Ishtar, Planet of Hope
Lars had convinced her to give the world a chance. He’d painted a vista of opportunity and filled his words with the excitement of uncharted explorations, unconceived discoveries on this recently discovered planet.They had been chosen by the Exploratory Council as one of three couples who would lead initial explorations on the nearest planets that might support life. She never could get them to explain why they didn’t send more people. The temperature was right; the air was breathable; there was water available; so the planet was survivable, but was it liveable?
Lars hugged her and began to unpack the equipment and setup their base. Krista knew she should be helping. She had been trained on all of it, trained to be his assistant. Lars was kind enough to let her continue to look at their new world. Or perhaps he thought she was keeping guard. Guarding against what, they didn’t know yet.The plateau the Council had chosen for them was covered in a short, blue grass. The eastern edge sloped down into a dark forest. Mountains rose up behind her, but they were dark, evil-looking mountains to her eye, reaching up and out in strange, seemingly impossible arches and spires. They were more like the tentacles of some gargantuan rock-octopus that was merely sleeping until hungry. She shuddered and tried to shake off the thought. A shadow caught her attention. Lars was walking towards her.
“Lars, I can’t do this.”
He smiled at her, and she wanted to curse him for it. “Of course you can, my dear. We’re here together. A big adventure, just the two of us on this whole planet for the next two years! Don’t you think it’s romantic?”
“I think it’s dreadful,” she snuggled into his protective arm, “and frightening. We are not alone out here.
Can’t you call them? Tell them to come back and get us?”
“He squeezed her reassuringly. “Don’t be silly. There’s no reason to do that. We just got here. Besides, the only way they come back now is if one of us dies.” He leaned down to kiss her forehead. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure nothing happens to you.”
They stood for a few minutes, staring out at the horizon, he with a smile, she with a grimace. They watched the first sun set and Krista saw nothing but her life fading away.
“We only have a couple of hours before second sun set. We’d better get the rest of base set up before then.”
She watched as he walked back to the gear packs to continue working. She fingered her weapon and murmured to herself. “They come back if someone dies...”
My only comment is I LOVE the ending! This is a great look deep into what motivates. Is it love or is it fear? Plus, I'm a sucker for binary planets. ;)
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