New

The older kids watched the explosion, their faces mixed with horror and anger.  Why didn’t Granny and Grampa come with?  Why wasn’t there more time?  Why–

“We have to keep going,” Ron said, breaking the moment of silence for their home.  Sasha got up from her seat and made her way up to Ron.  She watched his face.  It was emotionless but tears stained his cheeks.  She nodded and went back check on Aya and the smaller children.

Ree made her way up to Ron now, his face clean of wetness.  She watched the window, seeing all the ships that had just barely made it as well zip past their little rust bucket and past the Broken Moon.

“Is that where we going?”  Ree asked, staring at the two halves of the broken satellite.

“Yes, we have to go to the left side.  That’s what… What Grampa said.”

Ree hugged Ron tightly before going back to help Sasha with the younger children.

Ron watched the moon halves come closer and closer, trying to remember where exactly the station was.  He turned on the radio.

“Uhhh, hello?  Is this station still running?  I need to land.”

There was a long pause in the static.

“—URIVED?!”

“I”m sorry?”

“MORE PEOPLE MADE IT, EVERYONE!”  Ron turned the radio down when a loud scream came through.

“How many are there of you?”

“Uh… Ten… Ten children.”

Silence again.

“Hello?”  Ron asked.  He noticed several flares off in the distance, to the south.  He steered the ship in that direction.  The landing protocols went off as Ron got clearance to land.  When all the children walked into the landing dock, a fat alien with purple skin, 4 hours and 6 arms waddled up to them.

“Ohhh!! Oh, thank goodness you all made it safely!  Where are you parents?”  They asked.

The older children looked down at the ground.  The alien sighed and helped them down the hall.

“Let’s get you something to eat.”

A few days went by and the children were getting used to their new blended family.  The alien that had greeted them, Koro, was one of the first people to call this home after the war aliens sent a rocket THROUGH the moon, which caused it to split in two.

“It was wild!” they said, placing a mush in front of the toddlers, while feeding the babies bottles.  “Everyone thought they would leave you guys alone after that because you didn’t retaliate.  I happened to be in the area to do some trading and I stopped to help the scientists that lived her before.  They took off after that, but I stayed.  People could buy the minerals in the rock now and I was more than willing to sell it to them.”

When Ron was done with breakfast, he and Sasha wandered around the station.  Most of it was torn to pieces to be used as scrap to help fix hull breeches and piping.  Koro and the rest of the people who lived here would have to move soon.

“You can talk to me, you know,” Sasha said, looking at the back of Ron’s head.  Ron stopped walking and turned to her, his light eyes staring into her purple ones.

“We can’t stay here,” he finally said before turning back around and continuing their walk.

“So where the fuck are we supposed to go, Ron?!  There isn’t a planet for light years!  And how is our little ship supposed to take 10 kids around!?  With babies!  We have small children to worry about!”

“I can join a merc group, Koro said they have one more visit before they close up shop here.”

“You can’t even shoot a gun!  You are a farm boy!  They’ll have you cleaning the ship for free!”

Ron went quiet, his eyes on the floor.

They ended up back in their part of the station after a while, Sasha a bit hot and angry at Ron.  Horne, the 8-year-old, walked up to Ron and took his hand.

“Koro has the babies.  They said that they were gonna put the babies down for a nap.  Koro also said there is a carnival.  We can take the tram!”  Horne blubbered on, pulling Ron toward the window and pointing toward a small haze of lights in the distance.  Ron nodded and smiled at Horne.

“We will go in a few days, okay?”

Horne laughed and then ran off to a corner and started to play with dolls that were stashed in their ship. Aya, Sasha and Ree suddenly swarmed Ron.

“What are you thinking?!” Aya hissed at him, flicking him in the arm.  “A mercenary!?”

“And do you think a GROUP is gonna let you have the same cut as them when it’s time to pay out?”  Ree asked.

“We have small children,” Sasha stated once more.

Ron fell back on a chair and rubbed his temples.

“I’m sorry, okay!?  I just… I don’t know what to do.  I want use to be safe and –”

“Can’t be safe if you’re running with MERCENARIES, Ron!” piped Aya.

“…And secure.”

“Which mercenaries are not,” Sasha said.

Ron held his head in his hands.

“We still haven’t mourned them,” he said.  The young women were quiet now.

“What do we do for them?” Horne whispered quietly.  The older people jumped.

“Horne…”

“Remember when Granny tried to make Grampa some socks be she ended up sewing them together?”

Everyone smiled and chuckled a bit.

“Hey, everyone!”  It was Koro.  “I managed to get the little ones asleep.  Do you all have a minute to talk?”  They motioned for the children to follow them.

“I have some clothes for y’all.  I also have space on my ship if you need some place to go.  I won’t be here for much longer… Maybe another year.  Lot of small space stations around here.”

Koro opened a door and let the children in first.  Boxes upon boxes of old clothes  sat in this room.  The young women started going through them, picking out jeans, jackets, skirts and various tops.  Horne found a box, their hands fumbling with fabrics and tossing them in the air.

“Why are you doing this?”  Ron asked, looking at Koro.  Koro smiled sadly.

“I know what it’s like… Losing your home to some bullshit you had nothing to do with.  I’m 386 of your years old.  I’ve seen so many things.”

Horne came up to Ron and handed him a jean jacket with a blue haired pop star on the back.  Ron thanked the little one before putting on the jacket.  Koro smiled.

“The jacket suits you.”

Sasha, Ree and Aya had to find a dolly to push the boxes of clothes they had secured for their family.  Koro came back with the babies, placing the two twins on the floor, one of them cooing, the other crawling.  The triplet toddlers had a bag of snacks they were sharing.  Ron was fiddling with his little afro before asking Koro if they had any clippers.  Aya followed Ron to the bathroom, watching him shave the sides of his head.

“What you doing that for?” she asked.

He looked at her in the mirror.

“New life, new look.  You know?”

She stared at him.

“Do me next.”

“What?”

“Shave my head.  My whole head.”

Ron turned off the clippers and looked at Aya.  “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“New life, new look,” she said.

“But it’s pretty drastic and your hair is so long and –”

“NEW LIFE.”

Ron blinked and nodded, turning the clippers back on.

Ron and Aya went back to their room, Sasha and Ree gasping at Aya.

“But, why?”  “How could you?”

“It’s my fucking head, fuck off!”  Aya yelled before walking back out the room.

“Fuck fuck fuck!”  The toddlers started to chant, their little voices laughing.

Ron shook his head.

“How… Why didn’t you stop her?”

“She wanted it.  I told her she shouldn’t and she still wanted to do it.”  Ron shrugged.

“I think she looks nice,” Horne said from behind them.  “It’s just hair, it’ll grow back.”

The older children stared at Horne and sighed.

“Horne is right.  I’m gonna go find her and apologize,” Sasha said as she left the room, Ree right on her heels.

After the young women came back, the family of ten made their way to the empty docks.  They stared at the smoldering bits of their home planet.  They talked quiet among themselves, eating the dinner Koro brought after a while.  They talked about Granny’s cooking always made the whole farm smell like a kitchen, how Grampa snored as loud as a train, that time that Grampa brought home the twins after the war started.  Their memories brought laughter, tears and happiness.

Ron had left for a moment and came back with a small box and a picture.

“Granny’s cookies,” he said, holding up the box.  Hands reached for the box like they hadn’t eaten already.  As everyone bit into the sweet treat, everyone started to cry.  They were never going to taste her cookies again.  They all huddled together, Ron holding up the picture for all of them to see.  It was Granny and Grampa when they were younger.  Granny had flaming red hair and dark brown skin like Sasha, but had Horne’s bright green eyes.  Grampa had Sasha’s purple eyes but dark skin like Ron.  Ree and Aya looked at the true grandchildren of Granny and Grampa.

“You really do look like them,” Ree whispered, hugging Sasha.

Aya smiled and kissed Horne’s cheek.

They stared at the picture for what seemed like hours.  Koro came in and helped them put the babies to bed.  Horne slid into their bed and pulled the covers over their head.

“Hey, Ron?”

“Yes, baby?”

“Are we gonna have an adventure?”

Ron and Sasha laughed.  Aya walked over to Horne and kissed their forehead.

“I hope so.  I hope we have the best adventure.”

“Me, too.”

Horne closed their eyes and fell asleep.

 

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