O: the stars or space
The Reach fleets didn’t spend as much time in space as some may have thought. Although it varied from fleet to fleet, the majority of the time the ships would be stationed on world. It was easier to get their test subjects on board that way (and easier to hide the fleet, if necessary).
So Yalut found herself somewhat mesmerized by the sight of clear, unfiltered space when she passed by one of the hallway’s windows, her particular fleet on route back to Reach Homeworld after their latest invasion. It would be the same routine: after arriving on Homeworld and presenting the results they had made, the fleet would be granted a brief reprieve from duty, and then a new invasion would begin when they were sent to a planet that was determined to best suit the fleet’s strengths.
But at this moment, there was little for to do other than keep an eye on the test subjects, and that was more of a job for her technicians. Overall, her work was done, and so Yalut allowed herself a moment to stop. To breathe, and just take in the sight.
The white specks of stars glimmered, some in groups, others far apart, surrounded by hues of pink, purple and blue cosmic dust that clustered together, becoming thinner as they spread out, splotches of color against a pure black backdrop. From the view from the window, space panned over slowly as the ship moved past, new designs and patterns appearing from one end and vanishing at the other.
Although Yalut was largely neutral on something like space, after being stuck on a planet where the sky was a mass of red gas clouds and black ash that got everywhere for months on end, the sight of the pure vastness of space was a welcome change of pace.
She had only meant to stop for a few moments, but every time Yalut decided it was time to move on, she found something new to admire about the scene.
Yalut had become more lost in the sight than she had realized, because when she finally became aware of the presence behind her, two black armored arms wrapped around her and pulled her back against a broad chest. She couldn’t help the small noise of surprise she made, brief panic shifting into mild annoyance when she realized what was going on. She didn’t need to bother looking up; there was only one person in the fleet with armor like that (or who would dare hold her like that).
“Did I surprise you?” Dawur asked.
“Wouldn’t your scarab be able to tell?” she replied, still annoyed with how he had caught her off-guard.
“Actually, I was able to tell well enough from your reaction.”
“Then why do you need to ask?”
“Just wanted some verbal confirmation,” said Dawur, laughing a little when Yalut tried to dig her elbow into his side (why she continued to do that, neither of them knew, as it always hurt her more than it did him).
Yalut huffed, leaning back against him when it was clear that he wasn’t going to let go. She still didn’t look up at him, bringing her attention back to the view outside the window.
“What are you looking at?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she said. “Just space.”
Dawur hummed, resting his chin on top of her head as he looked out the window as well. The clusters of colored dust were becoming more frequent, clumping up together and almost blocking out the black of space behind them. There was more blue showing up now, and the clouds seemed to be drawn downwards, as if they were being pulled by something.
“The remains of a dead star,” said Dawur.
“How do you know?” asked Yalut.
“The way the clouds have been formed,” he answered. “Most likely a few thousand years ago the star exploded, and the debris has been spreading through space ever since.”
Yalut hummed in thought, then turned her head to look back at him, looking at him for the first time since he had arrived.
“Is that something you knew, or something the scarab told you?” she asked.
Dawur’s eyes widened a little, and he opened his mouth to respond before shutting it, looking away from her. He then glanced behind him, his eyes narrowing into a glare.
“I’m going to guess that it was the latter,” said Yalut.
“Both of you be quiet,” Dawur mumbled.
Yalut laughed, and settled back against his chest.
They stood there watching for a while after that.