Author : Gabrielle Kinsman
The transport completed its descent and settled onto the ground. The landing gear clamped to the landing pad, like a bug latching onto a leaf. The hatch opened and people started filing out almost before it touched ground. There were scores of people; many of them were specialists, workers for the newly-terraformed planet Arian. Another large portion were business men; both rich and poor, looking to start anew or create another branch to their prospering business. But the bulk of the people were ordinary folk, settlers who had volunteered (or been volunteered) to populate the new colony.
Samantha Headford was among the ordinary colonists. Her swollen belly differentiated her from the other passengers; she was just under the maximum length pregnancy allowed on the trip, and well over the recommended length. She had been worried, but she couldn’t stay where she had been before. She wasn’t safe there, and neither was the baby.
The baby’s father walked next to her, gripping her hand. Grant was three inches taller than her, had the same sandy blond hair as she, and was currently suffering from a broken nose. It would heal up in a day or two — they couldn’t afford the treatment that would heal it within hours — but in the meantime he wore an unsightly bandage over the middle of his face.
She stood off to the side and waited for him while he retrieved information on their assigned living quarters. Mothers with their children gave her knowing smiles when they passed by; she smiled back, a little wary, but happy. None of these people knew who she was. All they saw was a pregnant woman waiting for her husband.
One overly friendly woman walked up to her and smiled at the little package. “Oh, how far along are you, dearie?”
“Uh, five months,” Sam said.
“Ooh, he’s coming along soon, isn’t he?” The woman grinned at her.
“She,” Sam said, her smile growing.
“Oh, pardon. Hard to tell from out here, you know.”
Sam laughed. “Do you have any of your own?”
“Ah, yes, but they’re all grown up.” Sam noticed the gray strands in the woman’s hair. “Angry at me for adventuring out into the great black unknown again, likely. Oh, pardon, I’ve forgotten all about my manners. Name’s Haley.” She offered her hand; Sam shook it.
“Such a pretty name. Do you know where you’ll be staying?”
“Thank you. Um, not yet, my, the baby’s father is finding out right now.” Sam gestured towards where Grant was staring at a screen.
“Ah, I see.” Haley winked at her. “You ever need any help with that little one, you let me know. I have a bit of experience under my belt, raising little ones in far off places.”
“I will, thank you.” The women smiled at each other, and Haley left her alone.
Grant returned, grinning, took her hand and led her away.
“We’re on the east side,” he told her. “The sun rises in the east here, just like on Earth. You’re going to love the view.”
The walk wasn’t very long, but it seemed much longer to her tired body. At the moment she didn’t much care about the view; she was more interested in the bed, and how much sleeping she would get done in it.
Her ambivalence remained until they were in the living room, and Grant hit a button next to the opaque windows, making them clear. She’d never realized that people meant the word ‘breathtaking’ literally; for a moment she really did forget how to breathe.
“See? Told you.” He grinned at her, like a boy at Christmas. “It’s as beautiful as you are.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh, stop.”
He came up and hugged her from the side. “We’re going to be okay here.” He put his hand over her belly. “We’ll be safe.”
She leaned into him and smiled. “Yes.” She put her hand over her brother’s and said, “No one knows who we are.”