Sneaking out of Musk City at dusk — for a girl?” Don thought.
Hesitating, he put one foot out the hatch door and placed it firmly on the ground. The gentle breeze blowing dust against the metal base of the dome, plastered with Resistance graffiti. Markings showed a humanoid figure with tentacles for arms and legs with an X over it. Not everyone agreed with the peace between humans and Pollies, a species that lived underground on Mars where the water was abundant.
“Where is that weather tower she said to meet at — there,” pointing towards the edge of a grassy field. Approaching the edge, he turned and gazed up at the enormous dome. “Stars will never be as beautiful under that dust.”
“They are so much more beautiful out here with me,” a voice said from the edge of the forest behind him.
“Tiz,” he said as he ran to her and wrapped his arms around her. “I’ve missed you,” he whispered, kissing her.
“I missed you too, now follow me.”
They walked into the forest. The trees were enormous — beams of sunset light broke through the tree canopy. They stumbled upon a creek, a nearby bridge gave access to the other side.
“Byproduct of the terraforming factories,” she said, scowling at the flowing water.
“Peaceful sounding,” he teased.
“At least something around here is peaceful. The Resistance wouldn’t hesitate to kill a Polly,” her face turning red.
“Let’s try to enjoy ourselves a little,” as he motioned towards the bridge.
“Fine, we’re almost there,” a smile stretching across her face. “Come on,” She scurried up a grassy hill into the treetops.
Climbing the hill behind her, the treetops gave way to the blackest sky he had ever seen, covered in thousands of bright pinhole stars. “Wow,” he gaped, staring up at them — nearly stumbling over Tiz as she lay on the hilltop. As he lay beside her, she cuddled close to him and declared, “Happy Earth birthday.”
“I can’t believe I’m twenty-one on Earth. I’m barely eleven here on Mars.” he teased with a smirk on his face.
“What’s it like on Earth?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never been. My parents moved here before I was born, so I’ve only ever known Mars.”
“Wait, something isn’t right,” sitting up abruptly as a narrow beam of light tore through the night sky towards them. Sniper fire from a distant hill, it stopped in front of them, illuminating the ground.
“What the…” Don said, the surrounding air filled with a bright light.
Liz’s tentacles wrapped around him, “Hold on,” she yelled.
The light faded away as fast as it appeared, revealing an enormous cave. Organic lights gently bounced through the moist, cool air. Foliage surrounded them. “Are we…”
“My home, the Polly underground. You’re safe here.”
“Did we just — teleport? How did you…”
“It’s rare. A Polly is born with it every 100 years.”
“Princess Tiz. Where have you been?” exclaimed a scruffy Polly soldier behind them.
“WHAT!” Don exclaimed.