Only three men survived the atmospheric entry: Daidel, Ikar, and Perdix. The other sons had died trying to keep the ship intact. Forex had given his life to seal a hull breach in the barracks. Jitor had only just been able to prevent a core meltdown, but his radiation burns made him unrecognizable as his father put him out of his slow misery with a pistol shot to the head.
The ship was precariously floating on an ocean of salt water. In accordance with ancient traditions, the brave sailors who had given their lives, fifty-four in all, were gathered by the survivors and given proper funerary rights. Then they set the corpses aflame and set them upon the sea.
Daidel looked out upon the horizon from the hull breach on the command deck. The hole was four meters wide in all direction, the soft lapping of the alien tide coming in a meter or two and the strange blue sky fading to black above them.
Lost in the terrible tragedy, Daidel's eyes refused to move from a single spot on the horizon, even when Perdix walked up to him.
"Father, I have some semblance of where we are now," he said softly, "Using the instruments we still have I located Betelgeuse based on its light content and quality. I used that as a point of reference. I believe we are somewhere in the Orion Arm of the galaxy. The farthest point from home, the edge of charted space. But... those stars," he pointed up at two pinpricks of light in the coming night sky, "should not be there. Those stars' light should have stopped reaching this point five thousand years ago. That when they burned out. I believe we're in the past."
Daidel turned his head slowly around to Perdix. He was no more than a boy in his father's eyes. The tuft of ruby-red hair on his head, the glowing of his golden eyes, made him seem all the more youthful. He looks so much like his mother, he thought.
"We are not in the past," the elder scientist said softly but sternly, "we are in the present. And presently your brothers are dead, the ship is beyond repair, and we are on a world no one of our species has ever laid eyes on, even with an electron telescope."
Suddenly Perdix's face was not so puerile, and the lines of the middle-aged man's face grew hard. The stubble of his unshaved face cast a shadow in the twilight, and the bags under his eyes from days of tireless work mourning the dead became much more readily apparent.
"I have mourned for my brothers, sir. I am not ready to mourn for you, Ikar, or myself. We survived, and I intend to see that that does not change. I will not let you resign yourself to such a fate, Father."
The somber mood of the conversation was shattered by a whooping holler. Both men jolted their heads towards the source of the sound, which was on the far side of the ship. Terrified that Ikar had been involved in a terrible accident, they both ran through the tunnels, sometimes having to double back due to a caved in corridor.
"Father! Perdix! Come quick!" the shouts came faster, louder, and closer every moment. Daidel's confidence in his upcoming demise was replaced by the sound of his fast-beating heart and a chanting thought in his mind. I will not lose another son. Not today. I will not lose another son.
Finally they came to the smaller hull breach in the rear where they found a half-naked Ikar dancing and kissing some kind of fish. When he saw his father and older brother run into the room, the water streaming in from the hole in the wall submerging their ankles, he raised the fish like a trophy and cried out in another whoop.
"Look!" he cried, "I caught it myself! And there's plenty more! Look! We could never starve!" And true enough, when Daidel and Perdix looked down they saw an entire school of fish flopping around, trapped in the room by the current.
All fear and terror and mourning drained from the father and first born son as they watched young Ikar dance around in the water, kissing the fish, they began laughing. They were laughing so hard tears began streaming down their cheeks.
Ikar's soaking wet, shoulder length, bright orange hair flipped around as he began dancing to the music of his own hollering. His father reached down and attempted to capture a fish of his own, only to fall face-first in the shallow water, causing his first born to whoop and holler as well.
Soon the three men were wrestling with the fish and each other in their tiny room of bliss in a ship carcass of woe. That night they ate well.