The starport was crowded. Cyrius Day stood on the concourse, his G.C. Marshal’s uniform impeccable with its crisp lines and blue-black color offset by the gold badge emblazoned on his chest. He couldn’t hide his smile as he shifted in his boots, watching his wife and his four-year-old daughter walk hand in hand toward him.
“And just what are you smiling at Marshal Day?” his wife said to him as she neared him.
He leaned down and took his daughter in his arms, holding her close as he said, “Well…” he started as he leaned in and kissed her small face, “I don’t know what I did to deserve the two of you.” He leaned toward his wife and rested his forehead on hers as he looked into her blue eyes.
“You know why I love you?” she began and waited until he shook his head no, then finished, “Because, you never let yourself be one of those cutouts. You always forged your own way, and look at you now.” she said as she played with the collar of his uniform, “An official Galactic Council Marshal.” Her eyes smiled at him as she leaned in and kissed his freshly shaven face.
“Ewww.” their daughter cooed as she watched them. They both smiled and laughed at her interruption.
Standing back up straight, he looked at her and said, “You have everything? Papers? Ticket? Creds?” His voice changed, almost checklist in tone now.
“Yes. Yes. And yes.” his wife said, mocking in a soldiery fashion. “Now, stop worrying about us. It’s only a three-week trip back to Earth. We will be back before you know it.” She rubbed his arm.
“I know, I know. But…” he lingered as he held his daughter tighter. “It’s three weeks without my beautiful Day’s.” She laughed at his old play on words, now including their daughter in it.
“You going to walk us to the shuttle?” she asked him as she looked down at her chrono.
“Got to get some use out of this uniform, don’t I?” they both smiled as they turned and starting walking.
Five minutes later, he stood at the entrance to the shuttle and handed his daughter over to his wife after squeezing one last hug from her.
“I’ll call you as soon as we get to mom’s.” she rubbed his arm again, seeing the hidden emotion behind his eyes. “You’re going to be ok.” she said quietly to him.
He smiled sheepishly, “Yeah.” Then, looking up at her he said and placed his hand on his daughters head, “You two are the best thing that ever happened to me.” His wife’s face lit up in a smile.
“I love you too, Cyr.” she said as she leaned in to give him one last kiss goodbye.
As she leaned in, something felt wrong to him. The stardock started to melt away as flame engulfed it, his wife and daughter were now a hundred feet away. Her voice cried out his name as she reached for him. He heard his daughter scream out as the flames engulfed them. He was stuck in place, unable to move. His feet betrayed him, locking him in place. His voice was stuck in his throat. The only thing he could do was feel the heat That’s when he saw the face. Larger then life, looming in from the distance. The disembodied head rushed forward, sharpened teeth bared in its once human face. It opened its mouth maliciously. Then, in one smooth motion, the Scrappers face swallowed his family whole.
“NOOO!!!!!” his voice finally broke the silence, rocking him awake in the empty ship. Sweat glistened off of his skin as the images of his wife and daughter haunted his waking moments and as he took a deep breath, tears rolled down his cheeks.