King watched as rear viewing sensors showed him Tachi in the distance. The blue glow was much brighter now and the star was almost fully gone. A bright red stream of matter was falling onto the planet. The final nugget of star was suddenly whipped across the gap by the tail of red and slammed into the planet. Like a shower of dandelion seeds the entire world blew apart into light. Ripples of gravity waves gently tugged at 7574 as the time space continuum reverberated to the suddenly missing mass of star and planetoid. The recording field screamed as it processed that info.
After a long pause, during which King watched the light slowly fade away, 7574 chimed in. “Course set for Earth.”
“Welcome back 7574.” King said matter of fact.
“Where have I been?”
King smiled and felt Tosho doing the same. “Don’t worry about that for now.”
“King?” Tosho floated up next to the chair.
There was that familiar look in his eyes. He was about to leave. King just nodded and added, “Congratulations my friend. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I am honored that you could share it with me.”
“It was an honor to share such a thing.” Light blue liquid was pooling in each of Toshos’ eyes. “I must go now. Check your galley before you retire for your journey home.”
“I think will.”
“Farewell. Once again I must go. We may meet in some future. I hope it will be a better one than that which approaches.”
King was put to a slight unease with Toshos’ words but now was not a time for more questions.
That tingle in the air welled up slowly as Tosho generated a wormhole out in front of King. He floated towards it and turned to wave with every tentacle. Two arms went low and wide and he bowed deeply. He floated backward slowly and into the hole. He was nodding his head up and down as he dissolved away onto a new, unknown, journey.
King deactivated the recording field and brought up a main screen of the stars ahead. He rolled the thoughts jumbled together in his mind around for an hour or so as he sat there motionless. 7574 did not interrupt his thoughts. After a long while he decided easily that all these thoughts were better the stuff left to dreams in folded space. He checked over critical systems and noted that 7574 was one SSSB short. 111 would not be going home. He took solace in the fact that 111 was on its way to a place where it genuinely ‘wanted’ to go. King hoped somewhere deep inside that he could visit 111 and Chronia, someday. He checked 7574s’ fold solution once. His thoughts of replacing its core popped into mind, and just as quickly evaporated into inconsequence. “Initiate the fold 7574. Take us to Port-Arctic.”
From this far out the folding of space was a long and boring calculation to read. King had every confidence in 7574 though. The calculations he had read over looked perfect. For now he was just opening the galley door. He wanted a meal before he went to sleep. He went over to the prep table and hit a few buttons on the wall. After a few minutes the smell of beef wafted thru the little room. The table top slid back and a tray rose up. He lifted it took it to the small quaint table in the center of the room. As he sat down he studied thick rib-eye. It was surrounded by a colorful vegetable medley and scalloped new-potatoes. The arrangement spoke to him on a new level now. It was analogous to his relationship with the rest of the universe along with some new friends. The odors were like all the different personalities he had recently befriended, and re-acquainted with. He sliced a piece of the meat, stabbed it with the fork and a bit of carrot and some potato. He brought it to his mouth and savored the scent just before he popped it into his mouth. ‘Delicious!’ shot thru his soul. He reached out to his right just as he remembered he’d forgotten to get something to drink. Before he could stop his hand it made contact with something very cold. He stopped chewing immediately and snapped his head around to look. He was holding a dark amber bottle with a red, white, and blue paper label. Just beyond it was another one, empty, but covered in condensation. He smiled and lifted the beer high before taking a long draw. Beer was not onboard when he lifted out of Port Arctic.
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