Not Fit for the Job

She was looking out of the window. The fog was thick, too thick… One could think it would crawl up the seams of the glass at any moment, fill up the entire room. But Earth wasn’t Tellur, and ‘fog’ wasn’t a sentient creature; it was just… water. Strange planet. When she got assigned in that ridiculous place, she’d never have thought she’d end up stranded in the other side of the universe. And, when she did, she’d never have thought she’d grow so peculiarly entranced by the difference of it. Motto of her legion was “Home is where you are.” This didn’t feel like home at all, but it still wasn’t unpleasant.

She wouldn’t have had the time to delve in such redundant sort of thinking if her ship wasn’t utterly busted. More specifically, the engine cubicle was pulp. She still hadn’t figured out why it had malfunctioned in the first place, and she probably never would. There was nothing to derive information from left standing. The logs hadn’t shown anything of particular interest, either. Even if they did, she wasn’t a mechanic; she was a soldier. A really out of schedule, not-a-way-to figure-out-where-she-was soldier. The communications channel was dead. The locals spoke a weird, flowy sort of garble, nothing close to the ‘French’ they were supposed to speak. And… she was afraid to venture outside her spacecraft.

Now, she knew that the Earth wasn’t a colonial planet; life was perfectly sustainable without biodomes, with all their meticulous monitoring of atmospheric conditions and… pretty much everything else. She did know that. The mere notion of feeling fear for the already known was utterly shameful. She also knew that. Hell, she was a Tellurian soldier; Tellur’s empire was as vast as the eye could see, and even further. ‘Benders of black holes’, they were called, at least in this region of the galaxy. ‘Shifting the light at their will’, scorching entire villages of those traces of organic life that called themselves ‘humans’ as they pleased. Such simple-minded creatures, fascinated by ridiculous, ‘powerful sounding’ names. They turned everything into poetry and stories. If they needed biodomes to survive, they wouldn’t have survived. She wouldn’t have survived, either; her spaceship was far from airtight shut, with the beating it had endured.

She still didn’t want to walk in their soil. Breathe their air. Which she technically was doing at that very moment.

She placed a hand on her throat, massaging it as if she’d just escaped a noose.

Suddenly nervous, she stood up, no longer able to just sit around, and walked towards the nearest window in erratic steps. The cockpit. It was so dark. She leaned over the controls, trying to get a better view of outside–

Their moon. Her eyes just widened, and she froze there, staring at it in mild wonder. It was full like a coin, and red; why was it red? Was it red all the time? The Teachers had said it was white, or slightly yellow. Was that a lie? No, they never lied. Never withheld information.

Did they not know? Was there something in that world the Teachers didn’t know?

She had to find out.

It didn’t make the slightest sense. She was a soldier; she was supposed to obey authority, not question it; she was supposed to be critical, analytical, able to look past emotional hindrances and focus on the tasks at hand. That was precisely the reason why they carried the hormone suppression tablets on them at all times. She was supposed to pop a tablet, forget about all of those and try to be in ‘France’, herding the humans there, leading a mundane shift before her promotion. And yet, she was packing up, on the hunt for answers, for a moon that was red instead of white. Her father had said she wasn’t fit for this job. As she kicked the door open and breathed a surprisingly cold batch of air, she thought him exactly right.

(A short story this time, since I love writing. Kudos to Marco Agozzino for providing me with the first two sentences; thank you very much! Send us your ideas for articles, finished articles, or join our team by sending us an email. See you next week!)

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