Surprise!

An Earth 2 fan fiction

by

Douglas Neman

"Dad, is it true we're almost there?" True asked.

"You got it, sweetheart!" Danziger replied with a light, good-natured smile. He was driving the rail, and True was grinning beside him, feeling the spring wind on her face. Three months before the colony ship was due to arrive, and they were less than a kilometer from their destination of New Pacifica.

The members of Eden Advance were all smiling, walking along with a spring in their step. It was a time of celebration, when all the long, hard work, and all the difficult times, and all the trials they had faced together would finally pay off. Their second winter was behind them, and they were about to crest the final hill and reach the comm dish on the shoreline, on a beautiful spring day.

"I want to be the first, Mom!" Uly shouted, running forward.

"Uly," Devon started to say, but then she realized that she didn't mind a bit. She didn't have the energy to keep up with him any more. She just smiled as her son ran up the hill in front of them – a feat the doctors had once said he'd never do. Bess caught up with her and they talked for a bit, walking on. Baines and Walman were slapping each other on the back, and Alonzo had a grin on his face as wide as the sun, driving the ATV.

Uly reached the top of the hill in front of them and looked down on their new home.

"Mom!" he yelled, and it was a cry of alarm. A twinge of fear pulled at Devon's heart, and the rest of Eden Advance froze for a split second, and the smiles began to fade. Devon ran up the hill, dreading what she would see. A million images flashed through her mind. The rest of Eden Advance was with her. They all reached the hill and stared down the other side together.

"Oh, my God," Devon said. The rest were too stunned for words, completely unable to overcome the shock of the sight that lay before them.

"It's," Devon tried to say. "It's...it's..."

"It's our evacpod!" Danziger exclaimed. "Dammit, Adair!" He reached into her bag, dug out her map, and thrust it into her hands. "If you'd turn the map right side up, you wouldn't be leading us around in circles!"

Devon just looked at the map in a stunned silence. Then she looked up at the evacpod, then down at the map, then up at the pod, then down at the map again, then at the surrounding countryside.

After a long moment, during which no one said a word, she finally nodded slowly, admitting her mistake. Then, squaring her shoulders, she took a deep breath and bravely looked at the people gathered around her, glaring at her.

"Well," she said, "if we can average 15 kilometers a day, we can be in New Pacifica in nine months. Or in what we used to think of as months. It won't be easy- uh, guys? Where are you going? I mean, really – hey everyone, where are you going? Hey! Put me down! Hey!"

"And to think of what we went through to get her out of that cryosleep chamber," Danziger said, shaking his head. Alonzo just nodded in agreement.

"Hey!"

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