, the game had revealed a second level and they both had off-world colonies for their countries. Level three had Rodney complaining that there was nothing for John’s Alliance to rebel against. John called Rodney Palpatine for a month. Reports began to filter in that Wraith ships were being destroyed by a mysterious force, but no one could ever confirm the rumours.

After Doranda, John and Rodney stayed away from the game room. They returned to a notice that the game had been running in maintenance mode. Rodney questioned the translation when he discovered that the game had maintained them both to control of three nearby galaxies. John argued that the game had simply maintained the pattern they’d already established. Rodney forgot to berate John for misusing the concept of inertia when they received the data burst from Earth stating that the Ori fleet had suddenly withdrawn.

With a dearth of Wraith attacks, and the Ori in retreat, John and Rodney had even more time to spend on the game. Sometime around galaxy twenty, they decided to work together. They couldn’t settle on a name since John vetoed “McKaydia” and Rodney couldn’t be bothered to actually respond to “John and Rodney’s Excellent Galactic Empire”. Neither told the other that they wanted “resistance is futile” for their imperial motto.

They were working their way through the last free galaxy when Elizabeth radioed down to tell them that Stargate Command had sent an emergency message through, claiming they were under attack by unknown forces. When Atlantis tried to redial Earth, they couldn’t get a lock. Since the game was mostly finished anyway, John didn’t think much of it when Rodney hit the reset button.


5. In Rodney’s defense, he really did believe the Ancients were wrong. He truly thought he could bring the Arcturus weapon online. When it began a catastrophic overload, he was more surprised than Sheppard.

In Sheppard’s defense, he really did believe in Rodney. And they had more than enough evidence that the Ancients weren’t as infallible as some people thought. He tried his best to get them to the gate, and he likely would have succeeded if the only danger had been the activation of the weapon. Once the cascade failure began, however, his strong ATA gene worked as a magnet for the energy. The puddlejumper became one big target.

In Caldwell’s defense, he couldn’t have known that the Asgard technology utilized by the Daedalus was fundamentally incompatible with unconstrained zero point energy. They’d only ever used ZPMs, and they were harnessed. Frankly, even Hermiod didn’t realize the danger. Much more than physical form had been lost over generations of cloning. When the Daedalus came swooping in for a daring, last minute rescue, they were caught in a wave of pure zero point energy. The overload, that should have destroyed most of the solar system of Doranda, instead gained a boost that even Rodney McKay couldn’t have imagined.

The universe had no defense.

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