This is an older one, but I was so sympathetic to the poor guy when I read it again that I had to share. XD I hope ya’ll have a lovely week!
Inspired by Distant Amber by Korbox on DeviantArt.
Gneaus waited. That wasn’t hard. He’d been doing that all his life. He was rather more concerned that someone would find him down here before he got to see it and drag him off to do something general-y.
Below, the surface of Pompey was dark. Occasionally there were splatters of light, great volcanoes vomiting up flame, the dark sooty clouds momentarily torn aside. He could almost smell the sulfur.
Just like home.
Gneaus took a deep breath in. The smell of dry, recycled air brought him back to where he was standing. It had been gently scented with ‘fresh pine’ scent, which always but Gneaus in mind of public restrooms.
The hold he was standing in was dark. If he moved, the motion sensors would kick the lights back on. He’d considered disabling them, but that would set off a small alarm in the security booth, since the only way to do it was with a knife.
He shared the hold with fifteen genial companions, the Mark 55 Thresher, a large infantry landing mechanized walker, each equipped with more firepower then a short company of marines.
The floor was the hard, silvered metal that all these ships were made off. The viewing bay stretched from one side of the hold to the other, a great window. There was a hard field between him and vacuum, and nothing else.
Sure was a clearer view then the video screens up on the bridge.
The light on his communicator, strapped to his wrist, was flashing. He’d turned the volume all the way down so he didn’t have to deal with ignoring it. It wasn’t like they’d think he’d died. The damn thing was monitoring his heart beat.
Gneaus looked back out over the planet. The horizon was still dark. There was a swirling in the ash below, and a massive plume of red and white rose up toward them.
The plume curled and fell, casting red light across the broken, black and runneled surface of the planet below. For a moment, lava ran like red rivers. Then the ash clouds swirled back over.
Gneaus closed his eyes for a moment. There was something welling up inside of him, something strange and glowing. His lips began to curl upward.
Gneaus lept three feet in the air and spun. The automatic lights turned on with a low-frequency buzz.
Gneaus breathed out heavily. There was no one there, it had been the on-board communications, the intercom on the wall.
“Sir?” It was Paisly, up in communications. He was probably on the bridge, which meant that they were looking for him. They probably had something for him to do.
Gneaus turned back around. The view was almost entirely black now, the details obscure to his light-saturated pupils. Gneaus sighed, shifted into parade rest, and waited.
“Sir, are you down there, sir?” Paisly was sounding more and more upset. His voice had risen at least an octave. “Sir, do you need medical attention?”
Gneaus dropped his shoulders, the scowl twisting over his face with a heavy breath. “NO Lieutenant. I am not in need of medical attention.” I would appreciate it however, if you fucked off. He stopped himself from adding it just in time.
“Oh. Uh. Sorry sir. Major Josefa is looking for you sir.”
That’s right. Pass the buck.
“Very well.” Gneaus growled. “Thank you, lieutenant.”
“Err. Yes sir.”
The intercom went silent.
Gneaus took a deep breath and let it out, slowly. Okay, that had been too harsh. Paisly was just doing his job. Hell, the major was just doing her job
It was probably important.
Gneaus took another deep breath and closed his eyes, and put it out of his mind.
A moment later the lights turned off.
He opened his eyes again.
Pompey lay stretched out before him. The dark orange lights, piercing occasionally through the heavy clouds of smoke, clustered on the horizon that was coming toward them, indicated to him that the city of Alwida was approaching.
The other horizon was lighting up. The sun was catching up to them.
His communicator started flashing.
Gneaus closed his eyes.
It was probably important.
He clenched his teeth and opened his eyes again. Whatever it was, it had waited this long, it could wait five minutes more.
The horizon began to glow red. Below the light, the smoke curled and spun. The layers of it were suddenly visible, smoke on top of smoke on top of smoke, all moving.
Dominykus erupted again, and for a moment on the horizon the ground was visible, done in shades of red and orange and deep, startling soot black ridges.
A point began to form in the line of red and black on the round edge of the planet. It burned orange.
Gneaus took a deep breath.
He didn’t move this time.
“Sir!” It was the intercom again. And this time it was the major herself.
The spot on the horizon grew. The glistening layers of smoke became invisible again, just a black void in front of the growing, bleeding red light.
“Sir, I’ve been trying to contact you for fifteen minutes. I have questions about the landing procedures.”
Gneaus gritted his jaw. They’d talked about landing. What the hell had gone wrong with the landing?
No. That could wait five minutes too.
The sun had turned green, and the light that rimmed the horizon had turned with it. What had been a melting-egg shape had become almost a dome, a half-ball of glittering light.
It broke up as it hit the atmosphere. The light punched out in sharp rays from the top, and blurred where it touched the planet.
“Sir, are you there?”
“Major, please be quiet for three more minutes! Three!” Gneaus managed it without shouting.
“Major!” His bark rolled off the metal plating.
The intercom fell silent.
Gneaus sighed in relief.
The silence filled the air around him.
The sun turned blue. It melded into the horizon like something rising from the water. A reflection, blurred and doubled.
For a moment it hung there.
And then it pulled above the horizon, too bright to see.
Gneaus breathed out.