The air screams around their ship, the atmosphere burning and clawing at the heat shield. The cabin is dark and too hot after the long, cold quiet of space. Their hands find each other and twine together. I’m here, their interlaced fingers say. I’m with you. It doesn’t matter if they make it through. That they have come this far is victory enough.
Raia let go of the controls. The radiation storm had passed. Her hands ached and her eyes burned. The images were already fading from her mind. She scrubbed at her forehead, dislodging the webbed crown of sensors. Her skin tingled and flamed as though she herself had been the ship, slicing through the thickening atmosphere as she hurtled down towards a new world.
She staggered to her feet, drowning in the quiet emptiness of the med bay. Around her, the children slept. Bone weary, she checked the displays. All was well. They had heard her and calmed. No more would be lost today. She sent Jessi the all clear.