By Mary S.
A long-missing starship drops slowly down, returning finally to the planet of its origin. A huge multitude surrounds it, waiting with bated breath as a lower hatch opens and a ramp extends to touch the earth. At the top stands the crew, anxious, hopeful – who will be here to greet them, who won’t? At their head, as always, are the captain and commander, side by side. Tense with excitement, she looks out over the crowd. He looks only at her.
He reaches out, takes her hand in his and lifts it to his mouth, kissing her fingers in an ancient, graceful gesture. She turns at his touch, stares now at him, then smiles as she feels his lips just brush her skin. She lays her other hand on his chest, then caresses his cheek, as she has many times before. The symbolism is not lost on the crew. Sighs are heard, and they start to smile in approval.
He releases her and turns back to the expectant horde below, indicating that she should go first. But she grasps his hand firmly in hers, and weaves her fingers through his in yet another gesture full of meaning, if only to them.
Together they stride down the ramp, leading their people home in triumph.
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