written by Nathanael Forstved on November 27, 2002
number of views: 76714 | printable version (text) (PDF)
This is the introduction to a novel being written by Nathanael Forstved. Stay tuned for updates.
I lie there in the dark waiting, waiting for the alarm clock to go off. The clock is set for 5:00 AM, and it is only a couple more minutes until then. I guess I could get up now, but it is nice just lying here all wrapped up and warm in my bed. I could stay here forever, I thought, but that was impossible. Asteria has been good to me, that's for sure and it feels wrong to just leave her like this, but it has to be done. At least I am leaving her in good hands and that makes the leaving all that much easier. I can trust Paul Chapin with her. He has a good attitude, a good record, and knows the situation as well as I.
Ever since Alpha Colony was destroyed by the Pro Earth terrorist group martian colonies have been seeking out high ranking security officers to keep the colonies safe. I still remember hearing the news reports that day.
It was 2040 and Alpha Colony had been completed for a couple of years now. My father Alexander Forsythe was given the chance to go to the Alpha Colony to be a security officer. They picked my father because he has worked as a security officer in several volatile areas, can react calmly under pressure, and has a spottless record. He was a married man and a father of two and couldn't make this decision on his own, so he told his superiors he would get back to them in a week. My father did justice to both of his names, for he was a kind helping man and was upright and truthful. I remember the night when he came home and told everybody...
"Rebecca I'm home" Alex said instinctivly Rebecca had just finished dinner and was dressing the table. She layed out the stuffed turkey, mash potatoes, steamed carrots, fresh salad, and poured the red wine. We usually don't eat this way, so what was up?
"How was your day?" Rebecca asked as she lay the gravy on the table.
"My day...that is what I have to talk to everybody about."
"Ok, but can you get Steven and Sarah downstairs? They are upstairs playing with those Mars simulators you got them."
"Ok, STEVEN...SARAH get downstairs it's time to eat!" Alex yelled up the stairs with a smile on his face.
"Alexander Michael Forsythe that is not what I meant by getting them downstairs." Rebecca said quite cross.
"Rebecca Sarah Kinsley calm down, they are coming."
Just as he said that Steven and Sarah bolted downstairs yelling Daddy Daddy! Family was the most important thing to Alexander. He treasured his family more than anything else, and it gave him great joy to see his wife and children.
As a high ranking security officer for Poseidon Corp he only saw his family every 3-7 days and his children usually gave him a glorious welcome.
"Steven and Sarah come here and give your father a hug." Alexander said happilly.
The couple of children ran over to their father and embraced him.
"Have you two been good to your mommy?" Alex asked.
"Yes daddy we were good, weren't we Sarah?" replied Steven.
"Yup we wa good" Sarah said.
"I knew I could count on you two!" Alex said happilly "Ok lets eat."
The family sat down at the table and Steven took his fork and started to engulf his food immediately.
"Steven!" Rebecca snapped "Put down your fork, and since you were the one who ate before we said grace you pray."
"Mom do I have to?" Steven said annoyed
"Yes" Rebecca replied angrily
Steven looked around the room only to find that everybody was looking at him.
"Go on son" Alex said as he winked at him.
Alexander wasn't a very religious man but it made his wife happy so he would never object.
"Ok ok I'll do it" Steven said "Thank you God for this food in front of us and help it to taste good...Amen."
The family picked up their forks and started to eat.
"Alex," said Rebecca.
"Yes?" replied Alex.
"You said you had something to tell everybody." Rebecca said.
"Children go up stairs with your food and watch some television, I have to talk to your mother privately," Alex ordered.
"Yes, Daddy," replied Steven.
"Okee Dokie," replied Sarah.
Steven and Sarah got up out of their seats with plates and cuttlery in hand and walked up the stairs.
"Ok...I was offered an opportunity today at work that would give me a raise and let us be together most of the time," he replied with a slight tremble in his voice.
"Thats great honey!" Rebecca replied with a smile on her face. "But there is a catch isn't there?" Rebecca was not a stupid woman, she knew that with every gain there is always a sacrifice.
"Yes there is a catch. We have to move," Alex replied.
"Oh...how much is the pay?" Rebecca replied curiously.
"The pay is $130,000 a year, free room and board, and we get to see and experience something that only a handfull of people will get the chance to experience in our lifetime."
"Well spit it out Alex, it sounds good so far." Rebecca replied enthustiastically.
"Ok...the job is on the Alpha Colony...on Mars" Alex cringed as he told her this.
"What? I thought you meant move across the country or the world not across the Universe!" Rebecca retorted.
"Not across the Universe, not even across our Solar System, Mars is our neighboring planet, and I am assured that the voyage there will be completely safe!" Alex replied.
"Listen to me Alex I like the pay, I like the room and board, and I even wouldn't mind going there myself, but we have children we have to take care of." Rebecca replied.
"That is no problem at all, my superiors told me that I can bring my whole family along. The voyage there will be completely safe, infact ever since the first mission to Mars there hasn't been a crisis. Now if you ask me that is a pretty safe record and when we get there we will be togethar most of the time. It beats staying here and only seeing eachother every few days or even up to a week. Now I know we have to think this over, and my superiors were gracious enough to offer me a months leave so I can talk this over and get all our affairs in order. All I need from you is an answer, now like I said we got a month to make up our minds so there is no rush," Alex told his startled wife.
"I don't know Alex, what about our childrens education?" Rebecca asked.
"We will be going to a colony, there are other children there, so there will be schools," Alex replied.
"Ok, we will think about it. We have to know all the details and then we will see where this leads," Rebecca said.
"That is all that I am asking," Alex said as he got up and hugged his wife.
"Ok ok, now sit down and eat your food before it gets cold," Rebecca giggled.
Alexander sat down and started to eat the food infront of him. There wasn't anymore discussing of that issue during dinner.
"Thank you for the wonderfull meal," Alex said thankfully.
"You're welcome," Rebecca replied.
"I noticed that we don't usually eat like this, so what is the occasion?" Alex asked.
"Well I thought that since we haven't seen each other in a week, tonight would be a special night," Rebecca replied with a glimmer in her eye.
"That was a really good meal. So, do you want to go out tonight?" Alex asked.
"Sure, but where?"
"Well I also made plans. I booked a room at the Fresh Air Lodge, and arranged for Julie to come over and babysit the kids for the night," Alex told his astonished wife.
"Steven, Sarah, come here please," Alex said. "Your mommy and I are going out tonight, so I told Julie to come over and babysit you. We will be gone all night, and Julie has instructions to put you both to bed at 11 p.m. Both of you be good to Julie, none of the running around and screaming like you did last time. I can count on you two right?" Alex asked.
"Dad, why do you have to go all night?" Sarah responded.
"Well sweety, your mom and I haven't seen eachother in over a week, and we want to spend some alone time with eachother." Alex said.
"Why can't you spend some alone time here with us?" Sarah asked innocently.
"Then we wouldn't be alone then would we?" Rebecca said.
"No, I guess not." Sarah responded.
"So you two will listen to Julie?" Alex asked.
"Ok, I will dad," Sarah responded.
Steven didn't respond, he just stood there with a scowl on his face.
"Steven, will you listen to Julie?" Alex asked again.
"But Da..." Steven was cut off.
"No buts son, will you listen to her?" Alex asked once more.
"Fine," Steven finally admitted.
Alex turned his head and looked over to the clock, the time read 9:00 pm.
"Julie will be here any minute now kids, so go upstairs and get your pyjamus on. Don't worry, you can still stay up until 11:00, but I want you to be ready when she gets here, ok?" Alex said.
"Ok," Sarah responded.
"Ok," Steven said.
"Good, now hurry up you two," replied Alex.
Just then the doorbell rang and Rebecca went to answer it. Julie Eve Collins is a pretty red headed 19 year old girl who stands about 5'6''. She is babysitting part time, as well as going to college to study Psychology. Her dream is to become a councelor and help people. The day you see Julie Collins refuse to help somebody is the day the Earth stands still.
"Good evening Mrs. Forsythe," Julie says politely.
"Good evening Julie," Rebecca says as she opens the door to let Julie inside.
"Hello Julie, the kids are upstairs getting their pyjamas on. I told them that they can stay up until 11:00, ok?" Alex says.
"Sure thing. Do you want me to do any housework while you two are out?" Julie asks helpfully.
"No that is quite alright Julie, but thank you for offering." Rebecca responds.
"Ok, so where are you two going?" Julie asks.
"We are going to the Fresh Air Lodge. Here is the phone number to the Lodge, and here is our room number if anything happens." Alex says as he hands her a piece of paper.
"Steven and Sarah, get downstairs we are leaving now." yelled Rebecca.
Steven and Sarah rushed down the stairs with their pyjamus on. Steven had blue pyjamus with little rockets on them, and Sarah had pink pyjamus with flowers. Sarah didn't like her pyjamus, infact she liked Stevens more. Every chance she got she took Stevens PJ's and wore them. It is the funniest thing to see a five year old girl wearing a 9 year olds cloths. They were way too big for her in every way, but she insistead on wearing them every chance she got.
"Bye," Steven said briefly.
"When are you coming back home daddy?" asked Sarah.
"Don't worry kids. By the time you have lunch tommarow we will be back home," Alex said.
"Promise?" Steven asked.
"I cannot promise you Steven, but I will try...ok?" Alex responded.
"Ok daddy, goodnight," Steven said as he walked upstairs with Sarah.
"You two have a goodnight, ok? And don't worry about the kids, they will be fine." Julie said.
"I know they will, goodnight Julie." Rebecca responded.
With that Julie followed Steven and Sarah up the stairs.
It was November and the temperature had dropped well bellow freezing that night, so winter coats were a neccesity. Rebecca wanted to wear her fur coat and Alex...well he really didn't care what he wore--as long as it was warm. The couple walked outside into the bitter cold towards their vehicle. Their vehicle beared a resemblance to the 2002 Ford Blazer. Despite the depletion of fossil fuels around 2014, Ford had kept a simmilarity between modern and classic vehicles. Modern vehicles run on either hydrogen, battery, or a hybrid system of both. They approached the car and Alex opened the door for his wife.
"Thank you," Rebecca said.
"My pleasure," Alex said in a goofy made up french accent.
They started the vehicle and headed down the road towards the Lodge.
Markus Fritz Burby had made a dream come true. The head of the Poseidon Corporation, Burby built his business on a dream, a rather large dream. All his life he looked up into the vast sea of stars and vowed that one day he would make something that would spread out into those stars and last eternity. Now this was his time, time to make his dreams come into reality and to shape the future of humanity. Of course everybody said it could never be done, could never happen, and he was just wasting his time, money, and effort on a useless and proffitless idea, boy were they wrong. The reactions he got from his friends, family, and business partners made him even more determined than ever. Now that he has accomplished what he set out to do they were all silent, more like astonished that what they said could never happen had happened. They are weasels, all of them, Markus thought to himself, and now he had completed his dream and showed them what he could do. Just seeing his competitors and enemies die a little more inside everyday made all the effort worthwhile.
He got up out of his chair behind his huge corporate desk and looked out the 20th floor window in which his office resides in. With his huge corporation Martian missions weren't as tough as people thought it would be. All he had to do was stay in tuned with his goals, spend some favors, and have unlimitted determination, and determination was what Markus Burby was known best for. After all he built a huge corporation on that very principle and he wasn't going to let things fall apart now. In the last few months there had been rumors about an underground terrorist cell that didn't like the way the future was turning out and thought that humanity had no business in Space until we have solved our problems here on Earth. He had heard that they might even have opperatives in his program, and this is something he could not allow.