Flight From Earth

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21

“Nightingale to Viper?”

My hand ran through my hair that was still a little wet from the shower as I looked at a few strands in my finger. In my lap, the communicator sat silent on my outstretched legs clad in grey tights. I had nervously waited all day to curl up with the communicator on the bathroom floor and finally the moment arrived.

“Nightingale to Viper,” I let go of my hair and leaned in closer, attempting to will Adam to respond.

“Hey Nightingale.”

A smile crossed my face as I sat up quickly.

“Hey,” was all I could offer as I reached down and gobbled up the device with greedy hands.

“How are things with you?”

“Maybe not so good…” I responded. “I think that they might have found the skiff. Or at least I’m pretty sure that they are stepping up efforts to look for it.”

“Ohhh,” There was a pause. “I think that they are bound to eventually find it. In some ways, I’m actually somewhat surprised that it is taking them this long. Before I left, I tried to erase all traces of our visits.”

“Well, I have a bad feeling about things here. I had kind of hoped to have a little bit longer to formulate a plan.” I pictured Roy’s eyes as he slit open my suit. A cold, shiver passed through me.

“It would be better to have more time. I’m sure that if they look hard enough, they’re going to find something to tie one of us to the craft.” Hearing this hurt more than I had anticipated. There now was much more at stake.

“They are annoyingly thorough,” my voice gained some momentum.

“Yes, they certainly are.”

“There’s something else too,” I added. “A week ago, I accidentally overheard the Commander and Coms Link talking. There is something more going on. There is some larger reason why the Arrival got canceling.” I paused and bit my lip for a second. “I have a feeling that we’re all in some kind of danger.”

There was silence for a moment.

“What did you hear?” He answered.

“Talk of some kind of Darkness Protocol, and concerns about the colonists catching on to whatever their secret is.”

“Francois seemed to have similar concerns it would seem.”

“I know one thing. I’m not going to sit around and wait to be dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and thrown in a cell of some kind or to have our colony meet some kind of mysterious end like Firstpost because I think that freedoms are getting stripped by the day over here. We’re better off if we take the fight to them. They are dangerous and it’s better not to keep quiet. We need to expose them.”

“Ideally, I would agree. I don’t want to wait to be discovered. If anything, I’m probably already the prime suspect here.”

“Great. It’s time to make a move. And I have to confess, I’ve actually been planning for this moment.”

“What kind of planning?” he asked.

“I actually already swiped the passcode to the cargo hold here to gather supplies. I’ve been making a list of things to grab. I think that I am ready and I’m going to come to you. It’s my best hope at this point.”

“You’re going to come here… to Pangaea II?”

A strange mixture of fear and excitement tingled in my bones. “I am.”

“It’s too dangerous.”

“Thanks for the chivalry, but I think that it’s the only way out. We have to show the other colonists that there are other colonies on this planet in order for them to believe what’s going on. It’s the only way to expose them and change things. There’s strength in numbers and people need to see the proof.”

“What if I were to bring Francois back here… to my complex? That would be proof that there is another colony”

“Do you think that would be enough for your colonists?” I thought about the members of this community and tried to push my doubt back down.

“Some of them…”

“I think that we have to show everyone that there are more colonies. And I’m the best proof of that— someone living and breathing who can speak for themselves. It’s time for people to know and decide for themselves.”

“Crossing the desert didn’t work out for Francois.”

I swallowed the fear rising in my throat as I thought about what Roy would do if she found out.

“We don’t know what exactly he was trying to do. I’ll have your coordinates. There’s no cavalry coming from Earth to save us. If anything, we might be stuck here forever. And if that’s the case, then we need to change the way things are being run here. People have a right to know about the colonies and have a say on whether we should be working together. There’s safety in numbers if even just a few people think like we do.”

“It could work.”

“I can set out tonight.”

“Tonight?”

“Yes, I’ll be there in the morning.”

“That seems too soon… we need a plan for when you arrive.”

“I’m sure that I need to do this now, or I might not ever have the chance. I just don’t think that we can afford to wait. If they control the choices, we will have fewer options. We need to seed a little chaos and throw an unexpected variable in the equation. I’ll be that variable. What are you coordinates?”

“4, 30 North. 135, 0 East. But what happens when you get here…”

“Got it.” There was a pause. “I think that I can arrive as everyone is waking. I can come in through the bay. You can meet me there and we can call a meeting.”

“Maybe it should be me instead?”

“No, it has to be me. I’m ready to go and I’ve made up my mind.”

There was only silence as I sat on the black, rubber matt facing the sink.

“Viper? Hello? Are you still there?”

I listened, but the voice that inspired me was gone. I was alone.

I grabbed the shirt to my left and wrapped the device before dropping it in a small bag. There was no stopping now. I stood up and headed to my room to begin to fill my bag of essentials for my trek across the desert. Roy’s menacing face filled my mind and I knew that I had to get away.

Climbing up to the top back, I grabbed my tablet and typed in the coordinates.

Tonight after everyone in the complex was asleep, I would leave Pangaea III behind.

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