When Cara’s eyes blinked open again she saw a huge globe of blue and green looming before the shuttle.
“Raygo, get up.” She hissed, “What is that thing?”
He yawned, squinting.
“I…I think that’s Earth.”
“What?” she said, surprised.
Raygo’s answer was cut off.
Prepare for atmospheric entrance.
Within a heartbeat they plummeted downwards, and Cara felt her stomach drop.
“Oh god…” she yelled over the sound of the air rushing past, “I think that pear is going to come back up!”
Raygo didn’t seem to appreciate her humour.
“Is this supposed to be happening?” he asked, the blood rushing from his face.
Cara took his hand and squeezed it.
“You’ll be fine!”
He made a face.
“I’m not so sure.”
“You’ve survived being gassed, a robot swarm and an asteroid! You will!”
Cara watched in wonder as the world materialized, amazed at the number of lights blinking below them.
“Look at that!”
“I think I’d rather not.” Raygo replied quietly, shutting his eyes.
After perhaps a minute the ground drew up to them.
Prepare for touchdown.
“I don’t think I can handle this.” Raygo groaned, gripping the safety bar with his free hand.
Cara smiled at him.
“Then there’s only one thing to do.”
“Brace for impact.”
She put her free hand against his cheek and pulled him in for a kiss.
Suddenly his hands were lost in her cropped hair, and the landing was forgotten.
When the safety bars lifted off of them they were impeded only momentarily before meeting in a mess of limbs and movement.
They only broke apart when there was a knock on the windshield, and looked up, stunned.
The hatch opened and Valyria stood outside, her arms folded triumphantly.
“I knew it! I knew it!”
“Huh?” Raygo slurred, his hair a mess.
“I knew it!” Valyria taunted in a singsongy voice, skipping around the shuttle.
“Um…how are you alive, exactly?” Cara asked, fixing her hair and trying to keep the heat from rising to her face.
“While you were busy with your epic robot showdown I got into the escape pod and left. I can move faster than you think.”
“Seriously?” Cara said incredulously, “You left before the power went out?”
“The power went out?” Valyria asked, “How are you guys alive?”
Cara rolled her eyes and climbed out of the escape pod, stretching her legs. She took in a deep breath and her eyes widened.
“The air tastes different here.”
“I think we’ll find a lot of things are different here.” Valyria chuckled, pointing to the sky, “Like that.”
Cara looked up to see the multitude of stars hanging above them, and gaped.
“Hello? Is somebody out there?”
The three went silent, spotting an old man with a barking dog beside him.
Cara walked out of the darkness, waving.
“Hi. My friends and I…we’re kinda lost.”