Hi, just a quick word. This is my first time writing a story and am not sure if it's very good. Therefore, I will be writing it in small chapters to test the waters. I hope you enjoy it!
Can you imagine being surrounded by nothing but black, only broken by intermittent patches of the most vibrant colors you have ever seen? No sound reaches you. It’s as if you’re the only one in the universe. You are but a spec in this massive eternity that never ends. Well, that is until you hear a slightly staticky voice come on over your headset, bringing you back to reality.
I sighed while pressing the button to respond, “Yes, captain, the panels are fully functional and ready for charging.”
I took one last look at the Cerulean Nebula, absorbing all the different swirls of blue with tiny spacklings of nearly invisible purple and pink. Turning, I began to head inside the massive spaceship that humanity has called home for the last five hundred years. As I took off my gear, I could hear the voices of the passengers inside. Peeking through I small window I could see them lazing about doing whatever pleased them as if they had no cares in the universe.
The people inside made me mad sometimes. It’s as if they had no desire for something more than floating aimlessly through space. They have no imagination. They couldn’t even really imagine what the Earth looked like or how it felt to feel the sun on your face as you stood outside on a hill with the breeze making your hair run wild. No doubt they couldn’t imagine what the sun felt like as it warmed you on a cool autumn day either. However, for some reason I could. I had memories that weren’t really my own, and I enjoyed them. I loved them and longed for them. I want to feel the sun on my face, or the breeze in my hair as it whipped wildly in the wind with no control. I wanted to truly know what it feels like to have real grass beneath my bare feet instead of the hard, cold floor of the ship.
But that was never going to happen. According to the history books humanity left Earth due to over population and resource depletion. It was a way to try and save the human race. We were supposed to find another planet to live on, but somewhere along the way we lost sight of that goal. We’ve passed quite a few planets on our journey, well, I think we have. They don’t exactly keep up with the logs. The problem is we grew too comfortable on this luxury ship that took over 2 decades to build.
The ship was large enough to hold two million people. Out of the billions of people on the Earth only 1 million were granted access to leave the dying planet. Apparently, there wasn’t enough time or resources to build multiple ships. Therefore, they took the brightest minds on the planet and sent them into space, even if that meant leaving offspring and family behind. The idea was that if they sent the smartest people into space, they could find a solution to the problem, or ensure the survival of the human race. In my opinion it didn’t work. Maybe they worked hard for the first few years, but somewhere along the way I think they gave up on the people who were on the planet and decided to focus on and save themselves. Their descendants became lazy and comfortable and never bothered to care slightly about our or their futures.
But, based on all the continuous work I’ve been doing, we weren’t going to last much longer. The ship was never meant to last this long and it was beginning to show. The human race will die out at this rate and this whole mission would be for nothing. My best friend Xion and I have tried to tell the captain about planets that we’ve seen and think are habitable, but he never wants to hear it always saying, “why would I risk possible death exploring a planet when we are perfectly safe on board this ship?’
He just won’t acknowledge that we are running out of time. The machines built to continuously renew our resources are breaking down more often than they are working. Our garden is too small to produce enough food for the population on the ship. The panels that gather energy from passing stars are breaking more often too. I estimate that we could possibly survive another five to ten years before we all die of starvation or worse. Why couldn’t the captain just listen to me? I sighed again and headed towards the bridge. According to the ‘most brilliant minds’ aboard the ship, I was the smartest youngster they’d seen in centuries. But if they were so brilliant, they would realize that we were all slowly dying and would do something about it, especially after all the times we’ve told them about potential planets.
I know they will never leave the ship unless there was no other choice and by then it could be too late. We may not be close to a habitable planet. If that’s the case, I’ll have to take matters into my own hands, after all after five hundred years we could very well be the only humans left in the universe. Okay, well, maybe the only humans from Earth anyway. I entered through the now dull grey door of the bridge and took my seat.
“So, were you having fun out there? I felt that this time you were seriously considering not coming back.”
“If I could survive by myself without any resources or air, I might consider it. Then you would be left to deal with these oldies all by yourself. Possibly, making you decide to just jump out the air lock in a futile effort to join me.”
“Hmm… I don’t know. Without you around I would be considered the smartest youngster around. That might get me more perks than what I have now.”
“Oh really? Then it’s decided. Tomorrow I shall outfit our best ship to escape from this luxury prison to explore the cosmos on my own.”
“That’s enough of that you two. There will be no talk of escaping, leaving on your own, or the doom of the human race. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to say it, but we are not in danger. The ship is perfectly fine and we have plenty of resources. Now, get back to work. I want to know where the nearest star is that we can use to charge the panels.”
Unanimously we answered, “Yes, Sir.”
We both turned towards our monitors and immediately began the search. Xion searched for stars while I looked for planets whose paths indicated possible hidden stars or black holes.
Xion looked over, “what do you see?”
“Hm? Oh, uh nothing…just looking.”
“Liar, I’ve known you your whole life. I know when something catches your interest or you get excited and this time it’s both.”
I sat back in my chair and turned to look at him, “Yeah right. I don’t believe you.”
“Okay, let me tell you how I know. First, when something catches your eye you get a serious expression on your face and sit up straight. If it makes you curious your back is still straight but you begin to learn very close. Then, you start to chew on the left bottom corner of your lips. When you’re excited your eyes sparkle, you start to bite on the right side of your lips, and you stop blinking as much. Right now, you’re biting the right side without blinking, which is kind of creepy by the way. Anyway, what is it that has gotten you so excited?
“Wow, Xion, I don’t know if that’s creepy or impressive.”
“I’ll let you be the judge on that.”
After a moment of silence, “I saw what looks like a cluster of about six planets about two months away. The system has a white star. From the looks of it, the third and fourth planets seem like they could be life sustaining…”
“Okay, what do you want to do about it?”
“I’m not sure, but I do know that if we don’t start looking for permanent residence now, the human race won’t last much longer.”
“Let’s just keep looking and researching to be positive then we’ll come up with a plan.”
After two weeks of observation, photographs, and more I was able to determine that two of the planets were indeed possible life sustaining planets and that made me determined to make sure we got a chance to see it up close and in person. After all, even if the captain and all personnel didn’t believe me it was still a fact that our ship was dying. The problem was, how would I ensure that? I couldn’t sabotage the ship. What if these planets weren’t suitable? We would still need the ship to move on to the next planet.
I continued working for a while longer before shutting my station down and heading to my room. Unlike most people aboard this ship, I thankfully had a room to myself, a fact that I was eternally thankful for. It meant that I had privacy to conduct my experiments and make my plans. I needed a way to get to the planet to test the atmosphere and environment. It would most likely be our last chance. I could fix one of the old shuttles in the bay and use it to get down to the ground. The only thing would be getting back to the ship once I concluded my research.
I was deep in thought when a knock alerted me before Xion walked through the door. He was the only person who knew the code to get into my room, though he always knocked before entering. After all, he is what he considers to be a gentleman, and ‘a gentleman simply does not barge into a woman’s room unannounced.’
“Hey, so how far have you gotten in your plans?”
“Not far. I’m trying to figure out how to get back to the ship after I finish scouting at least one of the planets. I’m not sure if the old shuttles will be able to handle entry and take off.”
“I can Shiro can help with that. Plus, you’ll need more people on the ground to help. The problem is getting off this ship with all the equipment, supplies, and us without getting caught.”
“Let’s think of that once we finish the shuttle problem. It will have to travel faster than the main ship and we would have to leave before the main ship even enters the system.”
“I see. That makes sense. It would give us enough time to research and head back to the ship before they get too far,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me, “but, hey if we don’t make it back, it would be up to you and me to ensure the human race lives on.”
“Oh my God, stop. It wouldn’t be just you and me, and we will make it back.”
He laughed and rose from the chair he was sitting on, “I’ll see you at dinner. The menu says pizza and salad.”
I smiled and watched as he left. Xion was the one person I could trust with anything. We met one day at the many parties that the ship is always throwing. I was in a particularly bad mood because all officers of the ship were required to be present and I had just told the captain once again about the ship failing, but he didn’t want to hear about it at all. I felt like he just didn’t care or even wanted to care about it. He refused to acknowledge the inevitable and it made me so mad. One day the ship is going to break down for good and by then there will be nothing anyone can do about it.