Hades watched the steam rise off the surface of the coffee. It was easier than watching the blank paper and pen that lay beside the mug. Finding the steam an inadequate muse she lifted her eyes to the window. They were an indifferent brown—her eyes, not the window. They possessed the sort of unremarkable that settles on things that were once praised and now largely ignored.

The hangar bay hadn't changed since the last time she went looking for inspiration. Rows upon rows of tel'taks, neat and shining. Her's stuck out obscenely, battered and scratched, not quite in this row or that. Since her clumsy landing weeks—months?—before it had sat there disturbing the order of things. The god's home. She didn't want to move into the proper quarters.

She reached for the pen, sighed, and reached for the coffee instead. She sipped. She would have glowed her eyes in frustration if it would have done anything to remove the block. It wouldn't, though. Writer's block cared little for apotheosis. She glowed them anyway. Or maybe she didn't. It was too early in the morning for anyone to tell or care.

Hades placed the mug back on the instrument panel. The dark surface was stained with rings of coffee, and tea, and alcohol from years of use more as a counter than a navigational readout.

Click. Click. Click.

Miranda. Right on time. As usual. Hades closed her eyes and listened to the staccato of heels coming closer. Miranda had taken to wearing professional Earth clothing. No one objected. It had been a long time since the first prime had had to settle anything with a fight. Hades couldn't say her first prime. Miranda certainly wasn't her first prime. Miranda didn't belong to anybody and never really had. The only person who could claim that illusion was dead. Had been dead for weeks—months?

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

Four. Always four. "It's open." Hades called, not bothering to rise or turn her chair.

The door creaked its protest and Miranda stepped through. Stepped was the wrong word for this woman. From the gleaming symbol of Cronus on her forehead to the tips of her stilettos Miranda shone with a majestic and universal competence. But even that description fell short. The woman was a goddess. But whoever made the rules had decided that wasn't the place of a jaffa, so she settled for first prime instead.

"You need to sign these." Miranda held a tablet out to Hades who took it humbly.

"Should I pretend to read… whatever this is?" It was a sincere question.

Miranda thought for a moment. "No." She thought a moment more. "I would have skipped these if I could. I've never warmed to agriculture. Even law can't spice that up."

"Is law spicy?"

"It is to me."

"Good. You're job and all." Hades flicked through the notices and petitions, searching for dotted lines.

"Well, someone has to govern this empire." Miranda straightened a wall panel which promptly fell back askew. "I wish you'd move into your father's room."

Hades ignored the last comment and responded to the first, "Are we still an empire?"

"Of course we're still an empire." Miranda frowned, "I kept all of the core worlds. I just let loose the partial colonies and contested territories."

Hades offered up the tablet as a sacrifice to peace. "Very logical."

Appeased, Miranda took it. "Certainly more manageable." She gave Hades a caring smile. Her eyes fell on the blank paper. The smile fell. "Trouble writing?"


Miranda blinked. Then straightened her spine. "Well. Something will come." Hades looked up at her. "It always does."

The statement fell flat. So many optimistic statements do.

Hades looked down at her hands. "Thank you." She rubbed them together and watched her blunt nails pass over her palms. She looked up at Miranda again. "I'll be on the pel'tak today. I think."

The smile returned. "Good." She turned to go, reached the door, and turned back. "Something will come."

The world and characters depicted in this story belong to Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Jonathan Glassner, Brad Wright, and the Sci-Fi Channel. No profit is made off their use herein.