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One Last Sunrise

Posted on Monday May 22nd, 2017 @ 4:06pm by Lieutenant Dylan Nighthorse

Mission: Intermission 1: New Home
Location: Cheyenne Lands, Oklahoma Area, Earth
Timeline: 17 February 2392, Dawn

Tendrils of gold and lavender were already pushing back the heavy mantle of night, shadows retreating before the gathering morning, revealing the first outlines of the settlement in the valley below. The old man crested the last rise, moving through lingering patches of night, with the confidence that comes from intimate knowledge of a place. He found her, as he knew he would, sitting, knees drawn tightly up to her chest, atop a flat rock. He shook out the folds of the old quilt he carried, it around his shoulders, and sat down beside her with a muffled grunt, a reluctant expression of age. When she turned, he opened the blanket in silent invitation and she scuttled closer to him, settling with a contented sigh against his shoulder.

Tendrils of her hair, black as a raven's wing, and his own, midnight black shot through with silver, mingled, teased and tossed with playful abandon by the ever present wind. They didn't speak for several minutes and the silence between them, as comfortable and familiar as the old quilt, was broken only by the soft buzz of insects, the flutter of wings, the rustle of movement in the bushes. They sat together, watching the daylight claim the sky, each lost in private thoughts and meditations.

( Short While Later )

"Your grandmothers are preparing breakfast," he said at last; he spoke in the mother tongue of the people, the deep baritone of his voice barely carrying to her ears.

She smiled at the thought, one slender hand reaching up to brush the hair back from her eyes, before retreating back into the comforting warmth of the blanket. Her thoughts were tangled and the right words wouldn't come so she kept her gaze on the sky, her lower lip caught between her teeth.

"Chief Engineer," he said, the sound of the words spoken in Federation Standard sounding foreign, out of place, to his ears. Certain words did not seem to fit in the language of the people or to this place which for him, stood apart from technology and progress. "Its not small and we're all proud of you. but Starfleet will have to wait a bit longer to claim my beautiful granddaughter," he said. "Your grandmothers will not be denied."

She nodded, blinking back sudden tears, and buried her face against in his shoulder.

They clung together for a long moment, reluctance etched into the lines of his body ... and hers ... while the sky filled with dramatic shades of gold and lavender and fiery red. He was the first to move, starting the process with the slow movements that offered mute testimony to the early morning aches in his joints; she followed, moving with the fluid grace that had always been hers, and offered him her hand.

As they started back down the trail, she wound the blanket tighter around herself and he wondered privately how a girl so susceptible to the cold, as she always had been, could choose life in the chill silence of space. The breeze brought to them the sounds of laughter entwined with aromas that set both of their empty stomachs to rumbling. Tears drying on her cheeks, she looped one arm around his lean waist.

"I'm going to miss this," she whispered. "I've seen the stars up close but nothing compares to sunrise here." They followed the trail, easily visible now; her breath caught as her childhood home came into view after the last bend. Memories collided together in her mind, overwhelming her for a moment. Home was a word that would be forever tied to this place and to these people.

He turned and drew his in close then brushed away her tears with a tender gesture. They stood that way for a moment, huddled together in the shelter of the trees, and then she straightened and stepped back. He saw a glimpse of the Starfleet officer she had become as his granddaughter seemed to recede, shielded behind a barrier, but then his granddaughter was back in a mercurial flash, rising on tiptoe to kiss his cheek.

"I'm ready," she said and offered an impish grin as she added, "and hungry."

"Hungry is good," he said as he kissed her back. They started walking again, making for the back door out of long habit. "I think they made enough to feed everyone on your new ship."


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