Holydays tend to came easily to an end, especially when something important occurs in one’s life. Sheera and Kian’s love was unfolding at high speed when the two months rest ended for the ANTARES’ crew. Except for the technical crew the list of the other members depended entirely on the assignment. Everybody kept its fingers crossed hoping to find its name on the list. Kian was desperate that he and Sheera might have to separate for more than a year. Fortunately for them they had some “guardian angels” watching over them so they found themselves listed for a new departure. The ANTARES4004 was heading towards a newly discovered planet.
Everybody was excited about the departure; the new planet was a real challenge for all of them, despite the fact that such an expedition had his dangers counted on. The yellow sun that was shinning upon the Earth-like planet was beyond a thick cloud of stardust and penetrating it posed some threats for the crew of ANTARES. But they were young and bold, ready to surpass any measurable obstacle. So most of them were packing up in frenzy and were saying good byes to families and friends. It was the same turmoil at Gavin’s home and at the Bryants: they were busy to pack up everything they needed in the coming year.
Kian had his own particular schedule. Sheera had already talked to her family in Deneb and they showered her with good wishes and advice. She wasn’t ready to tell them about her love but they both hoped to visit Deneb on their way home from the present assignment.
Two days before the departure they were sitting together on the beach, closely embraced. The Moon was high in the sky and the silver light was playing hide-and-seek with the shadows of the night. Sheera cuddled happily in the soft embrace of Kian’s arms and he buried his face in her rebellious copper strands, breathing in the delicate flowery scent of her hair. He closed his eyes and squeezed her gently. The tinkling of his warm breath made her giggle. She turned up her face to meet him and kissed him lovingly. He kissed her back and held a hand out.
-I have something for you-he said opening his palm.
There was a small box the shape of a seashell, made of mother-of pearl. Surprised, she took the box from his palm and opened it. Inside, nested in the velvet lining were two delicate silver rings. They were almost identical, the smaller one decorated with tiny, sparkling diamonds and emeralds. Sheera blushed and turned to face Kian.
-They are beautiful-she said waiting for him to continue.
He took out the rings, holding them on his open palm.
-Sheera, I have no other wish in life than to love you and protect you forever. You are everything to me…Will you marry me?-he asked, his handsome face turning serious.
-I will- she answered, her eyes mirroring his intent gaze. You are everything to ME.
He slid the smaller ring on her finger and she did the same with the other one, wowing each other love (as if it wasn’t obvious already). They enjoyed the magic of the moment and took the flight to her flat late in the night. As usual he put her down on her balcony, kissing her goodbye.
She held him back and took him inside. They gazed at each other in the shadows of the room, and then she encircled her hands around his neck and he lifted her up and kissed her. They kissed deeply, passionately. She slid her arms inside his open shirt, holding to his bare shoulders, resting her head on his chest. He put her on the bed, leaning over and kissing the warm inside of her neck until her breath hitched. She arched to meet his body, melting under his caressing hands and his kisses. Their lovemaking filled the night with moans, cries and whispers. The silky white wings enveloped them both and the rest was bliss.
The ANTARES4004 took off on an early morning while the dew was still hanging on the tip of the grass and of the leaves like droplets of silky light. In a short time the Earth became a shiny blue bead sprinkled with white on the velvet of the deep, black Space. Kian and Sheera watched together as the planet was shrinking away, dipping into the entwining of light and shadow. He sighed and she playfully ruffled his wings, easing his moment of melancholy. He smiled and kissed her; they took a flight of stairs to meet Shawn and Gavin.
The following weeks were about routine and learning. They were preparing for the new landing; but before launching into a series of space-jumps, they needed a two months stop on a planet where the engineers were about to make the new settings and they could refill the fresh provisions. The chosen planet was the Amanis, an independent colony of humans and natives, traders, craftsmen and politicians living on a busy Galactic Trading Way. The planet bore a strong resemblance to the planet of Angels and the Earth.
The First Mayor offered lodging to the space travelers; the merchants of Amanis had flourishing business with the Earth. The ANTARES was the first big starship that had research as its sole purpose. The planet offered enough challenges to keep the researchers busy for the necessary two months. They teamed up cheerfully, looking forward for anything new and unseen before.
The natives of Amanis were humanoids and they were intelligent, yet secretive. Kian found them fascinating. The Nanukas/as they were called/ were tall and slender with long limbs. Their skin was light-blue and soft looking. The face was usually oval with pointed chin; the nose of various shapes had large, steep nostrils. Their lips were thin, covering two rows of small, white teeth. The most remarkable features were the eyes: they were large, deep set, their color varying from gold to amber, with a sharp and bright, intent gaze.
The Nanukas were mostly blonds, with various shades from honey to silver-gold. The males had short cropped hair while the women had waist-long hair, plaited into intricate shapes. They wore colorful clothes that fit well their gracious shapes. They had their own language but were able to speak Standard Galactic.
Kian was wondering why was that he never encountered their children. The Nanukas seemed numerous enough but the planet looked hospitable enough to support the life of two intelligent species. They came in the cities bringing various products like hand woven fabric, amazing flowers, small animals, different items made of colorful wood and so on. They traded them for money or goods and technical items sold by humans. As the sun slowly descended step by step the ladder of the sky towards the night, the Nanukas literally faded into the shadows, returning to their Colonies, beyond the huge, black forests and swamps.