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inside the nacre, a bead

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When her sister’s twelve-year-old first comes out as a boy a year before Daniel Jackson discovers the gate address to Atlantis, Miko fears she’ll become the go-to for questions from both close and distant relatives. She remembers with horror the pounding of her heart before she dared mention her first crush, she’s learning to be a Japanese-American lesbian scientist in a field so classified she can never speak about her work; she doesn’t know more about dysphoria than the average lay person.

It doesn’t happen. In between trying to decide whether to sign up for an intergalactic expedition and keeping her head in Area 51 Miko Kusanagi is just the well-loved aunt with the occasional girlfriend. And Joey is a boy and always has been.

The possibility of not seeing him grow up makes her hesitate for a long time.

She puts aside money for his upcoming treatments. It’s not necessary, she knows that her sister is doing well enough to finance them on her own. Her sister’s husband is, too, although alone he would struggle a little more. Together they shouldn’t need financial help but even before she is evacuated under the threat of twenty Hive-ships the Stargate Program has taught her there are no certainties in life. Midori’s son deserves every advantage for his future.

Miko does her best for the expedition, perseveres, falls in love.

When they re-establish contact with Earth she volunteers all the medical doctors she knows for a second opinion on medications and their side-effects, even if they are not specialists. My Colette is knowledgeable about human biochemistry, she writes.

On Atlantis, she nods along with Sergeant Miller and Dr. Corrigan when Major Lorne mentions missing his nephews.

Joey is fifteen and very intrigued by the secrets around what his aunt is doing. He may have the gene, Miko thinks, and promises that she’ll tell him all she legally can when he comes of age.