Thank you for reading the Earth’s Only Hope series. I really hope you enjoy this bonus chapter, giving you a glimpse of what happens to Quaade and Sky 6 months after they return to Earth. Learn about this entire series HERE.
Six months later…
Quaade pulled our military Jeep up to a large housing unit with scaffolding set up around the outside as workers wearing fluorescent yellow t-shirts with matching hard hats, both tinted slightly red, of course. The algae was warming the planet quickly and getting everywhere.
“I’m going to miss driving when the algae takes over,” Quaade said as he cut the engine.
“The president told me that we’re really close to a better disinfectant for our machines. Electronics will probably take a bit longer, but there’s hope.” I smiled, taking in the freckled man beside me. I leaned across the seat and kissed him.
“What was that for?” Quaade asked after I flicked a bit of tongue at my forever mate.
“I just appreciate having you.” I shot him a playful wink.
“I’m surprised you’re so happy, considering who we’re here to visit.”
“It’s only sad if we let it be.” I hopped out of the car, grabbing the small box of trinkets I brought along.
We circled the apartment complex being renovated, like so many other places throughout the world. Repairs were being completed at an extremely fast pace, as everyone was dying to work again after so long of just giving up.
Jeff met me out back, in a garden of green plants, spotted with red, that looked like weeds, but I’d never get sick of greenery. That was one thing that surprised me on Noetov. The vine-like jungle canopy, despite all the algae dust, still showed off much of its green. It was like the plants and algae had learned to live symbiotically.
Like all of our various species were learning to do.
Quaade and I shook Jeff’s hand as we sat on a bench overlooking a dirty water fountain that if you used your imagination, you could see how beautiful it had been.
I leaned to see the hazel in Jeff’s eyes. “Thanks for meeting with me.” I swallowed a lump. This was proving to be harder than I thought it was going to be.
“No problem,” Jeff said. “But I never thought you and Cheyenne had become friends.”
I had said that over the phone when I set up this meeting, hadn’t I? All Jeff knew was the drama that happened back in prison, and a part of me wanted to deny Cheyenne and I were friends, but in the grand scheme of the world, we were. “We grew close while on the Vainovian ship.” I smiled. “She had character. Feisty.”
Jeff laughed. “That’s why I had fallen in love with her.”
I handed over the box of Cheyenne’s things that we confiscated from the ship. “As much as she talked about you, I thought you might like to have her personal belongings. I know there’s a pocket knife in there that I’m not sure how she got her hands on.”
If I had known she had a knife back when I hid from Cheyenne, I probably would have been more fearful than I was already.
“I sent it to her when I heard she was boarding the ship. I thought she’d need some protection…” He looked at Quaade. “Well, you never know. More like Cheyenne would run her mouth off and need to protect herself from the other prisoners.” He picked up the knife and brushed the red dust off the white handle. “How’d she die?” He squinted his eyes in the sunlight.
I took a deep breath, admitting the truth. “She sacrificed herself to save the ship. She went down a hero.”
Six months ago, I couldn’t have said those words, but now, seeing how every piece of our journey played an integral part in the overall mission, I believed them. Cheyenne was a hero.
And, maybe, I was too.
But it didn’t matter.
That’s not why I did any of it.
“Cheyenne never stopped talking about you. She did everything she did because she wanted to give you a chance to survive.”
Jeff shook his head. “Sounds like her. Always self-sacrificing for the sake of others. It’s why she got in trouble in prison. She was always scheming to give others what they wanted. Cheyenne never ended up with anything for herself.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “She got to pilot the ship. She seemed to like that.”
Jeff laughed. “She would. She was a fighter pilot in the Resource War. She never recovered from the things she saw.”
I had no idea.
Everyone had ghosts.
Even the unbreakable Cheyenne.
Jeff, Quaade, and I finished exchanging stories, and after an hour or so, Quaade and I headed back to the jeep.
He opened the door for me. “My, what a gentleman you are,” I teased as I grabbed the handle to heft myself up inside. But before I could, Quaade’s hands gripped my hips and lifted me.
“I learned everything I know about romance and courtship from rummaging through your mind while you sleep,” he teased.
“I don’t need help. I got it. Really.”
“Maybe you don’t need help now, but what about when you swell to the size of a beach ball?”
“You’ll love me anyway,” I shot back at him before he closed the passenger side door. Once he climbed behind the wheel, I continued, “I really can’t believe pregnant Vainovian women don’t show their baby bump.”
“We have our children in six months, and they’re half the size of what you tell me an Earthling baby will be.”
“What do you think our little one will be like?” I rubbed my slightly growing stomach.
“We can find out,” Quaade said as he started the engine.
I tilted my chin. “What do you mean?”
Quaade held an open palm out to me. “We can connect with the fetus’s mind once it’s a little more developed through the skin on your abdomen. It’s a little gift.” He smiled. Oh, god, I couldn’t wait to see this man as a father and start the next chapter in our lives together.
“We better not tell my mom that. She’ll get more excited than she already is. We might have a Meet the Baby party in addition to the Baby Shower and Mating Ceremony she’s already planning.”
“I don’t know if it’ll stay a secret. Zaara will probably be head planner for the Meet the Baby party. It’s a Vainovian tradition and all.”
I stared at Quaade, not liking what I heard. I hated being the center of attention.
Good-ol’-Quaade couldn’t keep a straight face very long and didn’t keep me in suspense. “Just kidding. We don’t have those odd Earthling traditions.”
“Good. Otherwise, I’m sure I could coordinate an emergency I had to attend at the UN…or the White House. Something very important.”
Quaade shook his head as he pulled the Jeep out of the parking lot. “I’m sure you could round up some drama somewhere or another.”
I reached over and took his hand. “You know me so well.”
“And you’re getting to know me, too.”
That was the truth, but there was still so much I didn’t know about him…and just my luck, I had lots of time to explore.
Thank you again for reading the Earth’s Only Hope series.
If you are looking for something else to read, try another thrilling sci-fi adventure with Love, Lies & Clones or discover something more paranormal by perusing the rest of Joynell Schultz books HERE. Or…have you read Jana and Lon’s story in Connecting yet? That’s something you don’t want to miss.
Did you enjoy this epilogue? How about the entire story? Feel free to comment here or leave a review somewhere out there on the internet. 🙂 Thank you.