I awoke to a soft buzzing in my headphones; glancing up at the television screen, I noticed the introductory movie had ended. Yawning slightly, I sat up and gazed around the quiet aircraft. Most of its passengers were sleeping or still watching movies, a heavy silence filled the air. I slid my headphones off placing them in the back pocket of the seat in front of me. Then, looking over at David to the right of me, I found him to be asleep also.
My eyes darted to the window across the aisle, space... Endless, beautiful space surrounded us. Bright stars covered the sky like glitter.
How long had I been asleep? We were well out of the atmosphere. It must have been along time...
I turned to my own window and pressed my small face against it, out of the corner of my eye I could see the earth. Thick grey clouds covered up the majority of the earth's surface. Through the haze, spots of blue water occasionally became visible from the ship.
Goodbye, I thought and looked away towards the stars. I didn't want to think about all that I was leaving behind. Too much sadness was associated with the earth; it was something no one wanted to talk about. But once we reached the moon it would constantly hang in the sky to remind us of how we destroyed it.
Taking a quick look downward, I saw one of the other three ships below us. A red strip on the nose of the ship marked it as the ship with the government officials aboard it. On the spacecraft, it held the president from Britain, France, Spain, Japan, Germany, Russia, and several of their advisors. The United States had sent a Senator from South Carolina instead of their president, who'd been assassinated early on in the war. I'd read in one of the bulletins posted outside the library, (before it was destroyed), that there were other important figures on there from the Alliance. Their names slipped my mind.
Below them you could see the edge of a rocky surface. The moon? I pressed my face harder against the glass, trying to get a better glimpse of the rough sphere. Bright lights were scattered across its surface, two long strips of red and orange lights stood out from the rest, lining the runway.
I watched the ship beside us make a slow descent towards the strip; lights in the covering of the ship illuminated large wheels protruding from the understructure. It slowed to an almost complete stop before it gently glided onto the track, skidding slightly then continued gracefully towards the bunker for departure.
Then, in turn, I felt our ship lurch as it gradually fell in line with the runway and lower towards the ground. It creaked as the hatches beneath the ship opened releasing the wheels.
Next to me David stirred. I brushed his arm subtly, "David, wake up. We're landing."
"Uh-huh," he murmured softly rolling away from me.
"Wake! UP!" I hissed, now tugging at his arm savagely.
"Fine, I'm up. I'm up," he said sitting up and brushing sleepers from his blue eyes. "So we're landing?"
"Uh-huh," I nodded, "I think so."
"Cool," he yawned, sitting further back into his seat. "Do you know where you're going after this- when we get off?" He asked.
I shook my head.
"Oh, well, here. Let me see your wrist band." He said reaching for the plastic identification tag the officer at the launch site had put around my wrist before we got on the shuttle.
It read: . .southportorph.2 then there was a thin bar code next to it. "What does it mean?" I asked looking up from the bracelet to stare at David.
"You'd think they'd tell everyone these things. It is kind of important," he sighed. Then meeting my gaze he said, "It's simple really... 8, for your age; sgl, meaning you're traveling alone; sf, for San Francisco, where we left from; jpn, for Japan birthplace; southportoph, for the Southern Port Orphanage- I guess that's where they're sending you. And 2, for Ship #2."
"Oh..." Orphanage... The word rang through my mind. I was an orphan now or so I was according to the government. "Is that where you're going too?"
"Err, no," he said showing me his wristband. The letters: . .westhillorhp.2 stood out vibrantly on the white background. "So you're from Japan?" he asked changing the subject quickly.
"Yep, we moved here when I was three, to get away from some of the fighting that was starting in Asia."
"Do you speak Japanese?" he asked inquiringly.
"A little," I said laughing, "But I don't remember a lot of it. It was along time ago. And both of my parents knew English before I was born, so they started teaching me English as soon as we decided to move to San Francisco."
"Oh, but do you-" he was cut short by a loud beeping noise. A voice came on over the speaker.
"Please, would all passengers rebuckle your seatbelts. We will be landing in two minutes and counting. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed your flight."
The landing went much less smoothly than it had looked from space. But after several jerks and bumps the ship had slowed to a stop. "When you get off the plane make your way to a service desk and they'll let you know where you'll be going." One of the flight attendants told David and I as she walked down the aisle. And slowly people began to file out of the space ship and soon it was almost emptied. David and I were one of the last few on the ship and he helped me get my small bag from the rack above us.
We climbed down the steps of the plane and into a large glass dome building. Huge, rock pillars supported the ceiling; they stood strong deeply implanted into the marble flooring. I wander further into the crowd towards the hanging sign that read: "Service Desk", but when I glanced to my right to where David should be- he was gone...
I froze for seconds, in shock and frightened to be alone again, then turning in circles began looking for him again. But another plane had just emptied and masses of people emptied into the station. Lost in the crowd I had but one option: to continue to the Service Desk and see my fate, leaving yet another person behind...