Some eight years ago, Peter had come across an article on wormholes written by one Rodney McKay. Intrigued, he wrote the authour, asking for clarification on a few points.
He received a scathing letter back, informing him that there was no way Peter could possibly understand all that was involved, and McKay was far too busy to reply, so stop wasting both their precious time!
Peter read it, read it again – showed it to Mike, who agreed with him – then sat down and wrote a reply.
He took all the points he was confused about and wrote what he thought was meant. He was not scathing or angry. He was patient and calm, sensing the loneliness behind the scathing words.
Three months later, a very, very long letter came back. It was calmer, though still showed impatience with Peter's thought processes at points. Three of the points were confirmed – what was not was corrected. There was even something akin to an apology for his tone and his disparaging of Peter's intellect.
And that began a regular correspondence. For the next four years, letters flew back and forth. Then came word – in a letter from Rodney – that he would be soon leaving on a top-secret mission.
“And if you don't hear from me again, this is good-bye. You were a good friend and I'm going to genuinely miss you. Good luck and Godspeed.”
Peter wrote a good luck letter back.
And then nearly two years went by.
One afternoon, Daniel Jackson – who Peter had also struck up a friendship with – arrived with a DVD. Peter put it on and found a stranger looking at him.
“Uh – hi, Peter,” the stranger said. “I'm Rodney McKay.”
Peter drew in a sharp breath. The man on the screen looked nothing as he'd pictured Rodney. The piercing blue eyes – the shade of Peter's own – were the biggest surprise.
“Here – I can prove it.” A piece of paper filled the screen, and Peter recognised his own handwriting on the well-folded paper. “I kept your final letter. Where I am, I can't correspond by paper or email – and we just got this set up.”
He put the paper down and told him they were okay, he missed Peter – and despite himself, he'd made friends and was part of a team. “I had to come to-- I had to come far away to find it, but I finally found what I was looking for. You were right, Peter... I did find them and they are very rapidly becoming family. But I'm still not ready to tell them that.”
Peter allowed Daniel to videotape a reply. He told Rodney how proud he was, how he was glad Rodney was all right, and how he knew things were going to work out just fine.
That was another beginning. They exchanged video message about once a month. Mike bought a video camera just so Peter could correspond with his friend.
Then he bought another one, because Micky was constantly stealing Peter's for one bad movie after another....
Suddenly, Rodney's powers began to manifest. Shaken and scared, he didn't know how to tell Peter. He knew he had to; he had to talk to someone, and Peter was – remarkably – his oldest and most faithful friend.
So he told him in code. He sat in front of the camera and started talking in a ramble. Talking nonsense about this and that and the other. He held up three fingers and left them up for a long time, rambling on.
Peter raised an eyebrow. He ran the DVD back and when Rodney held up the fingers, he wrote down every third word until the image put down his hand.
Then he ran a hand over his mouth and nose as he stared at the message.
“I'm developing bizarre abilities. Can harden air into crystal. Am scared.”
Peter went to find the others. There was only one reply he could send.
Elizabeth came jogging up to Rodney, a disc in her hand. “Rodney!”
“Elizabeth, I'm very busy--”
“Message from Earth. For your eyes only.”
He groaned. “Probably another scientific journal. Take it to my office, I'll--”
“It's from Peter Tork.”
Rodney froze. “Have you looked at it?”
“No. But I know you've been corresponding with him – and this is marked urgent, for your eyes only.”
Rodney held out his hand, worry bleeding from his eyes. Without a word, he took the disc to his quarters and turned it on.
Peter's face appeared. “Rodney. I hope you're watching this alone. What's happening is called a manifestation, and it means you've got a superhuman ability. You're not alone in this, there are several of us who do.”
Rodney felt his eyes widen.
On screen, Peter smiled. “Yes, Rodney. I said 'us'.” He stepped back from the camera and pointed at his eyes. Those eyes – the blue the same shade as Rodney's – began to glow. The irises glowed light blue, and the whites around them turned black as night.
Rodney yelped. He watched as Peter stepped back further. “I'm a telekinetic, Rodney. I can move things with my mind.” He held out a hand, and a half-full glass of milk flew into it.
“HEY!” he heard someone roar offscreen.
“Sorry, Mike,” Peter laughed, and the milk glided back offscreen. He grinned at the screen. “You have a unique ability. Use it to help people, and you'll not go wrong. Good luck, and I'll be praying for you.”
The screen went dark.
Rodney replayed it. Twice.
Then he put his face in his hands and shook with emotion.
Maybe things were going to be okay after all.
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