Beat Up Bit of Rock

“Well it’s not very big,” Toni said, looking down her nose at the screen. “I mean, that would hardly hold us all, even if we decided to land here.”

“Really? You’re going to be negative about all this?” Dax questioned his captain, glancing at her. “After all the trouble we went through getting the grant to come here, you decide it’s too small?”

“I never said that,” Toni countered, frowning. “I just said it wasn’t very big.”

Dax looked down at the console of the ship, waiting for Toni to make up her mind. This whole thing had been her idea to begin with, and now she was backing out of it. It was not in her nature to back down, but the whole operation was on her shoulders. If this deal went south, she would be the one to take the fall.

“Fine, fine, bring us in closer,” Toni waved at him distractedly. “I want to see this rock up close.”

Dax snorted softly, changing the course of the ship’s approach. “It’s a planet, Toni. Rock seems like a bit of a diminutive title for a thing capable of sustaining life.”

“We don’t know that,” she grumbled. “The data was inconclusive, and there’s very little we actually know about this place, except its name,” she glanced over at him; catching sight of the read-out detailing the planet’s known information. “Who names a planet Earth, anyway?”

“Humans?” Dax offered. “They’re a really weird species, you know. They don’t live very long, and half the time they’re at war with one another…like somehow their lives aren’t short enough as it is.”

Toni snorted. “Well that explains why their planet got abandoned… But do you think we can fix it? Seems like a pretty beat-up bit of rock, if you ask me.”

“You started this crazy plan,” Dax pointed out. “Didn’t you think we could fix it before we left our own beat-up bit of rock?”

Toni smiled, stepping forward toward the screen, watching the ragged blue-and-green surface grow closer. “I had a hunch.”

She looked over the sphere’s colored exterior, and watched the green earth give way to a white wash of tundra closer to the poles. It looked raw, with no clouds speckled over the surface, like she could reach right out and touch it.

“The atmosphere is shot. We’ll have to start from scratch,” Dax relayed the new information his console was giving him. “It’s been years since humanoids have set foot on the surface, the animals and plants have sort of taken over… Toni, we don’t even know what we’re getting ourselves into.”

“We don’t need to know,” Toni glanced at him, grinning. “My great-great grandparents are from this beat-up bit of rock, Dax, and I plan to be the first in this new generation to reclaim it.”

Dax rolled his eyes. “Of course you are… I should have known you had some ulterior motive.”

Toni laughed, looking back at the planet. “I usually do.”

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