This is the second chapter of my short SciFi Story – Last one off the planet. Read the first chapter here.
When I didn’t have to be in the lab I let myself sleep in. I enjoyed taking my time. My room was on the top floor. The first thing I do in the morning was to open the roof windows and stair out to the wide open fields. Some cows would be chowing on the lawn. During autumn storks would gather in the field to prepare for their way to Africa. I would take all that in and bathe in the feeling of smallness. I find nothing more relaxing than the realization of how insignificant human life is.
I threw on what was clean and on top of my laundry pile. Put together by someone else than me. I could n’t find my baseball cap under which I usually hide unwashed hair.
One of the little ones must have it. Nothing truly belongs to you when you share a house with 5 younger siblings. Not your clothes or food, not even your favourite music. They will copy everything half in admiration half in defiance.
At this point, I couldn’t even outsmart them. The improvements turned out better than expected. They have passed me in every conceivable way on an academic level. Now it was important to develop their emotional intelligence so they don’t turn into dictators.
I made my way down the two flights of stairs and at the bottom, I stood for a bit in the hallway. I knew that the creaking of the wooden boards would inform everyone about my presence.
“Hey! Let’s go to the lake!” I called to no one in particular.
“I know we go to the lake every Wednesday to establish the mental benefits of routine and ritual” Amanda had stepped into the doorframe from the living room. She looked the most like me.
“Does it now?”
“Yes, if a child doesn’t experience recurring positive events reliably it can lead to social anxiety and expressions of aggression in group settings”
She tilted her head just a little to the right and raised her eyebrows waiting for my response.
I let her wait and gazed towards the open kitchen door.
The sun came in through the window at an angle and hit just my toes and warmed them pleasantly. I gave them a little wiggle.
“ So you want to go or not?”
“Yeah” she gave me a smile showing the one front tooth missing.
I enjoyed her challenging me. I knew behind it was her wish to know for certain that I truly love her and that it is not all an experiment. Every little banter and stollen piece of clothing was a simple question “Do you love me?”
I have to remember to document the tooth development.
“Get the others and pack your stuff”
“Dad already packed the bags and left them in the back, I think there is also lunch in the fridge”
This was a bad sign. His go-to coping mechanisms was to care for his little wolf pack. He must have left early which means something is not going to plan at work.
The phone rang just the moment I drove into the garage. It went silent as the gates closed and the car slid noiselessly towards the lower parking levels. Interstellar space travel, but still no reception underground – so much for progress.
They must be heading to the lake by now. Even though I rather put off talking to Carla until after the meetings. She will be suspecting that something is not right.
Our family in one way or another existed for the last 10 years. We thought we will have 10 more, but things seem to be moving faster than expected.
It must be the military lobby pushing for their ‘training’. Idiotic prehistoric primates. We are still honouring the tradition even though they caused so much of our troubles. There must be something else going on that Ronald is not telling me. This is a front for other motivations.
I would step away from the program to spend more time at home helping Carla, but nobody else wants to deal with the government and the scientists at the same time. Both act like entitled idiots. Ones because of the money the other ones because they believe themselves to be oracles of truth or little gods.
Equally, both are like dogs who have lived all their lives on the chain. Barking and showing their teeth at every passer-by. But release them from the chain and open the gates and you will find them with tails tucked between their legs hiding in their dog house. Whimpering. Waiting for the freedom of the chain. The freedom to not act on their threats.
I am good at intermediating between these two and moving things forward and so I have to.
The general public is aware that we have reached interstellar capabilities. Exploration groups are on the “road” regularly.
The hard work now is to have the infrastructure plans public and still have them fly under the radar. The PR people are working hard to derail attention when there is time for any public vote or presentation that could cause too many questions.
Schooling programs are being introduced to normalize what might seems impossible now – leaving generations behind. Few years down the line when the kids are older, their worldview will be built in a way that they will consider it the only right thing to do.
And on top of that, the youngest will be the brightest. Or at least enough of them will be. My daughters and sons will be among them and likely Amanda will take a leading pilot role.
But not yet. Not now. They are still too young. There is so much more I want to give them on their way. The good parts. The beauty of this time and place.
This relocation is not what we agreed. This is not what will happen. I will stop it.
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