Ceres, part 10. End.

And here we all are: 5300 words older. I had one reader ask if it could continue; that’s a two part answer. One, of course: on their way back to Earth I’ve seen where Minerva invades one of Les’ dreams and later where, embarrassed, she asks for him to “feed” her (just attaching her TPN bag, but she’s self-conscious about it). Two, in the broader sense of the word, I could see my next short story collection having one for each son mentioned in “Obligations of Rank.”

While, as I mentioned last time, I am making way into my next short, I’d like to try to make another podcast tomorrow but do not have any subject ideas right now? Anyone?

Otherwise, thanks for reading and I hope y’all enjoyed it. Cheers!

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Moments later the hatch halves opened and she once again leaped naked onto the bridge.  More used to her behavior, Les waved her over.

“I see you are deploying the maser,” she said.  “Sending a message home?”

“I’ve already edited the footage,” he replied pointing at the screen, she leaned over him, dripping water.  “Here’s that image you took, a three-sixty ending with Lionheart on the Ceres’ surface.  Now, here’s us.  We raise the standard, I salute, and…”

“Deus vult!” Minerva heard them shout through the speakers, as they plunged the pole into the surface.

“Unless you have any suggestions, I’ll send that now,” he concluded.

“N… no,” she began, standing back up.  “Everyone on Earth will see this, Captain.”

“I’m aware.”

“I’ve enough of Reina’s residual deviousness to think some, such as what’s left of China, might regard this as a declaration of war.”

Les turned left, again forcing his eyes up from her chest to her eyes.

“That is very astute of you, Minerva,” he smiled.  “If one is thinking just of the imperium or just of the Polar Alliance.  I am thinking of all humanity and all life.  The Earth is too fragile a basket to put all our eggs in.  Mars is a beginning.  But a real space race, a real dash for colonies, no matter what size, will make sure our species survives the next extinction event.”

“Your species, you mean,” she tried to correct him.

“Really?” He stood, angry for once.  “Something the size Ceres hit the Earth, what are you Machines going to do to survive?  Christ, someone known to my family almost EMP’d the planet a generation and a half ago!  That would have left the humans alone but all of your kind would be dead!”

“Captain… Les… I’m sorry…” she tried.  “I am so young…”

He was very angry now, about many things, and not listening.

“With ships like this, we’ll be all over the solar system in a generation.  Hell, in less than fifty years our probes will be back from their interstellar missions!  But humans cannot do it!” He finally took a breath, paused, and took her damp shoulders.  “We can.  Demi-humans and Machines.  We can change this little corner of the universe.  And it starts today.  Not in the abstract, but with Laszlo Hartmann and Minerva Mendrovovitch.  We… we can change worlds together.”

She nodded, still not quite old enough.  He was surprised to see one tear from each of her eyes.  This time, he leaned down to kiss her.

“Will you change worlds with me, Minerva?” he asked.

“Yes.” Looking up, she blinked her tears away and gave a smile that made her face glow.  “We will!”

Laszlo moved his right hand to the panel and pressed “SEND.”

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