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Aetheria – Epilogue

Aetheria
by
Jason Crow

Epilogue

It turned out that, indeed, half of the population that was left, wanted to return to Earth. There was a new crew underway from Earth. So, it was decided that the people who wanted to leave could return with the Zephyr as soon as the new ship had arrived.

After Moros’s near-miss, we had to wait two weeks before we could head back down. For most people aboard the Zephyr, this was torture. The cramped space, weightlessness in most parts of the ship, and the absence of useful tasks made most people cranky, including Mom and Dad.

But Nadia and I had sex every chance we got, and we were both cheerful and upbeat during those weeks. Dad even complimented us on that numerous times. If he only knew…

After the first explorer crew checked the planet, and we were given the ‘all clear’, our family headed back down. Nadia and I moved into the same room as before, and so did Mom and Dad. Nadia and I kept having sex as much as possible, and at first, we hardly even left our room. But rebuilding the base needed every single pair of hands, so we had to put in our share of elbow grease.

One day, when we were asked to come eat breakfast with them, Mom and Dad looked very seriously at us. I was sure our secret was out and that we were busted. But it was way worse than that. It turned out that Dad had radiation poisoning from all the work he did near the core of the base. During the quake, the protective shell had been ruptured, but this was discovered way too late.

He knew it would kill him. But he said he’d die soon enough anyway, so he wanted to finish repairing the shell to make sure the rest of the crew could stay there without the fear of radiation seeping through. I was sad for a while, knowing I’d lose my father. But I was also very proud of him for giving his life to save us.

Mom did start noticing that something was happening between Nadia and me. You could say a lot about Mom, but she always noticed things like this.

One day, as I was lying naked on our bed, waiting for Nadia to join me, she came in crying. Mom had asked her flat out if we were doing things together. She’d been unable to deny it, and now Mom knew and our secret was out in the open.

The following day was difficult. We had to face her and try to be cool. But she didn’t say or do anything about it. I was amazed at that, and she managed to hide it perfectly. I blamed it on Dad being around. Turned out I was right. One day, when Dad had to spend a day inside a med pod to regain some of his strength, Mom looked all serious at us when we sat down for dinner. She said she had known for a while now and that she had to get used to the idea of us being together.

But she also said she understood. We’d been together in extremely high-pressure situations where we could only rely on each other, there were virtually no other kids our age around, and we got along amazingly well for a pair of siblings. She explained that it wasn’t the situation she pictured us in when we were younger. And she didn’t necessarily condone it. But she wasn’t against it either, and she’d let us be. But she advised us to keep it away from our father.

After Mom figured Nadia and me out, Dad’s health deteriorated quickly. A couple of weeks before our fifteenth birthday, he passed away. His body was buried in a lovely spot beside the lake. The funeral service was impressive, and almost everyone attended.

About a year after Dad died, the base was finished. This base would remain the central hub for all on-planet activities, and it was the main port for ships to arrive and leave. But this was also the time that the atmosphere got breathable for more extended periods. It would take roughly another year before we could ditch the oxygen masks altogether.

Nadia and I regularly visited the Terra site for old time’s sake. Mom understood why we wanted this, and she let us be on our own more and more. By the time the plans for the first two off-base settlements were discussed, Nadia and I wanted in. We were both seventeen now and wanted a place to call our own. This was the main reason for us to move to Aetheria, after all.

The plans were still in an early stage, but there were already a couple of volunteers to start this village with us. Among them were another brother and sister who were in their mid-twenties and two brothers who had just turned twenty years old. All four were also romantically involved with their sibling. The brother and sister recently came to this planet and obviously didn’t give a damn what people thought about them. They were clearly a couple, and they weren’t secretive about this at all.

Some people gave them a hard time at first, but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t an issue to them nor to the majority of the on-planet crew. We were envious of them and wished we dared to get out of our closet. But after the pair of brothers also made it clear they were a couple, Nadia and I had a good, long talk with each other and with Mom.

We finally decided to stop hiding the fact that we loved each other once we moved to the first settlement. Word would quickly spread from there, and we were out in the open after that. It was a little rough at first, but after a couple of weeks, I didn’t feel like I was being watched or talked about behind my back anymore.

After this short period ended, and Nadia and I walked hand in hand through the base, I wished we had came out way earlier. Mom had gotten used to the idea and was thrilled we were working on a place of our own on a hill near one of the lakes. This place was enormous, with lots of natural light and more than enough room for the two of us.

Two days after Nadia had turned eighteen, Mom took her to the medical bay. I didn’t know why, but after Nadia returned, a huge grin was plastered across her face. Turned out that Mom had arranged her pregnancy shot. Every girl got a shot right after she was born to prevent her from getting pregnant. This was a perfect way to keep the population under control on Earth. And all it took to be able to get pregnant was another shot to reverse the effect.

We did everything we could to get Nadia pregnant, and after three months, we announced the good news to our mother. She was absolutely thrilled that she was going to be a grandmother. Nadia’s pregnancy was uneventful, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. We called him Ethan, which brought tears to Mom’s face.

After Ethan, we were blessed with a healthy twin boy and girl. The irony of it all wasn’t lost on us, and the day Mom had little Thom and Senii in her arms, she cried her eyes out from pure happiness.

Life on Aetheria was good for us. We had lots of friendly people around us in our little village, a pair of close friends, and everything we needed in the main base. Our three children had a worry-free childhood and didn’t know any better than to live on a planet far away from Earth. 

Nadia started working at the local school, and I ended up as the chief of maintenance on the main base and the Terra sites.

Turned out that our brother Ethan’s friend Rory ended up as the first person on top of Zuckerberg Mountain. As he placed the flag, he dedicated it to our brother. It was an extremely nice gesture, and Mom and I thanked him extensively during a dinner Nadia had cooked especially for him.

After I went to bed that night, a blanket of extreme happiness draped over me. I had the love of my life at my side as my beautiful wife, three amazing kids, and the best view in the universe from my living room. What more could anyone want?


Author’s note:

I wanted to write a sci-fi story set in space for a long time. I know I didn’t do anything new or refreshing here. This time, I chose just one storyline, not too much of a flashback structure, and written in my favorite form: first-person, past tense. But I like how it turned out! The only thing that could improve, as I look back at it, is the amount of ‘action’ in this one. But I really wanted to tell a story here and focus more on the characters than the stuff surrounding them. This automatically means more focus on setting the mood in a scene. I still like how they developed their relationship. That’s also the reason why I didn’t write about any other combinations. To me, this story was a love story from the beginning, and should revolve around those two people. I’m well aware of all the other possibilities, but I deliberately stuck with the two lovers.

In previous stories, I tried to steer clear from the more or less default steps (seeing each other naked, masturbation in front of each other, masturbating together, oral, intercourse)?. But if I’m honest, these steps aren’t that uncommon to follow when you’re discovering your sexuality with another person. So, I dropped that idea of needing to be different and just did what felt natural to me as the kids grew closer and closer to each other.

I feel I might need to explain the FliN and the word ‘Bisque.’ Alex Hawk, my big example, wrote a two-part story called ‘In the FliN.’ It’s set in the (near) future, written WAY before anyone even heard about Facebook, let alone the Metaverse. But it’s a nice enough story, and I decided to pay tribute to that. So the FliN is more or less the internet as we know it. And the word ‘Bisque’ is used in that story, so I decided to borrow that. Also, a few of the names used in this story originate in Alex’s story.

I also need to send a massive shoutout to Sindy Anna Jones (google him/her! It’s worth it!). He/she came up with a couple of ideas that I blatantly borrowed. Especially the Camo fabric. I found it hilarious in his comics and wanted to use it in this story. Thanks, Sindy!!

Some might think this story looks a lot like Avatar. But honestly, I got most of my inspiration from ‘The Martian’ and ‘Project Hail Mary’ both written by Andy Weir. But I’m also a gigantic fan of the Alien franchise (Alien part 4 should’ve never been made, damnit!!), and there’s probably also a hint of that in this story.

I also have a confession to make. I hesitated toward the end to let the asteroid crash on the planet. And when the crash happened, Aidan and Nadia were ‘having the time of their lives’ if you know what I mean… Dying during the thing people love to do most is probably high on everybody’s ‘best ways to die’ list. But then I remembered a valuable lesson someone once told me. Always respect your characters AND your readers. And although it would be a perfect way to die, I decided they should live. The current ending is the ending I pictured from the start, but when I came across this point in the story, I hesitated. Thought I’d give you that insight.

Another inside came from E-o-F (yes, him again! Thanks, Ed…). He came up with the idea that Nadia and Aidan should have sex at a depressing moment and then again in a very upbeat and joyful moment. I think it worked out beautifully, if I say so myself. And if E-o-F didn’t mention this option, I would’ve probably never written it like this.

And, as you might know, I am not a fan of an Epilogue. But I know people won’t stop bugging me about it, so I wrote one. And to be honest, this story needed one. But the way they end up in the epilogue is just one of the possible outcomes. Feel free to make up your own!

So… Thanks for sticking up with me during this story. I wrote it more for myself than for anyone else, but I still hope you enjoyed yourself. Let me know what you think about it. I’m curious, as always 😉

Jason out.

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar for Caliboy
    Caliboy

    Loved the story. Was a blast to read.

    • Avatar for Jason Crow
      Jason Crow

      Glad you enjoyed it. And good to see you’re back!

  2. Avatar for Jospeh Amma
    Jospeh Amma

    I congratulate you and your colleagues, (Levi Holland, E-o-F and the others).
    Let me please, express my congratulations and say again: CONGRATULATIONS, AND THANKS YOU A HUGE BUNCH.
    JASON, LEVI E-O-F, CALIBOY AND YOUR COLLEAGUES

    • Avatar for Jason Crow
      Jason Crow

      Thank you very much! Much appreciated 🙂

  3. Avatar for Tosh01
    Tosh01

    Good story, Jason. Comments on your Epilogue Notes:

    The story had a fine amount of action, not too little. If anything the Ethan scene would have been fine to be left out and Ay learned on his own. plenty kids figure it our, even in the ancient pre-internet & pre-home vid porn days.

    The A to B to C etc progression works well very with the story and was a good choice. The depressing vs joy choice was good as well.

    The FLiN aspect works for those who know the background, but isn’t critical if one doesn’t. Bisque is a nice nod, but also one that a reader without the background would take as the stories version of Shiny in Firefly. It just works so clearly that anyone senses the meaning from the context, and that it’s Nadia’s favorite to toss out is nice.

    The choice to stay in one timeline, not flashback, and avoiding POV shifts was all good. Those get played out. Moreso the mini-time resets when jumping from one character to the next (i.e. son to mom, and back again). This story maintained a nice momentum.

    • Avatar for Jason Crow
      Jason Crow

      Hi Tosh,
      Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it! Good to see you reacted to my personal notes, and I’m glad that most of it wasn’t a real issue. Two things I want to say in response:
      – Ethan wasn’t needed for the learning part, I totally agree with you on that. But I needed someone to get the trip to the Terra Site going, so why not have a little fun before that. That’s really the only reason it’s in there. And because of this scene, it’s a bisexual story, and Nifty will allow me to post it 🙂
      – The references to the FLiN aren’t too elaborate, no. And both stories stand on their own. But I think it’s a nice tribute to Alex and an good way to point people toward a hidden gem they might miss. That’s all.

      Thanks again for the detailed comments. I wish more people would take the time to do this. All comments make me a better author. It’s always a bit disappointing to see how few people take the time to comment. I’m not in it for the praise, but I put a lot of time and effort into it, so it would be nice to get something back. Ah well… it is what it is.

      • Avatar for Tosh01
        Tosh01

        Thanks for the comments on the comments!

        Fully understand the Nifty aspect. The Ethan scene was okay, and gave a little more impact when his fate hit – he was a good older brother.

        For clarity on the FLiN/Bisque comment, as a reader of Alex’s stories even before your site, I enjoyed the reference. Just wanted to get across that your wrote well enough that they both had meaning in the story even if the reader wasn’t as familiar as we are. That’s a good sign.

        Sorry there aren’t more comments. People are shy in that way. I will try to be a bit more regular on it. I know creators appreciate it when done elsewhere.

        It was nice to see Cali post. Hope he is well.

  4. Avatar for Tosh01
    Tosh01

    Second set of comments – didn’t know a good place to post this.

    The 8 stories by Rwxxx13 that were posted in January didn’t hit the front page. The “Stories written by others” page is a little hard to find to regular check for new items. Perhaps a link to it can be added to the Top Menu between Levi’s Stuff and Mail Me.

    This were the stories, which all do show on the “Stories written by others” page:

    Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
    Hearts and Bones
    Let’s Get Physical
    Midnight and the Kiddy is Sleeping
    Minding the Children
    A Passage Into Darkness
    Tattoo on my Heart
    The Vlog

    • Avatar for Jason Crow
      Jason Crow

      You are absolutely right. These stories need a place of their own. But I need to find a good way to place it in the menu, because it might get a bit cluttered with another menu item. I will look into it the coming week and figure something out. Maybe a whole new theme, I don’t know.
      Just so you know the reason why I did it this way… With Levi and Cali, I got explicit consent from the authors. Rwxxx13 gave me permission to post his story ‘Study BG3-17’. But when I read his other stories, I felt the need to give them a place on my site. The problem is that he doesn’t respond to emails anymore. Several people mentioned this. Maybe he’s gone forever, maybe he’s not. But considering this started out as a tribute site to another author who vanished, why not praise his work the same way?
      Valid point, and I’ll work something out. His work is just too good to be hidden in the dungeons of my website.

  5. Avatar for Sonny Solomon
    Sonny Solomon

    What a great story. I loved it!!

    • Avatar for Jason Crow
      Jason Crow

      Good to see you’ve enjoyed yourself!

  6. Avatar for Phil
    Phil

    I loved the story because it was a real story, not just sex. It rang true to human nature and helped the reader to imagine what life might well be like in a few hundred years. Best of all, the erotic parts were woven in to be believable and really raised by hotness index! You are a skillful writer indeed to have done all of this.
    Phil

    • Avatar for Jason Crow
      Jason Crow

      Hi Phil,
      Thanks for these kind words! Glad you enjoyed the story. And good to see that writing a real story instead of just short sex stuff is being appreciated. This is what I always aim to do, by the way. Build at least a bit of character background and some sort of story arc, no matter how short the story.
      Enjoy yourself here! There are loads more stories from me and other authors you might enjoy 🙂

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