On Alien Shores
Title: On Alien Shores
Fandoms: Highlander/Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dark City
Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Highlander, or Dark City.
It had taken him nearly three years of searching through the alien database, but he thought he had found what he was looking for. A way home.
It took only a little effort for him to change the city-ship's course back toward where the real Earth was supposed to be.
It would take years, but someday he would be able to find the family he had been seeking. He would finally be able to have answers for the questions his dreams left him with.
After all the tinkering the Strangers had done to his memories, he only had a few tatters of real memory, and they were sadly out of order.
He dreamed of swords, flashing lights, and a beautiful woman surrounded by a green glow that made him feel warm inside, safe in a way he had never imagined.
He didn't know who she was, but he knew she was important to who he used to be, to who he wanted to be again someday.
John began new searches through the database, trying to see if the Strangers had kept some record of his stolen memories.
He couldn't really explain his ease with learning a completely alien language, but he appreciated it. Though it made him question even more what kind of man he had once been.
Had he been a scholar? A blue-collar handyman? A policeman? A criminal?
It frustrated him to only have a few scattered memories of who he used to be.
More than anything he wanted to know who he had been. And knowing that even his name--John Murdoch--wasn't his own... it just made it harder for him to go on.
Everything that made him who he was was nothing but a lie.
Just knowing that he was a fake made him wonder if his original self would even have liked what he had become. Or if he would like the man he used to be.
John took to avoiding Anna. There was just something so disturbing about being around her. She wasn't the woman he loved, though there were shadows of Emma everywhere around her. And just thinking about the fact that he maybe didn't even really love Emma, that all his emotions for her were nothing but manufactured memories stolen from the minds of other people...
It made him sick to the center of his soul.
Some days he felt like a ghost haunting the places and times where John Murdoch used to live. Like a thief wandering around in alien skin, pretending at being a man he had never met.
It was on those days that he tried his hardest to call up what few memories he had managed to dig up of the Before. Of the man he called Father in his head, and the beautiful brown haired woman that smiled at him as though he was one of the centers of her world.
It made him ache for all that he had lost without ever even knowing. It made this life here on this alien world even more empty and unreal.
He was a stranger washed up on unfamiliar shores with nothing to hold him to the life of his past but vague memories that he couldn't even validate as ever having been real.
Maybe the flashes of memory he experienced were nothing more than the remnants of a previous memory download. Maybe those memories that he had put so much of his heart and soul into were nothing more than the remnants of another soul, another lie that he had been fed by the Strangers and by Dr. Schreber.
Maybe everything he did now was nothing more than a fruitless experiment in disappointed dreams. He would take them all back to Earth and find out that everything he had buried his soul in was nothing but smoke with no flame. There would be no family waiting, no name that he could reclaim, nothing.
That was his worst fear. That everything he did now was useless.
Sometimes he thought about what it would have been like if he had just let things go on as they were. If he hadn't woken up to the fact that everything he knew wasn't real.
Maybe then he would still love Emma, or Anna, or whatever name they decided to give her. He would never have to know that there love wasn't real, because long as he didn't know it wasn't, what did it really hurt? He would have still been happy with her.
But that was all over now, because there was no way he could go back to his ignorant state. The demons had been let out of the box, Pandora's dress was already burning, and he was taking the ship back to Earth to find out if there was anything left there for him or if everything was useless.
He spent a lot of time alone in his apartment, just laying on his back in bed staring at the ceiling.
He knew it was probably incredibly juvenile to spend most of his time sulking in his room, but there really wasn't anything else he wanted to do.
The ship was fully automated, and since he commanded all the resources on board it wasn't like he had to work for money or anything. And even if he had had any desire to hold down a job, just knowing that nothing here was real took away from his drive to do anything.
He spent his time imagining what life on Earth was going to be like. To live his own life for the first time in he didn't even know how long.
And that was part of what made things so terrible. He didn't know how long he and any of the others had been aboard this city-ship. It could have been two years, three, ten, or maybe a hundred or a thousand. They might make it all the way back to Earth and find that nothing existed, that humanity was long gone and they were alone.
It terrified him, but he refused to allow himself to dwell on that idea. He would not throw away hope until it was wrested from his grasping, cold dead fingers.
Because in the end, after everything he had discovered, the dream of Earth was all he had left. The Strangers had burned everything else, and Dr. Schreber had scattered the ashes.
At least when he lay alone on his bed, he could imagine the touch of sunlight on a beautiful Earth. He could imagine the love of a family he couldn't name. And he could make himself believe that everything was going to be better, now that the Strangers were gone and they were free.