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Ding Dong. I quickly put my spoon back into my Lucky Charms cereal and run to the door. Could this be them? I think to myself excitedly as I run to the door. Am I able to Leave? I open my dorm door to see a woman who looks about 60 with silver hair up in a tight chignon holding a clipboard and a colorful paper. My heart nearly stops. I smile so big my face starts to hurt. I’m able to go! I’m able to go to Mars!
“Hello, are you Titania Caren?”
“Err-Yes!” I reply, almost forgetting my name in the midst of dropping my big smile to strike up a conversation.
“I’m Hal Johnson, and I’m here to tell you that—"
“I was picked to Leave!” I interrupt.
She nods grimly then holds out the colorful paper under my nose and I look up at it.
“Thank you!” I exclaim and take the colorful paper to look down at it. Galaxies seem to rotate and explode around the paper.
“I heard that you are majoring in astronomy,” The tall woman said, snapping me out of my deep reverie.
“Well, yes!” I answer.
“There is research lab on Mars devoted to that exact major, and I really hope you like it there.”
I jump up and down, continuously saying “Thank you!”, until she interrupts me, telling me that I must sign something—which I do quickly with my shaking hand. She tells me that I should get packing now so I’ll be ready for tomorrow then leaves. I close the door once she turns into nothing but a dot through the halls of the dormitory and run into my small closet to get my little bit of things together.
1 day later
I slip on purple exercise pants and a black tank top, brush my long black hair, then put it in a big bun with a few hair pins to keep it in place. Next, I slip on some black tennis shoes, put in my earrings, and finally apply lip gloss to finish the look.
I run out the door like a whirlwind, almost dropping my backpack that contains everything I own. I sprint to my car, start it up, then speed out of Tampa City to go to the ship.
The place to get on the ship smells like an airport—sadness and happiness combined into one mess of disorganization and nerves. I run to an information counter and tell them my name. They quickly smile and give me a key to my room while telling me to go to the left and that the ship is ready to go. I speed over as fast as I can, until, finally I find a big opening. My heart stops, then starts beating so fast, I’m surprised it hasn’t jumped out of my chest. And there it is. The ship. It looks like a mix of a spaceship and a really wide airplane, painted black as a raven. I go as fast as I can towards it but ram into a security guard. He glares at me then asks for my name. I quickly respond and almost run in while he’s still checking off my name. I take one last look at Earth. I hated it here anyway.
“Good riddance!” I yell as I run into the ship.
As soon as I make it inside the ship, I see a narrow hallway that splits off into two other hallways at the end. The place smelt of a doctor’s office—like they have spent a while cleaning it. I go down the narrow hall and consider the two rooms on each side. The heavy doors have small thick windows on them, so all I can make out of the room is only a few key features. It’s very big, maybe the biggest room. There are a few computers, digital bubbles swirling around the dark screens. Paint streaks and splatters adorn the walls in different colors—blue, green, black, yellow, purple, and red. I try to open the door, my eyes fixated on the paint. I sigh after about 30 seconds of trying to open the door and skip the other rooms to find the sleeping chambers.
The sleeping chambers are labeled with last names. After passing about 15 other last names, I finally find a door with a plaque that reads “Caren” on it. Holding my breath, I unlock the door then, revealing an almost blinding white room. The room’s walls are white with nothing but a blue bed, big wardrobe, small bathroom that contains a bath and toilet, a desk with a chair pushed underneath it, and a strange chair with many straps and a cushion. It smells just like the rest of the ship—sterile. I frown and produce a few galaxy themed posters from my backpack and lay them on the desk for now. “Seriously? I hope there’s a store here!” I mutter to myself. Deciding to push the thought of the sterile room out of my head, I put my clothes in the wardrobe then place my computer and phone with their chargers on the desk. I sigh and walk out of my room, locking it behind myself.
For the next hour or so, I spend my time looking into all the areas of the ship. The only things that I find worth noting are the lunch room which was as big as three sleeping chambers, and the control room. Other than that, the ship is just made up of the activity room, sleeping chambers, and the lunch room.
Later that day, as I lay on my bed, exhausted and bored, I hear a sudden engine blare.
“The ship is leaving now!” I hear a man’s voice shout—must be the captain. “Please get into your seats.” I run to the seat in the corner of my room with the weird belts and buckles on it and quickly strap myself in, ignoring the instructions that were placed next to it. The ship slowly starts to move then suddenly shoots. Butterflies swarm my stomach and a shiver slithers from my head to my feet. I hear a few screams, but they slowly go to a stop as the rapid vibrating of the ship slowly turns into nothing more than a few lurches. After a few more minutes of this, the ship stops lurching and I hear the intercom turn on. “Thank you for strapping in”, The captain says in a monotone voice, “Please shuffle on over to the activities room where you will find much to do on our journey to Mars.” I unstrap the seat and run over to the activities room, absolutely elated to start actually doing something.
The activities room has about 20 other people in it, but still spacious. Kids about 7 or 8-year-old hog the computers with nervous parents behind them. I look around and realize that I will be very bored just standing there. I brush my hair out of my face and walk out of the room to grab my computer.
Suddenly, I hear a nerve rattling sound. The door behind me has shut closed and locked itself. My bones rattle and I start to feel dizzy. “What’s happening?” I ask myself, my voice wavering in fear. I shake my head and run to my room, the halls swirling into each other, confusing me just as much as why they would lock the activity room’s door.
Finally, I get to my room and collapse on my bed. “This is a dream. This is a dream, it’s okay. No one would do this to innocent people,” I mutter to myself, trying to convince myself, but failing. I’m not dreaming. They are sending us to our deaths. I feel tears swarming my eyes, but quickly rub my face on my pillow.
“Passenger 19 please come to the activity room!” The captain says over the intercom, feigned curtesy in his voice. I run. Not to the activity room, but to the main control room, where the captain is.
I run for what seems like hours, my breath starting to falter. I hear footsteps, but pay little heed to them. I have only one thing on my mind—the control room. Something must be going on there. Finally, I see the sign on the metal door that indicates the control room. I try the handle—locked. I pull on my hair in anger, and feel a hairclip. I yank it out and bend it into a makeshift key, then try the door. I fail several times, but finally the right shape is found with a victorious ping! I kick open the door then slam it closed just before 10 guards can reach me.
The control room is seemingly empty. There is an enormous window, revealing millions of galaxies, swirling and spreading about the universe. I could stand there all day—but I have to figure out what is going on. I run to the controls next to the window. Thousands of random buttons scattered onto a big slab of metal. I look up at the window in distress. Suddenly, I hear someone’s breathing. It is a soft intake of breath, coming from right behind me. I quickly turn around and am greeted with the captain’s dark black eyes. For an almost silly looking man, he is actually really intimidating with the slab of metal raised in his hand, aimed at my head. Wait. It’s aimed at my head. I quickly kick him away. He rams into the wall and lands onto a control panel with a crash! I run over to him and hold him down.
“What are you doing with us?” I ask in a voice that would not ever be counted as sane, “Where are we really going?”
He lets out a few gasps as sweat drips from his balding head. “If I tell you would you set me free?”
I stare at him and decide to lie. “Yes.”
He looks like a caged animal. Scared. Insane. “We are supposed to help… decrease population.” Just as I guessed. Decrease population. A chill runs its course through my body and suddenly I’m numb. But I keep holding him down.
“Where are we heading?” I ask, ready to knock him out. He shakes his head and screams for help. I get my fist ready to punch him, forcing him to answer.
“Asteroid... Field,” He barely gets out, obvious guilt clouding his face. My eyes widen, and I grab his slab of metal then hit him across the head, causing him to roll to the ground.
I run back to what seems to be the main control underneath the window and look up at the millions of stars. Then I see it. The Asteroid Field. What seems like millions of asteroids infest an area in the left side of the window. But it looks far enough so that I’ll still be able to turn the course—if I can figure out the controls. I look down at the controls, my hands shaking. I remember all my training in astronomy. They never really taught us controls, but I remember, a few years ago, when they took us to a spaceship to study. There, they explained how some of the main controls worked. Suddenly, I remember how the spinning control can change the direction. I grab onto it and pull back as hard as I can. The ship lurches abruptly. I look up at the window again. The ship is turning slowly. A feeling of relief washes away the fear that has been clouding my mind. I smile and jump up and down. I’m coming home.