The first rays of crimson sunlight began to emerge from the distant eastern horizon, bathing the morning sky in ruby hues and casting long shadows down below. The few wispy clouds which clung to the pale sky took on the appearance of colourful cotton candy.
The residents of Oceanview welcomed the morning light after spending the night in complete darkness and fear, thankful to be alive. The power had gone out since Jason had destroyed the underground military base at the periphery of the town the previous afternoon, leaving Oceanview isolated from the rest of the world.
Jason loved to watch the sun rise, ever since he was a little boy. Standing here at the end of the pier this morning and staring out across the calm ocean, he felt like a little child all over again, elated and overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the breathtaking scenery.
The crisp, cool morning breeze blowing against his skin gave him goose bumps while the calls of the seagulls sounded like music to his soul. The salt crystals which clung to the cold steel guard rail felt like rough sandpaper under his fingertips.
A wave of mixed emotions; joy, sadness, elation and a sense of relief, all rolled into one, washed over him as he remembered the last time he had stood here, a lifetime ago.
“Welcome home, Jason,” whispered Eve, wiping away the solitary tear which managed to escape his eye and begin its journey down his cheek.
He looked at her and smiled, taking in a deep breath of the crisp, refreshing morning air. She looked into his light brown eyes smiling her sunshine smile and took his hands in hers.
“Thank you for sharing this sunrise with me, Jason,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”
“Come,” said Jason, leading Eve back to the shuttle. “It’s time for me to go home.”
Jason piloted the shuttle towards the southern end of Oceanview under the watchful eye of Thomas Wayne who monitored them from his station on the bridge aboard the Equinox B, ready to fire at anyone who got too close.
A few short minutes later, Jason landed the shuttle on the street, directly in front of the yellow house on the hill which was once his home.
The house stood below road level so he had to walk down the steep stairway which led from the street all the way down to the front veranda, with Eve watching him from the shuttle. A wave of nostalgia washed over him from the scent of the flowering Purple Heart plants which lined the stairway as he began his descent.
The house was exactly as he remembered it but had fallen into a state of disrepair over the years. The yellow paintwork had aged and was peeling away in places. The unkempt, overgrown garden made Jason wonder if anyone still lived in the house but he soon sensed his parents’ presence as he approached the veranda.
He pushed open the little gate at the entrance to the veranda expecting it to squeak, but surprisingly, it didn’t. More childhood memories flooded his mind as he walked up to the heavy dark wood door, took a deep breath, and knocked.
Meanwhile, inside the house, Ronald and Renetta had heard the sound of the shuttle landing. They didn’t know what it was and had remained in their bedroom, fearful. The hum had stopped and a minute later, a knock on the front door startled them.
Silence. Then the sound of knocking again, followed by a voice. “Mum? Dad? Is anyone home?”
“Its Jason!” exclaimed Renetta, rushing to the front door, with Ronald trying to keep up.
Not even Jason could contain his excitement as his parents opened the door. They stood at the entrance hugging each other while tears of joy flowed freely. Everyone excitedly tried to talk at once making Jason feel like a kid again.
“Come inside, Jason,” said his mum, suddenly realising that they were still standing in the doorway. “Look at you, all grown up. We were so worried about you. We had no idea if you were still alive or...” she trailed off.
“I’m fine, mum, dad,” he replied, as they entered the lounge.
Nothing had changed over the years. The same brown sofa Jason remembered from his childhood still occupied the lounge. The wooden floor tiles had lost their shine. Even the same television remained in the corner and he wondered if it still worked after all these years.
“It’s good to see you, son,” said Ronald, shaking Jason’s hand and patting him on his back. “It’s been over fourteen years!”
“You must be hungry. Come, let me make you breakfast,” said his mum, making her way to the kitchen.
“No, I’m fine, mum,” he replied. “Mum, dad, I’d like very much for you to come with me right now. There’s so much I want to show you.”
Moments later, he was introducing his parents to Eve on board the shuttle and they were off to rendezvous with the giant space ship hovering above the town.
He first showed his parents to their large living quarters, and after, they accompanied him to the bridge. They were silent, shocked and awed by all the technology while Jason did most of the talking, explaining the layout of the ship and filling them in on all of his experiences since leaving Earth over fourteen years ago.
“Thomas Wayne, my chief engineer who is also my greatest student,” said Jason, gesturing to Wayne as they entered the bridge.
“Mr. Wayne, I present to you, Roland and Renetta King, my parents.”
“Mum, dad, you’re welcome to remain on the ship or return home. Feel free to walk about and explore or relax in your quarters. In the mean time, I have much work to do, taking back the Earth from the United Earth Government and righting the atrocities they have committed against the people.”
“I am so proud of you, son!” exclaimed Ronald, giving Jason a firm handshake. His mum nodded her approval.
His parents left the bridge, escorted by a member of the crew.
“Captain,” began Thomas, we have been hailed by various leaders from Earth, requesting an audience, but I have not responded.”
“Excellent, Mr. Wayne,” smiled Jason. “I will respond to them personally and set up a meeting here, on the Equinox B.”
He turned to Eve. “I think it’s time to invite Vince home, don’t you think?”
“I’m on it!” responded Thomas. “I will send the transmission to the second fleet now.”