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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Waste of Time

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Olivia snapped her phone shut with a loud 'pop', then stood still, trying to calm down. With effort, she put her phone down without throwing it across the room. "I shouldn't have said anything," she muttered. Exhaling angrily, she yanked her hair back into a ponytail and changed into workout clothing. One habit that Vinny had infected her with - one that could be considered positive, anyway - was working out excess energy in the gym.

Olivia was still pulling on her gloves when she got into the room, and she marched straight over to an open punching bag. Unlike the other specialists, she didn't have to use one of the reinforced bags, which suited her since there were more of them available.

People took one look at the anger on her face and stayed clear of her; Olivia wasn't known for her temper, but it was always the quiet ones. Plus, most people figured she must have some kind of biting tongue to keep up with Vinny. Olivia was just as happy to be left alone; she didn't want to talk to people, not with her world turning on its head for no reason. She drew back and hit the bag, just like she'd been taught.

The excess violence wasn't helping. Each time her fist hit the bag, she heard those words again. Waste of time. Scowling, she hit the bag harder, but all it did was make the words louder. People were staring at her, in part because she wasn't paying attention, and they could stare, and in part because they'd never seen her so fired up about something before.

Panting and sweating, Olivia stopped, pressing her hands into her knees. "Damnit," she muttered to the floor, then straightened and headed for her room. Once inside, she stripped again and took a shower, trying not to think about the phone call. But her mother's voice was there, in her head, and with perfect clarity, she heard her again.

"Fiction? That's a waste of time. Livy, when are you going to give up this bizarre crusade and come back to academia? Just admit you were wrong, and you could write a real book, and a few articles, about real scholarly subjects. Then you wouldn't have to work for the military. You could have a real career and stop wasting your time."

Olivia leaned against the wall of her shower, listening to all the noises coming through her walls and under her door, or through her pipes. She could see the tiniest cracks in the mortar, or feel the slight bumps from imperfections in the bricks. She could tell you exactly how far the water fell when it left the shower head to land at her feet, or on her body. There was no going back, and no way to tell her mother what was happening to her.

And yet, that wasn't the worst part. The part that had Olivia fuming was her mother's rejection. Even when she'd disapproved of what Olivia did, she'd never actively discouraged her, even when her father did. For Delayah to do such a one-eighty was shocking and hurtful to her. Her mother had always been Mrs. Supportive. So why not now?

She groaned as she suddenly realized the final insult to the entire episode; she'd forgotten to tell her about Vinny. "Damnit!"

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The phone call kept gnawing at her mind. Olivia was distracted throughout the day, enough that she barely got any regular work done. Vinny came to get her for dinner, but she made a miserable companion. Thankfully, he didn't care, he just ate and left her alone.

The one thing she did manage to focus on was her book. Every time she thought about her mother discouraging her, Olivia became more determined to be successful. She threw herself into her book, glad that she was working on a particularly negative battle scene. She channeled her outrage into that, and was pleased with the result.

She was half-asleep, curled around Vinny when she realized what she was going to do about her mother. She got up, kissed him goodnight and drove back to base. Once there, she hunted down the email from her agent and opened it.

Dr. Jenings-Izumi,

I was glad to hear from you again. I had heard you weren't in the field anymore, and thought that was a shame. I'm sorry to hear that you're not in academia, though also glad for you - there are some really annoying professionals out there. I was also glad to hear you're writing again, even if it's something that I don't have the right contacts for. I've attached a list of people who you should contact, people in the fiction market.

Best of luck in your hunt for a more suitable agent, Doctor. I want a signed copy of whatever you get published, alright? Call it my finder's fee.


Marty van Bell

Gold & Chester Book Agency

Olivia opened the list and read through the names and descriptions. She picked the three most likely subjects and began to gather the information she'd need. Each agency had its own submission requirements, which Marty hadn't included in his information. Disgruntled, she went to bed and got a couple of hours of fitful sleep, waiting for the local library to open in the morning.


Olivia was there when they opened their doors, and she went right for the current Writer's Market book. That included all the data she needed, and soon she was compiling her packets. She only had the first four chapters done; her life had been crazy, and that didn't count the time spent on mission. Thankfully, four chapters was enough to send a sample of her work. They also required cover letters and synopsis, and Olivia spent most of the morning working on the pitch packets.

After she'd mailed the three packets, she settled in to wait for the first round of rejection letters. They were coming; they always did.

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  • 3 months later...

Olivia was curled up on Vinny's couch, leaning against him while he watched television. It was a lazy afternoon together, even if they weren't doing the same thing. She was busily working on her book while he caught up on a game he'd taped last Sunday. He was warm against her back; she rested her head on the arm that rested on the back of the couch. His cigar smoke hung around them, the smell now a signature of her boyfriend rather than a sign of a vile habit. It was very comfortable and lazy. Olivia really had no desire to move.

Olivia was so content that she sighed when her phone rang. Vinny shifted as she got up and answered the cell phone. "Is this Dr. Jenings-Izumi?" the caller asked. It was a woman, someone Olivia didn't know. She could hear the sound of a pen clicking in the background; it sounded like a nervous habit.

"Yes," Olivia said, swallowing another sigh. "It's Jenings-Izumi, though." Someone she didn't know then - she wondered what they wanted to sell her.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Doctor." The woman sounded nervous. "I'm Anita Walperg, of the Silas Agency."

"Oh!" Olivia said, her irritation falling away. "Oh, hi. What can I do for you?"

"You can sign a contract allowing me to be your literary agent," Anita said quickly. "I was lucky enough to pick your book out of my slush file pretty quickly, and I have to say I'm really impressed. I'd love to represent you. Are you still interested?"

"Uh, sure!" Olivia said, wondering what the hell was going on. She was thrilled, but this was highly unprecedented. Agents didn't call and offer contracts like this. "I have to say, I'm a little surprised you called me like this." Vinny glanced up at her, his expression indicating interest.

"Oh, yes, it is unusual, but you... well, you have an amazing talent for writing," Anita said. "It's... I've never read anything so exciting or engrossing. It's astounding, and we'd love to bring this to the world."

"I, uh, am flattered you're so interested," Olivia replied, still thrown off-guard.

"Where can I fax your contract?" Anita asked, her smile clear in her voice.

Click to reveal..
I have been rolling for Olivia's writing; she's gotten an average of six successes over six weeks for her writing. Fox has given consent to this storyline.
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  • 7 months later...

Anita had left her three messages in her ten week absence. On one hand, Olivia didn't blame her; they had signed a contract and Anita didn't have to be lenient. On the other hand, Olivia's focus had shifted somewhat.

There were messages from the other two agencies she'd contacted, both offering her contracts. That really raised her eyebrows. That was a one hundred percent interest rate, something unheard of in the publishing world. Olivia was surprised, but she could admit to herself that she shouldn't be. She was a Specialist, and that meant something.

She called the other two agencies and politely declined their offers. They were very disappointed and both told her that if she left Silas they'd be happy to consider her. Olivia thanked them and hung up.

Next step was to call Anita. Her agent knew about Vinny's death and her prolonged absence; Olivia had talked to her before she'd left. It was lucky that Anita had called her at the right time, or else Olivia might have been in breach of contract - she never would have remembered to call through the fog of grief.

"Hey, Olivia, how are you feeling?" Anita's Boston accent was odd-sounding as always but there was real concern in her voice.

"Better in most ways. I'm back to work though," Olivia admitted honestly. "I just got in, but I should have a new chapter for you this week, and one more the week after."

"Oh, sounds fantastic, Olivia," Anita gushed. "Please, keep me informed. I can't wait to see more writing from you!"

"You'll have it as soon as I finish it," Olivia assured her. They exchanged farewells and then Olivia's duty to her agent was done. All that was left to do was the hard part: write.

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