1.
"First Contact"

John Danziger hadn't been formerly introduced to the leader of the expedition until they'd crashed landed on G889. He had let his own stubborn pride come into play before really getting to know Ms. Devon Adair. He'd made demands of her without bothering to make sure it wasn't simply because he wasn't in charge.

He was head of his ops crew, and only a handful had made it into the pod with him and True. He was used to leading, and he hadn't ever liked being bossed around by a lady. Especially one that came so high class. But he'd underestimated her. Big time.

After the vote, they had packed up and started their journey across the unknown planet. They had no idea what they would face, but he had a pretty good idea that Devon wasn't going to let anything stand in the way of her ultimate goal. She was determined to get them safely to New Pacifica without losing anyone else.

He'd traded the wheel of the dunerail off to Walman and had fallen into step beside her. He turned his eyes up to the sun then back to the ground. "Pretty sure we'll make it on your stubbornness alone." He meant it as a compliment.

"Whatever works," Devon quipped back at him. "Won't make it with your negativity. Might even set us back a few days. Maybe weeks if we allowed it to fuel us. Probably would have stayed right where we were if you had it your way." She glanced over at him with a smile. "Huh, Danziger?"

He gave a soft chuckle. "Deserved that." He shoved one hand into his pocket. His eyes scanned the vehicles ahead of them. "Thought I was a damn fool for bringing my kid along when we crashed on this rock, but look at her."

True was about ten yards ahead of them, running alongside Uly. They were laughing and trying to out do one another. He hadn't ever seen her happier. She'd never had a real chance at a just being a kid, and she'd never had the chance to have a real friend before meeting Uly. It warmed his heart to see her and him getting along so well.

"All kids should have this. I don't know how we'll ever leave when we get to New Pacifica. Think I might even miss this place." If we survive it, he added silently.

"I'd do it again and again if it meant Uly could run and play and be...normal." Devon couldn't keep the pride out of her smile. She loved her son more than anything else. Having him cured was worth all the hardship and pain they'd had to endure along the way. And she would do it a million times over and more to be right back here. She was even learning to roll with the scrapes and cuts that he was enduring along the way. It never seemed to slow him down.

Danziger threw his arm around Devon's shoulders and gave her a squeezing side hug as they walked along. "Guess we got that in common. Our kids are something special." They brought out the absolute best in their parents. Even if he'd hated Devon Adair back on the stations, he found he couldn't down here on this planet. She was different somehow. Maybe they all were.

She accepted his hug, finding it almost as natural as when Uly or Yale hugged her. It warmed her toes. "Very." She smiled up at him. Her blue eyes bright in the sunshine. "What do you say to two more hours and then stopping to set up camp?"

"You're the boss," he said with a wink and a grin. He let his arm drop from her shoulders and glanced around at the others that were walking same as they were. "But I think two more hours is just 'bout perfect."

She lifted her canteen, unscrewing the lid and lifted it to her lips to let the cool liquid soothe her throat. She lowered it, holding it out for him if he wanted it. When he refused, she replaced the cap and let it settle back against her hip. "Glad you approve."