Chapter One Space Station Regulus II
On a space station, telling night from day is nothing like it is on the surface of a planet– any planet. Even if the station could rotate on some chosen axis, even at a speed slow enough to match the diurnal period of a typical life-bearing planet, it would have made no difference. For one thing, the stations were small enough to cross in a very short period of time, some in only a few minutes, so that attempting to day a day side and a night side was utterly pointless. For another thing, the stations were intrinsically interstellar, which meant that they were not close enough to a star to be exposed to enough light to replicate night and day.
This was the kind of information Citlally had been reading about ever since she had started her journey across the Orion arm of the galaxy. She was thrilled by the opportunity to explore the cosmos, and was intent upon knowing everything she could about where she was going.
Her excitement was balanced by Endan’s easy-going demeanor. It wasn’t that he was stoic, not by far; he was simply more reserved in his joy over being able to travel with the woman he loved. Watching her pore over the books about stars and space stations made him smile, and he enjoyed the way she shared the most interesting facts with him so emphatically. To him, Citlally was truly a treasure to have and to hold.
The space station Regulus II was their fourth stop on their journey, and as he watched it grow larger as their shuttle approached it, he smiled to himself at the thought of how she might react to the room her had reserved for them. He had gone to great length to ensure that they would be placed just as he requested, and expected their first night this far from home to be their my joyful yet. Citlally was excited just to be traversing the æther, but he knew her well enough to know that it would be even better to be in a special room.
It was an immense ship that had brought them to Regulus Station II from their last stop, the Hoshi-Narada, and it kept a large array of shuttles in its bays in order to send its passengers off to their destinations. Citlally kept track of every detail of their journey, from the ships to their room numbers to the codes painted on the sides of the shuttles. 2361-QXZRW, she scrawled in her journal in between glancing through the window. When she caught Endan looking over her shoulder at what she was writing, she grinned at him widely and laid a kiss on his cheek.
“Seventy-seven light years!” she exclaimed, the butterflies in her stomach causing her to act much younger than her actual age. “I cannot believe we made it this far!”
Endan nodded and scratch the side of his jaw. “The furthest we have ever been from home. You are not at all nervous?”
“Why would I be?” she replied, giving him a perplexed look. “As long as we are together, I would not even mind if we were two-hundred light years from home!”
“That is a relief to hear. I was afraid that we we would have to cut our trip short,” he teased, laughing at the look she gave him in return.