”Take me out”
”Take me out one last time”
Ian looked down at her thin frail body. Her skin seemed indistinguishable from the sheets on her bed, pale, soft, wrinkled. The smell of antibiotics filled the air in the room and the continuous sound of the monitors pierced his ears. He looked at the door a few feet away.
”I don‘t know. I don‘t think it‘s safe for you”
He leaned down to touch her dangling cold hand.
”You‘re not very well today”
Vera wanted to sigh, but all she could manage was to move her tired eyes away from Ian‘s face. Her eyes turned from pink to dark purple, like the skies of Apollon did at dawn the day they met; On that fantastical cruiser that now seemed like a half forgotten dream.
”I‘m going to die Ian.” She took a deep breath. ”Stop worrying about me, that‘s not what I want.”
She paused and looked at the cabinet doors in front of her. Helpless to look away from them. A single sparkling tear left her right eye.
”I just want to see the galaxy one last time. Before I part, before I join it. I want to look at it”, her voice faded with each spoken word. ”Please”.
She moved her eyes back to Ian.
Ian‘s eyes, now a deep blue tint reflected the circular ceiling lights in the hospital‘s room and slowly distorted them as tears flowed from his eyes, creating bright ovoids.
”I‘ll take you”
Ian dried his eyes and looked around the room.
”Wait here”, he said and left through the door.
Vera rolled her eyes as good as she could. Where could she go, after all.
Ian reappeared at the door with a hover-chair, green eyes, and a big smile.
”Here, this is your ride out”
He approached her and gently carried her limp body onto the chair. Vera squealed like a tiny mouse as he maneuvered her into position.
”Are you ok?”
”Yes… I‘m fine”
”Ok, we‘re gonna have to be quite, don‘t say a word till we are on the roof”, Ian pushed her out of the room. He moved through the white hallways of the floor. He first turned right, and then turned left.
The elevator was waiting there for them, a small transparent cylinder protruding from the 200 story building looking over the ocean.
”Thank you Ian”, Vera whispered.
He pressed a virtual button on the board and the elevator began climbing. Vera looked through the glass, to the orange sky above the blue ocean, a slight buzz from the elevator permeated them. A moment of calm and beauty that contrasted the dull existence of her past months of life. Light reflected on the ripples of the sea reached her eye and in turn were reflected by them. A pale green color flooded her iris.
Thank you. She wanted to say again, but the view before her was too much for her frail body and her mouth refused to obey. Instead she sat in silence and watched the sun setting in the horizon.
”Are you ready?”, asked Ian touching her shoulder.
”Yes. Let‘s go”
Ian took the chair and pushed it through the landing lot on the roof of the hospital towards his SpaceX UrbanSky pod. Vera began to close her eyes, unable to retain consciousness in the damp atmosphere and the metallic smell of vehicles and burnt fuel.
They reached his pod and Ian moved her into the passenger seat with as much care as he could manage. As he tucked her in the seat a voice behind him echoed through the lot.
Ian closed the passenger door and hurried to his side of the pod catching a glimpse of a security guard running towards him.
He jumped into the pod, closed the door and ignited the engine. Without even looking to Vera‘s side he pushed on the accelerator and the UrbanSky erupted to life and took to the skies. He ignored all of the predetermined roads and simply headed straight for outer space.
”Vera! We made it, we‘re leaving!”
Vera turned her head a few degrees and smiled as a radiant, almost pulsing green color filled her small eyes.
They zoomed through the Earth‘s atmosphere, leaving behind people, cities, clouds and satellites. Vera looked intently through the thick glass in front of her. She watched as the Earth became a small sphere floating in the vast darkness and emptiness of space. She watched as they flew by the Moon‘s elite city Avantis, and she watched as the it too became a small dot in the path behind them.
”Vera, wake up. We‘re here”, Ian caressed her face gently and she opened her eyes.
”Wow”, she said in a voice so soft Ian was unsure she had said anything at all.
Through the glass in the pod, through the observatory‘s galactic lens, through immeasurable distances the milky way glowed. An infinite amount of stars shined and just as many planets entered their minds. They traveled together to the far reaches of the galaxy, they moved through hundreds, thousands of stars. They looked at them up close. Enormous fireballs of hydrogen burning, each seemingly alone in the chasms of space and yet all of them together. Together in their loneliness, in their power, in their vastness. They traveled through the arms of the milky way on to the very last star that sat burning bright on the edge. And in the zenith and the nadir billions and billions of fireflies illuminated their path all the way back to the spectacular black hole in the center. They watched as it ejected unimaginable amounts of energy through its poles.
”Goodbye Ian.”, Vera began, “I will again become one with the planet, and then one with the universe. Maybe we will meet again in the future, on another planet, as different beings”
”Wait Vera. Wait”
Ian took her face in his hands and looked into her immobile sparkling eyes. Never before had Ian seen anything like it and he felt as if his throat was being clenched. Her eyes glowed, they illuminated his face with bright changing colors. They flowed from green, to blue, to pink and orange through the whole luminous spectrum.