Suriu looked toward the same spot and strained to see what Orov was noticing. At first he saw nothing but a great storm of dust on the other side of the dome. Dark gray particles swirled about in all directions. Some of it hit the dome and splayed across the surface. Vorky followed their lead and looked as well but saw nothing more than twisting dirt. But, in a flash he saw something break through the maelstrom higher up. It was a glint of sunlight that reflected itself off of something–something shiny. Suriu saw it too and recognized the pattern.
“A sail!” Suriu murmured.
“A sail?” Vorky repeated. “From a ship?”
“From our ship,” Suriu said.
“What?” Vorky cried out.
Orov snapped himself out of his disbelief and reached down to the squawker to unclip it from his beaded belt.
“Sunship Julinia, this is Blue Squad Ya. We are still on site. I say again: we are still on site. Request pickup.”
The three Crolats held their breath in unison and awaited a response. None came.
“Sunship Julinia, Sunship Jovinia, this is Hejun Orov. We are reporting from the surface. Request immediate pickup. We are still on site. Do you copy?”
“Any ship! Do you copy? Squad remaining on the surface of Pa’Zawhu. Please respond!”
Again, the three waited in an uncomfortable silence. The hush was then broken by the sound of static on the squawker. Three ears drew close to the box to try and make out any words they could discern from the noise. Instead, the only thing they could make out was a terrible laugh that cut through the crackling before the box again went silent.
Orov, Suriu, and Vorky looked at each other in disbelief and shock.
Orov threw the squawker into the dirt. “I don’t believe this! They are leaving us here!”
“I don’t understand,” said Vorky. “Why aren’t they coming to get us?”