Fovil and I were abnormal teenagers. Our dad was President of the United World. I knew about his crazy plan to colonize other livable planets with teens from our own planet after the nuclear World War III destroyed most of our planet’s surface, but I didn’t know how much that plan would impact me…or Fovil for that matter.
That morning, after ISEC had rung off, he called us two boys into our living room. We sat down on the couch opposite him and mom, waiting respectfully for him to begin.
“Hey boys,” he said, folding his hands and regarding us seriously. “I have a test I want you both to take.”
Fovil groaned audibly, and I elbowed him in the ribs. He quit groaning and instead glowered at me.
“What sort of test?” I asked guardedly, ignoring my brother’s reaction.
My dad smiled. “Just a test that asks you about yourself. No math equations or geography quizzes I promise.”
Fovil let out his breath in a whoosh of relief as if he had been holding it. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes. I certainly didn’t mind math problems, but that was probably because I knew I was better at them than Fovil.
“When do we have to take it?” Fovil asked curiously.
“As soon as you have both had breakfast,” Dad answered.
“How long will it take?”
“About half an hour, more or less.”
“Well,” Fovil looked at me. “What are we waiting for?”
I sighed. “Let’s get this over with.”
And so, after breakfast, we did.
What is your name?
I rolled my eyes. One of these tests.
Destin Lake I answered.
Hello Destin. How old are you?
Using as few words as possible, explain your family situation.
Uh… my dad is President of the United World. My mom is his wife…I have a brother.
I wasn’t exactly sure what they wanted with that question. My answer seemed to be ok though because they accepted it.
What do you think your talents are?
I grinned. This wasn’t so hard. Briefly, I wandered what Fovil would have put down to answer that question.
I’m loyal, I’m kind of good at the guitar, but definitely not a professional, and I have beaten my brother in chess every time I play him as well as most card games. I’m good at strategizing.
The next question popped up.
What are your weaknesses?
I hate those questions. With a sigh, I typed out:
I’ll tell you when you have a couple years to spare.
Amazingly, they took that answer.
Is there anything on earth that you would miss if you left it forever?
My eyes narrowed and I suddenly remembered the call Dad had gotten from the International Space Exploration and Colonization place. So this was why he wanted Fovil and me to take this test. I typed my answer out a little stiffly.
Uh… my family is here.
“Take that, dumb computer,” I muttered. The screen flashed again. But instead of another question, it said:
I’m sorry; you have failed to be selected as one of The Chosen. Please exit by clicking the “finish” button at the bottom of the screen. A test administrator will now escort you back to your home. Thank you for your time.
I clicked the “finish” button with a relieved sigh. I certainly didn’t want to leave earth, and I really, really, didn’t want to go into space. Why did Dad want me to take that test anyways?
Well, I was soon to find out.
“Son, I want you and Fovil to go.” My dad was pleading with me. I could see it in his eyes, though his voice was stern and commanding.
“Why Dad?” I demanded. “Don’t you want us here?”
“Of course I do.” My dad softened. “I want you to stay here. But our planet can’t hold all the people still living on it much longer...there’s not enough food to go around. You and Fovil would have no future here, no way to expand into better, stronger men. You and your brother are young, heathy, and smart. This trip to a different planet that hasn’t had a nuclear war yet will give you a chance to do things that would never be possible on our planet.” He paused. “You know that I only want what is best for you both.”
My mom leaned over and put her hand on my knee. “Please go,” she added.
I looked up at them. Their faces held so much in them that it was hard for me to sort their feelings out. Worry, pain, love all mixed together with a dash of resignation and hope. Could I have the nerve to add disappointment to everything else they were dealing with?
Swallowing my own pride and dreams, I admitted to myself that I knew what they wanted for us. They did want our best. But I didn’t want to leave.
“Ok Dad,” I yielded. “We’ll go.”
A tear running down her cheek, my beautiful mom gave me a hug. “We’re going to miss you both so very much,” she whispered.
“We love you more than words can tell,” my dad said in a husky voice.
“Don’t you or Fovil ever, ever forget that,” my mom said quietly.
Blinking back tears of my own, I hugged them both again. For all I knew, this would be the last time I saw them.