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Friday, March 21, 2014

Metallic Heart II - Chapter 14

One week before I was scheduled to leave for Earth, I arrived at the labs prepared for my first test flight.

As I stood there in the labs, I took a few moments to think about all of the time I spent wishing and hoping for this very opportunity.  Now I know that I was always the only one destined to visit the Earth. But under the circumstances…I now understand why I should be careful what I wish for.

Without any further hesitation, I enter the garage; home of the PR1 and master of my destiny.

Mom, Dr. Su and Noella were already there waiting for me. 

Dr. Su and Noella were more than confident in the safety of the rocket, “The main purpose of this test flight is to build Leah’s confidence and allow her to experience the ease of controlling the PR1.  We don’t want to send her to space and have her panic halfway to her destination,” Dr. Su was explaining as I entered the garage.

“Aw…there’s our honored pilot,” Dr. Su said walking over as soon as he spotted me.

“Are you ready?”  Dr. Su asked.  “This is what you’ve been wanting and now your time has arrived,” he reminded me.

“Yeah…I just wished I was going to Earth under different circumstances,” I admitted.

“I’d imagine so, but I’m afraid that’s just the way it is Leah.  Sometimes you just have to take things as they come.

Now that all of that was out of the way, Dr. Su began briefing me on the controls of the rocket.

My only duty today was to take the rocket up a few feet above the buildings in town…

…by entering a few commands and coordinates.

The whole process involved coding more than it did piloting, but actually having a chance to take the rocket above the surface of Lunar Lakes was enough to make me feel like I was really piloting the space craft.

It was a short, quick mission.  I was done within 20 minutes…it took me longer than that to get dressed in my uniform.

Seven days later, I was standing in the same spot I stood just before testing the PR1 for the first time…

…only this was it…today was the day I would really be leaving for Earth.  It seemed that every citizen and reporter of Lunar Lakes had arrived to see me off.

I stood there next to mom…too nervous and excited to be shy about standing in front of such a large crowd.  My heart was pumping so hard that I couldn’t even hear mom’s speech.  I just stood there staring at the sky; so distracted that I was able to fully tune out the crowd and the flashing lights of the paparazzi.

“And now we are only moments away from take-off…” mom said, which startled me so much that my attention went back to her and the crowd.

Just hearing those words…announcing my final moments on Lunar Lakes was enough to send a ball of nervous energy down to my stomach.

“Let us bid her farewell and wish her a safe journey.  Please give it up for my brave daughter…Leah Tamarind-Bot 176!”

The crowd burst out in applause and my stomach sank further.  It was time…I had to say goodbye to everyone and everything that I had ever known.  Mom hugged me and I held on to her until the very last minute; trying desperately to hold back the tears and the dread that I felt knowing that I may never see her again.

“She will be alright Ardis,” Noella assured my mother as everyone watched me enter the PR1.

“I know…but will I ever see her again?”  Mom asked.

“You will…I am sure of it.”

Despite my shaky hands…I managed to enter the correct coordinates that would make my biggest dream come true…the combination of numbers that would take me to the birth place of my mother and my grandmother.

I hit enter and the PR1 lit up in a burst of light.  I rose quickly above the crowd.

The rocket automatically turned and adjusted until I was perfectly lined up with my destination…the Earth; which I could see large and full in the sky.

The rocket continued to climb higher…bringing me up over some of the taller Lunar Lake’s buildings.

When I was almost as high as the crashed rocket that arrived from Earth years before I was born…the PR1 sped up quickly…leaving only a small show of lights for those I was leaving behind, propelling me into the blackness of space.



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