Leaving Home

by Shelagh Smith © 2002

"Add those nutrient stimulators to my bag, Ala." She moved to obey while I remained gazing out the window.

The view from the window was beautiful. Open sky, pinpointed by a tiny silvery stars, being orbited by distant planets. How many of those planets had we colonised over the millennia? Colonised populated and now had to abandon, all because of one foolish person who had wanted to show off what she could do. The person was dead now, the Council had seen to it. Dead as a punishment for misusing her power. Still, she had left the rest of us to deal with the ramifications of her act.

Ala coughed behind me and when I turned, irritated, she held out my bag.

"Are you going for a long trip, mistress?"

"Yes, a very long trip."

The longest. Outside of the galaxy, a trip that would take decades, if not centuries. Rushed into leaving because of the black hole some idiot had created, a black hole that was slowly pulling our plant into it. Or was our plant moving toward it? The details escaped me, but in the end the result was the same. A different voice interrupted my musings: "Ready yet, Tia?"

Only one person would greet me with such informality. My life-partner, Ric. Sure enough there he was, leaning comfortably against the doorway, his own bag slung over his shoulder. Ala had vanished, becoming scarce as the servants usually did when Ric was present. Such behaviour helped with our plan, though I still felt badly about it.

"Are-are you sure that we have to leave them behind?" Ric looked annoyed at my question but his voice was gentle, "Look, I know itís hard but itís already been decided by the Council. They canít come. Thereís barely enough room on the ship for our own people much less them." I nodded a reply, not trusting my voice. Three decades I had been with Ric and I was still surprised by his reaction to the Councilís decision. He had no qualms about leaving behind the beings custom bred to serve us while I...I...

"Hey," Ric crossed the room in two strides and cupped my chin in one hand, gently wiping away the tears that had begun to trickle down my cheeks, "Weíll breed new servants on our new world, love. You can even give them names again if you want." I smiled through my tears.

"Really?"

"Really." Ric released my chin and wrapped a comforting arm around my shoulders, "Now, are you ready yet? The shipís waiting."

The ship and our people on it. Waiting for us so that we could fly off into the stars and colonise a new world, leaving this one to be swallowed by the black hole.

I squared my shoulders. "Yes. Yes, Iím ready." "Good." Ric bent and picked up my bag. We passed Ala on the way out of the building. Ala, who bid us farewell and said she would look after the house until we returned. Exactly like she had been bred to.

I paused on the shipsí landing ramp to take one last glimpse of this world, my home for all my life and the world that had spawned Alaís kind. Then I continued up the ramp into the welcoming arms of my people, wondering only in passing how long it would take for this world, called Earth by Alaís people to be forever swallowed up by the black hole and what would happen to them once they entered it.

x x x




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