Michael Junior bundles the double-fist of bed covers he’s got against his chest again and rubs his cheek against the smooth, cool softness of his pillow. Even in the dark, the part of the room that was his is awesome. He smiles again and wiggles his bare toes underneath the covers again. Enjoying the feel of the smooth softness that wasn’t too cool and wasn’t too hot but just the right sort of cozy. He fights the urge to giggle in the darkness then he hears rustling. It doesn’t scare him though, he’s heard it before. Quietly, Michael rolls onto his back and looks down the length of his bed and over at his mother’s bed.
She’s flung her covers aside and is getting out of bed. Then she stops, sitting over the edge of her bed, and looks around the room for a while. Her movements are small and slow, tired out. It is clear his mother isn’t taking to their new room they way he had.
Finally she walks over to stand by the window above her bed like he’s seen her do lots and lots of times in their old home back on Earth. She leans against the window’s frame and looks out. The lit up city stretches out below. Each individual light like a diffused beacon amidst the dark shadows of the unlit surfaces of the city. Some pearly white, some warmingly golden, others autumnal orange, and others still blushed antique pink. Those lucky enough to be clustered together light’s join in blushing glows, creating halos of ethereal light adorning all around the city like the gospel of Atlantis. The twin moonlight reflects off of the glassily rolling seas out beyond the quieter, sparingly lit piers. Her eyes stay out there.
She reaches underneath her pajama top and holds on to the Army’s necklace she always wore. He knew she was missing his Daddy. Silently, he watches his mother mourn, as she has done hundreds of times before, in the darkness…I’m sorry Mommy.
First and foremost, thanks to everybody associated with the Stargate franchise, especially Stargate Atlantis. Without your work on this totally awesome series, this book would not be possible in so many ways. Thank you, thank you so very, very much! And, of course, to all of the fans of this franchise and especially this series, like me, thank you for buying this book and keeping the Lost City of the Ancients’ lights on and still burning even though we don’t get to see her on a regular television basis anymore. Yep, we just aren’t going to let this series go! And thank you to everyone that has ever been associated with Stargate SG-1/Atlantis/SGU Magazine for every scrap of information, interviews, short stories, and just everything a writer could ask for all in one handy place. I’m so sorry the magazine is gone, but know I have every issue of that was ever made and they are all always at my side to make every Stargate story I write just as accurate and the best that it can possibly be. I wouldn’t do any less for my fellow fans. Thanks for helping me make that possible. I’d also like to thank Fandemonium for never letting the gate close! Fans never let fans down! Many grateful thanks to author Jaimie Duncan for your short story “A Pebble in the Cairn” that was featured in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis Magazine Issue #14. It greatly and deeply helped shape Ronon’s inner thinkings as well as his interactions with his fellow team members and his behind-the-scenes relationship history with them in this story. It was a tremendously big help for and with a character who was known for being the strong and silent type. Thank you to Robert Picardo for fleshing out the Richard Woolsey character. You gave me someone so multi-faceted to work with from the very beginning and for that I will always be thankful for your work and association with the Stargate franchise and to GateWorld.net, David Read, Chad Colvin, Shaun Farrell, and Bryan Cairns for the interviews and compiling you did for Stargate SG-1/Atlantis/SGU Magazine with Mister Picardo in Issues #23, #24, #25, and #26, everything all of you did helped me bring out even more of the Woolsey character, like how he felt when he found out he was being put in charge of the city and when he first came to her, to really round out this story and to feature Woolsey as a main factor in it. Thank you so much. I’d like to give a lot of kudos to Stargate Wiki and everyone who goes to it and adds information to it because I couldn’t find the name of Ronon’s “As good as” Satedan wife anywhere else. Likewise, another thank you to all my friends and extended Stargate-lovin’ family at GateWorld.net, thanks for the Omnipedia to further help me answer all my littler questions like what console exactly does the Chucknician man in Atlantis’ command center and thanks to Chuck Campbell for the character in the first place. A huge amount of gratitude to Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, Martin Wood, Joe Flanigan, and Robert Patrick for the premiere episode of Stargate Atlantis “Rising” for which I have been able to echo this scene and novelize it in this story to show how far Sheppard’s character has come from his first year and how Kenmore can bring all of that out in him let alone showing some of her own personality in the process. I’d made for a great scene between two characters then and it makes for a great scene between two characters now. Thank you so much. I’d like to thank the artists of the Cosmic design of tarot cards for their beautiful images and to the creators of the Gundam Wing version of tarot cards for the sweet irony of your Heero-Yuy as The Hanged Man card; I love Gundam! Thank you to stlyrics.com for the lyrics to “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” from The Song of the South, let alone for helping me spell them right. It added another depth to the Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore character. To writer Carl Binder, director Andy Mikita, and actors Rachel Luttrell and Joe Flanigan for the season one episode “Letters From Pegasus,” the moment you created and I novelized here enhanced Sheppard’s character in a fabulous way that I absolutely have all of you to thank for. Thank you again to Carl Binder, Andy Mikita, and Rachel Luttrell for their incredible work with the fourth season Atlantis episode “Missing,” it provided such great background for the Teyla Emmagan character to draw upon in this moment that I referenced in this story. It was a beautiful wealth of insight and emotion, thank you. Thanks goes out to everyone involved with the creation and conceiving of the season four episode, “Spoils of War.” It helped establish Ronon’s thoughts about Kenmore and all the explanations the series came up with through its five years that clouded and made it possible to not exactly know or be sure where the new Lieutenant Kenmore comes from! We know what Rodney had found out, but we didn’t know if he was indeed getting the truth. He was, but it was fun to keep the guessing going to the end! You allowed me to have a writer’s dream of a “tah-dah” moment. Thanks everybody bunches for that! Likewise thank you to everybody involved with the season one episode “Sanctuary,” especially you visual effects guys. It was really helpful for fleshing out the reasons why Kenmore was posted to Atlantis, with her son, and behind her back. And for putting a clue in place as to who and what she is and what she could potentionally mean for the Expedition. In short, it kind of gives her her roots and I will always be grateful to you for that. You gave her her first spark, thank you. And kudos to Jennifer S. Carroll’s article “Appellate Specialization and the Art of Appellate Advocacy” as I found it in the Florida Bar Journal’s June 2000, Volume LXXIV, No. 6 issue for providing me with the background on what sort of lawyer Richard Woolsey was and what that meant exactly. It helped me work out how Woolsey would have acted throughout that last scene of his and helped set up the final official entrance of Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore into the canon of Stargate Atlantis and Team Atlantis itself. And lastly, to my Mother, thank you for being the first person to put a pen in my hand and telling me to go out and have an adventure and watching Stargate Atlantis with me—p.s. the adventure is awesome. Thank you beyond every word I could possibly write or say for your undying support, Is breá liom tú Mamaí (I love you Mommy).