The hull of the ship was so vast, that Violet was amazed at how quiet it was. Only the hum of an engine could faintly be heard from her quarters. The darkness through the window gave her a headache as she tried to see anything through the emptiness. Some stars in the distance? But there was nothing. She thought diving at sea looked empty but space was worse. At least in the ocean, the water would take on different colors as it refracted the sunlight and there was a chance she might see fish or a sea turtle or even a whale. Space had nothing.
The ship wasn’t terrible. It had a metallic, hard, cold feel to it but it tried to feel like a home. It kind of reminded her of the tiny house specials on Earth with a Star Trek feel. There were hidden storage spaces under the bed and in the walls combined with space age features like a hidden shower and she could cook food with a laser wand while it sat on the plate.
Maybe she just needed some light. Or a sun! She understood why being close to a sun right now was bad but sunlight really helped her feel good.
Maybe if she stopped looking outside. Are we still in space? Stop looking outside again.
Down the hall, in the ship’s engine room, were three people who were technically aliens to Violet, flying the ship and feeling extremely uncomfortable. A cabin window screen cut through the quiet as they heard it seal close and then open. The heavy noise of it sealing close and opening again continued and continued. “I don’t think she’s doing so great, Clen,” Seri said.
“Give her time. She just lost her entire planet,” Clen said.
“I know but do you think it was such a great idea to take her with us?” Pan asked.
“We had been dating for four years. I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. Why should that change just because Earth doesn’t exist anymore?” Clen asked.
“He’s got a point,” Seri said, “I heard that there were a lot of mixed world couples leaving together when everything went up.”
“Thank you Seri,” Clen said.
“Although, I did hear that they also prepared their mates and did not just throw them on a ship before it blew. You really like to wait until the last minute for everything, don’t you,” Seri jabbed at Clen.
The window screen continued to seal close and open and Pan exclaimed, “You need to get her to stop doing that.”
“I’ll go talk to her,” Clen said.
Clen approached his and Violet’s room like he was approaching a sleeping bear. “Hey Vi, how are you doing?”
“I miss the sun,” Violet said.
“I know, it’s just for a little while. You know, radiation and all, “Clen said, “We’ll eventually be on a planet with an atmosphere and plenty of sunlight.”
“We were supposed to go to the farmers’ market a few days ago. I wish I knew. I would have appreciated the market so much more the last time we went,” Violet said.
“There are still markets we can go to. We can go to one tomorrow when we pick up fuel and supplies,” Clen said.
“We’re going to a planet? We’re not stuck up here forever?” Violet asked.
“No. There are a lot of interesting places out there and when we find a planet that we both like, we can settle down there. That’s the plan,” Clen said.
Violet gasped and started crying in relief. She took some deep breaths and said, “Okay. Okay, scary but not terrible. Okay.”
“Okay,” Clen said, “I’m gonna continue to help out up front. There is something similar to a tablet in this drawer,” Clen took out a device the size of a laptop and turned it on, “It should be easy for you to use with your computer savvy. You can see some of the places we have been to.”
Violet nodded as she began to explore the device.
When Clen got back to the engine room, Seri and Pan were giving him death stares.
“What?” Clen asked.
“You are a horrible boyfriend,” Seri said.
“You were on that planet for four years. You knew that they did not know about life on other planets,” Pan said.
“Yeah?” Clen said not sure what they were getting at.
“She just spent five days thinking that this was it. The four of us flying through space. She had no idea that we were traveling to another planet. She thought things were hopeless. That is why you suck,” Seri said.
“I would tell her to walk out on you right now if there was any place to walk,” Pan said.
Clen froze, thinking about the point they were making, “Okay, I guess you are right. I just didn’t think about it like that.”
“Thank goodness we will be on Codez tomorrow,” Seri said, “Maybe that will help her recharge and feel better.”
The next day, Seri encouraged Violet to hang out in the engine room with them as they approached Codez. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea that you didn’t know what was happening. If I had known that Clen didn’t tell you where we were going, I would have explained it to you,” Seri said.
“I’m just so relieved that I was wrong, that there are other places to live,” Violet said. Violet became forlorn again, “Am I the only Earthling now?”
Seri scoffed, “Heck no. A lot of people from Earth were in relationships with aliens and they all got out, most of them way before the blow,” Seri thought for a moment, “about 50,000 of them. There were also some Earthlings that other aliens found and offered them passage such as Neil deGrasse Tyson. Remember how he went missing about a month ago?”
“Yeah, it was big news,” Violet said.
“Yeah, the Menzos liked his work and offered him an opportunity to study on their planet,” Seri said, “You’re not alone.”
The ship was beginning to approach the planet of Codez. “Here we go,” Seri said, “This is what I wanted you to see.”
The ship followed the contour of the planet and curved around, showing the glow from their main star which would be the equivalent to their sun. “Be careful,” Seri said, “Shield your eyes.”
“Oh my goodness,” Violet said, “A sun again.”
Violet looked out and saw how the sunlight glowed on the planet’s atmosphere. There were colors of forest green and teal shining back to her. The colors were a bit brighter than what she was used to but she was thrilled to see vibrant colors again.
An odd language came in on the intercom. Seri answered, “We are here for supplies and relaxation.”
The odd language answered back and Seri showed Violet the answer translated on her screen, “You are free to land in section twelve.”
Seri announced on the intercom to the entire ship, “Time for a landing,” she banked the ship, preparing it for a descent, “Buckle in.”
Violet held onto the console in front of her. At first, they seemed to be going slow, then their speed felt more like a hill on a rollercoaster except this drop did not end in ten seconds. Violet could feel some shaking but the ship looked fine. She saw the sky turn from black to a light blue sprinkled with white which she guessed were clouds.There was a moment when it was all clouds and she was glad she wasn’t flying even though she knew that Seri was steering with the instruments on the ship.
They cleared the clouds and Violet saw a bunch of landing docks that looked like helicopter pads. She hardly saw the ground and guessed that they did not bother to have ships go all of the way to the ground. It made sense to store them up higher.
After landing, they gathered a few items such as currency and tiny squishy purple curves that looked like toys to Violet. “Here’s your translator pod,” Clen said to Violet, “You wear it like a bluetooth. Press this button if you get lost. It will call me.”
“We’re just going out for the day to decompress,” Seri said, “We’ll make plans for getting supplies later.”
Violet nodded and was a bit nervous. She had plenty of time to take deep breaths while they were on the elevator. It felt like they were traveling the length of Mount Everest just to get to the ground.
“There’s something similar to a farmers’ market in this area except much bigger. I thought you’d like to give it a try. There might be some new foods for you to try,” Clen said.
Violet laughed, “I think it would all be new foods for me to try. It’s not like they would have apples or organic kale here, right?”
Pan and Seri shrugged. “They probably wouldn’t call it that,” Pan said, “but there are a lot of similarities on many planets.”
The elevator opened up to a tunnel that led out to the street. Violet was struck by so many sounds. Five days in space made her forget what traffic and crowds sounded like, which was laughable since this was a different planet. Why did it sound so familiar here?
She looked at the people who looked so much like people from Earth. She noticed interesting tints to their skin but for the most part they seemed the same. She took a closer look at Clen and Seri. For years, she just saw them as Black and assumed that was what they were. Now with this new knowledge and seeing these new races of people, she noticed the bluish tint to their skin, especially in this new sunlight. Pan seemed to have a pink glow to his skin but she could remember some people seeming kind of pink back home too.
They walked down the street and turned the corner. Violet was struck by the smell of, “Apples! Do I smell apples?”
Clen laughed, “They have a different name here but they taste very similar. Let me buy you one.”
Violet was eating her apple like she hadn’t eaten in weeks while she took in the farmers’ market. It looked like it covered the size of a football field. She was amazed that they would have something so big outside. There were some small buildings in between that looked like they were made out of shipping containers. The containers’ walls would move automatically and would give the owner access to a refrigerator or a grill or a sink, depending on the merchant’s needs.
Violet was mindlessly walking like a child trying to take everything in. Clen, Seri, and Pan were watching her and making sure she was safe.
Violet was captivated by one booth that was selling clothes and fabrics. She wanted to touch everything to compare the textures with fabric she remembered from home.
“It’s amazing,” Violet said, “It’s all so different and yet, it feels similar too. All of these worlds came up with a fruit like an apple, came up with fabric like cotton and silk, came up with grills and sinks and....” Violet started to have trouble breathing.
“I think she’s hyperventilating,” Seri said.
“This might have been a lot for her. We should sit down,” Clen said.
“Over here,” Pan said and they walked a little further to some tables and chairs.
Violet smelled something that she remembered liking a lot. “Are those french fries?” she asked. She looked around, “Are we in a food court? Even food courts are not an Earth thing? They’re an everywhere thing?”
“It seems like this is making her worse,” Pan said, “What’s wrong? What do you need?”
“We’re on another planet but they have things like Earth. How? How?” Violet asked.
“Have you ever noticed how when you travel to a different state or even a different country, they are different but still have a lot of the same things? Aliens have been visiting and living on Earth for a while. Stuff gets shared. It happens,” Seri said.
Violet looked at Clen like a lost child. He could see her thoughts darting around until she finally said, “I can never go back,” and she rested her head on his shoulder.
“Maybe you two could grab us some lunch? Violet and I will relax for a bit,” Clen said.
Clen held Violet’s hand in his and rubbed her palm the way he would when they were relaxing at home and watching t.v. She remembered being so content and comfortable. Everything made sense then.
“I should have been honest with you the moment we decided to move in together. I just didn’t think it would matter since I was going to spend the rest of my life with you on Earth. I thought I had so much time to tell you,” Clen said, “Even the news had said that climate change was an issue but made it sound like we had another ten years.”
Violet chuckled, “You really were going to wait until the last minute to tell me, huh?”
“Things were going so great. I didn’t want to jinx any of it,” Clen said.
“Things were great,” Violet agreed.
“I’m sorry we moved so fast. You told me after your mom passed away last year that you had no more family and we were planning on moving to Arizona for a new start anyway. This is just a bigger new start,” Clen said.
“True,” Violet said as she looked around. It was a pretty market. Once she calmed down, she could see herself spending the whole day here. She would really love to discover some new foods, maybe discover a new fashion or new artwork too. “We’ll need to look around. I have no idea what is out here. I want to have a say in where we live.”
“Of course,” Clen said. He held Violet close and curled the end of her hair with his fingers.
“We’re choosing Space over Arizona,” Violet consoled herself.
“Actually, Arizona doesn’t exist anymore,” Clen said.
Violet growled, “Too soon.”