A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Aftermath. Simone has come to the space port to greet Eleanor on her return. It seems that half of Helenith has come out as well. However, she is ushered to the front and given a place of honor with the other families who wait the return of their mates from space.
The US Navy gets it right (maybe other navies do as well). When a ship returns to port, the crew lines the deck in dress whites and stands at a attention. One crewman is chosen by the other crew as the “ceremonial first greeting” representing the rest of the ship. Videos of these are touching with everything that is going in our world. And sometimes crews are better at expressing what is important in life than our political leaders.
Today’s featured follower is the Quintessential Editor. Corey Truax spent many years in the Navy as a photographer and journalist and honed his writing skills. After leaving of the Navy, he tried his hand at criminal justice but found police work reality a far cry from his ideal. He is now a full time writer and father. His blog has great practical advice to the starting writer. I have book marked his sections on creating worlds and monsters. His musings are always useful and thoughtful. I encourage writers to visit his site for information.
Simone fidgeted in the transport as they approached the space port. She knew Eleanor was ok, but that did not change the butterflies in her stomach or her need to see Eleanor. The weeks following the final battle had been too long and too painful bear alone, yet Silverbeam was hardly a confidant and John had his own grief to bear. Simone had begged John to join her for the fleet arrival. Despite her efforts and Silverbeam’s explicit request to him, he simply said, “I will be a bit of a lump. This is supposed to be a celebration.”
When Simone had arrived at the space port, her spirits fell. The crowd was immense. She would certainly not see Eleanor until after the parade. Her driver reassured her, “Mr. Silverbeam has arranged everything.” The driver escorted her to the gate and when the city guards saw her they waved her through. The driver talked to a Hoon who nodded and he whisked her to a reserved section in the grandstand. He pointed to the seat, “You should sit, it will be some time before the ships arrive.”
Simone looked around and said, “What section is this?”
The Hoon said, “The family section. Family members of the fleet will be treated as heroes as well.”
Simone choked and then stuttered, “But I…I am not family.”
The Hoon eyed her, “You are meeting your mate. No?” Simone blushed. The Hoon continued, “My name is Shaxash Jogath. My mate, Awag Jogath serves with your Miss Woodson. She speaks highly of her.”
Simone brightened immediately, “You are Awag’s husband? Eleanor thinks your wife is wonderful.” They conversed of the difficulties and strains of the last months during the siege. The home front had its own stresses and she had not talked with anyone about her fears for Eleanor and the planet defense fleet. The conversation warmed her as they waited.
Finally the ships landed far away. They were close enough to see the individual ships land, but far enough for the crowd to be safe. After the ships had landed and been made secure, the crews debarked and made a formation. Simone had seen her share of parades in London with the Queen’s birthday and celebrations of Wellington’s victory. As the crews approached, she noticed significant gaps in the ranks. Simone asked Shaxash, “Don’t they form up ranks?”
Shaxash sighed and said, “For some marches they leave gaps to remember their fallen comrades. The spaces you see are the crews that have not come home.”
Simone nodded and strained to make out individuals. She thought she could see Eleanor near the front. Eleanor stood almost as tall as the Uycarrans next to her. Eleanor was distinctive with her dark skin and long fluffy hair that was never in control. But there were other Uycarrans who were as tall or taller as Eleanor with long hair so it was hard to be sure. As the crews approached, the crowd stood and applauded and then went silent. Simone stood on her tip toes to see around the bodies that all seemed to be taller and thicker her than her. Shaxash gestured to the chair and helped her up.
A Mennagung male came up from the ranks, shook Brian Tuireann’s hand and bowed and then looked forward. Two cubs streaked towards the man holding flowers. The crowed hushed as the man knelt down and hugged the young Mennagung cubs closely. The mother came up and joined the group in a single greeting. After a moment, the grandstand gates were opened and the families surged forward to their own reunions less ceremonial but no less joyous. She could hear cries and shouts and saw a half dozen new ways to greet people. But in the rush of tall bodies, she had lost sight of Eleanor. She had a moment of panic. She spun around, looking in vain shouting “Eleanor? Eleanor Woodson?” Tearing up in frustration and at the absurdity of calling both names. Then from behind she felt arms surround her and a familiar voice say, “ I have missed you so much.” Simone closed her eyes and let her tears fall as she felt a warmth long missed.