The space flora had streamed steadily into our solar system for over a year. Earth and her siblings clung to their orbits as they always had, but now welcomed new company in the space in between them, giving room to the visiting flowers.
Like interstellar tourists, some of the flowers would swim through the black and weave between our planets, only to leave at the far side of our solar system, deeper still into our galaxy. But, most found their home in our little corner of space, some settling on planets, and others content to dance in the space between our colonies.
As Valka looked out the observation deck window aboard The Huldra, she couldn’t help but think about how things always stayed the same, until they didn’t. A little over a year ago, we were solemnly alone amongst the stars, with only robots for company on our budding colonies. Any flowers around us were grown in hydroponics labs, inside big glass domes decorating the surface of inhospitable rocks, never meant for life.
Things weren’t all that different than they had been the last hundred years. As the old scholars say, nothing is new under the sun. Valka chuckled. Nothing is new under the sun, until it is, she figured.
The Huldra was a small spaceship, crewing only two; Valka, its captain, and her partner, Miriam. The two didn’t want to watch a space miracle from their cushy office jobs on Earth, and sold everything they had to purchase the ship. It had just enough room to live... But only just.
The couple had followed a large, floating carnation for two weeks, with no larger ambitions except to drink in the impossibility in front of them. To simply bask in the presence of a new era of, well, everything. We aren’t alone in the vastness, and thankfully, the alien lifeforms mean us no harm.
“We’ll need to turn back soon,” Miriam said as she swept a curly lock away from her face. She sat down in front of her partner, taking Valka’s hands in hers. Valka nodded, and tightened her grip slightly, giving Miriam a little “hand hug.”
“Don’t feel right turning back just yet...” She said to Miriam. “I hate to say it but following these flowers is almost becoming routine.”
“My love, I don’t know if I agree. This is a wonder I cannot feel bored of.” Miriam countered with a wave of well contained excitement. Her voice was honeyed, with an undercurrent of wisdom woven into a timbre of sweetness and comfort. Miriam was the prime example that you don’t need to be mean to be tough and sturdy.
“Just think we should shake it up a bit, y’know. Do somethin’ different this time.” Valka spoke, her voice bleeding spontaneity in between syllables. Revealing the lack of a plan forming.
“Then what would you like to do, my love?”
“Dunno. Somethin’ different. Somethin’... New and stuff.”
Miriam let go of Valka’s hands, gently, and stood up, her brain cooking novelty in a vat of rapid firing synapses.
“Would you like to walk with me?” She asked Valka.
“’Round the ship?”
“On the carnation.”
“No one’s ever stepped on space flora before... Wait, no one’s ever stepped on space flora before!” Valka’s excitement volcanically bubbled through.
It was easier than the two had expected. The carnation they’d followed seemed to welcome them, slowing just enough for the two astronaut lovers. They stepped as gently as microgravity will allow onto the flora. A small step for humanity.
Valka and Miriam said nothing. There was something humbling about the alien’s generosity, its willingness and welcoming demeanour. It could just as easily float away past their reach, or maybe worse. But instead, it let them wander gently, experiencing space from the top of a giant flower.
“What now?” Valka asked, puzzled. This was definitely something new.
“Do you wish to dance, my love? If the flower will let us.”
“Not very good at dancin’.”
“Then that makes us two of the same soul, once again.”
“I can’t dance well either, Valka. But I will try, for it feels fitting.”
Miriam began to sway to an absent rhythm, and the carnation made no protest.
“Do you wish to try too, my love?” Miriam held out her hand. Valka grabbed it, as she had before, and the two began to sway together in a close embrace. The carnation shook glittering pollen into the black surrounding them, spurring on the dancing couple.
The dancing turned energetic as the realization hit. Over a year ago, we were alone in the galaxy, but now - we had friends, kind enough to let two lovers dance together for the first time. Experiencing something new for humanity, sure, but also something new with each other. They danced for hours as the carnation floated happily through a system where nothing was new under the sun until it is. In a place things always stayed the same, until they didn’t.