This is the eleventh part in a serialized story. If you’ve missed any of the rest of it, you can find it here.
“We’ve slowly been adjusting the gravity and air mix in the ship since you’ve awakened to help you get ready for the planet. You may feel disoriented, tired, and have a little trouble breathing as you move more actively. If you experience any reactions in extreme, or the symptoms continue beyond a few days, please contact a member of the medical team immediately.”
The med-techs and medics, standing on a raised platform near the door of the ship, raised their hands.
The announcement continued. “Once outside the ship, proceed directly to your quarters. Engineers are housed in the compound to the left, and miners are housed in the quarters to the right.” Avdonina’s new quarters were with the miners. As far away from Miggs as possible.
The gangway doors opened and the front of the remaining group of 850 settler-miners and family surged forward.
Avdonina was in the middle of the group with Quenden, with just five days worth of Praccin in her pocket. Shihs apparently wanted to keep her under his thumb. Miggs, standing at the front, pointedly ignoring her. He hadn’t spoken to her since they woke. When he happened to see her, he only scowled and moved on. That was fine with her. Apparently, Shihs had already informed Miggs of the new arrangements.
Slowly, the settlers funneled through the door, mixing with their new home like gasoline on water.
The crush pushed Avdonina forward. She could just see a small sliver of blue sky above the heads of those in the doorway. Fresh air!
Quenden, with his most recent dose of Praccin working in his system, squirmed on her hip, jabbering long strings of nonsensical words to neighbors, who smiled in return.
It seemed like forever they shuffled in the confines of the crowd, breathing used air, not seeing or knowing how much further, just focusing on that blue patch of sky.
Suddenly Avdonina was at the door and then out. She had her first look at her new world. It really didn’t look much different from rural Earth, except the vegetation was a bit thicker-stemmed and almost blue-green. Even the grass crunched softly under her feet as she walked around the side of the ship.
It didn’t take long to find their quarters. Someone, presumably Shihs, had placed them at the end of the compound, furthest from the majority of the crowd, where no one would hear Quenden if he got out of control.
Inside, she found everything well-organized and already put away. Maybe this deal of Shihs’s wasn’t so bad after all.
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If you don’t want to wait to read the whole story, it’s available in “Sunlit Night, Coffee and Sweet Dreams“.