O is for Opportunity
O is for Opportunity
Kevin Marks had known Lionel Pendergast for the majority of his military career. Shortly after graduating from the Air Force Academy, Marks was assigned under Pendergast’s command. It wasn’t long before Marks had established himself as an excellent pilot, most particularly flying F-16 Fighting Falcons. As Mark’s reputation grew, so did Pendergast’s respect and admiration for the young officer. Pendergast was constantly impressed with Marks’ proactive nature; he was always ready to fire at a moment’s notice.
The ability to always anticipate the next move proved particularly helpful for Marks when Pendergast was requested to identify potential candidates to join the Stargate Program. Lieutenant Kevin Marks’ name was one of the first that came to mind.
When he was approached to join to an elite air force team working under a top secret project in Colorado Springs, Marks nearly died laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Pendergast has asked.
“Sorry sir,” Marks replied, stifling his laughter. “I thought hazing and practical jokes were a part of academy life.”
Pendergast stared down the lieutenant. “This isn’t a joke or part of some elaborate prank. Believe me, once you meet with General O’Neil, you won’t want to turn your eyes away. You won’t believe what the Air Force has been up to these last few years in Cheyenne Mountain.”
“Cheyenne Mountain? You mean N.O.R.A.D.?” Marks’ eyes lit up. Ever since his older brother had taken him to see Return of the Jedi when he was very young, he knew he wanted to be a pilot and one day perhaps join NASA. Perhaps now, Pendergast was offering him the opportunity to do so.
“Trust me; N.O.R.A.D.’s got nothing on this. Kevin, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. You will never regret signing this agreement.”
Marks looked up at his former commanding officer, he only used his first name when he was speaking of something personal or very serious. He peered closely at the document; it was partly a non-disclosure agreement, partly a job application. He thought hard on his past life, that first time he saw X-Wing fighters on the big screen and when he saw Han Solo piloting the Millennium Falcon. He also thought of his deep respect for Pendergast, how the Colonel was an excellent and reasonable leader. Marks could not pass up the opportunity to work with him again. He knew this was something big, something grander than he had ever imagined.
Without another thought, he signed the form.
The day he entered Cheyenne Mountain and was taken to the 28th sublevel, he knew he had made the right call. His eyes were cast upon an ancient artifact found in Giza so many years ago. He could not look away. He heard chuckling to both his right and his left. Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter and Colonel Lionel Pendergast exchanged glances, both of them glad to have their newest recruit as part of their team.
Marks turned to Carter who smiled and said, “If you think that’s impressive, Lieutenant, you haven’t seen anything yet.”
With wide eyes, Marks agreed. “I’ll bet. Where is this new aircraft, the “Prometheus” you called it?”
“On another planet, Marks,” Pendergast replied.
“Another, another planet, right,” he said dismissively. When Marks noticed that neither Carter nor Pendergast appeared to be joking, he let out a breath, his eyes even wider.
Kevin Marks knew from that moment on, his life would never be the same. He never regretted his decision, even though a year and a half later, Colonel Pendergast sacrificed his life on the Prometheus to save most of his crew. When the Ori weapon was activated on Tegalus and fired on Earth’s first successful deep space battleship, destroying the Prometheus along with its commander, Marks spent many a night wondering if that one time, he just hadn’t anticipated the enemy’s next move, wasn’t ready to fire as he always was. He mourned, but nonetheless used this as an opportunity to honor his friend and mentor’s name and always ensure he was ready to fire.
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