“It’s only been four months,” Jarvin said. He patted the large tree that had ripped through the metal and concrete of the landing platform.
Cmd. Miller gave Jarvin a scolding glance then continued across the platform, stepping over the random bits of vegetation and rubble.
Jarvin blushed. He understood Relativity, but seeing its effects boggled his mind. In the four months of their personal time aboard the Freedom, decades had gone by on Earth. The Freedom’s physicist and navigator had argued over the exact amount of time they had been gone, estimates that ranged between 10 and 40 years, but seeing the growth slowly deteriorating the East Georgia Spaceport Jarvin imagined the port may have been abandoned half a century ago.
What had happened on Earth as the Freedom made its round trip at near light speed? Were they too late?
When the large spaceship, the first and last of its kind, entered orbit they had scanned the planet. The entire world was bathed in radio silence. Almost the entire world that is, for the navigation beacon at the East Georgia Spaceport, the place their journey had begun only 4 months previously in their personal time, was still broadcasting its location and flightpath information.
The landing party was small, only Jarvin and Cmd. Miller, the Freedom’s second in command, made the drop down to their home planet. The captain didn’t want to waste any more of their precious fuel until he knew what they were up against.
The landing party’s main mission was to make contact with whoever had kept the radio beacon burning for their return. They needed to make contact and share the outcome of their important mission. But it seemed useless. They could find nothing that showed that anyone had been at the spaceport in the last few years, perhaps the last few decades. It was a twisted ruin, returning to its native woodland.
Cmd. Miller motioned Jarvin to stop, to be quiet. She slowly reached towards her left hip, where Jarvin knew she carried her ancient service revolver.
“Move your hands away from your body, raise them straight above your heads,” a voice said over a megaphone.
Two men in decontamination suits appeared. They were armed. Jarvin noted that there were others hidden in the twisted ruins of the old spaceport, weapons pointed at the pair.
“Return to your ship,” one of the approaching men said. “You carry the virus. The risk of a new pandemic is too high. You must return immediately and not came back. We will shoot down any craft entering the atmosphere.”
“We must talk to you before it is too late,” Cmd. Miller said. “It is only in remission on the planet at this time, it will return. You must listen, for, you see,” she smiled, “we found the cure.”
My first 100 Word story for this week’s Friday Fictioneer, The Return, was, shall we say, less than successful. Most people didn’t get it. I decided to do a slightly expanded version, still keeping it under 500 words. I hope this is a little more understandable!