October 11, 2010

Assignment to Earth Chapter Thirty-two

Jenna took her time with her pre-flight inspection, suddenly wishing she had a little more time on Earth. She’d been here a long time…longer than any one planet, really…and it had become a second home in her heart. "Ready to go?" Skylar asked over the intercom once she had her helmet on. "As ready as I'll ever be, Captain. Let's go." They started their engines and took off. Shortly before their arrival at the Charys, Skylar broke the silence which had reigned since take-off. "Why so quiet? You're not regretting your decision, are you?" "Not really. I know I'm where I belong. I'm just missing them already. I've been with them every day for five years—it's a little tough to let go so suddenly. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to Hannah. I don’t know what story Glen’s going to have to tell her…but I don’t think she’d accept the truth, even if Glen hadn’t promised not to tell where he’s actually been. "Don't get me wrong, though, because I'm counting my blessings on being home. I thought I'd never set eyes on a Dragonstar again. Thank you…" Her voice trailed off, her throat tight with unshed tears. "You're welcome, but no thanks are necessary. We helped each other, so I can thank you, too. Now it’s time to get on with new things. How are you getting back to the Octavia?" Jenna cleared her throat. “Actually, I’m not. I’ve been assigned to the Aubria, so I’ll be transferring along with Commander Mykela when he leaves.” "Great,” he said enthusiastically. “We can use someone like you.” “It’ll be strange serving with people I didn’t grow up knowing, but I’m looking forward to telling you all the stories about Uncle Xavier. And you’ll have time to tell me all about how you got here from Timora.” Skylar laughed. A few minutes later, Skylar contacted the Charys for landing instructions and they were soon carefully guiding their ships into the landing bay. Jenna climbed out of her borrowed ship and waited while Skylar pulled his pack from the rear seat and jump down to the hangar floor. She easily spotted the Aubria's shuttle, its bright orange markings standing out among the blue stripes of the Charys' ships. A Cavalier standing nearby waved both arms in the air and shouted. "Hey, Skylar!" his voice carried across the hangar. "Come on, we're leaving!" Skylar waved to show he’d heard and hefted his pack onto his shoulder, then looked over at Jenna. “Ready to go?” She nodded. They turned as one and hurried over to the shuttle. Nearly as soon as they had the door latched, Halley threw the shuttle into motion. Jenna felt the gentle acceleration press her into her seat. Anticipation for being on duty lifted her heart. She had missed being in space so much during her enforced exile on “Sol Three”, as Commander Tyson put it, that it had been painful. No matter what came her way, Jenna knew it was going to be a wonderful day. She had a new assignment, and it wasn’t on Earth.