A Winter's Tale
(First posted January 2, 2002)
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I don’t think I’ll need it this time.
Spoilers: Only spoiling my budding reputation for doing weird humor.
Background: This is sort of a riff off several stories I have read which share the common element of John and
Aeryn getting back to earth, getting in some kind of difficulty, and finally managing to get away and go back
through a wormhole to join up with Moya in the UT’s.  So think about them blasting away from Earth, having said
their goodbyes, and here we go …

Note to the reader:  This was written on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2001.  That’s a LONG time before
Season 4 and ‘Kansas’.  As the background states, a number of people had been doing “wormhole to Earth”
stories, and my brain went in a slightly different direction that night.  

*  *  *  *  *

The cold wind swept and howled around the outside of the control tower, throwing snow and ice up against the
glass in a rattle.  One pane vibrated slightly in its mounts creating a quiet hum, a low harmony against the
hushed sounds of equipment cooling fans and the baseline hum of electronics.  There had been solar flare
activity during the week, so the radio receivers randomly hissed and popped, telling their wordless tale of stellar
plasma crossing the universe unseen to collide with Earth’s atmosphere.

The last flight had landed an hour earlier and the ramp lay quiet and deserted below the tower, ranks of
refueling trucks and baggage carts waiting patiently for morning, when the mad dance of planes, people and
vehicles would begin again.  Drifts gradually formed around each vehicle, snow and ice grains tenaciously
anchoring themselves against the wind and gradually engulfing each object.

The controller sat reading, waiting, glancing periodically at the steady sweep of the radar to ensure that she
was truly alone.  The job was done for a while, and there was a deep satisfaction that everyone had come
home to their families and friends quickly and safely this evening.  She had watched from her solitary perch as
passengers had left the terminal, being greeted and hugged as they emerged, and then had scattered to their
cars to be driven home.  She glanced again around the airport and at the radar, and read another paragraph.

The radio transceivers popped and sputtered, garbled words spilling out, broken by static and squeal.  
Sneakers hit the floor with a thump as she dropped her feet off the console where they had been propped, and
turned to adjust the equipment.  The random noises began to organize into syllables, but nothing intelligible
yet.  Standing now, she scanned the airport and checked the radar again, trying to determine if there was an
aircraft trying to contact her, or if this was another anomaly created by the solar flares.

The noises continued, a few words breaking through the chaos of sounds.  She realized it was a conversation
between several people, broadcasts breaking through onto her frequencies but not intended for her ears.  Now
out of pure curiosity, she engaged three extra frequencies to see if she could pull in more of the signal, and
turned the volume up further.

“ … are … still there? … can you … me?”

Garbled rhythmic noises in a deep growling voice.  A foreign language, but ending on an upswing.  A question.  
An excited female voice, different accent, but coming through clearly, eagerness in her tone.

“Yes!”  A few words broke through clearly for a moment.  “… found her … all right.”

Hissing took hold for several seconds, masking the conversation which continued unintelligibly behind it.  Then
the frequency cleared completely for just a moment.

“…starting the slingshot maneuver now.  We have a lot to tell you when we get there.  We’ll be with you soon. ”

The transceivers went silent, just the almost inaudible hum which was normal for the equipment.  She turned
the volume back down and stood thinking for a minute, looking out at the earliest glow of morning beginning to
lighten the sky to the east.  A falling star blazed its way across the dawn for one long moment and was gone.

She didn’t know who she had heard or what they were talking about, but one thing was obvious from their
voices.  They were going home to the warmth and love of a family which was waiting for them, and all was well.


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