Stars in Her Eyes and a Verse in His Heart

5 min
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Before time and space, there was nothing, just darkness. Empty silence, a void baren of all things. It's quite simple really, God desired light, so He created the heavens and the earth. The heavens shone brightly, thousands of stars gathered together. Some formed constellations, like the twins called Gemini, or the hunter Orion. Others sat alone until their time came, then they burst into stunning nebulas, God's painting on a blank canvas. Then came the earth. It was something entirely different. It did not shine like the stars, nor did it become part of a constellation. It held mankind and beasts of the earth and sky and sea. That was all man was for a time, a beast tied to the soil beneath their feet. First Adam and Eve tilled the ground, then up came the tower of Babel, man's first reach towards the heavens. Give or take a few thousand years, and we find a man now on the moon, staring back at his planet, his home.

It started with the first successful rocket breaking the atmosphere, then what today became a fleet of ships fit for travel across the universe. What was a distant sight to Hipparchus and Eratosthenes was now a familiar landscape to the people of the stars.
Born with stars in her eyes, that is what her brother told her when she was young. When God was making her, he created stars in her eyes that shone so brightly that she could not see past them. The vessel shook again, causing what had been Alni"s lunch clatter to the floor. "If that was my food, I'm going to give Vex a piece of my mind about making his own ships." The craft was rather unstable, and Vex's reputation as a cheap mechanic/ part-time Zgrav racer only added to the problems.
Kronos snickered at this, hazel eyes glowing with withheld laughter. If only Alni could see how he became red in the face and neck when she cracked a joke or gave a warm smile.
If only Alni could see. Dark brown hair framed an olive-skinned face. On the rare occasions she opened her eyes open, green orbs shone brightly, slightly misted over from lack of use. She wasn't one for romance, but Kronos was the hopeless romantic of the team. He loved everything about her.
Loud static and Vex's voice suddenly echoed out, breaking Kronos from his lovestruck daydreaming. The mechanic called for them.
Alni let Kronos quickly guide her there after Vex's panicked and urgent voice had come over the coms again, encouraging them to hurry. Something felt wrong, it was empty space here, no asteroid belts or any objects in their way, and the ship had not malfunctioned as far as the duo could tell.
Vex turned, panic and fear taking hold in his eyes, his voice broke with stress everytime he spoke.
"The backup engines, they're overloading"
Kronos knew exactly what this meant for the team. The backups would quite literally vaporize everything within a half-mile radius if they were allowed to completely overload.
He let Alni's arms slip off from around his shoulders, ensuring she was steady on the table. The ship had begun to shudder and groan from the stress of the fuel chambers slowly expanding. Sprinting past Vex, he brought up a blueprint of the ship's engine layout.
"Is there an access hatch anywhere, maybe an override button or something to relieve the pressure on the engines"
The broad-shouldered mechanic always had been terrible in tough situations, breaking down like a nervous wreck.
"No, no-not one that can relieve the pressure, but there is one that can release the engines from their attachment docks."

In, out, in, out. Alni focused on her breathing, making sure that her breathes stayed steady and focused instead of panicked and quick. She had helped Vex design these release switches, she knew how to get them functional. Turning swiftly on her heel, she made for the door, hands running along the smooth and cold wall to guide her. No sooner than a minute of hasty walking and she heard Vex.
"Alni! What are you doing?" She shook her head sorrowfully. "I know how these switches work Vex, Kronos is taking care of the left engine, I can get the right."
Her older sibling raised a hand to his earpiece.
"Kronos? You hear me?"
"Yeah Vex, I just released the left engine, you have the right?"
The ship was now violently shaking, the right engine was close to overloading, far too close. At this rate, the ship would be broken apart from the inside before it could ever be incinerated. A small section of ceiling plating fell, hitting Alni square in the head. She stumbled and cried out in confusion. Reaching out quickly, Vex's arm wrapped around the girl's shoulders, steadying her until she got her feet under her once again.
"Listen to me, get to the pilot's deck and prepare to make a jump." Silence, then a static filled reply of yes came from Kronos. Alni continued her way along until she found a door.
"Vex! Is this the backup engine maintenance hatch?"
"Yes, why?"
Vex had expected her to move back, but instead, she reached a hand up to the implant in the back of her neck, switching on the space suit helmet, which surrounded her in a dark black light. A hand reached up, finding its place steadily on the mechanic's shoulder, squeezing as if she was silently saying "I love you brother, don't worry". Turning, she reached her hands out and ran past Vex, through the now opened door, and towards the exit hatch. "Alni! Stop! Are you mad!"
Red warning lights switched on, the ship creaked and groaned in pain, they had maybe half a minute before that engine ended them all. Although he was not known for crying, tears made rivers down his face as the realization hit him like a bullet through his chest. His sister would die out there, alone, afraid, allowing her life to be lost so they could leave the area safe and alive.
Alive, they would be alive, she would not. Time seemed to slow down, Vex's face became sick and pale, stomach twisting in knots. The mere thought of taking life on by the horns without his family standing strong by his side tightened his throat and forced more tears to stream out from his eyes.
"Vex! Vex!" Alni's yelling broke him from his thoughts, reality hitting him hard. The engine took about 7 seconds of holding down the switch to launch, and they had 10, 11 maybe before it overloaded. His only remaining blood family was waving for his attention, looking to what she hoped was his direction. Somehow, by some miracle of God, she had managed to locate the lever along the panel.
"Seal the door Vex! I need you to make the jump!" The mechanic was now shaking, his head turning in a silent no.
She took his silence and lack of the door's signature squeaking shut as a no.
"Vex, brother" Alni's tone had become calm, tranquility amidst a violent storm.
"Brother, what did you always tell me when I was afraid?" Vex wanted to speak, he really did, but the older sibling just could not force himself to form words.
"Take courage! Do not be afraid!" she paused as if trying to remember something. "Matthew 14:26!" Vex let out a tear-filled laugh, almost choking on his sobs in the process. "You never could get that one right kiddo, 14:27" He shuddered from crying.

"Vex, seal the door." It was not a request, nor a command, but more of a reassurance. He nodded a last goodbye, crying out a hurting "I love you" to her, she nodded in response once again.
"Love you to bro"
Kronos' hand never hit that switch, Vex never had to live on without her, Alni didn't face what came after alone. Alni's sacrifice for her family was one that would not be forgotten, but it had not gotten them away from the blast of not the right engine, but the left, which had drifted in front of the small and slim starship, obstructing the path laid out before them and activating the failsafe stop on the hyperjump. Not every hero gets a happy ending, not even the courageous ones. But sure enough, the three would discover what came after, and they would not have to face it alone.

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