The waves gently lapped the sides of the boat, and Sierra stared at the beautiful cotton candy sky before her. The wonderful planet of Zaffre wasn’t such a bad place to be stuck at after all.

Beside her, Martin pushed his blond hair out of his eyes and fiddled nervously with a control that had a hideously bent antenna. “Maybe if I… I think I should… What is this thing…” But Sierra wasn’t paying attention. All she cared about was the horizon.

A tall green mountain loomed a few thousand kilometers ahead. The three suns were starting to set behind it, and with the orange, red, and purple lights, there had never been a more dazzling arrangement of colors.

Something in Sierra’s heart stirred. Giant birds with wingspans three meters long flew boldly overhead, proudly proclaiming their might to the heavens and their birthright to the skies. They swooped down into the clear waters to catch sparkling gray fish.

Something in Sierra’s heart moved.

Zaffre had been an accident. They were originally headed for the heavily populated planet of Saiph, where they would receive new landing orders and (hopefully, Sierra thought) new partners. For all his supposed competence and intelligence, the blond man had read her the coordinates wrong, and then in confusion crash landed a giant ship three light-years away from the destination. And in the middle of the ocean.

Absolutely livid, Sierra had drawn out the emergency boat and after swearing at Martin until she turned red, pink, and blue, she had sat outside at the edge of the boat to put as much distance between him and her as possible, and to try and calm down.

Now as she looked out into the suns-set, and as she breathed the pure air known only to places that still remain virgin, she felt peace. True, whole, and untainted clarity. She felt complete, and relaxed.

Completely relaxed.

Behind her Martin kept muttering nervously, and then he sniffled.

This new bout of clarity made Sierra’s heart shatter. The blond man may have deserved some of what he got, but he surely didn’t deserve all of it. And he certainly didn’t deserve to be crying of fear and frustration on a planet this fantastically beautiful.

Sierra’s legs shook as she stood up from her chair, and she slowly, quietly, made her way inside the ship to the captain’s cabin. Martin was so flustered with the control that he didn’t hear the golden knob turn as she came in. Sierra took a slow, deep breath, and walked to the flustered and terrified mechanic, tapped him on the shoulder of his khaki brown jacket, and when he turned around, drew him into her arms, and gave him a kiss.

At first Martin’s blue eyes widened, then they gently fluttered shut, and he sunk his hands into Sierra’s bright pink hair.

The three suns set over the oceans of Zaffre, where a spaceship now lay irretrievably gone, sunk at the bottom of the ocean floor shrouded in perpetual darkness. They set over a regular ship that floated on, calmly, peacefully, with every member of its two-man crew complete and relaxed.

Completely relaxed.

And whole.

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