Kyra walked down the corridor to the bridge with steps light, steady and deliberate.

John’s carain pulled inside the central courtyard of his estate.

Von and Em were on the bridge, both hunched over the central control panel.

John stepped out and to his left stood Cait and Ariel, who shot out from her mom like a rocket, half running and half skipping, to John’s open arms.

As Kyra approached the control panel, she took note of the red glow illuminating Von’s gray beard.

John hugged Ariel like a great coat one size too large, and his bundle of energy put her tiny head on this chest, her ear next to his heart. Cait stood at a distance and then John noticed two figures in the shadows to her right.

Em looked up first and then Von. Without speaking they both stepped aside and Kyra glanced down upon the sea of red, like distant stars, twinkling and winking.

John picked up Ariel and put her on his hip. Cait looked nervous. As he approached she motioned and the two figures stepped into the light, slate in hand, faces somber.

Kyra opened the comm link. There was no response. She looked at Von and he looked back, neither upset nor anxious but rather peaceful, in a resigned sort of way, as if he had opened himself to the hands of fate with complete trust.

John looked at the slate, looked at Cait. She held her arms out and took Ariel. “Go,” she said, strong to the last, resolute in duty. John hesitated and she repeated her order. “Go, for you can’t come back till you go. And I want you back, here, not back there. So go.”

“Options?” asked Kyra.

“If you believe in Janus, pray. If you don’t believe, pray anyway,” said Von. “Either way, do it now.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Von, Emy, John Discovery, Caitlin, Ariel