It was cool, early fall, and the stars shone clear despite the city’s lights. He stood in his back yard and adjusted his vision to the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum and everything was sharper. He could see the suns he’d visited on his way here if he turned to face east, and when he turned north, he could see the path home.
The grass was cool and a little damp already under his bare feet and he closed his eyes. The grass here wasn’t so different from the grass at home, though a little sharper. His skin had been toughened by the work he’d done Suhwan, where the stingers were part of every day life. Despite his tough hide, though, he still felt everything. He couldn’t smell everything his wife did, though. When she shoved a vase of roses she’d cut from the yard under his nose, he always told her they smelled lovely because that was what she wanted to hear. He didn’t have the heart to tell her that he could only really smell pungent things like onions cooking or a skunk.
When he was homesick, like tonight, he went out back and just looked up. Sometimes he’d take a blanket and lay down with his hands behind his head and one foot over the other at his ankles. Ten years ago his wife thought he was weird, then thought that he was using it as an excuse to be away from her. She accused him of cheating on her. The argument always ended with him apologizing that she felt that way. He just liked looking at the stars. Sometimes she’d come out and lay next to him for a while, at least when it was summer. In the fall she’d put on a sweater and sit with him, asking about some constellations.
Tonight he’d woken and left her sleeping in their bed. He dressed in sweats and a t-shirt and looked towards home. Something was moving, coming closer but he couldn’t tell what it was. Maybe the Orionids were early, but more likely it was a vessel of some kind. He shifted his vision again and realized it was, indeed, a vessel. Someone was coming.
He didn’t didn’t know if they were coming for him or for someone else. The ET community on Earth was pretty well spread out but as varied as any of the Sovereignty galaxies. He knew that Ganys were having trouble and so were the Archons, so maybe these were more permanent residents coming in. As far as he knew, the Sovereignty didn’t know about Earth but he supposed that someday they’d find out. When that happened, there’d be hell to pay and not just on this one lonely planet.
He decided there wasn’t anything he could do about the visitors until they got here and the president of the ET board called a meeting. If that never happened, he couldn’t assume anything. He shrugged, looked back to the east and remembered the time he’d spent with Menemnoth in the oceans of Billwah. That had been his last relationship before coming to Earth and meeting his wife.
He smiled, shrugged and walked across the dewy grass of his back yard. When he locked the back door, he looked out the window once more and smiled. Tomorrow he’d find out what was coming.