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The fact that there were six years between herself and Torren John was irrelevant in many instances, Madison thought, because they had both grown up around McKay brains. Sure, there had been other influences – Maddie’d had her dad and Torren his parents, and they’d both had Uncle John and Ronon – but the McKay brain had been a major influence.

Madison had inherited a version of said brain for herself. Torren, meanwhile, had inherited a combination of Teyla and Kanaan’s above average bright intelligence. While he would never be able to follow Uncle Rodney’s mind as Madison would one day, he’d grown up learning how the man thought. The flexibility, the simultaneity, the drive to come up with and oversee many, many opportunities… born a galaxy apart, those were traits they had in common.

“Maddie has the brains,” Torren would say on the subject, but Torren, Madison knew, had one advantage Madison did not – he had grown up on Atlantis. On New New Athos. He’d gone through the ‘gate from a very young age; he had seen things. “Torren has a lot of ideas,” Madison would therefore say, while she herself was mostly good for crunching the numbers.

Regardless of what some of her dad’s books said, their first joint project had very little to do with cultural hegemony. Cultural exchange had always been the Athosian way – the Emmagan way, in any case – and this was team, this was family.

She couldn’t be completely sure on this point, but it wasn’t as if Torren had never seen a Pegasus native lug around a book or two, and Madison’s doubts couldn’t stand against Torren John’s love for stories.

The thing about books was… They couldn’t be stored. If you had the luxury to build a heavily fortified library complete with carefully calibrated temperature, and shielded it against storm, fire and water, then granted, you’d likely be able to keep them for a while. But if your family’s - your people’s - lives depended on moving fast and far at a moment’s notice, books tied you down. They were too heavy to carry. And even leaving a library behind was a risk too great to take: The location could all too easily be turned into a trap.

In December 2020, Madison was eighteen and Torren twelve when their plan to create solar-powered ebooks was set in motion.

There had always been other forms of knowledge transfer, of course, and all the songs Teyla had learned from Charin had only been one among them. The Athosians had always had contact with peoples who did use the written word and yes, books, even readers powered by and storing Ancient crystals, so when Torren discovered the newest and shiniest e-reader available on Earth (released just in time for Christmas!) he found Madison and asked, “Could you configure it so it’d run on sunlight?”

*

Uncle Rodney was taken aback to discover that Madison was too “Busy!” to look over his and Jeannie’s math. Uncle David, who was sent to Madison's room to investigate – and who, Madison was certain, would be the first to bring up the matter of a patent – was ordered to report that while they would eventually ask for assistance with the building part of it, at its current stage the Next Gen Pegasus/Milky Way collaboration was not to be disturbed.

 

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