I had always thought there would be rain on a day like today.

Instead, the crisp early winter sky was bright and sunny, the stench of dead leaves and dying grass quickly reaching my nose. There was a light breeze in the air, blowing the limbs of nearby trees to and fro, creating a rustle of branches that could not be called anything else but a quietly contained roar.

If I concentrated hard enough, I could smell smoke in the air; evidence of people doing their best to combat the frigid atmosphere from their consumption of their carefully gathered firewood. Burning wood was a favorite scent of mine – it always evoked a sense of comfort and warmth as a result of basking in front of a carefully maintained fire. I could imagine the crackling and popping of the firewood as it burned in the homes, the thought almost making me smile as I could imagine the heat baking my frozen skin. It was just too bad that those memories were useless against the dour forces that were consuming my psyche at the moment.

Folk in this town were predicting a heavy winter this year. The grain silos were filled almost to bursting, the plows had been carefully maintained in preparation, and the appropriate clothing had been in heavy demand for the past few weeks. I didn't care, personally. I was not anticipating remaining in this city one more day. I just needed to make it past tonight and then I would be free to leave, finally able to shed just one more piece of emotional baggage I had thought had been left firmly behind already. I just wanted to get out of this weather at the very least; the thin air was causing my skin to dry out, yet another source of annoyance for me to consider.

The quiet voice of the preacher finally wafted above the frigid wind assailing my cheeks and threatening to flip up my short hair, rousing me back to the present. I focused enough to reassess my surroundings, trying to hone in on the large object positioned in front of me while a sea of people dressed in fine black clothing encircled it silently.

"Well, here I am again," I whispered to no one in particular.

The coffin was polished to a mirror sheen. It had silver handles, no trim, and no distinguishing features. The only thing that was unique about it was the person it contained within the smoothed wood and the relationship that said person once had with me. Other than this little procession, the group stood out easily amongst the stark flatness of the graveyard's plain, with no mountains or skyscrapers to define the area's location. If I could maneuver my gaze past the throng, I could peer out into a golden sea of land, utterly flat and featureless - the vast expanse of the grassland ocean projecting the seclusion I was feeling right now.

As the wind continued its ceaseless assault, I rubbed at my cheeks frantically in an attempt to warm them. My beard was closely cropped to my face but soft, not really that ideal at warding off frigid temperatures. In addition, the black suit that I had chosen to wear did not provide very good insulation. All it was doing was stretching tight across my broad and tall frame, the collar choking my neck. I tugged on the sleeves, trying to help encapsulate as much of my body as possible. The effort was useless as frozen daggers stabbed through the cloth, turning my innards to ice.

My wrist was throbbing again, more likely in response to the low pressures from an incoming storm. Absentmindedly, no longer paying the service any heed, I examined my wrist closely, folding as much of my clothing away as I dared, exposing a faint scar that completely encircled my arm where my hand met my wrist. I clenched my fingers together, biting back a grimace as the cold aggravated the stiff sensation. The wound had never healed right, the reattached nerve endings occasionally failed to transmit my brain's commands and the frigid temperatures were certainly not doing me any favors. Even years later, the actions of a knife-wielding lunatic were still messing about with my life.

With a final, stubborn, clench of my fist, I covered the wound up – the only evidence that my limb had once been severed. I shuddered, growing more pained by the minute, as I consistently grappled with my surroundings, warding off one demon at a time.

We had reached the part of the service where muscle memory took over and I struggled to move to the front of the line, directly in front of the coffin. As I walked up, I noticed that several of the mourners' faces were wet, streaked with tears. My eyes were conversely dry, strangely. I had no tears to shed, nothing left to give in the moment. All I could do was proceed as normally as I could and follow my part to the letter. It was what was expected of me… and I had been in this situation before, anyway.

One more funeral. One more person gone. I've been burying too many people throughout my short life.

The rose in my hand fell from my fingertips onto the coffin as my cold tendons loosened and released the object in their grip. The petals made a slight crinkling noise as they hit the smooth wood, audible even among this wind. My ungloved hand reached out and briefly brushed against the coffin, absorbing the last moment of closeness that I could ever hope to garner again. I was not a religious man, but a silent prayer ran through my head, pleading for a sign or even a sensation that I could find some meaning in this very span of time. Even an imaginary stimulus on my mind with ersatz warmth and assurances would have been welcomed greatly, just something that I could glean that I was not going crazy.

Yet no such sensation arrived. The moment came and went, my fingers detaching from the coffin with a rough scrape, only raw gusts slicing at my fingertips. The notion of warmth was sliced to ribbons instantaneously.

Dejected, I stepped out of the line and let others deposit their roses and respects. I ambled around the coffin and shoved my hands in the pockets of my coat for them to thaw, glancing at the brand-new headstone that adorned the empty grave. It had been sandblasted the night before, the font in the granite rock looking so sharp that they could cut through metal. Out of curiosity I reached out, tracing the first few letters of the name permanently etched into the stone, destined to remain there for eons upon eons.

Patrick McLeod, the stone read. Born 2129, died 2188.

Almost sixty years my father had walked this earth, but to me I was looking back upon sixty years of a stranger's life. Who was this man to me? No one, that's who. Even though the evidence was all there – the relationship between me and my father, it was all just a farce from where I stood. An unfortunately constructed lie upon which I had been told about my bond with, but I never had the memories to support the claims.

You see, up until the year 2182, my life as I knew it never existed. Not in this universe, to be exact. For my consciousness, there is at least 150 years of a gap in my head between the critical moment of now and the time when I actually began to exist. The maze of my head offered no exit, as while I now inhabit the year of 2188, I possess memories of my life that cognize and break off in the year 2015. To explain the circumstances in total detail would be lengthy and boring in many aspects. Even I still have trouble fully mapping everything out sometimes.

All I knew for sure is that I was not always a resident of this universe, as in the one I was inhabiting right now. Six years ago, my consciousness was firmly rooted in the beginning of the twenty-first century, if such a thing can be believed. It was a dark time of my life then, and my story was supposed to have ended in the year 2015 when I deliberately made the choice to commit suicide in response to growing mental pains and therefore would provide an end to my so-called suffering.

Somehow, in a fantastical accident, I ended up where I am today – over a hundred and fifty years into the future. And not just any future, but a future derived from and made up of a universe depicted in a video game that I used to play in my relative "past." Naturally, I did not take the news well at first. I had tried every trick in the book to wake myself up in case everything I saw was a dream. Nothing worked, and soon enough I found myself thrust into a bevy of situations that I never could have imagined that I would ever experience and be exposed to a wide array of emotions so powerful that I had previously forgotten what it was like to feel again, no longer weighed down by the oppressive weight of depression and angst.

Here, I became many things. I had been a bystander, a coward, a soldier, a lover. Fearful, hateful, entitled, spiteful, redeemed, heroic, adored, complete. I faced down my wretched past and quashed it under my heel throughout my years of running and refusing to face reality. But there was now today to contend with and all those previously forgotten memories were in the process of being unearthed. One grave gets dug, another gets exhumed.

After finishing with their final respects, a few people broke off from the group to offer me their condolences. I'm so sorry, Sam, they said. I will pray for you, they said. He was taken too early, they said. I could only nod my head and mumble my thanks, despite feeling unable to emote. And why would I? All of the experiences that I had somehow managed to share with the man lying in the coffin were gone, all of them erased when my consciousness suddenly sprung to life just a few years ago. In my mind, in this universe, I had not shared a single, solitary moment with the man whom people called my father.

I was still not sure what he died from, nor did I feel like inquiring. His spouse, my mother, had been taken from an auto-immune disease about ten years prior, so I had never had the chance to know her here. I wanted to feel sorry. I wanted to care about the loss of two people who, intrinsically, I knew had been kind and loving to me in this life.

But I could only feel nothing for them now, which sickened and disturbed me.

The crowd gradually dissipated as everyone headed to the provided vehicles just a hundred feet away on the trail, escaping the blasts of air that were beginning to blow harder, storm clouds now encroaching on the horizon. I continued to stand by the grave, my throat unclenching as more and more people left me to my solitude. I guess I did not realize that the immediate proximity of these strangers around me had been progressively causing me undue stress. It made sense; I did not know any of these people – not really. Sure, many of them may be of my blood, but were they the exact same individuals that I recognized from back in 2015? The universe cannot replicate every single person perfectly, so why feel some connection to this crowd in the first place?

All these people, my relatives, my father, I had not spent a nanosecond of my being in their proximity – from my perspective. All of a sudden, I had been thrust into this moment, forced to accept my position, my relationship, from years of a supposed bond. No memories lingered, there was nothing for me to draw on to feel pain or love, just the nausea-inducing emptiness of loss.

A voice off in the distance was calling my name – an immediate cousin, perhaps, was waving me over to the lead vehicle near the road. Apparently it was time to leave. Insensitive prick.

Taking one final forlorn glance at the coffin, I sighed and trudged across the freezing ground toward the convoy. If looked hard in the distance, I could scarcely see the high rises of downtown Des Moines off in the distance through the ever-growing fog. The city had really rebounded after the war as it turned out; the agriculture and manufacturing hubs that were located in the state of Iowa had been relatively undamaged and were able to get back up to production rather quickly, bringing employment to the area in droves.

I hated this town. It was too cold and too flat. Despite the urbanization of the landscape, Des Moines had not managed to shake off its rural roots yet. Everything felt too wide, too empty, that I felt a pang for more interaction despite my current desire to be left alone.

Clambering into the front seat of the lead car, the tinted windows provided me an escape from the rest of the world. I was allowed to gaze freely, hand over my mouth, and ponder silently as the bulk of our cars proceeded onto our next destination. Behind us, the coffin began its descent into the earth, to be swallowed up into the ground from whence we had all come from once.

I cranked up the heat and pressed myself further into the supple leather of the chair. My limbs began to throb angrily as they thawed, preventing me from relaxing entirely on our journey. Focusing on the tall limbs of wire towers as we drove alongside them, my gaze went beyond the physical objects tied to this world of dirt and water and up into the beautiful blue sky and what lay beyond it.

I just hoped that when I escaped the confines of this planet after today, I could abandon my thoughts of mortality along as well.

The memorial service was held at a house that I did not recognize. Ostensibly I eventually realized that it had been my late parents' home, judging by the pictures of their likenesses framed on the walls. It was interesting to see how little I could glean of my life from looking at the pictures as very few actually depicted me in a manner that gave away my interests, my friends, or my career.

As if I thought it would be so easy.

Being now the only one left from this section of the McLeod family, it was expected that I would be subject to every single goddamn one of the people crammed into this house wishing to express their sorrow to me, never mind if they already did so at the actual funeral.

At some point I quickly became tired and nervous from the constant handshaking, somber nodding, and forced acknowledgements that I muttered some lame excuse about wanting to get some air, grabbed a glass of water, and stepped outside onto the deck of the backyard so quickly that I imagined myself suddenly turning invisible.

Almost immediately I regretted my choice. Night had fallen by now and the temperature had dropped even further to a bone-chilling 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, there was no way I could go back inside and fake my way through all that interaction, so I guess I was going to have to settle for shivering outside.

My breath was frosting and the water that I was stupidly holding with my bare hand had ice in it, causing my skin to get even colder. Despite the temperature, I took a sip from the glass, shuddering as it felt like my throat was freezing from the inside, but the liquid helped to dispel the aridness of my mouth. Damn the lack of humidity – yet another reason to dislike this place.

The backyard of the house was simple. It was barely a quarter of an acre large, completely fenced in, but the deck of the house had been raised to accommodate the above-ground hot tub that had been installed. A cover was currently over the tub, obviously, as it was too cold to take a dip into the water as well as being too expensive to heat in this season. The deck was made out of wood, peeling from the abuse the elements had imparted on it, the paint of the railing flaking away at my barest touch. I stared at my palm, watching the flakes blow away in the wind, into the cold dark illuminated only from the moon, the stars, and the gigantic space station situated in the sky.

The Citadel. A space station over 40 kilometers long currently locked into a geosynchronous orbit 200 kilometers from the Earth's surface. Built by a race of ancient machines, the Citadel was originally located inside of a nebula millions of lightyears away from Earth but during the war two years ago it was transported to Earth by its creators in an effort to defend the station, which turned out to ultimately be the key to victory. The tactic did not end up working for the machines; both the organic and synthetic inhabitants of this galaxy successfully rose up to fight and ultimately win by using the Citadel to turn its energy against its creators, wiping them out for good. Since then, the station had remained locked in Earth's orbit as no one managed to figure out a way of moving the station back to its original location – only the Citadel's creators had that sort of power and they were all destroyed. With no method to move the station back to its comforting nebula, the Citadel has remained where it was ever since, providing all earthlings another landmark to dot the sky with.

It was also where my home was located – the fifth ward, to be exact. An apartment located in a nice complex which reflected the comfortable life that I've been able to earn for myself. I work as an arthroscopic doctor for one of the most prestigious hospitals on the Citadel, and not to sound like I'm bragging (because it's true), I am one of the best in my field. The job certainly pays well and I am fortunate enough to actually enjoy the work that I do. With arthroscopy, there's no high stress surgery to be done, only slight repair incisions. No muss, no fuss. Keeps the stress down that way.

The door to the house slid open behind me, emitting a burst of conversation from inside, and I turned in the direction of the noise, setting my glass on the railing. An older woman with a sullen face, dressed in a conservative black blouse and skirt, walked out with a small box in her hands.

"Hello Sam," the woman gave a sad smile before pulling her blouse tighter. "It's awfully chilly out here. You must be freezing."

"Don't worry about me, Aunt Callie," I shrugged, the name of my relative inexplicably coming to mind as soon as the light fell across her face. "I'm not too concerned about the cold at the moment."

Aunt Callie nodded in understanding. She was in her fifties, but age was not doing her any favors. Already lines had begun to crease her face, her cheeks starting to sag a little. Crow's feet tugged at her eyes, creating channels, and streaks of gray had begun to creep up the roots of her hair.

"What did you think of the service?" she asked. "I thought the pastor gave a lovely speech."

I let my fingers run around the rim of my glass for a bit. "It was a nice speech. It was simple and short. If I knew my father, he probably would have approved. He wasn't much for flowery language."

"Is that why you didn't give a speech?"

My lips tightened in a scowl for a brief second. I faced my aunt, throat unconsciously clenching. "There was nothing to say that everyone didn't know. He was my father, he was a good man, and I'm sorry he's gone. That's all there is to it."

The words were filled with half-truths. I was projecting the image of the father I knew from 2015 onto the man I just buried hours ago in 2188. For all I knew this man could have been an abusive alcoholic that had beaten me every day of his life. Yet it seemed that my father's path in 2188 largely mirrored that of his life in 2015, fortunately for me.

"I know, dear," she sympathized, the answer making sense to her. "And I won't take up much more of your time. I have another reason for being here, you know. Your father… Patrick… we both know that he didn't have much in the way of personal possessions that were special to him, but he would have wanted you to have this."

Stretching her arms out, she offered the box in her hands for me to take. With shaking fingers (more from the cold) I carefully lifted it, finding that the box was made out of a smooth, dark wood. It weighed a few pounds, but it was not substantial to heft.

"I…" I mumbled, "I honestly don't know what to say, Aunt Callie."

My aunt simply closed her eyes and gave a warm shrug. "There's no need, Sam. Patrick was a good man, a good father, and he would have loved to-,"

"-Aunt Callie," I interrupted with a sigh, holding my hand up. "I… I appreciate you bringing this to me. I really do. But I think that I'd like to be alone now."

Callie stopped speaking abruptly, her eyes widening a bit as she realized that she was being just the tiniest bit insensitive. "Of course. I understand. I'll… I'll be inside if you need anything." She turned to go but once she had one foot inside the house she glanced back at me. "Oh, and please give my regards to your wife. She really is a lovely woman and I'm happy that you have someone like her in your life."

"My… wife?" I replied absentmindedly, distracted from a thousand different things running through my head. It was too late because Aunt Callie was already back inside, more desperate than I realized to escape the cold. I continued to stare dumbly at the people inside, all crowded around the fire sipping glasses of what appeared to be scotch. In that moment, I both envied and hated everyone inside for being so comfortable in their surroundings while I was the one suffering the most.

Although, I had no one to blame but myself for choosing to linger outside but so far frostbite was still preferable to facing the horde of relatives. I had never felt so introverted before.

Back into solitude once more, I slowly rotated back, facing the deck railing, and set the box that I was holding upon the scuffed surface. There were no latches to the container, no symbols to identify – an otherwise featureless container. The top part, I discovered, was simply a cover that could be slid along a set of rails, allowing me to reveal an object inside surrounded by soft felt.

Gingerly, I procured the object from the box and studied it in the low light. It was a smoking pipe, black, polished to a mirror sheen not unlike my father's coffin, I realized. It was curved, quite striking, and lined with accents of dull gold, almost like the malleable material's color had frozen in the chill. I had not used many pipes before in my life but I could tell that this was one that was quite expensive - at least several hundred credits worth.

Despite the seriousness of the moment, I gave a self-deprecating laugh. I was not sure if my father ever intended to me to actually use his pipe when after he passed away but I was also unsure if he knew that I had completely given up smoking about two years ago. During the war, I had realized that the act of smoking itself was a bit counter-productive towards my will to simply survive, which led me to kicking my habit cold-turkey. This pipe was lovely, but it would simply have to serve as a memento, a memory of my self-improvement.

As I placed the pipe back into the box and closed it, I prepared to go sinking deeper into the pool of my jumbled thoughts when a hand gently laid itself upon my shoulder, yanking me back from the deep end. Instinctively, I knew who it was. Out of all the people on this planet, despite my intense yearning to be alone, there was only one whom I would actively desire to be around.

Plus, who else in close proximity could have a hand with only three fingers?

Jitters ran down my spine, miraculously warming me, as I turned to find, not another relative, but a thinner, slightly more diminutive figure, whose face was obscured by a visor, colored blood-red, and their entire form was sealed inside an enviro-suit. A variety of clasps and belts wrapped around their torso, pinning down sheets of patterned fabric. The black metal of their helmet was capped off by a hood, black with white highlights. I could not see this person's expression through their visor, some of their facial features coming out smoky through the translucent material, but I had been with them long enough to tell exactly what they were feeling based on their body language, their voice, and even the slight positioning of their glowing eyes through what my gaze could pierce into the cloudy covering.

"You all right?" Nya asked me earnestly, eyes raptured as they flickered over my face, scanning for any signs of hurt.

I smiled in response to her concern and gently took her hand, squeezing it in assurance. "I'm hanging in there."

Nyareth, or Nya as she liked me to call her, was a quarian, one of many different species that inhabited this galaxy. She was the most distinctive looking individual in this house right now, but her actual form was eerily similar to a human's. Quarians were bipedal, although their legs were bent back much farther than a human's, and they had three fingers and three toes on each hand and foot. Their facial structures were identical to a human – they even possessed hair, but no one could really tell that unless they had the rare opportunity to view a quarian outside of their suit.

Quarians wore their enviro-suits because they needed to – their immune systems were too weak and too slow to adapt to any environment containing any foreign contaminants, thus they needed to seal away themselves into their own personal environments, sacrificing many sensations that other species took for granted, especially the sensation of touch. Many people were put off by the appearance of quarians and their lack to properly visualize any expressions, but I had never had that problem, oddly enough. Even more strange was that I would eventually connect with one on a personal level, far deeper than I had let anyone else in.

The two of us had first met several years ago, on the Citadel in fact, and over the span of a few years we kept on bumping into the other at the most random of times, slowly building up an attraction that morphed into something far greater, far more powerful. During the war, we would eventually declare our love for the other, a promise that we now kept years later.

Our hands were still clenched together. To quarians, touching one's lover was almost a ritualistic experience because it was extremely uncommon that a quarian would get the opportunity to shed their suit and finally let the stimuli that had been previously denied to them impart to their skin, rendered to a level of ultra-sensitivity from being isolated from such sensations for years on end. Just the act of pressing a fingertip to a tiny portion of a quarian's skin yielded reactions so vivid and intense that they almost caused quarians pain. Even with the suit on, the need for physical interaction, for a solid presence, was a bond that was lightyears more strongly engrained than it could ever be imagined for a human.

I had made my choice to uphold my portion of that bond unflinchingly. The brushed silver color of the ring adorning my finger was proof of that, as was the one on Nya's own hand, covered by the suit but the lump surrounding her third finger was still visible to me.

Those vows had been exchanged over six months ago. If there had been any reservations preventing me from making Nya my wife, then they had yet to rear their heads. In more ways than I could describe, marrying this quarian – no, this woman – was the best thing that had ever happened to me.

Nya's eyes lidded upward – a smile – and her other hand stroked my face lovingly. "You're cold," she whispered in worry. "You need to get inside."

"I can't," I shook my head. "I cannot be trapped in a room with those people for another minute."

Nya gave a harrumphing noise and glanced through the windows towards the solemn mourners. "They're not all bad. Everyone I've met today has been very pleasant to me. They just want to express themselves to you because your father-,"

"-No," I shuddered out. "I don't want to hear them express themselves to me at all. All they have to offer me are memories that aren't mine. Just recollections from a time that I cannot remember. Everyone in there… they might as well be complete strangers to me. It just all feels wrong."

The eyes behind the visor widened slightly as Nya understood. Pulling herself in close, she wrapped her arms around me, seeking comfort (and possibly to steal some of my warmth). Her presence was greatly appreciated, not to mention needed, and I responded in kind, sighing as the hug began to shed some of the tension away that had been accumulating throughout the entire day.

"Everything just feels off," I murmured. "The funeral, the relatives. I buried my father today and I felt nothing. What does that say about me, Nya?"

"Did you love him?"

I chewed the inside of my cheek for a moment. "Of course I loved him. After all, he was my father. He did as good of a job raising me that I could imagine."


"But…" I bitterly blew air from my nose, "I had thought that I had left my time with him in my past. I moved on after my little 'incident.' I made my peace, expected to never see him again. I found my purpose, found other people to care about." The first traces of a grin beginning to creep up on my features, I brought my hand underneath Nya's helmet and devilishly tilted her head up slightly. "I don't want to wallow in my past any more. I'd rather leave it all behind and look to more important things – more relevant things. I've had other people on my mind for a long time. Everyone in the house over there, that's not my family. My family is right here, outside on this deck with me."

That must have been the right combination of words to say because Nya shook her head in a self-deprecating manner and made her hug a little tighter for a brief few seconds. Suddenly, I did not feel so cold anymore, the frost melting from my cheeks as a new fire lit inside me.

"Would you like to go home?" Nya whispered. "Right now?"

"Yeah," I replied honestly. "I really would."

"Then why are we freezing ourselves to death out here?" She began rubbing my arms frantically, her ever-caring disposition working to make sure that I was looked after. As much as I had to constantly tell her to be just the tiniest bit selfish every once in a while, I admit that I found her instinct to look after other people, especially her loved ones, very endearing. "Let's take a shuttle back to the port, pick up some food, and get back to our apartment. You think anyone here will notice that you're gone?"

"I don't care," I shook my head before noticing that my stomach was rumbling in response to the prospect of a meal. I then realized that I had not had anything substantial to eat in hours. "Getting out of here and grabbing food is the best idea anyone could come up with right now. Anything in particular you might want to eat before we leave for the Citadel?"

Nya tilted her head in thought for a few seconds. "I'm not sure. You think there's a place in downtown that sells dextro pizza?"

I laughed and threw my arm around my wife while I cradled the box containing my father's pipe in the other. "You really have to ask? Honey, every major city on this continent, even Des Moines, sells pizza – both levo and dextro chirality."

"I'm liking this planet more and more," Nya mused as we quietly stole down the steps of the deck, sneaking around the side of the house using darkness as our cover. She glanced over at me and nuzzled her helmeted head against my shoulder. "Got you to finally smile today, though."

"On a day like today, the impossible became possible," I reflected as we reached the street, awaiting the lights of an approaching shuttle arcing away from the sky lanes hundreds of feet above our heads. Almost unconsciously, I slipped my hand into Nya's, our uneven-fingered hands working their way into a comfortable grip. I darted my gaze over and smiled genuinely, making certain that my expression was visible. "I know it's been a rough day, but… thank you. Thank you for coming with me. I'm just sorry that you have to be exposed to several of these morose things in my life."

Nya did not immediately respond, but I felt her fingers clenching ever so slightly in my hand. Her eyes changed orientation minutely in a smile that contained sorrow and regret, but also love and kindness. "You're welcome," she breathed.

You know, for someone who had let tragedy define the majority of his life, I have to say that this newfound peace and serenity, made only possible by this woman, made me reflect upon my bad choices that I made in the past. For this soothing presence, the extinguishing of my anguish, had I known that I only needed to look to those closest to me in order to find happiness, I would have been a mended man much sooner.

As it stands, I'm here now and I'm alive with the woman I love by my side. The future holds only intriguing possibilities for me, new experiences that can only lead to something greater. A future that was worth all of my pain to achieve.

Nothing could possibly derail all that, could it?

A/N: Guess what? Daddy's back.

So... I may have lied when I mentioned earlier that The Quantum Error would not be getting a sequel. At the time it was true, because I had no idea where I wanted to go with these characters. Over time, I eventually got a notion of what I actually wanted to do, and I spent a few weeks recently drafting and refining an outline. So, here we are. I was skeptical of creating a sequel at first partly because in the past, I've never made a sequel that I've considered to be good. One of the stipulations that I had for this story was that the main characters need to undergo additional development to their roles. I'm going to make sure that they continue to change and evolve as people so that this story does not feel like them simply running through the motions as a blatant cash-grab (even though I'm not being paid for this, heh).

I'm not sure what people will be expecting throughout Progeny's run. I'm just going to say straight out that it will be radically different from what The Quantum Error was in terms of story progression and tone. There will be a wealth of new characters that will be introduced, a whole bunch of violence, and some angst thrown in for good measure. And yes, since people responded quite positively in the last story, Nya will be featured in every chapter since she was such a favorite.

Just as fair warning, I'm in no way going to start on a regular schedule for chapter updates any time soon. My schedule is way too packed for that so this will be something that I will be working on occasionally, updating chapters as I go along. Hell, if people don't like it, I can always stop writing. Just be sure to break such news to me gently, okay?

In the meantime, please let me know your thoughts on this first chapter. I'm always interested to hear what people think and if there are any elements that need updates. Personally, I'm very excited as to where the story will go from here. All I have to do is write the damn thing.

In a way, it feels good to be back.