“Why would you ever want to go there?” John asked as they looked up at the glowing orb.
“I think it would be cool.” Eric muttered, “I’ve always wanted to see the spaceport. There’s a whole galaxy out there for us to explore and here we are sitting on your parent’s roof.”
“We’re like fifteen.”
“It takes seven years to train for crew on a galactic ship.” Eric said transfixed by the brightness that radiated from the spaceport. “I want to be the youngest pilot in the fleet.”
“You would have had to join up three years ago, and they don’t let anyone under seventeen train.”
Eric pulled out a piece of paper. “Well you see, I am seventeen according to this.”
“Its so fake they wouldn’t even need a scanner.”
Eric snatched the paper back and climbed back through the window making sure he knocked all of the picture frames to the floor.
“Dick.” John called from the roof.
“My name is not Dick.”
It took Eric three years before they finally allowed him to join.
“You should join with me.” Eric insisted holding out his enlistment papers with their approved stamp.
“Someone has to stay behind.”
“To do what?”
“Make sure you have a home to come home to of course.”
“Its a five year mission what could possibly happen.”
“A lot could happen.” John got a far way look in his eye. His voice cracked, “Just come home okay?”
Eric hugged his long time friend. “I will.”
He crawled back through the window careful to avoid the photos on the desk that they had used to get onto the roof so often there were practically footprints on the wood.
“When do you start training?”
“I’ve got till the end of the week. Training starts on the station, once that’s done I’m assigned to Achelois for five years. After that I’m free to come home.”
“That’s a long time to be in space…”
“I’ll send you pictures, okay? Or how bout one of those ‘my friend went to space and all I got was this stupid shirt’ shirts?”
“You’re a dick.” John said coming through the window.
“I’ll see you Friday before I go!” Eric said hopping down the steps and out the door. He didn’t want to tell his friend that he would be shipping out for the station sooner, saying goodbye was too hard. His mother and father were the only ones who knew the real date he was leaving they would drive him.
The port was crowed and Eric almost got lost a dozen times in the twisty maze of terminals. He made it to his gate and when his boarding group was called he marched onto the plane.
He buckled himself in with shaking hands, hoping the woman next to him did not notice his excessive sweating.
The station on the moon was even more confusing, being an intergalactic port. He hardly made it out with his bag. He followed the signs to the recruitment gathering station. He held out his letter repeatedly and people pointed him in different directions. To his mild relief there were plenty of humans around, all the signs cycled through the variety of earth languages and many alien ones.
There was a small cluster of people at the recruitment gathering station, they looked just as scared and confused as he felt. He held out his paper and a few of the others did the same. He huddled up to them and listened to their conversations waiting for further instruction.
A woman arrived and checked their papers then escorted them down a set of stairs and through a tunnel that seemed to go on for miles. She repeated her instructions in at least five different languages as they walked.
The training facility was huge, and entirely underground, much to Eric’s surprise.
“Here are your quarters for the evening, please follow the signs for anything you might require tonight. Your lessons will begin in the morning.”
Seven years after that first night he was finally boarding the Achelois, she was more splendid than he could have ever dreamed all those years ago. The Achelois would be running local supply runs for Jupiter’s moons and colonies.
He sent a holo to John. “I made it!”