The first thing that hit me was the smell, the strange, overpowering scent of gasoline, a resource we didn't use in Icarus SS. I scrutinized my nose and quickly opened my eyes only to take a shaky step back.
Through the wall length window, all the one could see was blackened, harden ground, no life or growth. The ground tinted dark green in some places. The moon hung in the sky, darkness setting over the outside like a huge blanket.
I could barely here Akari's mumbled words,"What the hell happened here?" She was right. This was not the earth I remembered.
It took me a moment to snap out of my trance and focus back on the task at hand. "Okay, let's find our way to...civilization." I decided. In the corner of my eye I could see a door, I turned and headed for it, hoping I was right.
The rest of my crew followed after, trying not to sound loud. We made our way over, my heels clicking on the floor, reminding me that we were inside, not out there.
The door stood near the corner of the dock. I pressed my hand against it, the coldness seemed to sink into my hand. Next to the door was a control panel, lights bleeping and words scrawling across the screen. I pressed my fingertip on the intercom button.
"Hello, this is Captain Cordelia of the Artemis |><| requesting entry for me and my crew."
I spoke into the air, holding my breathe for the response. Several seconds ticked by. I was getting nervous by each moment that seemed to pass like a hour in the silence.
"Oh, sorry about that. Our system was done for a few minutes to test it. Please standby for a representative to come for you. " came the reply, the officer seemed young.
The door opened with a hiss. We stepped through to be greeted by a young lady in a white dress suit. A smile plastered on her face, her hair done up into a bun with a white elastic band. She looked like a powerful woman compared to most of the advisors I had to meet with at home. Maybe a government worker.
"Hello and welcome to Gaia. I'm Irene. And you are Captain Cordelia and this must be your crew?" She smiled as she held her hand out to me to shake. I took her hand in mine and respectfully shook it.
"Ah yes. We have been travelling a long way from the Western universe to see the culture of Earth. My mother told me about her trip when I was little." I twisted my cover to make it seem less lie and more truth. My mother had told me about earth before we visited.
"Well I hope you enjoy your stay. Although I must ask you to call this planet by its current name, Gaia. Past generations may of used that name, but we, the Neo Gaia Govern have decided that we needed the change after the Gaia Change."
"Yes, we will keep that in mind. But if I may, can I ask what the Gaia Change is? Because I am always in space, I don't get much news about other planets." I explained to her and a troubled look flashed across her face.
"I can't but I can bring you to our Govern head, he's been awaiting a visit from someone from somewhere else. The last visit we had was when he was only a child. Follow me," Irene gestured to us to follow her. We walked through the area and down many flights of stairs.
"Our cities and citizens are now situated inside Gaia. we still get everything we need. Our mining and crops grow with specialized fertilizer and artificial lights." Irene raddled on as we got farther and farther away from the surface and down into the heart of the core of the planet.
She lead us to a elevator and continued into the centre floor of the planet. "Each floor consist of a trade or occupation, the further you to the core the more important the job is to our government. We make sure that each and every single family is provided for and each child is equipped with the knowledge needed for the occupation they show skills for throughout their life to their mature age where they start working." She explained the complexity of the planets structure.
We stopped at a door. Irene turned to me and gestured to the rest to sit in the seats outside the door. "Captain Cordelia, Mr. Zarim awaits you inside." She gestured to the door and nodded at me to open it.
I pulled at the door and stepped instead, a wave of cold air swept over me, the hairs on my arms standing up. Inside the room was a neat white office which consisted of a desk and several bookshelves. A elderly yet not past his 50s sat in the seat, flipping through papers on his desk.
"Come closer, Miss Cordelia. I don't bite, I promise," he said, not looking up from his papers to see me.
I shuffled a few steps closer to the desk, sitting down in the chair in front of it.
"Miss. Cordelia, it is nice to make your acquaintance. I am Atlas Zarim, the head of government. I oversee everything that happens here in Gaia. I have heard from my assistant Irene that you wanted to know what the Gaia Change was, didn't you?" He placed a cup of tea in front of me and gestured to me that I could drink.
"Yes, I was confused since I haven't heard anything about it." I explained whilst sipping on my tea.
"Well, my dear, about 50 years ago, when I was about eight years old, we we're struck by a asteroid and sent towards the sun, killing all our crops and sustainable living on earth, but by the time we had even gotten that close to the sun, the scientists created Gaia inside the earth. The glaciers had melted and almost all of the Continents had sunk under the oceans. Anyone not killed by the first affects were brought to Canada, the only country left, where they were brought to Gaia. Within those two months our population had gone from twenty-six billion to two hundred thousand people. Many children had died. "
I gasped and held back tears, "that's horrible!"
"That's exactly what we were all thinking, us the survivors. It took us years to finally get around to begin our new life's. I had lost my parents in the change."
"I'm so sorry for your loss," I whispered.
"No, no. Dear it's okay." He rested his hand on mine.
"My other question might not be answerable. Before landing we heard of a terrorist organization kidnapping children, it's horrible. Have you caught anyone yet?" I asked him, hoping for a answer.
"Ah..You mean Bluelark?"
"We haven't been able to catch them, but it shouldn't be hard. There's only so many place you can hide here. We do have blueprints and are starting to close down on a place they could be." He stared at the desk with sad eyes.
"I hope you find them. To Think of kidnapping children is horrible?" I stood up and set the empty cup down on the desk. "I should be going," I turned and headed towards the door.
"I hope you have a great visit," Mr. Zarim said as he walked up beside me.
"Me too," I said as I grinned the door handle. A thought pondered across my mind and I turned back towards the elderly man. "Why did you tell me about this? I am just a simple ship Captain." I ask him, wondering on it myself.
"Because, Captain Cordelia, I can tell you are a intelligent young woman, and I hope you can help me with our Bluelark friends." He handed me a card with a number printed in pen on the back. "Phone me if you are interested." He winked and held the door open for me and saw me out.
As soon as the door closed, I turned to my crew. "Well, should we find somewhere to stay the night? I think it's late and we need a good nights sleep."
"Mr. Zarim has made preparations for you and your crew, Captain Cordelia." Irene comes up beside me and leads us to a hotel, where there are rooms reserved for us under the generosity of Mr. Zarim.
"Tell Mr. Zarim that we are very grateful for his kindness," I thank Irene as she leaves us to our rooms.
The boys share a room while the girls and me are split up. Me, Kallie and Karle in one room and Akari, Kisa and Dido in the other one.
I stripped my clothes off and took a hot shower before hitting the bed. My eyelids refused to stay open as I fall in a dream, a memory of my first visit to earth. And like that I am asleep, putting away with the trouble of the earth.