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07 November 2010 @ 02:16 pm
[fanfic] Strange New Worlds: Episode II  
Title: Strange New Worlds
Artist: extraonions
Author: tiptoe39
Pairing(if applicable): Gen
Rating: PG-13 for violence and some crude humor
Warnings/Spoilers: None

Master art post | Master fic post



Episode II: Lazarus Ascendant



Dean awoke under the glare of infirmary lights.

It was so bright, he thought he'd been rescued by a larger vessel. God knows their dumbass Impala cruiser didn't have an infirmary of any sort. Had Sam taken him to a hospital? But that was his nightstand, and yes, this was his bed. Why was the light so damn bright?

"Stay still," said an unfamiliar voice somewhere beside him. "I'm nearly finished."

Dean couldn't do much but stay still. He was completely disoriented, and he was having trouble remembering what had happened before he'd lost consciousness. He remembered the Perdition, the pile of skulls and bone and ash. And the creature that shouldn't have been able to exist, the reality-defying hellhound. Slowly the chase came back to his memory, each terrifying second, and the moment when it had turned and laid angry eyes on him--

--and then what?

"There." The light dimmed. Dean blinked, eyes growing accustomed to the less intense glow he was used to in his room. "Try to sit up. Does anything hurt?"

Bracing his palm flat on the bed, Dean sat. He twisted his shoulders. "Actually-- no," he said, surprised. Then his eyes fell on the stranger talking to him. "Who the hell are you?"

"He's the one who gripped you tight and raised you from the Perdition." Sam, sitting in the background, found this hysterically funny. Dean didn't get it.

"I am named CAS/T/L." There was a mechanical jerk between each of the three syllables. "I am an artificial life form."

"Castiel is an android," Sam chimed in, humanizing the sound of the name. "And a really cool one. I've never seen anything quite like him."

This didn't comfort Dean in the least. "What were you doing out there, man? Were you on that ship? How did--"

"Like you, I was concerned with the fate of the Perdition," Castiel said. "I came to investigate and found you in danger."

"And that thing-- it didn't burn you alive? What the hell are you made of, man?"

"Dean." Sam's eyes were serious. "We should talk. Castiel, do you mind... a minute?"

The android was appropriately deferential, and it stepped outside of the doorway so Sam could come sit on the bed with Dean. "This thing is amazing," Sam said with some enthusiasm. "For one thing, it doesn't seem to have any battery or power source. It just runs. And it doesn't stop. Ever."

"And you just let it on board? Are you nuts? That thing could kill us both."

"But it saved you. It didn't have to. And that's not all. It commanded that beast, that hellhound. It just pointed its finger and the thing ran away like a dog after a stick. "

"What?" Dean's internal alarms were all ringing. "That tears it. It's dangerous, whatever it is, and we should get rid of it."

"Think about it for a second," Sam said, glancing at the doorway. "What if it knows what happened there? What if it's the one that sicced the hellhound on the ship?"

"Then we're dead."

"But it's not killing us right now. And if we can take it to the authorities... at the very least, they're going to want to figure out what makes it tick. We could end up with a huge reward for bringing it in."

Money always did sway Dean's sensibilities. He hemmed and hawed. "All right. But this thing shows the slightest sign of hostility, out it goes. You hear me?"

Sam shrugged. "Fair deal."

"All right. Now I gotta get out of this bed-- ow!"

Dean had leaned on one arm, trying to give himself leverage to stand up, when a sudden pain ripped through it. He held his arm gingerly and moved to the mirror, where he pulled up his shirtsleeve. There, on his arm just beneath the shoulder, was the clear print of a long-fingered hand.




It was three days' journey to Wisconsin from there. Castiel seemed to be happy enough to stand in the corner, unmoving. But that was way too creepy for Dean to stand, and after about an hour of it, he sidled over to the android and said, "Hey."

Silence.

"Hey, you. Cas."

Castiel blinked. "Are you addressing me?"

"No, the other Cas, yes, you." Dean rolled his eyes when Castiel appeared to look around for whom he might mean. Sarcasm didn't seem to be in its wiring. "What's your story, anyway? How'd you find out about the Perdition?"

"How did you find out about it?" Castiel challenged,

"I have connections. You're a -- I don't even know what in space you are. Are you an android?"

"My body is metallic and powered by electrical energy, yes."

"Well, then who manufactured you?"

"I did."

Dean frowned so hard he thought for a minute his forehead was going to cave in. "You did? Dude, nobody makes themselves. You have to have been put together by someone."

"Yes. I put my body together." A beat. "I'm sorry this upsets you. I shouldn't have said anything."

Dean thought it might be a good idea to bang his head against the cabin wall a few times. It
might improve his thought processes. Instead, he made do with another question. "Dude. Who created you?"

Castiel leveled a serious gaze at Dean. "The one who made all of us."

The sudden theological turn ripped a laugh from Dean. "So, what, you're an android built by God? A metal angel?"

"You can think of me like that."

"Right. OK. The metal angel Castiel. Is that how come you could send that hellhound thing running? Because you have the power of God on your side?"

Castiel was silent.

Dean folded his arms over his chest. "Cas. I asked you a question. How did you do that?"

Deep digital eyes pierced his. "There are some things it is better if you do not know."

"Fine," but his heartbeat had sped up. "Different question. Why are you hanging around here? Why not go Silver Surfer it through the galaxy and leave us behind?"

And something very creepy happened. Castiel smiled.

"Because I like you," he said.

Dean was somewhat surprised, over the next three days, to discover the feeling was mutual.




They arrived on Wisconsin and went through the usual rigmarole of getting their clearances to visit the government offices. Sam suggested that Castiel remain on board until they got back; Castiel objected, but Sam said it would be a short trip and afterward Castiel could go on his way. Sam had something up his sleeve, Dean suspected.

"Don't sneak off," he said, pointing a finger at the android as it stood, untiring and again unmoving, in the cabin.

"I will not move until you return."

"I'm serious."

"Dean." A slight frown of the silver-tinted eyebrows. "I do not lie."

In the federal building, they headed for the room of one Admiral Bobby Singer, a friend of their father's when he had been in the service. Bobby was a cranky son of a bitch, but he was a good man and he always steered Sam and Dean in the direction of prime bounties. The Perdition assignment had come from him, under a condition that they keep it completely hush-hush.

"So why keep Cas stowed away?" Dean asked in the hallway. Despite everything he knew about artificial intelligence and the difference between robots and people, he couldn't help feeling bad for the poor thing. It was kind of delusional. Thinking it created itself and all.

"Think about it, Dean," Sam said, his eyes glowing with excitement. "We have a highly advanced piece of AI. Either it's a government prototype, in which case it's worth tons of money, or it's nothing they've ever heard of, which makes it worth more. We deliver Cas, we could be set for life."

Dean stared at him in slack-jawed disbelief. Sam was usually the quieter of the two, more demure and modest, much less into loud living and wining and dining than Dean tended to be. Dean was the one who always cared about picking up fat paychecks. For a moment Dean thought they'd swapped bodies or something. Those were Dean's words coming out of Sam's mouth.

Then again, Sam had harbored dreams once of settling down, having a family. Maybe on California or one of the other well-populated planets. If he saw a chance for that, Dean couldn't begrudge him the desire to take it. It was something he'd thought about, too, on lazy nights. He shrugged at Sam as they opened the door to Bobby's office. "Sounds like a plan," he said. Still, he felt a somewhat embarrassing twinge of sympathy for Cas, even though it wasn't human, it wasn't even alive.

Sam handed over the memory packs containing the data from the Perdition's logs. Bobby looked at them a long moment, turned to a data console, and plugged one in. A moment of silent scanning, and he ejected the pack and shut off the monitor. "Well done," he said in that crusty way of his. "I'll make sure your accounts are updated with the bounty. Now there's one more thing I need you to do."

"What?" Sam and Dean said in unison.

Bobby leaned over his desk. "Forget you ever heard of it."

Sam sat forward. Dean very nearly jumped out of his seat. "Excuse me?"

"You heard me." Bobby's voice was a low, lean growl. "Walk out of here, forget you ever heard of the Perdition, and never speak about it again."

"But, Bobby!"

"That's Admiral to you, boy!" A meaty fist pounded the desk. "Do I have to repeat myself? You say a damn thing and it'll be my neck. And yours, too."

"But what about the hellhound?"

Bobby's face froze and drained of color. White, shaking, he fixed his eyes on Dean. "What do you know about that?"

"Know about it?" Dean was out of his seat and leaning over the desk. "We saw it! Hell, the damn thing near killed me!"

"You did what?" Bobby was visibly trembling now. "Boy, how did you escape?"

"I didn't think we were going to. We might both be dead now if we didn't--"

"--Escape just in time." Sam jumped up, grabbing Dean by the elbows, and pulled him back. He pasted a giant grin on his face. "It was pretty freaky, Bobby. To tell you the truth, I'd be just as happy to forget the whole thing. Whatever that thing was, it was way out of our league."

"It's Admiral to you," Bobby said, still looking perturbed, but some of the color had come back to his face. "I'm warning you boys, you don't want any part of this. Trust me, it's better if you just leave it alone."

"Yeah. OK, Bobby." Sam steered the still-tense Dean over to the doorway. "We wouldn't want to get you in trouble. We'll be in touch in a few days to see if you have any more jobs for us." Dean wanted to dig in his heels, but overpowering Sam was a futile effort when Sam really put his mind to it, so he allowed himself to be pushed out the door.

Once safely in the hallway, he turned on Sam. "What the hell was that?" he hissed. "What happened to selling Cas for big bucks?"

"Did you see the look on Bobby's face?" Sam said. "The government's trying to cover this thing up. Whatever's going on, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. If we hand Cas over to them, they might put targets on our backs. As long as we have it, we have leverage.”

“Yeah, if it doesn’t kill us first.” But Dean felt relief rise in his chest.

Sam smirked at him. “Then let’s find out if it’s going to kill us.”

“How? You gonna sit down with it? Have a heart-to-... whatever he’s got in there?”

“Not me,” Sam said. “But I know someone who can.”

“You don’t mean...”

“Come on.” Sam shot Dean a sunny smile. “Let’s drop in on Pamela.”

*to be continued*
 
 
 
cassiopeia7: Dean: readingcassiopeia7 on January 1st, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
"He's the one who gripped you tight and raised you from the Perdition."

ILUSFM! &hearts