Day One

~ Thanks to mice1900 for beta. Neeners to cesperanza for... er... being a dork. Written for sga_flashfic's First Night challenge

Dear Eliska,

I know you won't get this until you are quite older, and by then your mother may have let you forget about me and let your step-father take the name 'father.' But if by chance she tells you stories of me and I am ever able to send you these letters, I wish to tell you that despite the things I do, you are still the one thing I find myself thinking of most often.

Even now, even here -- perhaps more-so that I am so far away I find you even more in my thoughts. I have always held you close to my heart, even as my work took me away from home and away from your smile. I will confess that was easier that way, going to work on another continent on the Americans' secret project. Easier because as much as I needed your smile everyday, I could not have it.

I do not know if you will ever hear from your mother how it happened that we left each other, if she will tell you awful, horrible things about your father or if she will tell you tales to make you grow fond of a man you may never see again. I do not know if the things I want to tell you are what was true, or what I only hoped was true. But your mother and I were a foolish love, and it was always best we did not marry. The man she chose is better for her and in that he will make a happier home for you.

But you are still my daughter, my joy, and though I saw you rarely, I treasure you more than anything in this world or any other. It is my regret that I cannot now be a part of your life so that you will know how much I love you.

But I have been swept up into great things and the world has somehow chosen me to be a part of them. The world, I say, when I should say the universe. For it is more than our simple planet that is part of what I am doing.

I say that I am far away and that barely tells the distance I have gone. I am in another galaxy, darling, living in a city we once thought only legend. I am part of a team of scientists from all over Earth who volunteered to come here and unlock the secrets of Atlantis so that we might discover who we are and what our place is in this universe, as well as ways to fight an enemy that god willing you do not ever even hear the name of.

As it happens, we might not survive our first night here. The shields which hold back the oceans (our city is underwater) is failing and the military has gone to find another source of power with which to strengthen it. Or they hope to find a place we can go to escape the city when the shield fails.

I should say 'if' the shield fails. We are working on finding more power and conserving what we have available. Dr McKay, our head scientist, is even now running through the lab sending people scurrying around to find answers. As long as I am typing he believes I am working and has not shouted any orders towards me.

I should get back to working, but it is midnight and I promised myself I would do this one thing for you. This journal of my days, so that when -- if -- you should ever get to read them, you would get to know your father as the man he is and not how your infant's mind or mother's stories would have drawn him. I will end this soon entry, though, because there is much work to do and I should not keep from it too long.

My darling, it is so incredible here. We are pioneers of the sort dreams are built from. There are wonders everywhere waiting for us. If we can survive our first night we will be ready to unlock all the mysteries that await us.

I have your picture on my laptop and even now you are smiling at me. I wish it was you, here with me, laughing at the sound the keyboard makes as I type. Your fingers chasing after mine as you sit on my lap spilling juice on the keys and making me say words you mother scolds me for saying in your presence.

Oh, my darling, I miss you more than my words can say. I hope that somehow we will return to Earth and you will be there waiting for me, and perhaps none of these words will even be necessary anymore.

Your father,

Radek