Kiera's Home (Chapter One, page 3 of 7)

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The door slid open, revealing what looked like a dust storm. The air blew into the room. Instinctively holding her breath, Kiera closed her eyes to the dust and pebbles, the remnants of the planet's outer layer. It pelted the walls of the chamber where they prepared to visit the surface of the planet. Nothing reached her face through the shield, and she slowly released her breath and opened her eyes.

One by one, the four warriors stepped from the ship into the dust storm. They disappeared with their second step out the door, a sign of the poor visibility on the planet. A'Ran waited for her. Feeling somewhat safe in the protective goo, she stepped past him and carefully planted her foot on the solid ground of Anshan.

Above, the two suns were blurry, bright spots. Anshan had been a barren desert before A'Ran blew up the surface, and there was reddish dust everywhere. Kiera stopped after a couple steps, taking in the world with even more distress.

Nothing could live here. No one could fix this place, let alone grow food to feed the Anshan civilization that had been evacuated to the moon around the planet and neutral planets within the Five Galaxies. The idea that so many people believed she could make a difference was more than overwhelming; it was ridiculous!

"One step at a time." A'Ran had to shout to be heard over the howling storm. He'd taken up the saying a couple of weeks before, whenever she began to stress out about what it was they wanted her to do. "Our son will be born here!"

Right. She grounded her teeth. She didn't have any miracles in her pocket, which the whole planet - and the rest of the Five Galaxies - would soon be very well aware of. The mention of a son reminded her she had an appointment with the Anshan version of a doctor later that day. She was late for her monthly cycle, yet another reason she'd begun to stress before the trip to the planet. A'Ran wanted a son, and she wanted more time to adjust before considering a family, especially considering they had no permanent home.

A'Ran passed her, at ease in his goo-suit on the poisonous planet. Kiera took a few more steps after him, searching for something she could twist into an optimistic sign for the future. A bird. A plant. Even one of the dreadful spider-cats that ate dust and mold to keep their house clean.

There was nothing.

Distraught, she turned to face the spacecraft they'd traveled in. At least it was visible, an unmovable grey blob in the shifting sands. When she faced the direction A'Ran was headed, she saw nothing. Kiera squinted and hurried forward. After half a dozen quick steps, she still didn't see him.

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