Force over Distance by cleanwhiteroom has to be one of the longest fics I have ever read. At over four hundred thousand words, I wouldn’t undertake it unless you have a lot of time on your hands—but if you’re a fan of Stargate Universe, this one is definitely for you.
For those of us who liked Stargate Universe, its premature cancellation left us all wondering what happened next. Due to some very bad decisions in its production, it did not get renewed for a third season, nor did it get a movie, even though the second season left off at a very large cliffhanger. Force over Distance is an answer to that.
I guess that’s not entirely true. The fic actually starts sometime during the second season and then it becomes an AU, but at this point, I’ll take closure where I can get it. In Force over Distance, Dr. Nicolas Rush, through the Destiny’s manipulations, finds himself strapped down in the neural interface chair. There, the Destiny alters his genetic makeup so that he can communicate telepathically with the ship. Unfortunately, being mentally connected with the Destiny has its drawbacks, such as leaving the ship quite possibly no longer being an option for him. Additionally, the ship’s “consciousness”, as it were, has a habit of overriding Rush’s and trapping his mind, thus, in order to combat this, the ship’s AI needs another member of the crew to mentally connect with Rush in turn.
Col. Young, being the leader, decides that he cannot ask anyone under his command to take this burden, so he does it himself. He is bound to Rush, and so even if the crew finds a way to return to Earth, he and Rush might not ever be able to go with them.
What I like most about this story is that it forces both Young and Rush, two people who completely hate and distrust each other, together in a way that doesn’t seemed forced. The reasoning behind their connection here is not farfetched in terms of the Stargate universe, and the relationship between them is very believable. Neither is happy with the arrangement, yet it is inevitable, so they are forced to deal with each other, something neither of them is good at.
Whereas Young is a very stable and well-rounded person, Rush slowly starts descending into madness. Despite everything Young does, the pull the Destiny has on Rush is very taxing to fight, and at every moment, waking and sleeping, both Young and Rush have to be ready to combat it. If something happens to Young, he won’t be able to save Rush from the Destiny, and if the Destiny takes over Rush completely, he’ll fall into a coma-like state, potentially forever. However, Rush’s mental connection with the ship is both needed and dangerous for other reasons. His connection allows him to influence the Destiny in many beneficial ways that become essential to the crew’s survival. Unfortunately, if anything happens to Rush, the entire ship will shut down.
Through their connection, Young and Rush both slowly learn to care for each other, and Force over Distance does manage a slow-building romance between them. Additionally, the fic does not neglect the other characters, and as a result there’s a lot of developing relationships, platonic and romantic. Just about all the characters feel like real people, and even the Destiny’s AI comes across as a sapient being in its own way.
The biggest problem I have with the story, however, is the cursing. A little goes a long way, and the dialogue contains some very OOC swearing. The word “fuck” starts to lose all meaning whenever it’s abused to the point of being in every other line of dialogue. At that point, it becomes an annoyance when reading.
Anyway, if any of you are interested, you can check it out in its entirety here at AO3.