Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Landfall Chapter 18–Epilog

Chapter 18

She moved her hand through the space in the air beside the text that floated in front of her as she sat in the darkened room. Two beds held figures in them and she looked over to them having heard a light snoring sound coming from one of them. Smiling her hand shifted and the text winked out and she softly took up her drink bulb as she stood up from the chair she was sitting in. What were once grey walls had taken on a blue coloration, dark in tone but lighter near the main interaction spaces so that views of the Jovian system could be brought up, including those just outside the space habitat that circled far outside the miniature system that the planet held in its grasp, but just within what would still allow it to orbit.

"Zeus," she whispered and the system lightened one panel by the door and she looked at Jupiter as seen from the core of their station.

Breathing deeply, she moved her hand through the air once more and the exterior view faded away as was her preference.

"Aunt Pallas?" came the voice of the boy from the right hand bed.

She had turned swiftly, silently, without thinking in a graceful way that she had taught herself ages ago. She padded over to the beds and knelt between them.

"Yes, Timothy?" she whispered softly.

"You were there, right?"

Pallas shook her head slowly.

"No, Timothy, I wasn't."

The young dark haired boy looked at her in earnest.

"But... why does the story stop there?"

Nodding slowly she reached out and stroked his hair.

"Because, Timothy, I have not the good grace to tell it properly. I cannot tell more from this point onwards and others recount it. Our family put that story together, found the chronicler amongst them who would make it, and then gave that as a gift to me so I could understand what had happened."

She remembered reading that story over and over as the events they brought about unfolded around her. Desperately she tried to comprehend all that was and what had happened, and come to know the strange and yet good people who had brought her out of darkness to awaken in space.

"I gave the story to all people to tell their children because that is more like I was when I was given it. It was so that they could understand that it takes more than just desire to reach here, and that not all of it was good but all of it did give us our new lives."

"Aunt Pallas?" came the tired voice of the girl in the other bed and she shifted to lean over and onto that one.

"Yes, Gretchen?"

"Where are they?"

She shrugged.

"You know where Uncle Dennnis is, of course, the last Guardian of Earth?"

Gretchen nodded, her red-brown hair barely a shade lighter than her brother's black hair.

"Earth's Moon," she said, "And Grandfather Herman is here, on Hera."

Pallas nodded, "Yes he is, and you know that very well, too as this was his place necessary to make things right."

"But what about Uncle Aaron? And why did Aunt Diana....?"

Pallas looked into the eyes of Gretchen and then shifted over to look at Timothy who was leaning on one elbow to look at her.

"Aaron decided that Earth's orbit is not a good place for mining asteroids. He also saw that being so close to people so fickle left the future at peril. So the scattered settlements amongst the asteroids and other bodies are by his doing, to give people a place far from the reach of those of Earth. There, too, the research into making way to other stars was started and comes to fruition, now."

"But where is Aunt Diana? Is she dead?" Timothy asked.

Pallas closed her eyes and in her mind's eye saw the face of her sister, the first face she remembered in this new life, looking at her when they were inside a group of spent refueling cylinders that had been made into the first rude habitat. The care and devotion of all of them to her was deep to her beyond all words and feeling. Their story of coming together and Diana's dream of a new family that would bring her back one that required the shift of thinking of men if not of all mankind.

Opening her eyes she looked from one child to the next.

"I don't know, Timothy," she looked at the girl, "Gretchen. She left for the new wilderness testing out that ship which was the first of its kind Uncle Aaron had made. She is doing what she has always been doing, seeking answers, always seeking answers. We lost track of the ship..." Pallas shuddered remembering those events, "after its drive had kicked in. We are making more of those ships, but hers was the first and is out of reach. No one knows where she has gone, not even me, because all wilderness is her home. Even all of empty space."

She looked at each child and kissed their cheeks.

"Rest now and you can have your mentor systems add in this material and others, so you can understand it better. I am the least able to tell the story..."

She trailed off and stood up.

"Good night, Aunt Pallas," Timothy said.

"And you sleep well, too," Gretchen said.

"I shall, never worry," and with a final smile she gave a sharp turn and walked to the doors that opened for her and the room dimmed to darkness behind her. The doors closed with the softest of sounds.

"No one has found her, but then I haven't tried yet," she said with a smirk, "and she is my sister, after all."

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