Pairing: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Word Count: 55,498
Notes: This story takes place in an alternate universe where magic exists as an inborn talent. It comes in two varieties, magician and wizard. Magicians can only do small stuff, like levitating objects and setting things on fire. Wizards are far more dangerous, and their magic never initially manifests as less than catastrophically powerful. For this reason, on Earth you can be executed even on the suspicion of possessing magic, because there's no way to tell whether you are one or the other.
Rodney McKay is one of the few wizards of his time to have lived past the age of twenty. Out of necessity, his powers are under perfect control, but in the Pegasus Galaxy, circumstances are desperate enough that he may be forced into using them…
This preview is about the origin of wizards, which are unique to Earth, though magicians are known wherever humans have settled in the universe.
Fragments from the journal of the Ancient Leana, a former inhabitant of Atlantis, circa 8000 B.C.E. Translation and commentary by Dr. Daniel Jackson.
…still mourn the loss of Atlantis, in our fashion, but for the first time in a long while I, at least, have recovered enough to once again consider the scientific experimentation to which I have devoted my life. Most of my experiments I left on Atlantis, but now that I have been living in much closer contact with humans than ever before, my interests have begun to turn in a different direction. In particular, I find myself growing fascinated by the human capacity for what they call “magic”.
Superficially, this ability resembles some of the talents gained during the approach to Ascension. The magicians I have been observing-alas, a sample size of only three, for the ability is a very rare one-can move objects without touching them and set fires at will. Some of them seem to have some rudimentary healing powers as well, but upon close scrutiny these proved to be only the same ability of telekinesis all magicians possess on a smaller scale. True possession of magical ability is marked by a glow in the eyes during the exercise of the talent, and thus false magicians are easy to uncover.
Among their peoples, all three in my sample group hold the highly respected and somewhat feared position of shaman or ceremonial magician. Two of them believe that the efficacy of their powers depends utterly upon the rituals and ceremonies of that office; one of them knows better, but in the presence of her people never uses her talents without the appropriate ceremony...(missing text)
...Isolating the origin of this ability has proven to be very problematic. It appears to be a genetic trait, yet the expression of it is so very rare that I have not even been able to find a set of siblings who both possess it, nor trace any generational connection. My hypothesis is that some sort of environmental factor is responsible for the activation of the magical trait, although I currently have no indication of what this factor…
The beginning, end, and part of the middle of this text are clearly missing. It is not apparent how long the entry was, or how much was between it and the next fragment. It also appears that wizards are unknown to Leana. –Dr. D.J.
…and with her consent, I have begun to subtly alter her genetic pattern by...(indecipherable) ...so that her powers will be greater. Mer-lyn is her name, and she is...(indecipherable)...a most eager subject…
The rest of this entry is lost, but the implication is that Leana altered a magician’s DNA to make her more powerful. (!!!) Also, Mer-lyn: possible origin of the Merlin legend/name? (If yes, then: how did it get out of the Mediterranean?) –Dr. D.J.
…pleased to pronounce the experiment a complete success. Mer-lyn’s genes have been successfully modified to give her exponentially more power than any magician in human memory has ever possessed. Her ability is limited to natural processes, but these she can either initiate or reverse, constrained only by her understanding of natural law. No doubt one of these improved magicians who had even a basic understanding of science would be capable of far greater feats, but it will no doubt take centuries before…
The remainder of the text is lost, but what is implied is staggering and could completely change our understanding of wizards and magicians. Leana seems to think that wizards' powers are linked to the understanding of natural processes, and as far as I know we have no records of wizard-caused disasters before philosophers began to study the natural world in earnest-correlation? Also explains why wizards are unique to Earth-Leana never modified offworld magicians. Important question: how many did she alter? Recommend further in-depth study both of what remains of her data and of the subject, particularly about the “understanding of natural processes”: tectonic plates, hurricanes, lightning are all part of basic science education, and these wizard-caused disasters occur more often in parts of the world with such education. (North America, Japan, Western Europe...) If we make contact with Atlantis again, I further recommend that we search their databases for other research projects of the Ancient Leana. While she states she did not start this study until she reached Earth, perhaps we can find some data to indicate where we may be likely to find more of her research here.
–Dr. Daniel Jackson.