It felt just like old times again, to see them all. Izumi laughing his head off, Kane downing mugs of cider and watching the drama unfold. Watashi and Margaret entwined like they always were. Jada mostly telling stories about their escapades on their current planet of choice. We agreed we’d return and see each other, one last reunion. I had finished my duties, and I thought it as good a time as any to get the whole gang back together, but despite my love for everyone, it still felt so off. Old wounds showed; Margaret and Kane were on opposite sides of the table. Izumi didn’t talk much of his own life. And of course, Astrid was gone. I didn’t really join in on the conversation. I always fit well wherever I was placed, but everything had just made me so uncomfortable. None of us fit into each other anymore.
    It was like watching someone trying to put together a jigsaw from a dozen different sets, where once we all united to one whole. I left the dining hall for my quarters. Pure white corridors, fit for pure, divine, noble gods, right? I always hated Dekam’s ‘sense of style’ that he cultivated just to impress Margaret. At least she liked it, but it felt so unnatural to me. I would’ve more preferred nice wood accents, potted plants scattered around, and gentle lights based off the star of home, but what can you do? I know some of the others hated it (Kane) but I wouldn’t let them design anything if my life depended on it. My bare feet cold against the tiles of plastic and faux-marble. Not even true stone. Sure, wood and stone are heavy, but this was a living space, on top of being a ship.
    At last, I reached the comforting sanctum of my room. Well, previously comforting. Sure it still had some of my touches, but all my plants and photos were gone. I hadn’t lived here in… I’m tempted to say decades, but I don’t think that’s right. No empty mattress to lie in either. Laying on the floor, I got some nice music going, a wonderful tune from a distant, un-networked planet. The people of this place understood longing very well, perhaps more than even I or Watashi. I didn’t know the instruments, or artificial instruments they used to make the lustrous sound I loved so much that I could describe as vibrant, ringing, resonant, merry, but with the comforting energy of lying in front of a raging fire at home, and being held by the arms of a lover. I had never been much of a singer, but to some of these foreign songs I felt the urge overtake me. The songs were like wonderful and comforting pitchers I could pour my excess emotion into. Music has been the only way I can quell the tidal waves that overwhelm me.
    The door opened and I immediately sat up “Um, I’ll rejoin in a second…” But before I could finish, I saw it was only Roswell. He plopped on the floor next to me.
    “Your powers again?”
    I groaned. “Yeah, well, at least the music Jada got me is helping.”
    They rolled over to face me. “You sounded like a howling cat.”
    “Well, that doesn’t mean it’s not helping. It, uh… draws it out of me, I guess.” They rolled once again onto their back.
    “I was poking fun, it wasn’t actually that bad. You’ve got some serious pipes.”
    “Yeah? It’s strangely fulfilling in a way.”
    “Don’t tell Jerica, they’ll find some way to connect it to like, the sound water makes in a stream or something.”
    I laughed. “Truer words never spoken. I wanted something to do after I finished everything, so I called a final meetup. Most of us are pretty old by now, you know. I doubt we could do one again without having half the party missing. This is the last time most of us are going to be in the same place, and I think that’s a good thing.”
    They were silent for a while. I knew they were thinking about Astrid, so I didn’t want to interrupt.
    I sat back up so I could see them fully. “Sorry for bringing it up.”
    They rose to meet me, and leant against the bed frame. “It’s not that, really. I’m just… don’t you think there’s somewhere out there that needs us?”
    “Pft. There are infinite places across the galaxy that need us, Ros. But what place in the galaxy deserves us.”
    They laughed a bit. “No place. No place deserves us. I mean, we could try to visit some un-networked planets, pretend we’re normal. Vow to never use our powers again?”
    “But do we deserve that?”
    They got rightly pissed at this. “You do, at least, and I know that’s who you’re worried about the most. As for me, I dunno. I’ll try to do some good where I can.”
    “What are we going to do with the ship?”
    “Hmm. We could bring Xavion along and try to toss it in the molten core, if the planet has one. But then Xavion’s trapped with us, huh.”
    “We could dump it in the middle of nowhere, some uninhabited place nobody knows but us, then have Jada teleport us?”
    “I think… that’s a good idea.”
    “I dunno Ros, even then… We’ll be the only ones. And, what the hell will we do about Aspity?”
    “She’ll find you eventually, no matter where you are.”
    “Not if I keep moving.”
    “I mean you’re not wrong, but do you really wanna live a life just fucking running from her? Let’s grow old together dude, let’s enjoy the glory years, away from all the bullshit politics and scheming and crap. You and me.”
    My face did some things I’m not proud of. I was so torn between my duty and my happiness. I couldn’t have both. But happiness with Roswell… I loved him so much there was no way I could turn down his offer. “Who says we’ll grow old?”
    They laughed, and it kindled something inside me, like being with them always did. Their fire burned brighter than I could douse, and it was infectious. “Well, we’re not immortal, we know that. But we age, correct?”
    “Yeah, but like, we live longer than normal people, too.”
    “I hit middle age like… a long ass time ago. And I have like maybe five grey hairs.”
    “See, getting old?”
    “Ros, I love this about you, but you don’t look a day over 25.”
    They pouted. “Yeah, you’re right, but why do you have my grey hairs??? I’m even older than you.”
    “Aren’t you part elf? That’s probably why.”
    “Perhaps.” They shot me a smirk. “Maybe the heavenly divines like me more.”
    “Well, with the shit I got saddled with, I’m guessing you’re on the money.”
    They raised their hands in a gesture of cease fire. “Fine, maybe not old, exactly, but if old age never comes, we can just tear our mantles out when we’re ready.”
    “You said that would probably kill us. What if it doesn’t work?”
    “Well I said there’s a 99% chance it’ll kill us. That’s close enough in my book. Plus that severs our connection, so we’ll be able to die by normal means if we so wish."
    “Good plan, I guess.” Silence. “How long do you estimate until Aspity finds me?”
    “Geez, Dana, I don’t really know. I wager we got a while at least.”
    “I think five years would be enough for me.”
    “Enough that I’ll be glad I ran, even if it ended badly. Even if I get captured.”
    “I think it will be enough for me, too.”