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The Departure From Novus Terra
The blue sand shifted lazily in the twilight. And golden hue was shed across the land of Novus Terra. The inhabitants of this mysterious place where all stowed safely inside their homes, probably enjoying a meal or winding down for the evening. Each person had followed curfew and returned to their families. All except one. Jane Summers sat near the edge of a body of water and made shapes in the indigo sand. As usual she was staring up into the orange sky, focusing on what appeared to be just another star. But Jane knew that it was no star at all, it was a planet. One that she constantly dreamed of visiting, planet Earth. It was the very place her grandmother had boarded The Novus Terra at the tender age of nineteen.
The 6 million people who currently occupied the lands of Novus Terra had come years prior to Jane’s birth. With Jane at years of age, the planet had been inhabited by Earthlings for years. It all started when an astronomer discovered a planet far, far away in another galaxy. A scientist called Reynold Smith patented an engine that would travel fast enough to reach the planet within 14 months. So 23,000 people were asked to travel to this land and start a new civilization. Jane’s grandmother, Esther, who was pregnant with Jane’s mother, Nellie, boarded the ship with the incentive of $15,000, which would be given to each volunteer passenger. After a perilous journey of 402 days, Earthlings landed on what is now known as Novus Terra, or New Earth. Esther gave birth to Nellie and Nellie followed in her mother’s footsteps and had Jane at 19. Nellie resented Jane for “ruining her life”. Jane went to school but she didn’t get along with her classmates. They were all the same. Novus Terra lacked Jane’s favorite thing: variety. All children under 18 went to school for 7 hours each day, learning all of the things taught to the children of Earth. The adults worked in factories. Novus Terra was not suitable to grow crops so all the food was manufactured in factories and then evenly distributed to each home. Everyone on the planet was expected to follow the strict routine laid out for them by the leaders.
Esther remembered Earth well and told Jane stories of her old home. Jane was captivated by the things she was told. She desperately craved to smell the salt water which filled the seven seas and to walk through the botanical gardens growing in the sunlight. Since the day Jane learned of this magical place called Earth, she’s wanted to leave Novus Terra and live in the place she considers her true home.
But it was only a fantasy. It was impossible to leave the planet. The government knew that eventually when the original pilgrims arrived to the new planet, some of them or their offspring would grow tired of it and wish to return to Earth. To ensure this never happened, the only ships that ever arrived or departed from the planet went to a top secret location and left without a trace, delivering food or news and then leaving. No one except for a few leaders knew just where these ships landed and so there was truly no hope of ever escaping.
Jane rose from her spot on the blue sand quietly, as she knew she had to be careful since it was past curfew. She knew it was getting late because the sky was turning from gold to pink as it does when it gets late. She passes by the houses quickly and when she reached her own, she hoisted herself up through her bedroom window. Her mother wouldn’t have cared that she was out late but Jane just wasn’t in the mood to be insulted or demeaned.
Jane walked over to the windowsill where her potted sunflower rested. Her grandmother had given her a packet of 24 sunflower seeds when she turned eight. The sunflower was the only plant growing on Novus Terra that grew on Earth, too. Each year, on her birthday, Jane would remove the dead wilted sunflower from it’s pot and replace it with a new seed. She loved sunflowers because she felt like they were the only little piece of Earth she had, as if it was as close as she’d ever get to the place she so longed to go. She treasured the little yellow flowers like they were her own children. She slept well that night, dreaming of Earth as she usually did.
The next morning when she woke she mentally prepared herself for another day on Novus Terra. She was so used to it. She would walk to school with her head down staring at the blue sand, then after another day of boredom she’d walk home, tend to her sunflower, and fill her time with daydreams of Earth. When she had finally gotten herself out of bed, she walked down stairs and out the door before anyone was aware of her absence.
As Jane weaved past houses and in between people who were also on their way to school or work, she remembered that she’d forgotten to water her sunflower. Although it would seem insignificant to most people, Jane had to keep the sunflower perfectly tended to for it to stay alive in Novus Terra conditions. At that moment she decided to turn back, she’d rather face the consequences of missing some school than see her beloved sunflower die. Jane absolutely hated being late to school, but she would do it this once.
She began to sprint home, in hopes to miss as little school as possible. Everyone from Novus Terra was expected to be at school, work, or inside of their homes by 9 am, or else they could be punished by the leaders.
It didn’t take Jane long to get home. She ran up the stairs, to her room and began to tenderly pour water across the soil in the pot. After retrieving her bag, went scrambled down the stairs and out the door for the second time that day. Once she was outside, she spotted one of the leaders patrolling the streets, checking for anyone who may not be inside. In an attempt to avoid the man, she ducked into a patch of Novus Terra’s sorry excuse for trees, behind her house and decided to take the longer, more hidden route to school.
As Jane sidestepped the big bushes of pink thorns that grew wildly in Novus Terra and tried her best to hop over creeks of clear water. She walked, and walked, and walked, and before she knew it, she was lost. At some point she’d missed a turn or followed the creek too long and now she had no idea where she was. At this point, she’d lost hope of going to school that day, so she decided to retrace her steps and try to find her way home. Just as she began to turn around, something large and metallic, about 100 yards away, caught her eye. Her curious nature forced her to go investigate.
When she arrived to the mysterious object she noted that it was massive, big enough to fit at least 20 people. She timidly ran her fingers over the surface and noted that it was made of cool metal. She walked around to the other side of the big object and saw a small staircase coming from the object that allowed you to get inside of it. She was so confused, what the heck was this thing? She hadn’t seen anything like it before.
Suddenly she heard voices nearby, and they were getting closer. In a panic she ran up the staircase and into the object. Once she was inside of it, she noticed lots of bright lights and buttons. She climbed into what she assumed was some kind of storage unit.
“We’ve got to get going right now. Soon the people of Novus Terra will be done with work and school, we can’t let them see us.” Said one of the voices.
To Jane’s horror she heard them come up the staircase and close the door behind them. Lots of beeps occurred and then another voice spoke.
“Prepare for lift off. 5...”
Just then it hit Jane, this was a spacecraft.
Where was it going? Could it be one the infamous supply ships from Earth?
She couldn’t go. She couldn’t do it, what about her mom? What about her grandmother? She couldn’t leave it all behind, she just couldn’t.
But, wait. This was her chance. She may never even find another way to Earth, and the one and only thign she’d ever wanted to do was go to Earth.
“1... And we have lift off!”
Before Jane could even try to get out of her concealed hiding place, the ship was in motion, blasting away from Novus Terra at an incredible speed. Jane was feeling so many things, fear, regret, excitement, lightheadedness from the lack of oxygen. Before she knew it, she was drifting into an unconscious state...
When she woke, the ship was no longer moving. She couldn’t hear voices anymore either. She poked her head from her hiding place and confirmed that she was alone in the ship. She climbed down the staircase and saw that the ship had landed in a big landing pad made of something hard and gray.
As Jane backed away from the spacecraft, she took in her surroundings. The sky was a dark shade of blue, so dark it was almost black. There were stars sprinkled across the sky and a giant round sphere hung in the sky. It looked like a big rock with craters and an uneven surface. A few hundred yards from the landing pad was grass and a patch of woods. The air was cool and moist, and there were little black creatures flying around in the sky.
She began to walk towards the patch of woods and was overwhelmed with feelings of excitement but sadness. She looked to the sky, at the stars. She knew one of those planets was Novus Terra, and that she’d always remember the place she grew up. But she was happy now, because she was home. She was finally, home.