On the surface of the moon, silent layers of dust lay all around beneath a glittering sky. The flat valley was ringed all about by crater edges that stood on the distant horizon like a gigantic wall carved into the stone face of the moon. The plain had, ironically, been named the Sea of Tranquility, though this vast, silent wasteland had never known water in all the eons the moon had circled her mother planet. At the center of this desolate, dust-covered plain, a colossal dome rose towering into the black skies, dwarfed only by the empty lifelessness of the rest of the moon; here life thrived, but at any other point was nothing but cold, dead stone.
Encircling the base of the dome were a great number of ports at which ships were docking and undocking as their human passengers disembarked and entered the monumental colonial sanctuary of life that stood alone among the mountains and craters of the moon's surface. Far above the dome, a line of spacecraft stretched beyond the point of visibility by the human eye, extending all the way to the cloudy gray planet that glowed so dimly in the starry sky next to the flaming sun that blazed fiercely still farther out in space.
The procession of ships circled that globe several times over, all with the same destination, this massive assembly humanity coming together for the single most significant moment in their history since they had been forced to leave the now-lethal atmosphere of their home world in the wake of planet-wide war and destruction.
The Ship that held Madseu're and Alyana was finally reaching the ports that led into the safety of the dome. The docking arm sealed tight around the doors of the vessel and they disembarked, identity cards ready in hand, while their worker bots quickly unloaded several boxes of important luggage after them.
Tall, sleek android guardians stood at every entrance to the main Coliseum like great metallic mastiffs, looming menacingly above the heads of the steady stream of people who were rapidly filling the seats of the clear-domed amphitheater. Madseu're approached the nearest gateway with slight intimidation, extending a hand with his identity card.
The android looked the card over through coldly glassy orbs that protruded where, had he been a human, his eyes would have been. "You have special invitation?" he bleeped in a guttural tone.
Shortly after the exuberant message from their son, Alyana and Madseu're had received official summons to attend the welcoming ceremony for The Big L, and to be prepared to give an account for the gifts they had been given those 20 years ago. Madseu're turned to his wife now, asking with a look if she had the invitations still on her. Alyana reached into the bag that was slung over her shoulder, and removed the papers and placed them into the waiting mechanical hand.
The android scanned the invitations and turned with a motion for them to follow. He led them through the gates and down, down to the seats that encircled the foot of the stage. This section at the bottom of the towering lunar amphitheater was reserved for the former crew of station RK237. High overhead buzzed a mass of humanity to many to count, quickly filling the 5 levels of balcony stands that rose toward the skies.
As Madseu're and Alyana made their way down the row to the seats that corresponded with the numbers listed on their invitations, they were met by a short, smiling man who extended his hands warmly to shake theirs. He had a round belly that stood right out in front of him, and around his head was a ring of red hair, trimmed with streaks of silver by the ears. "Madseu're Disvone'ray!" he greeted excitedly. "It's b-b-been a l-long time! You remember me?" When Madseu're's hesitated, the man reintroduced himself. "It's me- W-Willheim!"
Madseu're's eyes widened in surprise. "Willheim? The nervous kid who used to run messaged around the station for the Big L?! I can't believe it! You've changed!" a smile came over him and he motioned to the protruding stomach. "You've grown too!"
"Oh, it looks as though we've both done well! This is your wife?" Willheim turned to look at the woman who stood at Madseu're's side. "Wait! Alyana! Is th-that you? You are even m-more l-l-lovely now th-than when you first c-c-came to the st-station!"
"Why, thank you, Willheim, it's good of you to say so," She smiled gratefully. "How have you been all these years?"
"Wonderful, w-wonderful," he responded cheerily. "I run the m-mining operations in the asteroid fields, it's b-b-been q-q-qu-very p-profitable for me, too, I d-dare say. The past twenty years have b-been g-good."
"Yes, and now, the Big L is finally come back!" Alyana replied, "I can hardly wait to learn what he has found on his journey!"