The inky black, starry space surrounded them. The stars twinkled and danced brightly. Suddenly, someone tapped my shoulder. I spun around to find Professor John Marus. My stern Battle Strategies teacher.
“Ivy Starr Moonstone!” he barked, “What in Pluto are you doing?”
My expression grew defensive. I gestured to my desk. “Homework” I replied, rolling my eyes.
“Don’t you give me that young lady!” he retorted, his cheeks going red, “I saw you staring out there!”
“Last chance Miss Moonstone! Or I will have to call your father!” he yelled. Professor Marus then stormed out of the room. When his stomping receded, two eyes looked over the frame of the doorway.
I grinned and rolled my eyes. “Come in Brooke Blaster.” A girl about my age strolled in.
She flicked her hair. “And why do they call me that?” said Brooke proudly, posing for dramatic affect.
“Because when they were teaching you to sonic blast, you set off a mini-gun and nearly blasted off everyone’s face off.”
Brooke pouted. “It did not nearly blast everyone’s faces off!”
I nodded. “It did happen. I was there and I could feel the bullets rushing past me.” The two friends argued in a friendly way, which then turned into a playful tackle.
She then noticed my hair. “Oh my Mars! What in Pluto have you done to your hair?!”
My hair was blonde –like my father’s- with purple tips. My hair had a choppy pixie look, with a long side fringe. I used to have long hair, but it got in the way. So, that’s exactly what I said.
Brooke put her thinking face on. She seemed to take a while to process it even though in reality it only took a few seconds. She braided my hair with practiced precision. Since I had short hair, the braids were very small.
We chatted for a while. About school, friends, classes, parents, future jobs.
“Remember we have starship training together,” she said as she strutted towards the door.
“See ya!” I called after her.
My boots clicked on the shiny tiled stairs. One of my friends spoke excitedly.
“Oh my Mars! We are finally sixth years! And it’s our first class!” squealed Zara, “We now get shoot a sonic sniper! One of the coolest and stealthiest guns ever! This is going to be awesome!” She started to jump up and down.
It was not awesome. At all.
“There is a war coming,” bellowed a kingspeaker. His purple and gold robes billowed in the air that the air conditioner provided.
I listened intently. The silence was interrupted by a shuffling. It stopped. I turned my head to find the noise and realised the shuffling was Brooke. She looked at me. Fear and sadness circled her violet eyes. A fat tear rolled down her cheek. I reached out for her hand and she grabbed it and we both squeezed it tight.
As the kingspeaker rambled on about the end of the world and stuff like that, I felt comforted. I had Brooke. And that’s all that matters.
I didn’t really listen to the whole speech. I felt numb. Inside and out. Suddenly, a word caught my attention. He said…“You.” I instantly listened.
“If you are older than sixteen, you…” the kingspeaker choked, “may fight.”
Murmurs, gasps and cries travelled around the room. Everyone started to speak.
“Does this mean..?”
“We get a choice?”
“If we don’t fight?”
“Will they force us?”
Scared, angry and confused faces looked at the kingspeaker for comfort…for information.
“Now,” said the kingspeaker gently “show me a raise of hands if you will fight.”
Silence. I felt the urge to scream. Throw up. Cry. Run away. Or all four. Before I knew it my hand rose. “I will fight.” I said, my voice cracking.
Brooke looked at me. Tears swam in her eyes. She’s scared. I realised. Scared of the war. But as I looked into her eyes, she wasn’t scared of the war. She was scared of what she was about to do. Brooke raised her hand. Tears silently rolled down her cheeks.
People looked at us admiring. They knew there was a chance of dying. But they still raised their hands. Becky, Sandra, Violet, Sampson, David, Lilly, Jacob… and a few unfamiliar students raised their hands too. They did it because it was right.
The kingspeaker nodded gratefully, “Thank you all for volunteering. We will come back tomorrow at seven am sharp. Please pack comfortable clothes for when you have free time. Uniforms will be provided for you. Sentimental objects are allowed but no weapons.” He gazed at the crowd, “I will see you all tomorrow.”
He then walked off.
Everyone silently walked through the echoing corridors back to their dorms. I smiled at the little kids to show everything was okay and everything’s going to be okay. But they weren’t convinced.
When I closed the door, I burst into tears. I stumbled over to my bed and pulled the covers over my face. Tears rolled down my face. I cried. I cried because I could die on this mission. I cried because of all the teachers that scared me now seemed like nothing compared to real fear. I cried because I will never get to see the world when I am older. I will die young, inexperienced and…happy. I will die knowing that my friends were amazing and my family and the school. I will die knowing it was worth it. And with that thought, I drifted to sleep.
When I woke up, I stretched and looked at the time. It was midnight. I wasn’t surprised.
“Early nights equal early wake ups.” I muttered as I switched on the lights, “May as well pack.”
I turned around to find a note with neat cursive writing. I picked it up and read it aloud with some difficulty.
List of things needed for the mission-
- Comfortable Clothes
- Sentimental Items
- Practical Objects (water bottle, books.)
- Pod and/or camera
I followed the instructions and packed everything except my clothes that I was going to wear. I pulled on some black jeans, my mum’s old t-shirt and a hoodie. I tied the laces on my runners and walked out of my room, my backpack slung over my shoulder.
I saw Brooke waiting for me at the end of the corridor. I closed the door quietly and headed over in her direction. “You dressed up!” I yelled cheerfully, despite the fact that we might die.
She wore black combat boots, dark red jeans, blood orange t-shirt with a black leather jacket. She smirked. “Dress to Impress? Am I right?
I rolled my eyes. She looked at me aghast. “What are you wearing?!” she gasped dramatically.
I shoved her my list. “Point 1, wear comfortable clothes” I walked away like a boss.
Boots clicked after me. I turned my head. Brooke was trying to catch up with me. I slowed down. “You’re gonna kill yourself!” I yelled over my shoulder, smirking. I slowed down to let her catch up.
Her chest puffed up and down. As we walked down the hall, we argued whose clothes were better or more practical. We argued for the length of the hall. As I was going through the oval shaped doorway, I bumped into Professor Fern Skye.
She looked at me. Eyes puffy and swollen. “G-G-Good luck.” She whispered, her voice cracking from the effort.
“Thank you Professor” I said. Gratitude filling my voice.
She nodded and walked away briskly. Her eyes glistened.
Brooke shook me roughly. “Wakey-wakey rise ‘n’ shine.”
I shook my head. “Sorry” I replied. I then strode into the Bird Port. I suddenly stopped. Brooke stumbled into me.
“What’s the hold-up slow coach?” she shouted. As Brooke stepped around me, she froze.
“Oh. My. Mars!” we whispered in unison.
There were five massive gold, silver and blue Queen-Birds. The massive starships look like they flew right out of Doctor Who or Star Wars. I walked into a ship where a smiling blonde haired lady gestured towards the seats. “Welcome aboard.”
I turned around to see the whole school in the Bird Port. All waving, crying, shouting things like, “Good luck!” or “See you soon.”
A big, fat tear escaped my eye.
“Good…goodbye” I whispered, choking on my words.