Chapter 66: Epilogue
From the top of the boarding ramp I watched the group of young women as they crossed the field toward me. They flowed around each other, always close but never interfering with each other, like a flock of birds whirling and darting through the sky. The sound of their clear voices floated through the air, their words unintelligible but the timbre and tone was like musical notes. As they came to the foot of the ramp the wail of distant siren halted their movement, they turned as one to face the source of the sound, prepared but relaxed.
I looked across the scared field to a far off launch pad, over three miles away but clearly visible in the crystal clear morning air. After thirty seconds the siren stopped, to be replaced almost instantly by a muffled crackling roar that built until the sound was a force of its own, smothering everything else. The heavy lifter rose from its pad, riding the laser beams that provided the energy to atomize the water in its fuel tanks before it was recombined to produce the almost invisible jet of flame thrusting the rocket upwards.
I had watched innumerable launches; I returned my attention to the six young women standing at the foot of the ramp to my ship. They looked like a group of High School seniors on a field trip, but they had more power and knowledge than most of the rest of us combined. When I thought of them I was in awe, but when I was with them they were just people, friendly and pleasant. It was difficult to remember who they were when you were with them.
Michelle Wellington, artist and designer, President and CEO of ‘Michelle’s’ the entertainment and fashion conglomerate that for almost a century has ruled popular culture. The movies and videos her company has produced have won more Oscars and Emmys than any other company. Her high fashions, after having been out of favor and in some places outlawed for years during the middle of the last century, had ruled the fashion industry for the past two decades.
Alexis Castle, general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the woman who is credited with completely integrating women in the military. And the only general who at her retirement party hosted by the President of the United States has worn a dress so explicitly revealing, thank you Michelle; that the broadcast news feeds did not dare to show any pictures of the honoree except for head shots.
Dawn Summers, jurist and philosopher, the driving force behind both the sociological and psychological studies supporting of, and society’s acceptance of, cross gender and multi-party families, a social and cultural revolutionary that had altered and molded society to her views.
Renee Smith, inventor and engineer, CEO of Star Enterprises, leading proponent of the space exploration and development and the reason I had the job I had.
Willow Rosenberg. intellectual, Dean of Harvard for thirty years, and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for forty years until her retirement five years previously and matriarch of the six.
Buffy Summers, patriarch of the Six, who was never anything official but who, along with her wives, had shaped the world she had saved so many times.
The girls turned back to the ramp and started up; I glanced over them and saw the dissipating column of steam was the only sign of the departing rocket. As they approached I overheard the end of Buffy’s remark, “… that settles it.”
“I thought we had settled it a long time ago, how did that finally settle it?”
“I packed my green blouse!”
“Your green blouse?”
“Yeah, the one Michelle took twenty years to replace!”
“And that matters because?”
Buffy looked at Willow, her eyes wide with disbelief, “That’s my favorite blouse! I can’t possibly abandon it!”
Dawn filled in for the still puzzled Willow, “We have to follow after it, she can’t possible live without it.”
Willow shook her head, “After almost a century you still amaze me, Buffy.”
Buffy smiled brightly and looked up in the sky where the rocket had disappeared, then over to me, “Well, Captain, to paraphrase someone from long ago, let’s boldly go where no woman has gone before...”
A/N: This concludes the story, I hope you enjoyed it.