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Ben Fargo

Departure

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Barren functionality, that is what Ben thought as he sat and waited.  A mismatched collection of chairs lined the walls, while a double row of them, back to back, filled the center of the room.  There were no pictures, no plants, no tables covered with out-dated magazines.  The agency had neither the time nor the money to acquire such things, but few people cared.  Most of them, like Karilynne, were too focused on their phones to notice what was missing.  Ben had not bothered to take out his own phone.  He had too much on his mind, so he just stared at his wife and wondered what the future held for them.

 

"Benignus and Karilynne Fargo, please, come to Room C3.  Benignus and Karilynne Fargo, come to Room C3."

 

Ben stood up and looked at his wife.  "We better go.  Shouldn't keep them waiting."

 

Karilynne tapped her phone a few more times, then slipped it into her purse.  "No, suppose not."

 

---

 

As the couple entered the room, the woman behind the desk smiled at them and waved them to a pair of chairs facing her.  The tag with the UN logo clipped to her jacket identified her as Roberta Stuart.  As soon as they were seated, Stuart said, "No use making good news wait.  Your applications have been approved."

 

Ben grinned widely, "We're going on the arkship!"

 

Stuart nodded, "Yes, you'll be leaving in two weeks.  I know that's not much time to take care of your affairs here, but we had a couple unexpected openings, and well, you were the best suited for them."

 

Ben grabbed his wife's hand, still grinning.  "We've made it.  I can't believe we're going."

 

Karilynne smiled back at him, but her forehead was wrinkled with worry.  "We need to tell her, Ben.  To see if it'll be alright."

 

Stuart narrowed her eyes and asked, "If what'll be alright?"

 

Karilynne put her other hand on top of her husband's, so she held his between her two.  "We just found out a couple days ago.  I'm expecting...we're going to have a baby."

 

"Oh...."  Stuart shook her head slowly.  "I wish I could tell you that wasn't a problem, but the truth is we just don't know what affect cryosleep would have on a pregnancy.  It's unlikely the baby would develop normally and it would be an unacceptably high risk for you, Karilynne."

 

Ben sat in shook for a few moments, then said weakly, "We can't go?"

 

Stuart hesitated, then said, "You can still go, but we'd have to terminate the pregnancy.  There's enough time and if you decide on that, we can make all the arrangements for you."

 

Karilynne wrapped her arms protectively around her belly and cried out, "No! You can't do that to my baby!"

 

Stuart looked at the woman, then at her husband who was sitting speechless.  "I know this difficult.  I can give you one day to think it over, but no more.  Come back tomorrow and let me know what you've decided."

 

---

 

Ben was sitting at his drafting table, looking through his sketches, plans he had made of spaceships, some practical, some more fanciful.  Karilynne walked up behind him and looked over his shoulder.  She said gently, "You really want to go, don't you?  We can apply for another arkship...after the baby's born."

 

Ben shrugged.  "The way things are going, I'm not sure there'll be another arkship.  Even if there is, I doubt someone who's rejected their first offer'll get another one."

 

"Then we'll just stay here.  Maybe it won't be so bad."

 

"There's no future here.  We're living on a doomed planet."

 

Karilynne grasped his shoulders.  "But it won't be destroyed in our lifetimes...or our baby's.  We still have time to live out our lives here."

 

"On world with no hope?  What kind of life will that be?"  Ben swiped his arm across the table, scattering his drawings to the floor.  "How long do you think we can hold on to civilization here?  You see it already...the people who don't care about anything...who do whatever the feel because nothing matters to them any more.  And it'll only get worse.  Do want to live like that...raise our child like that?"

 

Karilynne turned her husband around to look into his eyes.  "Our child doesn't have a choice.  Our child'll live here or not at all.  So, I don't have a choice either."

 

She stopped to fight back her tears, then continued, "But, you have a choice.  You can still go."

 

"Without you?"

 

"Yes, without me.  Because you love me."  Her tears started to stream down, but she went on, "If you stay, you'll resent me...resent the baby.  You'll say you won't, you'll try not to, but I know you...I know it'll happen and that'd be the worse thing I can imagine."

 

Ben stammered, "But...you and the baby...you'll be alone."

 

"Mom and Dad are still here.  They'll take care of us.  We'll be alright."  She reached behind her neck and unclasped the chain she wore around it.  On the chain was a round silver pendant with a blue turquoise crescent set in it.  "Take this...so you'll remember me."

 

Ben took the pendant and studied it.  "Isn't this the one your Grandma gave you?  I...I can't take this."

 

"You have to.  I promised Grandma I'd keep it safe...and there's nowhere on Earth it'll be safe anymore.  But, with you, it will be.  So ten thousand years from now, when you get to your new world, look at it and think about me and the baby."

 

Ben closed his hand around the pendant and held it close to his chest.  "If I leave now, I won't know the baby's name...or even if it's a boy or a girl."

 

Karilynne smiled at him.  "She's a girl and her name'll be Lunette."

 

"The doctor's told you she's a girl?"

 

"My heart told me.  Just like it tells me you need to go to that far away star.  And like it tells me no matter how far away you are, you'll always love me."

 

Ben took her hand and said softly, "Mine tells me that, too."

 

 

 

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I marked this story as non-canon because it is not consistent with the lore bible that was released today.  Specifically, I assumed the first arkships would depart long before  they did in the actual lore.  I intend to work on a new version of the story that does follow the lore.

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