Buckle up, people!
We left our mad tale with the President of Larta and SODA panicking because one lone, no longer immune, soldier, carrying the dreaded virus, was still spacebound, whooshing his way toward the sparkly blue planet known fondly as Earth…
Well, actually, it wasn’t a he at all. The lone Virus Fleet officer was a young and enthusiastic female Lartan called Moth. (That is a transliteration. At least, that’s what the official records call it. I would suggest the dictionary again.)
Moth would have been about nineteen at this time. Approximately. It’s so difficult to tell with aliens. If you had any idea how awkward it is when you meet an alien who wants you to guess their age… But I digress. Sorry, folks. Where was I? Oh, yes, Moth. She was, on Larta, bright and cheerful, soaked up knowledge like a sponge, and was always, always reading. In fact, the reason why she didn’t turn around and go back to Larta with the rest of the Fleet was that she had her small nose stuck in a book. Ok, it was a highly sophisticated alien-technology superinteractive telepathic-link-reader. Still a book. It counts. It does. Shut up.
She had just devoured the 1,197th page (Figuratively! I do wish you’d stop taking everything so literally. For goodness sake. Who’s telling this thing, you or me? If you say ‘Me’, I’ll…) when the call sounded. She said to herself, “I’ll turn round when I’ve finished this sentence…” But just then the hero got injured, so of course Moth got sucked back into the story. It was very gripping. Probably literally.
28 pages later, she yelled in outrage as the hero died.
400 pages after that, she sighed with relief as he was resurrected. (Don’t ask. Do not even… You know what? I’m going. If you don’t stop badgering me, I’m out of here. Ok? Fine.)
2,001 pages after that, she sighed with contented happiness as the hero and the heroine were united in matrimonial bliss.
She put the book down. And gasped. An alien world was before her. A gorgeous orb of blue, white, green, and brown, it shone like a jewel standing out against its setting, the blackness of space, and next to it, its peppermint-white moon, just the perfect size to keep the wayward planet on its slightly skewed ideal track.
Moth couldn’t resist it.
And she forgot all about the recall.
She braced herself for landing.