Disclaimer in Chapter 1.
A/N: Thank you so much to those who followed the story and waited so patiently for this epilogue, which was supposed to follow almost immediately and due to RL issues took much longer. I currently have no plans to write a sequel, but who knows? If someone can come up with a good excuse to send Suzuki off-world maybe we can come to an arrangement….
After the epilogue stay tuned for some of your questions answered.
Child of the Ancients – Epilogue
I stand on the west pier, staring out at another beautiful sunset over the ocean as I wait for the majority of the water to stream off my feathers before I can go back inside. It has been some time now since I was brought to Atlantis, and I have grown almost all of my adult feathers, and have started to swim on my own.
My first swim caused something of a panic, I'm afraid; Dr. Zelenka was minding me (when, when will they learn that I can think for myself?) on an outing to this very pier when I felt the pull of the water, my instincts and my ancestral memories telling me without a doubt that I was born to swim. So I jumped in.
It was glorious! The water was warmer than my instincts told me it should be, but not so warm that I couldn't swim in it. I had grown accustomed to being constantly warmer than was truly comfortable. A small fish crossed my line of vision and I snapped it up without a thought – it was wonderful! I stayed under the water as long as I could manage, until my lungs were bursting and I was forced to surface.
When I returned to the pier I found Dr. Zelenka wide-eyed and panicking, speaking rapidly in another language, while Dr. McKay had appeared beside him and was regarding me with intense relief. He seemed rather agitated that I had gone off swimming on my own, and harangued me about it for quite some time. Having learned from Colonel Sheppard's example, I simply waited until he paused to take a breath and then interrupted.
"I was born for this. My ancestors have been sea birds since my earliest memories, you know."
"Yes, yes, I know, you're a sea bird. But this isn't Antarctica, you know. There could be predators, or strong currents, or poisonous shrimp-"
Poisonous shrimp? I bucked up out of the water and smacked him lightly with a wing, leaving a wet mark on his pants.
"Suzuki!" I looked at him, and he shook his head. "Okay, okay, maybe I'm going a little far. I just don't want you getting hurt, okay, little guy?"
He always did know how to hit my soft spots. I butted him softly with my head and followed him back inside.
Not long after Rodney was forced to admit that I would most likely be perfectly fine in the water and desperately unhappy if forcibly kept out of it, so I spread my wings and swam.
I said at the beginning that I didn't like this world very much, but I think I will be okay here. I'm still working on teaching these people that I can understand them. McKay is, I think, the closest to accepting it, though most of his friends think he's imagining things. There's a marine zoologist named Nathan something-or-other who's also getting suspicious, I think, so I have hope. In the meantime, between what McKay and Carson give me and what I catch for myself I am well fed and well looked after – they've even set up a little room near the west pier with extra air conditioning for me.
At times, though, like tonight, I wonder what the future holds for me. Nothing in my ancestral memories could have prepared me for this life. Once in a very great while I will see something, some object or shape, that will spark an image, a flash from amongst the very earliest of my genetic memories, but always it disappears before I can put a toe on it. For now, all is well, but despite the affection of Dr. McKay and Dr. Beckett, and the increasing camaraderie with Colonel Sheppard, I am alone here – there are no others of my kind with whom to swim, or talk, or sing. It will be some time yet before I must seek a mate, but how? Perhaps in time I will learn to make McKay understand, and he will bring me back – or bring a wife to me.
A vision fills me, of a beautiful female standing beside me and a handsome young chick in grey and black leaning into me as we rejoice in the return of his mother from her march, and I know I will not be content to stay here alone forever. But for now…
For now… I'm happy.
Again, thanks for reading and especially for your comments and questions. Here are some answers to some of the questions I've been asked as this went along.
Is Suzuki really a penguin and/or is he from Earth?
Yes. He is an Antarctic Emperor penguin from Earth. McKay found him while on a visit to the Antarctic base.
But he has ancestral memories and is sentient. What's that about?
This is purely artistic license. I kind of had to make him sentient for the story to be told from his POV, and the ancestral memories thing just kind of happened. Looking at how penguins behave, returning to their rookeries year after year and so on, I figured that if we're making them intelligent, ancestral memories of some sort were plausible.
Suzuki is not, alas, named for the car. He is named after David Suzuki, a prominent Canadian environmentalist and host of "The Nature of Things", a long-running nature documentary series on Canadian television. I'm not much of an environmentalist myself and don't always agree with his politics, but it seemed like the kind of name McKay might pull out of the air.
If anyone wishes to borrow Suzuki and explore some of his further adventures, please email me and I will most likely be very happy and honoured to say "of course!". Some ideas – Suzuki gets left behind on Lantea after the end of S3; Suzuki at the death of Carson; Suzuki wants and/or gets a girlfriend; Suzuki goes off-world.