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Do you like it?

The living room was lit only by dim starlight as a man in a well-worn uniform entered. He looked around his home at the grey walls and smooth contours of the cupboards. The kitchen was immaculately clean and the place smelled like oranges and ozone. Of course, everything always smelled like ozone, it was part of the job. He hung his jacket and hat on his coat hook and hummed along to the tuned that played from hidden speakers. It was one of his favourites.

He untied his boots then walked towards his favourite chair but stopped when he noticed a new painting on the easel by the chair next to his. He stopped and smiled at the beautiful colours and detail that had gone into it. He chuckled to himself as he glanced to the many other paintings that adorned almost every wall in the home. He leaned forward to examine the new piece in detail, when a voice sang gently to him from across the room.

“Do you like it Commander?” asked an ageing woman with silver hair as she walked towards the man. There were flecks of paint on her clothes and face. He smiled and pulled her into a hug, their old bones creaked with the effort. She giggled just as she used to forty years ago when they were dating. She gave him a peck on the cheek and whispered, “Miss me?”

“Every second” he replied as he let her go so she could get back to her painting. He plopped down into his chair and picked up the book he was reading. “So, any news from the kids beautiful?”

She shrugged as she did up a new shade of green on her pallet, “Not really, the girls are busy at the academy and as for…” She paused to flash him another smile, “Well you see him more than I do. I still don’t understand why you two don’t talk more?”

“Because I’m his superior officer sweetheart,” he sighed “it’s just frowned upon because it looks like I’m playing favourites.”

“Well that’s just silly,” she pouted, “I mean it’s not like there’s a war, humans haven’t had one of those in centuries so what does it matter.”

He rolled his eyes at the conversation they had had a dozen times before, “It’s just tradition sweetheart. Besides it helps build discipline and we still have the best science programs around.”

“So you keep saying.” She mused as she glanced around the room. “Anyway, Carina is beautiful and I love painting it, but I really can’t wait until we can visit the Pillars of Creation. I mean, you did promise me.”

The commander set his book down and got up to look out the window, “I know but it’ll be another two weeks before we can head there. We’re working as hard as we can but science doesn’t always cooperate.”

She sighed as she joined him, hugged his arm, and gazed out at the scenery, “I guess so.” Thye just stood and stared in silence for a while. “It really is beautiful isn’t it?”

He rested his head on hers and said, “Very beautiful. Just think, a century ago humankind was still just dreaming of seeing a nebula up close like this. You really are a wonderful artist sweetheart.” They shared another kiss like they had a thousand times and went back to staring at the green gas of the nebula swirling about the stars.

With a start he turned to her and asked, “Hey hun, why did you stop painting just now?”

With another giggle, she answered, “Because you were blocking the window.”

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