Ah, MUCH better. If you need refreshing on this story, go to the "Stories in Progress" page for links to past parts. Otherwise, read on and enjoy me finally being more regular. ;)
Chapter Nine: Another Day...
Laeli first opened her eyes, it took her a moment to realize where she was.
Instead of the usual gray ceiling and sounds of other girls in the Teen Center
getting ready for the day, it was strangely quiet. A single snore rose from
somewhere in the darkness followed by a long sigh.
her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she noticed that there was light coming from
somewhere, but it wasn’t the familiar light from the earth’s sun. A thickly
pained window from across the room revealed millions of stars twinkling in an
ink-black sky. Could it possibly still be night?
everything that had happened to them the day before came back. She was in space
with four other teens…teens that had been strangers until yesterday when
circumstances had thrown them together. Now they were stuck in a launch pod
together until they reached their destination.
yawned and glanced down at her watch. That was when she realized she didn’t
have a watch anymore. Of course that was not the object she had brought with
her into space. With a sigh she sat up and slipped from the bunk bed she had
claimed the night before. The other girl, Ovril, had taken the bunk above her.
walked out of the sleeping quarters and into the main part of the launch pod
where the controls glowed softly in the dark with a quiet humming noise. She
flicked on the lights and was startled to see the oldest teen sitting over by
another of the windows, staring out of it silently.
looked over at her in surprise. “You’re awake too, then?” he asked after a nod
and a “good morning”.
returned the smile, realizing how stupid that question must have sounded.
“Sorry…I knew you weren’t sleep-walking or something. It just startled me to
see someone else awake at this hour of the morning.”
time is it?” she asked.
older boy looked down and Laeli noticed that he did have a watch. “It’s about
five o’ clock. In the morning,” he added at Leali’s raised eyebrows.
never sleep well in unusual surroundings,” she said, sitting down on one of the
many chairs and also gazing out the window. “Wow…those stars are gorgeous.”
Kyrin nodded. “I’ve been staring at
them for the last half-hour in silent amazement.”
“I’ll join you until the others wake
up,” Laeli said with a smile.
For a moment, the only sound in the
room was the two teens breathing and the electronics’ continual humming.
“It all seems so…unreal.” Kyrin spoke
“What does?” Laeli asked absently, her
eyes fixed on the spectacular sight outside the launch pod’s window.
“Everything,” Kyrin said helplessly,
unable to pinpoint any one thing from his life during the last couple days.
Laeli turned from the stars and
squinted at Kyrin in confusion. “Everything?”
“Well,” Kyrin began, “the whole test
thing was weird…and becoming one of ‘The Chosen’ before getting put on a huge
space ship. Then having our space ship malfunction and the five of us
volunteering to get stuck in here until we reach a planet none of us have ever
heard of to join a Civilization System that we’ll then be working for until the
earth is able to support all of us again.”
After a moment, Laeli said quietly, “I
guess I hadn’t really thought much about it. I was too excited about the
opportunity this whole colonization movement provided for me.”
Laeli shrugged away his question,
suddenly feeling too shy to talk about her dreams of becoming a doctor. She was
saved from having to answer becausejust then, Destin came into the room, squinting
in the bright light.
“Morning,” he mumbled before sitting on the floor in a way
that made a semi-circle. Kyrin gave him a stiff nod, and Laeli shot him a smile
and returned his greeting. Destin noticed Kyrin’s reaction and winced. “I
really am sorry about my blow-up yesterday,” he said. “I have problems same as
everybody else, despite being the son of the President of the United World.” His
voice was bitter, and Laeli’s heart went out to him.
“You must miss your family a lot,” she said softly,
correctly reading the real reason behind his sullen countenance.
A surprised look passed over Destin’s face and he nodded.
Laeli smiled. “You’re not alone. I miss my family too.”
“We all do,” Kyrin added. “But we need to work as a team
and not fight amongst ourselves or we’ll never survive this trip to the planet
or our work in the Civilization System for that matter.”
Destin sighed heavily and ran a hand through his hair.
“I’ll do my best.”
“That’s all we’re asking you to do,” Laeli said. “If we all
do our best, we’ll make an awesome team.”
A slight lull in the conversation greeted the arrival of
Ovril, who promptly joined the three teens around the window after letting her
eyes adjust to the electric lights. “G’morning all!” she said cheerfully.
“Do you want an honest answer?” Destin asked suddenly.
Ovril cocked an eyebrow at him. “I think I could handle
honesty,” she answered slowly.
“I’m tired, I miss my parents, and I want to go back home.”
The word ‘tired’ appeared to trigger a yawn from Ovril.
“Six is not when I usually get up,”
she explained apologetically. “Just saying.”
“When did your Teen Center make you get up?” Destin asked.
“Seven…but they let me stay in bed until eight on
“How did you do that?”
“Oh, I have a way with people,” Ovril answered evasively.
Fovil walked into the room, interrupting the conversation.
“Hey, is anyone else hungry?” He walked around the sitting teens. “Please tell
me they gave us food. Otherwise I might have to resort to cannibalism. I was
just kidding,” he added hurriedly after seeing the look of horror both Laeli
and Ovril gave him.
“I think the captain said the food was stored in this
cabinet,” Kyrin said, walking over and confirming his memory.
The youngest teen went over to inspect the array of vacuum-sealed
packages that held all the meals for the five teens that would keep them alive
until they reached their planet.
“‘Dried Steak and Onions’?” he read one item in disgust.
“This isn’t food! Look at what this says,” he continued, holding up a carton
that read ‘Sweet Milk’, “It says here, ‘tastes like real milk’! So what, this isn’t real milk? Geee-ross!”
“I think,” Laeli
interrupted, “that we should be thankful we have
food, even if it’s not what we’re used to.”
Fovil headed back to the boys’ room that was right across a
hallway from the room Laeli and Ovril shared, grumbling all the way about how he was not going to stand by and watch
everyone die from bad food if he could help it.
Destin watched him go and shrugged. “You’ll get used to
him. Imagine how it was to grow up with him as a brother!”
“We’re going to have a pretty good idea of what it was like
once we’re at the planet,” Ovril remarked drily.