A/N: I can hardly believe it's time for the last segment of the Alone series, but here we go. This is a bittersweet sequel; caution, major character death.
Chapter One: A Time for Every Purpose
In a comfortable home located within a Colorado Springs' senior living complex, a small group of elderly widows sat together on a Friday afternoon, sharing their dearly held stories of life and love. Today, their newest friend was beginning a tale they'd been waiting to hear for sometime.
"It was Christmas 2047. We were living just outside a small town in northern Minnesota in the same house Jack and I retired to nearly fifteen years ago," Samantha O'Neill began.
"Once the twins were born, Christmas had quickly become Jack's favorite holiday. The babies brought out all the childlike glee and wonder my husband had to offer. It was a marvelous transformation – he finally had an excuse for some of his less than General-like antics." That comment elicited some chuckles from the ladies who had thrilled to earlier stories of the General's larger than life exploits.
"All the children had come home for the holiday that year. It was quite an accomplishment actually, coming as they did from the far corners of not only the planet, but the galaxy," she said. "We knew this would be a special Christmas. From what the doctors had told us, it would be Jack's last." Her listeners couldn't help notice the moisture that gathered in Sam's eyes.
"You see, the indestructible love of my life was dying, and he refused to let us stop it. I was so angry with him for awhile. He was ninety-five years old and I was angry with him for dying. At least I came to my senses fairly quickly and came to respect his wishes before it was too late." Sam paused meaningfully to gather her thoughts.
At eighty-two, Samantha O'Neill was an elegant, dignified woman with a natural grace and beauty that lit up any room she entered. Shortly after her husband's death, less than two year ago, she'd moved back to Colorado Springs. Turning down heart felt offers to live with each of her four children she'd taken up residence in a quiet condominium complex with friendly neighbors.
Ever since her arrival, her neighbors had clamored to hear stories of the famous and lauded SG1, the pioneers of what was now considered an indispensable means of transport. Though stories of adventure and heroism easily fell from her lips, her eyes shining with pride, sharing any more personal stories with the handful of women who had befriended her had seemed impossible until recently.
Finally, two years after her husband's death, with the pain of Jack's loss fading ever so slightly, Sam had become strong enough to let her new friends really get to know her. To her surprise, the telling of the story was gift to everyone, including Sam.
By 2022, the existence of the Stargate had become public knowledge. Finally, someone had disregarded that darned inconvenient confidentiality agreement. The fact that this indiscrete individual would be brought up on charges did little to mitigate the crisis that followed. Truth be told, it was amazing the operation had remained secret as long as it had, given the number of people involved in the program.
To their credit, long before 2022, the people of the United States of America had developed a new found faith in their military establishment, built on its resounding success in a terrifying Middle East uprising around 2015. Through skillful use of military forces at that time, nuclear Armageddon had been narrowly avoided and a semblance of peace restored. So when they discovered the incredible Stargate program was managed by the Air Force, many potential American critics were actually relieved.
The discovery wasn't met as calmly in other parts of the world. Once again, the Middle East, the cradle of civilization, exploded as extremists saw yet another opportunity to discredit and destroy their Western enemies.
What followed was a drawn out and violent conflict which ended only with extraterrestrial intervention. After a Jack O'Neill orchestrated visit to the region by Thor and his buddies, all sectarian feuding came to an end and this newest conflict deescalated. It seems everyone finally realized there was a higher power, one they could actually see, who did not take kindly to their destroying each other. The shocking appearance of the Asgard placed things in perspective for many of the Earth's diametrically opposed factions. Life would never be the same again.
After that, the brouhaha about the Stargate settled down a bit. To the dismay of the O'Neill family, General Jonathan O'Neill, Ret. and Colonel Samantha Carter O'Neill became belated planetary heroes, feted worldwide for their accomplishments. Their children rapidly became celebrities as well, with friends and strangers literally devouring the smallest available snippet of personal information. For awhile, it seemed everyone wanted a piece of them.
Jack and Sam had been grateful their youngest was in her twenties when the program went public. In fact all the kids had been well on the way to establishing their own lives independent of their parents' new found fame. The attention had been taken in stride, with grace befitting the extraordinary young people they were. Each of the O'Neill children, in his or her individual way, had become an instant ambassador to a new generation of enthusiastic explorers
In the living room of Sam's home, the storytelling continued, her friends gently probing for details of what they'd come to suspect was a romance for the ages.
"So what happened that Christmas?" Jessica, another spry octogenarian asked.
"That Christmas," Sam replied with a wan smile, "we said goodbye to Jack."
A/N: My muse is pretty sleepy, so the chapters for this final part of the story will likely come slowly. They are only outlined so far and will likely focus on portraits of the children as adults and some flashbacks as we and they say goodbye. Any thoughts or suggestions about what you'd like to see included are welcome.
Given the reluctant state of my imagination, if I know you're interested in reading the story, I'm likely to devote more time to this piece.
So please review!