Sergeant Paul Dillon, a veteran of the original expedition, and Dr. Anne Schumacher, newly arrived on the Daedalus, sat comfortably together in the sunlight on a sofa in the Atlantis reading room. Her head lay on his stomach, his feet on the table, and he idly played with her hair as he slowly worked his way through the first few chapters of The Lord of the Rings. People kept telling him the story'd pick up once they got out of the Shire, but he had almost had enough of the hobbits to give up on the whole series, movies or no movies. He put the book down for a moment to scratch his nose and noticed that Anne had stopped reading, and was flipping through the pages of her book, her brow furrowed prettily in consternation.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"There's something missing," she said.

"What do you mean?"

"This is supposed to be a collection of the works of Kafka, but there's a whole novella missing - someone's cut it right out of the book."

He raised his eyebrows. The reading room was used far more by the academics on the expedition than the military, and most of them - and indeed, the few soldiers who did visit - viewed deliberatel damaging a book as comparable to kicking puppies or stealing from hungry children. You just didn't do it. "What story's missing?" he asked.

"The Metamorphosis."

The name rang a bell, and he hunted the reference down in his head until the bell rang and the light came on. "Oh. Oh."

She craned her head around to look at his face. "What? Why? Does that mean something to you?"

He just shook his head with a wry smile. "You really don't want to know."