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The Inheritors -- the first scene

A reader asked if I could share the first scene of The Inheritors as a teaser for the book. Mind you, this is still a draft that we haven't turned in yet, but here it is! Minor spoilers for the end of Secrets.



The sun was rising over the icy sea, pale and watery, but at least today wasn't overcast. They were standing on the balcony off the gateroom, both of them nursing steaming cups of coffee as they watched the light touch the tips of the towers of Atlantis, gilding them with light that slid down them like liquid as the sun lifted clear of the horizon.

"So do we have a plan for destroying this thing yet?" John Sheppard asked.

"I'm still going with 'let's drop it into a sun,'" Sam Carter said. "It may not be elegant, but it'll get the job done."

"Maybe a little overkill."

"Or maybe not," Sam said. "If Hyperion's weapon has a naquadah casing, it's going to be very hard to destroy by any other means. A large enough nuclear explosion would do it, but it would have to be a really big nuclear explosion. Not very practical."

"Let's not nuke our own planet." It didn't sound to John like much of an option.

"I'm with you there. If we drop the thing into the sun in front of a Wraith observer, that should take care of the problem. It would be nice to have a chance to study it first, but I'm not sure we have that luxury right now."

"I'm pretty sure we don't," John said. "Todd and his people are understandably unhappy about our having a weapon that could destroy all the Wraith. If we want their help against Queen Death -- and whether we want it or not, we need it -- we can't play around."

"I'm with you there, too."

John looked at her sideways. "Is General O'Neill?" He figured she'd talked to O'Neill after the official briefing. O'Neill had been wearing his best poker face, but if anyone knew what his true feelings were, it was Sam.

"You mean does he agree that we have to act on this quickly?"

"I mean does he agree that destroying the weapon is the right thing to do?"

"Do you?"

"Yes," John said after only a momentary pause. "I do."

"Because it might kill humans with Wraith DNA as well as the Wraith themselves?"

"That's what Alabaster says it'll do," John said. "I'm not sure I trust Alabaster any farther than I can throw her. But, okay, say you looked at it and said you thought it would just kill Wraith, and we said we were all willing to take that chance. Press a button, and, bang, no more Wraith. We win, right?"

"By committing genocide," Sam said. She looked grim, and John wondered if she was thinking about the Asuran Replicators. They'd had no other choice, and Sam had clearly taken a fierce satisfaction at the time in wiping out the Replicator threat once and for all, but that probably didn't make it easier to live with late at night.

"Yeah, let's not go there today. But is O'Neill in our corner?"

"Always," Sam said seriously. "But if you mean does he agree with you, yes, he think that destroying the device is the right thing to do."

"You talked him around?"

"I didn't have to. Apparently Woolsey was pretty persuasive." She didn't quite say go figure, but she didn't have to.

"You know, he's not so bad," John said.

"He used to be. I'm glad he's changed."

"Atlantis does that to people," John said. He started to say Look at McKay, and then remembered with a twinge just how much Rodney had changed in the hands of the Wraith. He seemed more or less his old self, despite being left with shockingly white hair and the telepathic abilities of a Wraith, but having lived as one of the Wraith, actually led a deadly attack on Atlantis ... it couldn't be easy to come back from that.

"I've noticed," Sam said, a little teasingly. He smiled crookedly in response. He'd be the first one to say that Atlantis had changed him for the better. The people he'd met there, and the city itself.

"As long as O'Neill's on board."

"He's on board," Sam said. "And he's in the best position to see the other reason we have to destroy this thing fast. The IOA," she added when he raised his eyebrows. "If they find out we had a weapon that could have destroyed the Wraith and didn't use it, Woolsey will probably lose his job, and Jack might not be far behind. Of course, he's been saying for years that it would be a relief if they finally kicked him out of the Air Force, so that he could dump it all on someone else and go fishing." Sam smiled a little ruefully. "But he doesn't mean it."

"So let's get this done," John said.

"Well, I'll need the device before I can destroy it," Sam said. "If you'll go get it from wherever you hid it ..."

"You may as well come with me," John said, after a moment's hesitation that he decided wasn't entirely rational. "I'd rather not handle the weird Ancient device we don't understand any more than I have to. You don't have the ATA gene, so you're less likely to destroy all the Wraith in the galaxy by accident."

"Assuming that the user has to have the gene," Sam said. "We have found some Ancient devices that will work for anyone as long as someone with the gene turns them on."

"I didn't turn it on," John said, but he knew that sometimes touching Ancient machinery was all it took to make it respond to him, waking up eagerly in his hands. "I hope I didn't turn it on."

"We'll see, right?"

Sam followed him up a transport chamber and several sets of stairs to the catwalks where he usually went running with Ronon. Above them, a tangled grid of struts and roof supports extended up into the shadows.

"I keep some stuff up here," John said. "Just in case." He wondered if she'd call him paranoid, but she only nodded.

"You should see all the stuff we had stashed around Cheyenne Mountain," Sam said. "In case of a foothold situation, or the government being taken over by aliens, or something. We had a list of worst-case scenarios. A lot of them happened, eventually."

"And the important thing is that you were prepared."

"That's right," Sam said. He wasn't sure if she was joking or not. For that matter, he wasn't sure if he was or not.

"It's up there," John said. He scrambled up onto the rail of the catwalk, and then hauled himself up the jungle gym of struts and poles until he could reach the ledge where he'd stashed the weapon in between a spare Wraith stunner and a box of C4.

The stunner and the C4 were both still there, still securely duct taped to the ledge. In between them, the web of duct tape had been slit neatly with a knife.

"Damn it!"

"What?" Sam called from the catwalk below.

"The weapon's gone," John said. "Somebody got here first."

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
pegasus_jay
Oct. 16th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
I just cant wait for the whole book! John is not going to be happy with Rodney.
jo_graham
Oct. 17th, 2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
No he's not! Big problem!
whatthefaith
Oct. 17th, 2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
I keep thinking about Rodney and Doranda when I read this - the surety he had that he thought he knew better and could make the technology work. Now it's that he thinks he's better equipped to keep the weapon safe. Oy vey...
jo_graham
Oct. 17th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
Yep. But it's about to look very, very bad for Rodney!
jansma
Oct. 18th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Oh my, someone is going to be a whole lot of deep shite. Dear Rodney, wtf are you thinking?
jo_graham
Oct. 19th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
That is the question, isn't it? Is this about Rodney's own wishes, or is he still controlled by Queen Death?
jansma
Oct. 19th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
Is he actually controlled or is it that he's so used to thinking like a cleverman he adopted the mentality? Stolkholm Syndrome, perhaps?
jo_graham
Oct. 20th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
That could be. Ronon may have a point....
hiveshipmist
Oct. 19th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
I am wondering if Rodney initialized this thing and if anyone can use it besides those with the ATA gene after it is initialized...
jo_graham
Oct. 19th, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
Oh clever question! No, actually John accidentally initialized it when he touched it to hide it. Anyone can use it now!
hiveshipmist
Oct. 19th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Danger and intrigue right from chapter 1. Nice. :)
starry_haze
Oct. 19th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
Nerdy question, but Jo, did you create a working "map" of Atlantis as you were writing the books?

When you write, you have such confidence and awareness of space—e.g. Ronon went to this tower, or that pier, or that laboratory on that level, etc.—and I feel lost when trying to move a character from one location to another within Atlantis. I was curious: how do you approach the challenge of writing about a building or a landscape that has no existing map or layout?

(This would apply to the layout and terrain of Athos, Sateda, and other fictional planets/cities as well.) Thanks for the preview and insight; I'm super enjoying the Legacy series and raving about it to so many friends, even ones who've never watched SGA! :)
jansma
Oct. 19th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
Good question. As a fic writer, I'm always trying to look for decent blueprints of the city.
jo_graham
Oct. 20th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Sadly, as I said below, I don't have a map. It certainly would have made it easier if we had! :)
jansma
Oct. 20th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
I should say so. :)
jo_graham
Oct. 20th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! No, actually we don't have a map. I've watched most of the episodes multiple times, and I have a really good memory for spaces. Sometimes I've gone back and looked at a particular scene to see what it looks like again -- I use the screen caps on Gateworld for this a lot -- so that I can see what you can see from where. For example, one of the best episodes for the geography of the central tower is Tabula Rasa, where Teyla, Sam and Rodney all walk through multiple areas in single sequences. It gives you a really nice look at how you walk to the mess hall from the control room, for example.

Most of Sateda isn't mine. It's Amy and Melissa's, but they were basing the city and especially the museum on a real place, the Neues Museum in Berlin. It's not exact, but many of the descriptions in the museum particularly are "really" Berlin.

I'm primarily a historical novelist, so I'm used to writing about real places that may have changed since the period I'm writing in. I try to be very careful and consistent because I know my audience contains people who actually live there! For example, I can't BS the geography of Paris or Colorado Springs! I always have that in mind.

Which is certainly true of the Colorado Springs sections of Stargate. For example, in The Furies, when Daniel and Jack leave Cheyenne Mountain, I found actual pictures of the parking lot and Google Maps and Google Earth of how you get from the parking lot onto the interstate. All of Daniel's turns are the real turns you'd make.

Why? Because I know there is at least one reader of this blog who lives in Colorado Springs, and I don't like looking like an idiot! ;)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )