“What? Battle Shields up, everything in fire line, secure solid ground, hold, move back, open launchers, all systems highest function,” Athena said. “Um, no?” Asked Raru. “I’m overriding your communications. We’re safe.” “No way Raru, look at the navigational systems, they’re right in front of us, I knew I shouldn’t have, wait there they are!!! We’ve got to do something.” “Athena, no one is out here, that’s the air meter. There’s a light wind to the south, that’s it.”
Athena couldn’t breathe, “I’m having a panic attack!!” “Wait what’s that!!!!”, “That’s the clock, Athena, it’s OK. Everything’s fine, everything’s fine.” Athena caught her breath, sank back in the seat, and started to cry.” It seemed like an hour, but it was only a few seconds, time seemed to drift off, it was probably a few minutes, Athena put the vision goggles on, what’s out there, Raru.?” It’s the forest outside your home, I’ve never seen it before, thank you for bringing me here.” Raru’s voice came, there, I’m opening the bay door”.
In the cockpit, the light burst through the open viewport, and Athena saw it. Before her were the forests of earth, somewhere in the hills of Artemisia, endlessly flowing as if each branch and tree were in a light embrace, leaning with the wind as it passed through the air.
“Let me down, Raru, let me see.” The floor doors opened and the seat settled down to the forest floor. She walked out into the morning air. It had been so long, probably years since she’d been home, she traveled so far that being here felt like the longest journey of all. She stepped gently, cautiously with each step. She wanted to cry out loud, she wanted to scream, she felt the pain of the war course through her, and then looking across the field, she said something almost like it was a secret, something she couldn’t say, and then she tried. In the distance she saw her home, partially destroyed. Her eyes welled up with tears.”
When she stepped forward through the fields and into the front door, she saw pieces of her life tossed seemingly so effortlessly into pieces before her. It was horrific, each memory passing like something with a new wound that might never heal. Suddenly she heard a sound behind her, turning around she saw Raru, now in hologram form. “The ship needs repair,” Raru said, we should try to head into town, the recovery efforts might be there.
“OK, it’s about five miles up the Valley,” Athena said. She turned suddenly and fell, a shattered glass cutting into her foreleg. “Oh my god,” Athena said. “Athena wait, here I can help you, let me deactivate the hologram form.” “But you’ll never be able to get back,” Athena said. Raru did not respond, deactivated, and used the converted energy to heal her to a safe return. Let’s head up and see what we can do, there is a lot to do in the new world, a lot to repair, we’ll get there together.
Raru what happened out there in the fields, do you remember? “It was like one long day, Athena, I’m not programmed to understand time, but I do remember every moment I was with you.”