Author’s note: So the time has come, me lovelies, time to get on with this story. I want to thank you all for your patirnce. It was truly appreciated.
The woman standing in the middle of the field considered the planet on which she currently resided as the hind end of space.
It wasn’t very remarkable. It contained no grand, sweeping vistas, or any craggy, majestic mountains, or colorful, luminescent atmosphere. No, it was mostly blue skies and green earth, and not a very bright blue or green at that. Not that she was complaining. It served a purpose and that was fine by her.
The other settlers, her co-inhabitants of that world, might have told someone that they settled there for those simpler attractions alone, but their reasons for making such a long, tedious journey were far more complicated.
Many might have come to escape the overwhelming complexities of an old life, or to reinvent themselves, or, as the woman always thought of as her reason, as a place to forget and to disappear… even if in that moment of that very day, disappearances were not at all possible.
The woman looked up from her tilling just in time to see the young Denobulan male approaching on his bicycle down the long, dusty lane. She had absolutely no idea where he had obtained such an antiquated conveyance and she had absolutely no intention of asking him; for questions of a prying nature were just about the only things that were frowned upon here.
“Penny!” he called again, waving vigorously, momentarily losing his balance. “Penny!”
She casually waved in return. Moving her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun at her back, she turned and spared a brief glance towards the front door of her cottage. She expected to see at least one or possibly two figures of the individuals she shared the cottage with standing there, come to see what all the commotion was about. The arrival of the colony’s only doctor just happened to coincide with the end of the rest interval and she knew that they’d be up shortly.
Dropping her hand, she returned to the tilling of her crop: strawberries. Come early summer she’d have bushels and bushels of them, enough for everyone in the settlement and more than enough for one of her companions. He’d make himself sick if she’d let him; strawberries had always been his particular favorite.
However, the third dweller of the cottage was completely the opposite. He detested the red berries, having chosen peaches as his favorite, but peaches were hard to come by and the young saplings they had brought with them to the planet and planted in the small orchard had yet to bear fruit. However, she was a thoughtful provider and had planned ahead enough to have a few of the jarred varity stored in her long-term stasis unit.
The doctor was now at least seventy-five meters away and just by the speed of his peddling, she determined that he had something especially interesting to share.
Doctor Kulix was her most frequent and faithful visitor, always willing to share a bit of gossip from the settlement station or any bit of news that drifted in on the random supply ships that called in at Omicron Ceti VI two or three times a year. And that was only if and when a ship made it out that far. Even the fastest freighters took six or seven months to reach them way out on the edges of the galaxy. But the last shipment of farming equipment and supplies was some ten months ago and they were long overdue. If a freighter was currently in orbit, that would be news enough in itself.
“Penny, Penny! You’ll never believe it; not in a million years. The freighter Hercules has arrived.”
She nearly laughed when Kulix had trouble with his breaking, He satisfied himself by bringing the bicycle to a screeching halt by dragging his feet long the lane. Having stopped and letting it drop to the ground, he picked up his medical bag and ran the last few meters, hopping over plants and the random toy, before reaching her and grasping her arms to steady himself and his breathing.
“Kulix, just look at you,” the woman beamed, noticing the fine mist of perspiration glistening on his facial ridges as he panted heavily trying to find his voice. She thought to help him out.
“No, no, don’t tell me, let me guess: Leila and Sandoval have finally admitted that they like each other.” This was their private little joke, speculating between themselves that Leila Kalomi and Elias Sandoval were having a torrid affair. It was something to amuse themselves with when they were bored, they both knew it wasn’t true, of course, as Leila and Elias hardly ever spoke casually.
He was finally able to reply.
“No, no–this is—much–much more important; you will never believe it!”
He then moved his hands up to her shoulders. Looking into her eyes he squeezed tightly as if trying to transfer some of his strength to her, knowing that the news he carried would be of particular interest. He went on haltingly, thinking it better to dispense with the bad news all at once.
“The planet Vulcan–it is no more–it has been destroyed.”
Penny, as if she had not heard him at all, continued to smile. For a moment she thought it was some rouse that she was meant to follow along with, but the Denobulan never teased her; he had no talent for it.
Releasing the gardening implement in her hand, she allowed it to drop to her feet before she jerked away. “That’s not funny, Kulix, not to me.”
“I swear, I do not lie; not about this, never about this.” Reaching into his medical bag slung around his body he pulled out a portable data tablet. “Look here. It is all there. Destroyed by Romulans nearly a year ago. All are dead… the Vulcan people and planet are no more.”
Glancing at the screen before her, she saw the listing of documented accounts yet she did not see them. Snatching the device from his hands, she stared down at the screen, numb, scrolling with her thumbs at all of the news reports and casualty figures, only to go numb again when she saw an account of the number of Starfleet vessels destroyed, destroyed along with their temporary crews composed almost entirely of Academy cadets.
Looking into Kulix’s eyes, her wretched face told a story all it’s own. “It isn’t true; it can’t be true; please tell me it isn’t true.” But she could already see the tears filling the doctor’s eyes; Denobulans where such a tender, soft-hearted species; he could never lie to her.
“The destruction and subsequent battle was confirmed by the captain of the Hercules. I am sorry, Penny, but it is true.”
She turned back to the door of the cottage then, sensing the presence of two others, two little Vulcan children, who, having sensed a disturbance in their mother’s very soul, had rushed to the door.
She couldn’t look at them at that moment, it was all too much. The only thing she was able to do in that moment was to slowly drop to her knees, open her mouth, and let out a long, silent scream before the world went black.
Author’s footnote: I have enough written ahead to post a chapter a day for the next two weeks… but I won’t do that because that is called spoiling you. And no more long, drawn out posts. This will be chapter by chapter. I really need to pace myself with this one. I want it to be about quality not quantity.