Prologue

The evacuation order by Moros had been announced. The normal composure of the people of Atlantis was set aside as many began the process of collecting what they wished to keep on them for their return to Terra after so many years. Of course it wasn’t a very voluntary choice on the matter. The Alteran people were being driven out, seeking their own survival. It was something that was not well received by a number of them.

Many of those that chose not to go, ascended instead, retreating to their private areas to begin the process. A very small selection stayed behind to look over the worlds that had come to take place deep within their hearts. The concession being that they remained ascended, they were limited to protecting that one world. So many rules.

Cerese had taken the ascended form before, during her time on Terra when Atlantis had once called it home. She had retaken her human form a short time after it had returned to the Pegasus Galaxy. So many things her people had done that filled her heart with shame. The Wraith experiment being one of them.

“Please. Just go. I will be fine,” Cerese pleaded as she tried to pull her mate from their shared space.

Aeolus shook her head emphatically. “I will not leave you. We must find a way, why it is not happening.”

“It is as they wish it to be,” she replied somberly. “Do not let it be so for you. Please join the others. I will remain with our home here if I must.” The unspoken words, until the end, echoed loudly in their ears as they shared a moment in one another’s eyes. “Go. You must.”

He swallowed his pain hard as he started to turn away but stopped himself when a thought came to him. “No. I will take you to Etheus. You will go into the chamber there and sleep. I will find a way for us to be together. It may take time but it will keep you safe.”

Cerese gave him a faint smile, the argument that it would not be necessary falling from her thoughts at the determined expression on his face. “We will go. I will wait for you,” she said, meeting her forehead to his.

Parting, he gave her the crooked smile she had come to love. “Let us go. We will need to take a gateship to the spacegate in the next star system.”

She nodded her agreement as he took her hand and led her away from the flow of Alterans towards the ship holding. As they settled into their seats and Aeolus powered up the gateship, Cerese cast a long, slow look around her, knowing that it would not be for a very long time before she would see the place she called home. If ever again.

The couple were cloaked before the gateship even fully left Atlantis. As the nearest space gate was a distance away, it necessitated having to pass the incoming Wraith fleet. “Aeolus,” Cerese voiced, the stress in the sounds that came from her at the sight of the formidable enemy created by Atleran hands.

“The cloak is working. Do not be afraid. We will be there soon,” he soothed gently. Not long after, the gate was in view. “See. It won’t be long now.”

They were quiet as the gate activated and they slipped through before the Wraith darts, who had been alerted to the activity, could make it them before they crossed the horizon. The Etheusian people were busying harvesting their crops and were non the wiser about the cloaked ship that flew over them, except for the gentle breeze that placed warm smiles on their faces as they worked.

Setting the gateship down outside the small cavern, Aeolus collected a bag that he brought with him, quickly leading Cerese inside and opened the very well hidden chamber. She rushed straight to the control panel to awaken the slumbering systems to adjust the settings to power the stasis chamber. Aeolus, in the meanwhile, was placing extra power modules to keep the tiny science lab powered minimally for as long as possible in case he could not find a solution quickly enough.

“We are ready,” he announced sadly as he made his way to meet Cerese by the chamber. “We will be together again one day.”

“I know we will. Join the others. You may make it back in time before they close the gate.”

He nodded. “I will. I – I just wish to spend a few moments longer. I do not want to leave you,” he said as he pulled her into an embrace. They stood like that for what may have felt to be an eternity before she pulled back and wordlessly stepped into the chamber.

Their eyes held each other as he reached up to enclose Cerese to her slumber before he painfully shut down the unessential systems and activated the protection around the cavern to keep his love from harm.

He stood there, saying his goodbyes, his heart hoping it would not be the last before he returned to Atlantis. He hurried through the corridors as the city had already begun its descent into the ocean. As he reached the gate, he could see Morose and Janus waiting at the control stations.

“Where is Doctor Weir?” Councilwoman asked Janus.

“She has gone through the gate. She was amongst the first to evacuate,” he answered almost despondently. Aeolus frowned, knowing that was not in the man’s nature as they had been friendly.

Morose, on the other hand, eyed him with a skilled mask of suspicion. “Good.”

Janus made his way down the stairs and met Aeolus’ eye before slipping a small smile at him and crossed the horizon. Aeolus hesitated as he glanced back up at the council members and decided then to seek Janus’ assistance on Terra to aid in finding the cause of Cerese’s inability to ascend again.

Only the day had never come to return and Cerese continued to slumber.