I look around. I’m nude and in the center of a large, poorly lit chamber. At the far end is a control panel built into the wall sitting next to a heavy door. Suddenly, red warning lights flash and a klaxon screams. I look behind me and see an alien Xenomorph approaching me on fire. It caught fire in the car wreck when it was trying to kill me. Now it’s wearing a bowler hat and has eye sockets in its still flaming skull. I turn and run. Nothing has killed it. Not knives, not guns, not being run over by a tank or the tank shells. I sprint for the door, klaxon screaming, red light flashing and the door starts the open on a breathtaking starscape with the sun in the background. I’m in an airlock! That is opening! In my birthday suit!!! The air is sucked out the airlock and I scream as I fall into the inky Blackness of Outer Space from a space station.
I wake with a start and look around. It’s dark but I can hear light snoring and look at the time. 5:13. I sit up in my bunk, my face in my hand and order “Lights ten percent, and no noise.” Lights set in the ceiling glow softly and a loud electronic yells “Yes sir, and may I…” “SHUT UP, I’M TRYING TO SLEEP” bellows a voice. I wince and say “I was trying not to wake anyone you stupid machine.” I look at my best friend and roommate and before he can say any explain “I wasn’t going to fall back to sleep and figured I should get up. Seriously, how does ‘no noise’ translate to real loud and obnoxious?” “Well, they programmed the stupid things after the ‘Sirius Cybernetic Corporation’ from ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’.” We look around and see are familiar room: two beds, two desks with tablets connected to a keyboard and mouse, two chairs, and two nightstands in a 10x10x8 room. Pipes enter and exit and run the length along the ceilings and walls. All of this in a dull gray color. Just like the rest of the facility we live and learn in. “Sorry James” I sigh. “Well, we both might as well get up and get something to eat.” He says looking at his tablet.
We get up and go into the stainless steel main room and find our other roommates Yuri and Neil already up. They look at me and ask in unison “the dream?” I shake my head yes and they know the dream already. Neil orders “Lights one hundred percent and don’t say a word. Mute.” It’s my turn to cook so I go into the kitchenette, pour water into four bowls, pull out nutrition packs, pour the contents in and mix them together. They’ve already got water in glasses on the table. I grab some spoons and take the bowls of nutritious ooze out to them. We eat in silence until Yuri asks “What’s going on with the teachers lately?” Neil responds “How would any of us know that?”We finish and I put the bowls, glasses, and spoons into their respective washers. I go to the shower area and arrive last. I strip and enter the shower after Yuri. Hot steam flows over my body as I soap up and water rinses me down finishing with an air shower the blow the water of my body. I exit and dress in a and join the others in front of the TV to watch the news until the A.I. sets of an alarm we set telling us that we have ten minutes until class starts. The four of us grab our utility messenger bags and tablets from our rooms and step out as the large steel door opens with a hiss. The four of us walk down the dormitory hallway and meet Sally at the turn to exit the dorm area. She is wearing the same suit as us. I ask her “Anything new?” and she responds “No, You guys?” And Yuri says “No, just gossip about whatever the teachers are scrambling over.” Yuri asks her where her roommates are and Sally answers “They left me when I took a shower after going to the gym. Again.” We reach our classroom and Yuri and Neil peel off to sit with their friends. We pick a table near the back of the room, pull out our tablets and set up a game of SOB Rummy until our teacher, Mrs. Sato, walks in. The first thing she does is override games and other such on our tablets and calls the class to attention while counting to see if all twenty-four of us are present. She hits a button on her desk and on turns a rotating hologram of Earth. She says to the class “Pay attention, now, I know you’re all curious about what us teachers are doing.” I look at the hologram and think that it’s odd for it to turn on and display Earth when it normally displays the class itinerary for the day and then follows a pre-prepared power point as the teacher goes from lesson to lesson. The teacher says “We’re going to Earth while they expand this facility.” Someone in class asks “As in, were leaving the moon?” Everyone in the room stiffens and looks around for confirmation that we heard right. I look over at Sally and James and whisper “did she say ‘Earth’?” to which they both nod. There is a slight but growing murmur as everyone starts talking to each other. Mrs. Sato interrupts that the growing noise by clapping loudly and saying “Enough, I’ll give you more details at the end of class, now pull up your E-reader functions, and open to page 98 of ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’”
Class is over and we walk out the door amid a large din of noise of people saying different things they are excited over. ‘Plants…Animals…real food…non-recycled air…weather…carpet…flowers…blue sky…seeing the sun…seeing the moon…real clothes’ James adds in “No emergency decompression suits.” With that everyone looks at their suit, front and back. Air hoses reach from the life support unit on the back to the front of the suit, the thick boots with deep treads that gripped well and were built into the rest of the suit, the sealing rings were the cloves attached to the suit, the helmets strapped to our chests, and the overall bulk of the suits themselves. We looked at each other and broke out in smiles. Sally looked at me and James and said “Buzz, James, you look as excited as I feel.” The three of us looked at each other and say in unison “I can’t wait for summer break.”
One of the younger children from another group asked “What happened to Earth?” Neil responded “Pretty simple really. Unchecked resource use combined with rampant pollution led to ecological collapse. In about a century the population dropped from 7.5 Billion to less than a million before the space colonies were established. After that the colonial governments agreed that space was just a little too risky and small for the whole human population and began terraforming away the super storms and acidic atmosphere.”
Author Notes: I' not sure what to say about this. constructive criticism is welcome. Probobly going to redo this when I know what I a doing later