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After Uncertainty (part 2)
Heia walked into the cafeteria where Evester sat along with Kim, Uly, and Europa. Maverin had papers out before himself, eating haphazardly, as Evester played with his food. She had assumed she was the only one who had slept through the majority of the day. While the Uncertain End had been anti-climatic — according to the others it had been far worse than she gave it credit– upon Zeydar’s disappearance to his room, she too had felt tired. The months worth of adrenaline and tireless effort had caught up. They’d made it to the Uncertain End and her body gave in on her. Heia felt as if she had been hit by a truck, and sore.
So she slept.
“What are the reports saying?” Kim asked Maverin who tossed his papers about haphazardly.
“Last I checked? Total destruction. Temperature rises and inhospitable conditions for our species. Total collapse of ecosystems.” Uly answered for Maverin.
“There is no way we can go back down then?” Heia asked. She no longer wanted to. She no longer needed to. She had long given up, but she had to confirm for the cameras and for all the ears who listened in, who had not been in the control room. They had to know that it was final.
“None. The world has been terraformed, essentially. We can’t fix it back.” Uly spoke loud enough that the whole room could hear him. “Besides we gave it to the Aralax, returning now would be all out war.”
It had gone eerily silent.
“That we will lose,” Maverin reminded them. “We will lose if we go back. That is, if the world doesn’t kill us first. We can’t breathe the air. We can’t survive there.”
“All we have is forward,” Heia said loudly, wanting those who heard to know. There was no way back.
Even when her body felt like it could cave in at any moment, she needed to be strong. She needed to lead the way. She could not give up just yet.
“You start the data review for the new home tonight then?” Kim asked.
“Tomorrow. If I’m being honest, seeing the Uncertain End took more out of me than I expected.”
“We’ll get back on track tomorrow.” Heia sat with them, picking at her food.
“The Uncertain End is over. So quick too.” Evester sighed, finally speaking. His voice was hoarse as if he had been screaming for hours. Heia wondered how thick the magic was in his shared room with Zeydar. The last time Evester had sounded this bad, had been when Zeydar had, essentially, hotboxed their room with magic.
A second examine, revealed that Evester’s skin was sparkling. He, however, did not smell sweet. She knew that would not last long. She watched as he picked at his food, his eyes narrowed and the dark circles under his eyes almost purple. He looked terrible.
She thought of the man she’d first met months ago in LakeLost. He’d been dirty then, but far from the Evester before her. Things had changed so much since then. That Evester had been cocky, this Evester was wise. That Evester had held a backpack for dear life reciting a date over and over until they all knew it by heart.
A date that had come to pass.
“Positive note.” Heia smiled at him. “You don’t have to keep your countdown going.”
Everyone at the table stopped eating. Maverin even looked up from his papers. Evester gave her a strange look before laughing. She knew that while they were all working towards the future together, he had stopped saying the date. She knew that he must have kept it as a mantra in his head, however, because that was the type of person Evester was. And, at one point it had been everything to him.
“Yeah. No need to count down.” Evester smiled, wide, and pure.
“Now we can count up.” Maverin smiled. “Or down again, depending on how you look at it. We now have a new journey.”
“Yes. Father.” Evester shook his head. There was a jovial taunting in the tone. He was ready for the new adventure. Heia knew that he was worried, as she was, but seeing their excitement made her excited as well. There was much to look forward to,
“What did you get?” Zedyar asked from behind Heia.
“I’d ordered a soup for you.” Evester said touching the plate next to him. Zeydar walked over and sat down. He looked rested, unlike Evester. He still was skinny, with much of his former weight lost. His skin sparkled too, more than Evester’s. It, however, seemed to be soaking into him. The air around him seemed to move as well.
“The shakes gone?” Kim asked.
“There are residual flares.” Zeydar shook his head. “They aren’t hurting us so bad, but I will need to rework defenses to ensure that they do not.”
“I think there might be a few more large ones over the course of the day, but not as big as the first.” Zeydar sipped at his soup.
Maverin tossed papers Zeydar’s way and began babbling about science nonsense. Zeydar, clearly, was not listening, nodding along without a point. The others became more at ease and Kim held Heia’s hand.
Heia laughed at how mundane the day felt. It was no different than the other days she had been in space and yet they had witnessed the end of the world from space. One day, perhaps, it would be a good story. For the moment, however, she cherished the simplicity.
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