Disclaimer: The names of all 'Space: Above and Beyond' characters contained herein are the property of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Hard Eight Productions and the Fox Broadcasting Network. These names have been used without their permission. All else is my own creation

Rating: PG

Comments to C.Bower



Christa Bower

McQueen glanced up from his office desk when someone knocked at his door. "Who's at my hatch?"

"Lt. West, sir."


West entered, holding a envelope. "Sir, you didn't come to mail call."

"No one sends me mail."

"You did this time, sir." West held out the envelope. "It's from a doctor in Phoenix, sir." When McQueen glanced at him sharply, he added, "I just read the return address."

Nodding once, McQueen rose to take the envelope. "Thank you."

"You're welcome, sir. You know, it's been kinda weird getting three mail calls in a week. When is that documentary supposed to be shown, sir?"

"The broadcast is in a couple of days. I'll inform you of the date and time."

"Thank you, sir. I'll go now, sir."

The door shut behind West and McQueen took his first look at the envelope. Dr. D. Patterson. He didn't know any Dr. Patterson... The memory rose up of a man in his forties, in bloodied clothes, fighting desperately for a miner's life. How the hell could he have ever forgotten David? Giving the envelope a good look, he saw that indeed the letter had been mailed from Phoenix, Arizona.

Carefully he tore open the envelope, making sure not to tear the return address as his hand trembled. He pulled out the crisp paper and slowly unfolded it.

'Hello Tyrus,' read the first line. He sank down onto his bed, closing his eyes briefly. It was David. No one else ever called him by his full first name. Only once had David shortened his name to Ty and that was when he prepared to board the transport out of that mining hell hole. He resumed reading.

'Hello Tyrus,

I hope this letter finds you well. Given that you are fighting the war, I know the odds of injury are pretty high. I'm proud of you, Tyrus. You've done well for yourself. Out of all the Invitroes I've helped over the years, you've gone the furthest. Everyone knows you're a good man, out there fighting for us.

Your history is public record and I am quite happy with everything overall. An Angry Angel, what an accomplishment for any one, but especially for you. You always dreamed of flying. Only one thing disappoints me. The Port Riskin affair. Had the scars and memory faded so quickly?'

A shudder coursed through McQueen at the memory that last sentence brought to mind. His back ached in remembrance of the beating he had endured when he'd protested his team working a third eight hour shift. It had been a week before he could walk upright. David's tongue lashing had been almost as brutal as the beating. He sighed softly, running his hand through his hair.

'I thought I taught you better than to act rashly. Didn't Sun Tzu teach you anything?

No, that was wrong of me to say. I am sure that you had your reasons, most likely lives were at stake. You were never one to rush in where angels fear to tread. But it did disappointment me to read the account, though it was rather brief and did not give all the facts, I'm sure.

You're still the one I remember out of the hundreds I tried to help on Draconis. There are others, but none had your spirit, your drive. I remember the hours you spent bent over the paper, laboriously struggling to master the skill of writing, to make it your very own. The memory of the waste basket overflowing with your discarded attempts still makes me smile. Seventy two hours to succeed, to be satisfied with your writing style, hours spent after working up to two shifts in the mines.

One of my favorite memories, Tyrus, is when you realized you could read. The look on your face as you worked out the words and realized you knew what they meant. I'll cherish that joy to my dying day. I'm happy I could show you and others how to dream, to know that the mines weren't the way of life everywhere. That you could dare to dream of a better life. Do you still have those copies of Sun Tzu and the Illyiad?'

Giving his bookcase a fond look, McQueen quickly found the two books, well worn and dog-eared from years of re-reading, even though he knew them by heart now.

'As you can see from the return address, I've finally returned to Earth from that abomination where we met. You asked me once why I was there. I couldn't tell you then. I can now. There's nothing they can do to me now.

I worked for AeroTech and I didn't like a bunch of their working ethics. Let's be realistic, what ethics? Any way, I got a choice, either I left Earth for one of the outposts to practice my medicine or they would ruin my son's life. And I couldn't tell anyone why I left Earth. Donald had just married a wonderful girl, Lily, and they were expecting a child. How could I ruin his life before it had started. So I left, but not until I told him to stay away from AeroTech. He kept up a correspondence with me, including everything about his daughter, Cynthia. She wrote to me every week, even though she had never seen me in her life.

God, how it hurts to write about her, even now. She was part of the Vesta Colony, Tyrus. No survivors, they say. Not that I totally believe it, but it's better to face the fact that she's gone, just like Donald and Lily are now. They just withered away, devastated by the news.

Tyrus, avenge them for me, please. You're all I have left. I always considered you as a son. Maybe that's why I pushed you so hard, made you work so hard to survive.

Just so you know, I've included you in my will. I wrote it on my return to Earth, three months ago. There's not much, but it's yours. If by some miracle, Cynthia is alive, I know you'll be fair.

God, I've missed you, Tyrus. The sight of your sapphire eyes lit up with the joy of learning something new, the way you drank in all I had to teach you, I miss it all. I even have a picture of you in your Marine dress uniform. I clipped it from a newspaper and it sits on the dresser with Donald, Lily, and Cynthia.

Looking back over this letter, I can see an old man's ramblings. I'm sorry, Tyrus. I'll sign off now.

Beloved of me, beloved of the earth,


Wiping the tear that threatened to fall, McQueen closed his eyes for a moment. Something was wrong, he knew it from the way David said he was sorry and the way he said that they couldn't touch him now. Hurriedly, he rose and pulled back the chair at his desk, carefully pushing aside the half-started calligraphy. A clean sheet of paper and he grabbed a pen from the other desk. The words flowed from him.

'Hello David,

It's good to hear from you. I've missed you as well. You were the first good man I ever met. You taught me well, David, and I've used your teachings throughout my career. I am trying to pass on your lessons to the young men and women assigned to me.

About Port Riskin, yes, lives were at stake, but my actions didn't save anyone. It wasn't until my 'almost' court-martial that the rules where changed. I stood before the tribunal and stated that the way things were, they were wasting valuable resources. I said a few more things, but I'm not allowed to talk about those. I'm sure you can imagine them though.

Yes, I still have the Art of War and the Illyiad. I've taken them everywhere with me. I have newer copies as well since they've gotten somewhat beaten up from my travels and all the times I've read them.

I'm sorry about your family. I knew that your son meant a great deal to you at the mines, and now I know just how much he meant for you to choose exile from him in order to save him. Not many can take that option. But I can't help being grateful that you did. Otherwise, I might never have made it out of Draconis alive. You shaped me as no one else has. You gave me dreams and hopes for a real life. Thank you, David, for everything you did for me.

If I hear anything about survivors, I'll let you know.

When you wrote about being disappointed, I could see your face with that look, the look that you used on me and the others whenever you gravely announced how we had disappointed you and expected better of us in the future. From what some of the young men and women under me say, I think I use it on them, too.

David, you gave me a reason to live and I can never repay you for that. All I can say, again, is thank you for caring enough to try.

I better wrap this up if I'm going to get this sent back on the next mail ship.

Thank you. You were the father I never had, David.


He quickly addressed an envelope and tucked the letter inside. His quick strides brought him to the mail room where he slapped down his debit card to pay for the shipping. Then he made his way to the Tun Tavern to drink a health to the man who had shaped him, who had given him the will to live, to survive and to dream.

Two weeks later, he waited while the lieutenant called out names. He seriously doubted that he would get a response so quickly, but he couldn't help wanting to find out.

"Col. McQueen."

Hiding his eagerness, McQueen took the offered letter, surprised by its heaviness. In the corridor, he glanced at the return address. P. Jackson, Attorney at Law. His steps slowed as he approached his quarters, afraid to open the letter. He dropped it on his desk and sat staring at it for nearly five minutes before resolutely opening the envelope. Several pages were inside. He took the single sheet by itself first. 'Col. T. C. McQueen,

I regret to inform you that Dr. D. Patterson,

Hell, I've spent the last three months with David and I know how he felt about you so I'm going to write this letter person to person, to hell with company policy.

I am truly sorry that I must tell you that David died the night after your letter arrived. But he was overjoyed that you had written back so quickly. You should have seen the way his face lit up. He must have read it at least four times. He talked for hours afterward, telling me stories about you and the time he spent with you on Omicron Draconis. It was the first night since I'd met him that he went to sleep peacefully, without pain of any sort. He had me move your picture to beside the bed where he could see it easily.

No doubt you are wondering who I am. My name is Patrick Jackson. David hired me after discarding several other choices by my firm. He wanted a new will written up and was quite particular about who wrote it. We quickly became friends and he had me move in as part of his staff. I miss him already.

As you may have gathered from the way I've written, David was quite sick. Twenty-two years at Draconis left him extremely sick and he was already dying when he returned to Earth just over three months ago. I've been his companion since he hired me and I'm glad you were not here to see him waste away. It was hard enough on me, I wouldn't wish it on anyone else.

I have included a copy of his will. He left everything to you, with the provision that if his granddaughter did survive, that you provide for her. I can give you a quick run down on it though.

Three houses - I would suggest selling all but the one in Phoenix, it is a good residence with a sizable yard

Four antique cars - highly prized collector's items, your choice as to whether to sell

A large library - there are over three thousand books in the library, housed in Phoenix, they are all yours, unconditionally.

A residual income from various investments - it more than pays for the taxes involved in the inheritance and it will pay for upkeep of the Phoenix house with a small staff

That's the gist of it. You can read all the rest of it yourself.

I would like to make a request. I would like to remain as part of the staff of the Phoenix house, so I guess I'm asking if I can become your lawyer. It has become my home in these three months and I am loath to leave it. David said that you enjoy reading. I would be happy to send you books that you request. I have sent a Power-of-Attorney for you to sign if you decide to sell any of the property. I will promptly send you all notifications of such sales.

In any case, let me know what you want done.

It does grieve me to have write this letter, but I felt it better coming from someone who at least got to know him in his final days than from a complete impersonal stranger. I don't feel like a stranger, though, perhaps I am to you. I've come to know the person you were many years ago and I'd be honored to know the man you are now. If for no other reason, than to honor the memory of a great man now gone.
Patrick Jackson'

The letters and envelope slipped from McQueen's hands. Tears ran down his cheeks and he paid them no heed. After a long moment, he slowly rose and opened the desk drawer. From it he pulled a full bottle of Scotch.

Setting the bottle on the desk, he keyed in Commodore Ross' quarters. "Yes? Who is it?" came the rich baritone voice.


"Man, you sound awful. What's wrong?"

"I will be unavailable for the next several hours." He fought to keep his voice controlled.

"McQueen, what is it?"

"I have a memory to honor."

There was a long pause, then Ross said, "I'll make sure no one bothers you."

"Thank you... Glen."

The connection broken, McQueen stared at the bottle before opening it. He raised it to the stars out his window and proceeded to drink deeply. Tears flowed faster and he set the bottle down before curling up on his bed to mourn the man who fathered his soul.

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