Cress woke to the soft thrum of the Rampion’s engines, her
neck sore from sleeping in the copilot’s chair. She had creeped out of her and
Thorne’s bed earlier that night to alter their landing coordinates. They were
supposed to be heading to Farafrah, but she had other plans.
She heard the soft pad of Thorne’s feet enter the cockpit. “Cress,
you in here?” his voice addled with sleep.
She peeked over the back of the chair, “yes, Captain.”
His sleepy grin warmed her to the core. He made his way over
to his own seat and motioned for her to join him. Cress got up and sat on his
lap, blushing as he wrapped his arms around her torso. He nuzzled his face into
her neck, only deepening the redness of her cheeks.
“Morning, Captain,” she replied.
They sat huddled together, enjoying the view of the sun
coming up over the endless dunes of the Sahara. A moment later, the Rampion’s
landing gear hummed to life.
“What? Darla, why are we getting ready to land?” Thorne
asked the ship. “You can’t even see Farafrah from here.”
A metallic voice replied, “we are landing at the set
coordinates. Approaching destination in three minutes twenty-seven seconds,
“Stars, I’m an idiot. I must have entered the wrong data.” He
sighed. Thorne ran a hand through his hair, gently pushing Cress off his lap. “Let
me fix this, one–”
“No, Thorne, I set the coordinates.” She interjected, “there’s
something I want to see.”
“Cress, darlin’, we’re in the middle of the Sahara, there’s
nothing out he—” he chuckled. “Oh.” Realization crossed his features.
Cress looked down at her toes, murmuring “Sorry I didn’t say
anything, I thought you’d be asleep when we landed.”
“Cress,” he lifted her gaze to meet his own, “it’s alright.
I just didn’t realize you ever wanted to see it again…”
“I doubt I’ll even be able to see it; the sand probably
covered it a long time ago. I’m just curious.”
Darla’s voice spoke up again, “prepare to land in ten… nine…
Cress walked down the ramp, feeling the imminent heat of the
day immediately. She had asked Thorne to stay onboard, telling him that she
wouldn’t be long.
She stepped into the sand, grateful this time that she was
wearing actual shoes instead of scraps of an old parachute. Her eyes scanned
the surrounding area, looking for anything out of the ordinary. After a few
minutes of walking, she wasn’t sure whether or not she was glad for not finding
anything. As she walked back to the Rampion, she caught a glint of something
out of the corner of her eye. Her breath hitched as she spotted a bit of
silvery-white peeking out from the sand. Cress dutifully made her way over to
the spot, dread growing in her stomach.
“My satellite,” she
She walked around it, trying to find where she and Thorne
had crawled out all those years ago. Eventually she came across the small
hatch, and warily made her way inside.
She had to pull out her port to light up the small area, as
the windows outside were covered with sand. Actually, it turned out, that everything was covered with sand. The floor
of the satellite was strewn with broken glass, sand, and… hair. Cress subconsciously tugged at the ends of her still short
haircut, suddenly overcome with the shivers.
She closed her eyes as her mind went back to all the
memories she’d had while she lived here, the bad severely outweighing the good.
She could practically feel the prick of Sybil’s needle over
and over. She felt the years of boredom creep over her in endless waves. Guilt
washed over her when she thought back to how she had erased all traces of Lunar
ships coming to Earth. Fear trailed up her spine as she relived when she’d made
the D-COMM link to Cinder the first time.
When she opened her eyes, her cheeks were damp. As she wiped
her tears away, she moved over to the wall, holding up her port, casting an
eerie blue glow throughout the small space. She trailed her hands over the
She choked out, “I’m sorry Little Cress.” Another wave of
tears cascaded over her as she stooped to the floor.
“Okay, that’s it. It’s been forty-five minutes,” Thorne said
mostly to himself as he pulled on his combat boots.
He hurried down the ramp and made his way over to where he’s
seen Cress disappear nearly an hour ago. As he reached the fallen satellite he
slowed a little bit.
“Cress?” he called. “Darlin’ where are you?”
He stumbled across a small hatch, and made his way inside.
He heard sniffling, and tried to make his way over to where the sound was
coming from. Much to his chagrin, he couldn’t see anything. “Aces, this place
is either really dark or its sole purpose is to make me blind.”
A flash of blue dimly lit up the small space and he breathed
a sigh of relief. He strode over to Cress, noting the excessive amounts of hair
and glass scattered across the floor. Thorne knelt down beside her, and placed
an arm across her shoulders. Immediately, she pulled herself closer to him,
burying her face in his chest. In a matter of minutes, the front of his shirt
was soaked. He pressed kisses to the top of her head, telling her it would be
After a while of holding each other, Cress croaked, “I hate-
I hate this place. I never should have come back. It was stupid.” Her body
shook as her tears started again.
“This was where you lived Cress, for seven years,” Thorne consoled, “it’s not stupid that you wanted to
see it again. Not stupid at all.”
Cress wiped her nose, “thanks Thorne.”
“Of course, Darlin’,” a smirk made its way onto his face, “and
besides, I guess you could say that this is the place where you met the most
handsome, daring, and wonderful man alive.”
He felt her smile into his chest, her voice muffled, “I
guess I could.”