Friday, 22 March 2013

No, not Mary

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

No - not Mary, her name, Maera.  Sounded almost the same.  I sad besides her. She's 19 and, from South Africa.  She wants to become a pilot.

She's a real beauty.  She isn't tall, probably about 5'7".  Her dark, straight hair flow all the way to her mid-back.  She wears elegant, frameless glasses.  What I like most about her, though, is definitely her freckles.  She was very kind, too.  It was easy to make her smile.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Told Mother I wasn't coming back

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

I just sent a message to Mother.  Told her I wasn't coming back.  At least, not for a while.  It wasn't exactly easy.  I know I'll be missed.  But I know her: she'll be overcome with joy.

TSN was a great idea, but I need to find a job.  Cadet allocation isn't nearly enough for life on Earth, and I can't just live off the Colgans.

I think Yoraìn can probably find me a gig in one of the pubs where he's a regular.  It's either that, or something at the college.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A new life awaits!

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

The last week's been a revelation.  The TSN is very different from what I expected.  I mean.. I knew I had to expect loads of rules and regs, but this is just crazy.  It seems like all we're doing is paperwork.  Fill in this form, apply for that access card, blood test, eyes test, psych test, team & leadership assessment, intellectual assessment, find this document, copy that certificate... I'm going nuts!

They sent us in orbit the first day, so we got a taste of what's coming, but now I'm starting to understand that our first months will all be about bureaucracy and understanding how TSN actually works.

I got my schedule for next week.  Some of the classes seem pretty interesting, but I think most of them I'll find boring.  The kids here are almost all younger than me, and I seem to be the only one with a university degree.  I know it's a very pretentious thing to say, but I'm pretty sure I'll know more about the alien species than the teachers.

There was a girl, too.  Mary, I think, her name.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Earth at 16

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

As a kid who'd spent his life on a distant colony, travelling to Earth for a month at 16 was a real recipe for disaster.

That year, it wasn't the Colgans who came to meet me at Terminal 8.  Instead, I was greated by none other than the terrible child Yoraìn Greene himself.

He kept on saying how he couldn't wait to hear about space travel, yet he wouldn't stop talking.  I'd mostly just laugh as his lame stories about girls, drinks and games.

Yoraìn was, as usual, very polite and well-mannered in front of my grand-parents.  For my part, I hardly had the time to drop my stuff at the Colgans' and hug Grand-Mother before he grabbed me by the arm and pulled me outside.

The sun was shining, it smelled good, the girls were beautiful and Yoraìn was pretending to be Oscar Wilde.

Fifteen minutes later, it started pouring rain.  We walked to the nearest pub and then I woke up sick, wondering where time had gone.  It was my first experience with drinking.  The Colgans weren't going to be too impressed, but I knew they'd let it slip as long as it didn't become a habit.  I could hear them in the distance talking with Yoraìn, probably lecturing him.

He sent me a message later, saying he was sorry, and that he should've taken into account that this lifestyle wasn't one I was used to, on New Lhasa, and that to make it up he'd pay me the next round that night.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

About an old friend

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

I got a call from Yoraìn this morning. That sure was a nice suprise. He wants us to go down a few pints this weekend. Can't wait to have news!

Yoraìn was an Irish kid I met the very first day I set foot on Earth, at 8 years old.

I'll always remember that day. The landing was as boring as it got. Cpt. Manx and I left the Majanta while in high orbit to rendez-vous with the orbit-to-surface shuttle. The O-S shuttle looked like a wide glider. With a wing span no less than 500 meters, its central cabin could easily hold over 300 people. Earth had dozens like it constantly being assembled in orbit, launched planet-side, quickly disassembled on the surface, and sent back in orbit via surface-to-orbit rocket. From my tiny porthole, I couldn't see Earth itself, but I had a magnificent view of the moon. Contrary to my expectations, Earth orbit felt quiet, as I couldn't see any sort of space traffic.

Landing was impressive, but overall quiet. Of course, it was raining in Dublin. We were still inside the O-S shuttle, but I had a clear view of the action on the ground as the shuttle was towed. It was the strangest thing I'd ever seen. People walking outside, totally oblivious to the masses of water falling from the sky. Cpt. Manx was smiling.

"Always feels good to be home, right, kid?" He laughed quietly.

The following hours were long and boring - especially to an 8-years-old who didn't care for decontamination, citizenship validation and general paperwork. I didn't realize at the time how much Cpt. Manx went out of his way to make sure I'd make it to my grand-parents, the Colgans.

Then that was it. I was standing outside Dublin's Terminal 8, their famous spaceport. The Colgans were quick to find Cpt. Manx and I. Regardless of their insistence, Cpt. Manx refused their invitation to stay the night. Instead, he hugged me and told me he'd call in a month or so, when they would be ready to head back to New Lhasa. A month. Felt like a lifetime. Suddenly, I was totally alone. I followed the Colgans in the train, but just then realized they were strangers. I was soaked, afraid, tired and already hurting from Earth's gravitation. This trip had been a bad idea to begin with.

We made it to their home, a cozy apartment in the city's south side. I had seen a picture before, but I couldn't guess which one it was. All the buildings in the large street looked the same: three stories high bricked relics from the past, covered in vines and hanging gardens. It was impressive, for sure. It was seconds after jumping out of the train that Yoraìn showed up. He looked the same age as I, and had that totally mischievous look the Irish can sometimes have. He looked fat and bulky, but I now know that it was I, grown to New Lhasa's 0.7g, that was tall and frail. He extended a hand and said something that sounded 100% alien. I didn't know what to do. I just stood there, and turned to look at the Colgans, who laughed. I was terrified. Yoraìn laughed as well, retracted his offer for a hand-shake and instead punched me on the shoulder. I still didn't know what I was supposed to do, so I did nothing. Grand-Ma Colgan told Yoraìn he could come knock in a few days and then I'd be happy to tell him all about my travel through space.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Of little interest

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

Nothing too exciting, today.  I mostly stayed here at the Colgans' and played games.

Namely, I tried "Ripe Ache", an immersive fantasy where you're put in rooms and you have to figure out how to escape using different skills and magic.  It was intense for sure, but nothing mind-breaking, or memorable.  It was full multi-sensorial, so the illusion was really good.  But I've had better.

There are more and more reports of Kralien attacks on the colonies.  They haven't touched New Lhasa, and aren't even close, but still.  Rumor is that they are using our own jump gates.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Culture clash

Dublin (Ireland), Earth, Sol System

You know what's funny?  How Earth citizens still think they're alone in the universe, and that everybody everywhere lives like them.  They're so self-sufficient, so far off from any military presence, and they're so comfortable here in relative peace and quiet, that they forget that there's a whole galaxy bursting with life, and hardship.  

On New Lhasa, we are always struggling, and always waiting for the next shipment from the USFP to arrive.  We're always dependent on outside technology and resources.  Even if New Lhasa's at an advanced stage in its terraforming process, the planet is still extremely harsh and uncomfortable.  We hang on because we all know we have a duty, and we have to work hard to ensure the propagation of the human race and values of peace and equality.

Also noteworthy is the size of the colonies.  We're talking about 170,000 people on the whole planet.  This sure gives you a sense of collectivity.  Knowing who exactly we're working for sure gives the whole process a deeper meaning than just going to work for a pay depo. 

But on Earth? It's always like "just another day": go to work, have a drink, pass time, discuss politics...