the world will never return

Julian stared out at the planet he and the others had lived on for the last year. It seemed so small and harmless now. It seemed so hard to believe that such a place had taken so much from them.

“Any idea what you’ll do now?” Robin asked, leaning against the wall beside the porthole. “I mean, you planning on going on to the settlement with your little girl or are you going to head back to where you came from?”

“Without Allysum,” Julian murmured, “the idea of starting a new life somewhere – away from the family – seems… empty.” He shook his head and closed his eyes. “At the same time, I don’t feel like I can just go back to them. It’d be like… going backwards, when I need to go forward.”

“So,” Robin said, “you can’t go back and you can’t go forward. What does that leave?”

“Sideways,” Julian said. He opened his eyes and a faint smile touched his lips. “I’ll ask the captain about joining the crew. I mean… I’m an architect by training, but… I know the same sorts of things the engineers know here. It wouldn’t be hard to learn whatever I don’t know, right?”

Robin smiled and nodded. “Welcome aboard, then,” he said. “Maybe we’ll… see more of each other.” Then he pushed away from the wall and walked away.