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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Metallic Heart II - Chapter 18

 As I was leaving the library, I had the bright idea to try the strange board that I found in my room earlier.

 Never mind that I’ve never been very athletic…

 …or the fact that I never even tried a regular skateboard before.

 But I figured that if I wanted to fit in around here…I’d better know how to use it.  So I closed my eyes, stepped on the round control in the center and went for it.

 I had the board moving, but I wasn’t sure how to turn it or make it slow down.

 If only the darn thing had some instructions.  I tried stepping on the control in the center again…

 …and the board ended up raising high in the air, hitting me hard on my butt in the process.

 With the board no longer supporting me, gravity took over and I landed…

 …hard! I sat there on the ground for a while; trying to rebuild my courage and praying that my butt would stop hurting soon.

 The old me would have given up at that point…

 …but I was the first teen to fly from the moon to Earth by herself, so I rationalized that things like learning to use a flying skateboard should no longer scare me.

 Soon, I was able to steer and control the board with my body.  I figured out that leaning back slightly slowed the thing down.

 Turning my feet in the direction that I wanted to go allowed me to work my way around people and obstacles.

 But my lack of balance and the fact that I constantly felt like I was going to fall off still made me a bit nervous.

 But I worked my way through my nerves.

 I managed to get through most of the park without injuring myself or anyone else.

 And by the time I was half way through the park… I had gained some confidence.

 I made it all the way back to the base where Dr. LB and I were staying temporarily, without incident.

 Then I got a little cocky and tried to navigate up the stairs.  I lost my balance and fell just as I made it to the top.

No one saw me fall, but I still felt a bit embarrassed.  And I’d hurt my butt once again, so I tried to play it off.

 My embarrassment was interrupted by my growling stomach.  I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything since I arrived in Oasis Landing.  In fact, I didn’t even remember seeing any place where I could eat the whole time I’d been there.

 I walked up to one of the other residents.

“Excuse me,” I said softly.

“Yay!  I finally get to meet you!  You’re Dr. LB’s daughter, right?”
 I was thrown off a little and still very uncomfortable being called Dr. LB’s daughter, but this wasn’t the time to address it.

“Um… yes.  I’m Leah,”  I said, “Nice to meet you!”
 “I’m Rusty.  Nice to meet you too!  How can I help you? … You look a little lost.”

“Am I that obvious?  I’m starving… where can I get something to eat?”

 “The Food Synthesizer is on the 2nd floor… just up the stairs,” Rusty said.

“The food what now?”  I asked; completely forgetting that I was supposed to be pretending that I was born on Earth and knew what that type of thing was.
 Rusty looked flustered,  “Your dad warned us that you were from Sunset Valley… which I realize may be a bit archaic, but surely you all had food synthesizers there at the very least

 I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I ended up telling a half truth.  “No, we uh… cooked our food.”

“Cooked?!  Have mercy… people actually still cook…on Earth, in this day and age?  What’s the world coming to?”  Rusty asked rhetorically  as if it were the worst thing he could imagine.
 “It’s not so bad,” I said, trying to defend myself while secretly kicking myself for not coming up with a better response.

“Yeah, you can tell yourself that.  Here in more…civilized cities, our food is synthesized to rid it of all impurities and is enhanced with extra vitamins and minerals to ensure that it has the best health benefits.  You can find the synthesizer upstairs,” Rusty explained as if I were a stupid young child.
 Although I wasn’t really from Sunset Valley, the town that Rusty was calling uncivilized, I was still insulted.  I knew that someone like him would consider Lunar Lakes, where I’m actually from, to be very barbaric. 

“You don’t have to say all of that.  There are a lot of great people who live where I come from,” I said; trying hard to keep my voice from revealing just how hurt I actually was.
 “I’m sure there are… and I’m sorry for insulting your hometown.  Just go up those stairs and you’ll be in the Dining Hall,” Rusty said repeating his directions; his tone genuinely apologetic.  

“Thank you Rusty,” I said, accepting his apology.
 I headed toward the stairs noting that I’d better do some research on some of the day to day things that people in Oasis Landing use to avoid another awkward conversation like the one I’d just had with Rusty.

 When I got upstairs, I saw Dr. LB sitting down eating with a few other people.  What I didn’t see was a refrigerator, stove or anything that even remotely looks like it could hold, produce or prepare food.

 I stood to the side, hoping that I could get Dr. LB’s attention, so that I could quietly ask him where to find and how to use the synthesizer.

 I stood there for a while; watching him as he fully engaged in his conversation.  He never even looked my way.

 My stomach was growling and I felt weak from a lack of nutrition. I didn’t know what to do to keep from showing how ignorant I was about some of the supposedly simpler Earth tasks.

 Just when I became desperate enough to ask someone about the synthesizer, I noticed that there was food already out on the counter.

I wasn’t sure if it belonged to anyone and at that point, I didn’t care.  I grabbed a plate and a serving of what resembled a cheese steak; relieved to have my hands on what I thought was actual food.



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