Bettis brought the ship around the planet. Hitting the comm
button, he called out to his spouse. “Tria! Get up here! You have to see this!”
He put the
vessel into an orbital pattern. By the time she climbed into the cockpit, they’d
flown around to the dark side of the planet.
out the viewscreen as she took her seat beside him. “What did you want me to
guess. It’s on the other side?”
“Just you wait.”
He checked the chronometer. “Innn…one minute, twenty seconds.” He glanced over
at her. “Any regrets yet?”
coming back here?”
with a soft moan and eased back in her chair. Her eyes returned to the front
cockpit window. “Mom always used to tell me never to go back to something you
used to love, even if you’ve never lived there. Or never seen something you still
believe wholeheartedly in.”
He nodded. “Like
the person you’ve never met but care deeply for?”
turned her head and smiled at him. “Exactly.”
his head. “How many generations has it been?”
appeared confused. “Been?”
left this world,” he clarified.
She looked down, her brows knitted as she thought. “Has to be at least…ten?
that many. I was figuring around twelve to fifteen.” He looked outside. “Now
look at us. Circling the very planet we escaped hundreds of years ago.”
light peeked over the rim of the world, signaling their re-emergence from the
dark side. “Ah! Here we go.” He threw her a smile. “You’re going to love this.”
forward, as if the additional couple of inches would make a difference. Laughing
to himself, he flipped the switch to turn off the interior lights to give the
upcoming show a more spectacular view.
gradually emerged from its hiding place, gliding as smoothly as an eagle that
used to soar through the planet’s skies. It had emerged only a third of the way
when Tria gave a little cry of surprise.
“Is it a
is,” he assured her.
“Oh, it's beautiful!” Her voice went soft. “It’s more beautiful than all the photos we have
of it.” She turned a tearful face to him. “Thank you so much for this.”
fingers to his lips, he held them out to her. “Wait until you see the entire
finally crested the edge of the world, revealing the moon in all its glory.
From where they sat, it was immense, almost as large as a small planetoid. And
it drew closer as their ship continued in its elliptical orbit to pass between
it and the world below them.
what moon this is,” she commented. “What month is it here?” She started to
consult with the onboard computer.
already looked it up,” he told her. “Going by Earth’s orbital stance around the
sun, it’s the month of May, but don’t ask me what year.”
repeated. “May’s the spring season. Everything starts blooming again. May’s supposed
to be the Flower Moon, right?”
He nodded. “Right.
Or the Corn Planting Moon, because this is when the farmers would plant their
my mother telling me it’s the Mother’s Moon, or Milk Moon.”
grinned. “Something about the cows needing to be milked three times a day. Don’t
ask me why.”
watched as the full moon appeared to float by, even though they knew it was
their ship that was moving. Bettis heard his wife’s breathing quicken. He
glanced at her in alarm, but it was quickly evident she wasn’t in any distress.
She was simply overwhelmed by the incredible view.
ever seen anything so beautiful?” she whispered. In the orb’s glow, she was
more ethereal and breathtaking than he’d ever seen her in the past.
other thing,” he murmured.
at him and realized what he meant. The pink color that tinted her face only
enhanced her appearance.
“Sorrento, this is the Nathan Breyance. Respond.”
flipped the comm switch. “Breyance, this
look down there? Give us an update.” It was Tovar on the other end. If it had
been anyone else, a brief scolding would have come next because they were late
won’t believe how gorgeous this full moon is we’re looking at right now.”
Then how ‘bout sending us some pics of it?”
their way,” Tria called out. Her fingers danced over her console.
I wouldn’t give for New Terra to have a moon,” Tovar remarked, verbalizing what
Bettis and Tria had been thinking all along. The man’s gasp of surprise echoed
over the comm as he received their transmission. “Ho-lee shit! That’s amazing!”
chuckled. “Now you know why we were late checking in.”
got a pass from me,” Tovar said. “Wait until I pass these along for the others
to see.” There was a moment’s pause before the man returned. “Hey, guys, the head
honcho is wanting to know when you’re going down to scope out the planet.”
another couple of minutes to enjoy the view before we descend,” Tria answered. “Right
now, just let us enjoy the view.”
Sorrento. I’ll pass along that
information and let Robinson know you’re on your way planetside.” Tovar’s voice
was suddenly all business, which was his cue to them that the boss was on the
bridge. “Nathan Breyance out.”
his wife a sideways glance. “Think he’ll share the photos with Robinson?”
giggled. “Yes, but only after everyone else has seen them first.”
him a good laugh, too, and they turned simultaneously back to the view. He
heard the click of a harness, and a warm body snuggled against his. Softly,
Tria began to sing.
River, wider than a mile.”
crossing you in style someday,” he sang along with her.
their song. They’d had it played at their wedding. And because they loved the
piece, they liked to think divine providence made sure they were tapped to take
this mission to survey what was left of Earth and see if it was worth
reclaiming. Hopefully resettling.
song ended, they closed it with a soft kiss, and Tria returned to her seat.
announced, taking the ship out of orbit. “Let’s go see how pretty our Flower
Moon looks from the planet’s surface.”
She didn’t reply, but he knew what
she was thinking.
smile was the second most heartwarming sight he’d seen on this trip. So far.
the controls from autopilot, he aimed the ship’s nose downward to begin their