Part Four of the Project Chain Reaction story is brought to us by Cara over at If Pandas Could Speak. I hope everyone has been enjoying the story so far. If you don’t already follow Cara you should head over to her blog and check out what she has to offer.
Within The Hour
I clutched the arm rest of my chair as we soared through the air; more out of shock and unknowing than fear. We climbed upward at a steady speed; the foreboding gray clouds falling away behind us. Well, mostly gray. The craft seemed almost guided by the one pink beam of sunlight, or what I thought was sunlight, that was bursting through the dreary skyline. I gaped openly as the shoreline fell away far beneath us. Never one for heights I closed my eyes thinking back to the first time mother took me there as a young child. The smell of the ocean. Her smile as I ran to and fro collecting shells and splashing.
“Holy Shit.” I could not help but whisper as I opened my eyes. I looked from one edge of the screen to the next. Blackness as far as I could see, stars punctuating it like a beautifully written story. I was so awestruck and overwhelmed I had not noticed the room had emptied.
“It is beautiful isn’t it?” my fathers husky voice asked, breaking through my silent reverie.
I tried to think of a response…an answer of some sort; but all I had were questions. He must have recognized this as he stood and clapped a burly hand on my shoulder. “Come. there is much to discuss”
I stood, expecting to feel heavy, nauseous, some type of bodily reaction to the journey we had so quickly made. It struck me then, that there was none. Nothing. There had been no vibrations. No movie-esq shaking of the vessel or even strapping in of us passengers. How did we get here so smoothly and so quickly? My musings were interrupted by a soft sweet voice.
“Will there be anything else, Captain?”
I turned to see the same girl who had addressed my father, before take off . She had moved in such a demure fashion, I had not noticed she had crossed the room, and was standing rather close to us now. She was, as I have already said, quite attractive. She dressed in similar fashion as the others. A tasteful black knee length dress with the same royal blue stripe down both sides. I could not help but notice her hair, which was the color of sunsets, the most natural auburn I had ever seen. A pair of black glasses perched on her nose framed the most beautiful blue eyes. Beneath them, just the faintest tickle of freckles. Her lips, which were smiling, were the loveliest shade of light pink, as if their natural color was derived from soft petals. Her lips parted in a more pronounced smile, at the same time her checks turned just slightly pink, and I realized I was staring. She looked down shyly and something caught my eye, a glint of something shiny on the collar of her dress. I smiled at her as I realized it was a tiny black and white Panda pin. She was, in a word, adorable.
“Mia I’d like you to meet my son Rene. Rene this is Mia. She is my right hand girl. Anything you need while on this ship, Mia’s your girl.”
“Its lovely to meet you Rene. I’ve heard so much about you.” she said with a smile as she reached out her hand to shake mine.
“I wish I could say the same about you but my father isn’t much of a talker” I said, unable to hide the discord I still harbored for my father from my voice. I reached out and shook her hand gently, letting my hand linger too long on hers and causing her to blush again.
“Well then I’ll leave you to it, Captain. I’m off to make my rounds”, she said with a small nod, obviously embarrassed.
“She’s cute, right?” my father elbowed me. Perhaps trying to ease some tension between us. I said nothing of Mia but instead offered him a question.
“Captain huh? ” I said with an aggravated edge to my voice. The distraction from Mia replacing my awe and wonder with my original distrust and anger. He nodded for me to follow him and we started down a series of halls. Each one like the next. White walls with the same royal blue stripe. Passers by nodding and addressing him with short almost obligatory “Captain.”‘s.
After what seemed like an endless amount of turns, hallways all the same white and blue, he stopped and placed his hand on the wall next to a door, not unlike the one I’d seen before. A green light emitted around his hand as his palm was scanned .
“Come one in” he said as he walked in. I walked in behind him and was blinded by the difference in lighting. While the hallways had been brightly lit, this room was dim with only a few monitors on one wall and a screen much smaller than the one in the first room, but still sizable enough to take up most of one wall. He sat and motioned for me to do the same in one of three leather bound crimson chairs that made an almost complete circle. Obviously some type of conference room.
“I think I’ll stand if its just the same to you” I said to him nervously.
“I know I’ve got a lot of explaining to do son….But trust me….”
“Trust you?!” I asked incredulously.
“I don’t even know you! My entire life you’ve been absent. Now here you are and we’re in…in…..where the fuck are we even?!” I realized I was almost yelling and didn’t care.
“I understand your anger. It is a just anger. I hope, I can help you understand why I’m reaching out to you now. To start with we are just outside of the gravitational field of Pluto, headed for a top secret space station just outside of our galaxy. I know it sounds insane and impossible but I can assure you, it will makes sense once we arrive, within the hour.”