Square One, A Short Story

5개월 전

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“I miss food...”, Gil complained, more to himself than to the people in the room.

“I mean real food, not this protein survival bullshit…” he added, scooping some of the yellow goo and inspecting it as if he hadn’t seen it that close for the past five years. Concluding that no one was taking the bait for him to vent his boredom, he decided to go on offensive.

“Don’t you miss food, Xu? Bacon, butter...? Even bread would satisfy me! I’d be happy with, just once, chewing on a hard nasty piece of bread…”

Xu, who was pouring hot water into a cup, looked back and acquiesced awkwardly, before quickly plunging a tea bag into the cup and fleeing the room before Gil had any chance to victimize him with his boredom, which, as everyone knew, could be relentless.

Truth is nothing much had happened in the last five years, most of which they spent under induced sleep, waking up only one month - July - each year, so that their bodies wouldn’t be hindered by the long trip. It wasn’t really July, of course. The way they perceived time was completely unsynced with Earth’s, where centuries have passed since they entered ultraspace, but they called it July so there was a cheery feeling of Summer.

Now, here they were, five years later, a number of miles away so inconceivably large that it wasn’t even possible to write down. Since the technology to break light speed had been discovered Space Exploration had entered a new age. Of course, it was also a positive factor that the whole universe didn’t blow up when they first broke light speed.

His daydreaming was interrupted when Grace, the ship’s Captain, entered the pantry, sweaty from the mandatory exercise, ordered in the protocol rules for each July. Even though the gravitational force on the habitable quarters was maintained at 1.08 g’s to stimulate muscular mass, being confined in such a small space wasn’t exactly a run in Central Park.

“Gil, my man! How you holding up?” Grace asked as he opened one of the cabinets, towel wrapped around his neck. Gil still found it peculiar how his feminine name was completely out of tune with his perpetual-in-your-face attitude.

“Bored! Unmotivated…! Lethargic?!” Gil answered dryly, as if it was all Grace’s fault.

“Well, why don’t you open the window then? It’s a beautiful day outside!” Grace laughed, “C’mon man, lively up yourself! We are the motherfucking tip of the spear of Humankind, man! Win or lose your name will be forever in school books… That’s gotta be worth a few months of boredom.”

Suddenly, red emergency lights wailed above them.

“Commander… Uhh… Come to the bridge please, here’s a sight you haven’t seen in a long time…!” requested the speakers.

Grace was aghast. Everything they’ve seen or knew was billions of light years behind. Storming the bridge his jaw dropped as he joined the silence within.

That unmistakable blue drop amid the darkness.

Earth.


(Initial Image Attribution: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/space-planet-sky-blue-planet-earth-1854867/)

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