Disclaimer (Thank My Lawyer)
There wasn’t a moment in my life where I ever considered the idea of traveling through the stars, and I do not mean as an astronaut. Looking back on it now, it was probably for the best as my entire perspective of the world - no - the universe has been widened to the point where I can safely say I was able to reach a new level of enlightenment. To those of you who are reading this, or listening to this tale through a transcriber, or seeing the tale visually depending on the tech you are currently using, I would like to disclose to the audience who are more of the earthly variety.
I’m sure many of you know of the Phideza Ark Program, or commonly known as PAP. I highly doubt I need to explain what it is exactly unless you’re a child at the age of thirteen or younger (in which I would have to ask exactly why you chose this as your choice of literature), but just in case, I will only explain the general idea.
In short, PAP is more of a college program for high school graduates of Earth strictly; while Earth as a whole has advanced in over a century, intergalactic travel was still something we have had yet to accomplish. We have sentient cell phones and androids capable of back-sassing their owners, spontaneously combusting hoverboards (yeah, they never fixed that problem), holographic and virtual reality technology, and yet we can’t even figure out how to get a ship past Saturn. I mean seriously, why aren’t we applying this knowledge towards where it needs to go? My personal opinions aside, the program was designed to allow the less fortunate (i.e. us) a chance of attending a school several thousand or more light years away from the floating mass of rock we called home. It’s like going to an actual university, except those selected would be living on a massive hub ship/station simply called the Ark for as long as their course goes on. Around that time, they are given the opportunity to see new planets, meet other species, and can decide if they seek a more intergalactic career rather than ones already available on home world. What students decide to do after their course is over is entirely up to the student, for they can stay on the Ark, go back home or move to another world or ship/station of their choosing.
Now, one would think that being selected to participate in said program would be difficult, right? Oh no, that’s not the case with PAP. It doesn’t care if you have a GPA of 4.0 with a solid record of being on the honor roll or being the class valedictorian. It’s a much more simpler process, and probably an unexpected one at that. You see, PAP sneaks in little surveys to schools around the world for students to take. The surveys themselves are short and simple, mostly inquiring if a student would like to one day travel through space, see other planets, meet extraterrestrials, etc. Students who have even the slightest interest in any of the suggested inquires are selected each Earth year, but they are given the choice to either accept or decline the offer. It comes with a free scholarship and loan of money to spend to get oneself together until they can find a job to support themselves, meaning that it didn’t matter if a student was rich, poor or middle class, they are all given an equal opportunity.
If you couldn’t already guess, I was given one of those surveys and, because I answered honestly, I was selected to be a part of the program. And I accepted.
Before I begin my tales of my time on the Ark, please bear in mind that I am going to be sharing most, if not all, of my personal experiences while I was there. My family, friends and other associates gave me their permission to use their names, and everything you will read/hear/see from here on out are all actual events that I had the pleasure - and displeasure - of experiencing. The content after this introduction is not for the younger audiences (in which this would be a fine time for you kids to put this away and look for age-appropriate literature. I’m only 26 - I don’t need a lawsuit on my ass because parents couldn’t monitor the content their children decided to look at), so please be aware that there will be some subjects and topics that will be...shall we say, for more mature audiences. I will also ask of my forgiveness because I was only 18 through 19 and in college when said events occurred. I’m far from a saint, but I’m not some rebellious delinquent as one would expect me to be. I was just stupid; we all had those moments in our young lives. Hell, I’m still stupid.
Ramblings aside, allow me to reminisce on my time back when I was still a student attending the Phideza University, and be amused by my various misadventures as I balanced a rather hectic social life with school and adjusting to a semi-temporary interstellar lifestyle.
And to my parents, if you’re reading this...I am so, so sorry.