RATING: NC17 (mild) for entire fic; G for preview
TIMING: Begins shortly after Enemy at the Gate, S5x20
SUMMARY: Imagine the future. What if Rodney had been the boss in Atlantis? Or Pegasus? Ah, but not to worry. He merely thought he'd been in charge. And it wasn't John either. It was Teyla whose wisdom prevailed, her vision for her people and all of the worlds in Pegasus compelling her to keep her mind firmly focused on her goals. Her determination and perseverance did not waver, even as she encountered tragic losses throughout her life.
But nothing would extinguish her love for her people, in Atlantis and throughout Pegasus, for her children and, on occasion - when they weren't being too irritating which wasn't often enough - for John and Rodney. Through her, they learnt the true meaning of redemption.
PECULAR QUOTE OF THE DAY: "What would a cat know about heaven?"
Even I have to admit it's never been ascertained why a variety of fish played such a prominent role in this story. But an old man and his Yorkshire terrier proved indispensable.
Just remember, don't let Rodney know he wasn't supposed to be the centre of attention.
WORD COUNT: 58679 words
AUTHOR'S NOTES (partial):
I am so grateful to the two betas who responded to my request: nightshadow_t2 and ambrosia4all.
Thanks also to my cheer-leading group (crossborder_bb) who read snippets of two chapters after I got brave enough to submit them.
Finally, it was an honour for me to have been chosen by artist mapsandlegends. I don't know how long I can hold my breath until her artwork is revealed.
And just an observation. If you find the spelling odd, please remember, Rodney's not the only Canadian here.
OKAY, ENOUGH WITH THE TALKING. BRING ON THE PREVIEW.
No Job, No Luck, No Future
.....Memorial Day weekend, 2008
Rob couldn't stand the thought of remaining in Riverside, Iowa, over the long holiday weekend. It was the last place he wanted to be, but he knew he shouldn't go too far out of town. He didn't want to worry his folks any more than they already did. But he didn't want to mope around, hiding in their backyard either.
So he looked through the local papers. Then he found it. It was perfect. If anything could allow him to forget about the disgrace, Houby Days might do the trick.
He arrived in Cedar Rapids, a quick 32-mile trip, early Saturday morning and left his car parked at the Roundhouse. He felt he could spend the whole day here, immersing himself in the Czech experience. Not that he'd ever had any connections to the State's Czech community - his family being WASP and all - well, maybe not the Protestant part. More like Agnostic. But good people.
As he walked closer to the fairgrounds, he snatched aromas of food and random folk melodies out of the air: preserved memories of generations of immigrants - anything but the predictable all-American celebrations that were standard - almost compulsory - for this weekend. And too much for him to bear.
He spent most of the day wandering, eating tasty though unpronouncable foods and listening to different bands. His fave seemed to be the Czech equivalent of bluegrass, though the hand-written sign listed it as country folk. Guitar, mandoline and banjo were the main instruments.
Later, Rob didn't know why his feet led him away from the bright lights and the music towards the outskirts, where there were a few scattered tents. He stopped at one. Huh - he hadn't expected a fortune teller. Wasn't that like against the law or something these days? And the sign. Madame Helenka sees all. Yeah, sure, he grimaced. Typical fake stuff.
To his surprise, he entered the tent despite his misgivings. He hadn't known what to expect, definitely not this short old woman with long blonde curls piled atop her head. Obviously dyed, though he'd be too polite to say that out loud. Her gown looked like a nebula forming, its scattered sparkles resembling newborn stars, almost too pretty to be worn by a quack at a local fair. It didn't look real to him, more like magic - though everyone knew that there was no such thing as magic.
He paid her the fee which she then stuffed into a brass jar behind her.
After he'd sat down, she passed her palm in front of his face. He found his eyes had closed without any conscious thought.
Images coursed through his mind, too many to process. But some things stood out. A star-filled sky. Two moons. A bald-headed man. A woman with golden-brown skin and bronze hair. And he himself was standing next to her, looking over her shoulder at a piece of paper.
When the images faded away, he opened his eyes. He felt he should be angry, though he couldn't be sure how the old woman had tricked him. The constellations were unfamiliar. And two moons - that was just sci-fi hooey.
Feeling foolish and stupid for having thrown his money away, Rob stood up. But, before he could step away from the old lady and the inexplicable daydream she'd induced, she grabbed his hand with far more strength than he thought her capable of.
"One last thing, Mr. Lang," she spoke in heavily accented English - and where the hell had she gotten his last name - "Do not forget to take your rug-hooking tools. Ano?"
Decades later, Rob would think back to before - when he thought his life and career were prematurely ended - and still wonder how that old woman could have predicted he'd be in space, in the Pegasus galaxy to be exact, doing things that amazed him every single day.
To read more about Rob's adventures in outer space and, oh yes, definitely about Rodney, John and Teyla (the stars of this epic story), stay tuned for the upcoming release of Trinity of One (a tale of love, loss and redemption), coming soon to an exclusive BigBang location near you.
Close your eyes and listen to what Rob heard at the fair.
Open your eyes and see Madame Helenka's gown ... or newborn stars in a nebula.