Writing Excerpt from Echoing the Stars
Scene: Arriving Home
Marlina kept her hands on the steering wheel as she turned her head to steal a glance at her daughter in the back seat. Absorbed in her reading, as usual.
“We’re almost there sweetie.”
The girl’s eyes flashed metallically for a second as she looked up from the book, then flipped the page and continued intently with her silent activity.
Azalea’s prized possession was an illustrated volume of the first meeting between the Saturins and people of Earth. Her fingertips brushed over the pictures of stars sparkling in the night sky, the place from which her great-grandparents’ family had come. When the Emissaries arrived on this planet, they established a peaceful alliance between the races that had continued on harmoniously ever since.
It sounded like a dream. Earth’s people were offered the special technology of the Satur, with streamlined methods of abundant food production and overall bettered quality of life. Their efficient systems allowed both races to thrive, with less negative impact on the environment – and actually resolved many of the existing problems caused by pollution.
The Saturin people, who had been traveling space seeking a place to reside in and form proper settlements, were allowed a permanent home on Earth. The planet and all its residents flourished. Forever after, living side by side.
Azalea smiled at the illustration of a first handshake between the Peoples. This particular form of greeting and contract originated from the Native Earthians, but was quickly adopted by the Saturins also, as their way. Fortunately, the Satur could intuitively moderate the strength of their grip, so as not inadvertently injure their new ally. But she’d heard a rumor from her best friend Susa, a distant relative of the Emissary depicted in her book, that it had more likely taken a few sprained fingers to reach that stage.
Good thing such hiccups hadn’t led to any intergalactic incidents. Apparently the Representative of Earth had even become a personal friend of the Emissary, and had frequently been a guest at his family gatherings ever since. They’d both passed away before Susa was born, but the stories about their unexpected friendship were still being told with relish.
The buildings were getting taller and the signage more congested as they neared the city. Once again, Marlina couldn’t help but take notice as the billboards and screens layered over each other, how segregated even the advertisements remained after all these years. The same sorts of products, the same sorts of messages, but clearly targeted to one People or the other. Some featured the tanned soft-fleshed Earthians in their photo shots; others showed the ridged, blued and purpled tones of Saturins such as herself. While the customs and physiologies of their races were indeed quite different, over the last several decades of co-existence, their cultures had become more and more alike in manner.
But these images still reflected a deep-seated attitude carried over from the days of the First Landing – that while maintaining amicable relations was to their mutual benefit (and indeed they got along just fine) seldom was there cause for more meaningful social interaction or the formation of genuine communities together. Not everyone had been bold enough to follow the example of their chummy representatives; most instead choosing to keep to themselves and what were already familiar with.
Her daughter, of course, was a notable exception. Anyone who gave her Azalea more than a passing glance would begin to notice something peculiar in her traits. For the most part, she seemed to have the large, glimmering eyes of the Satur – if in a particularly rare shade of turquoise blue. But her ridges were less pronounced, fading into skin of a much warmer complexion. The pair of frilled tendrils that should have protruded distinctly from the hairline on her forehead were so inconspicuous as to almost go unnoticed. In fact, when her long hair covered her flapped down-turned ears, she almost could have passed for a native human. Which made sense, considering the sort of father she had.
“Are we going to find him here?” Azalea asked. She held the photo in her hand now, of Marlina sitting with Stephen, hands clasped and staring up at the star-filled sky. Their outward appearances might have seemed worlds apart from each other, but the happiness in their eyes was the same. One of the last joyful memories between them.
“I hope so, honey. We’re closer to our destination than ever before.”