Andromeda and the Moon : Part 4- A Short Story by Leona

Mom’s silence was never a good sign. It meant she was thinking of the right way to say what she wanted to say. Andromeda was sure what she wanted to say was, “Are you crazy? My daughter is enlisting?!?”

Andromeda had just brought up her desire to enlist to her parents at dinner. It seemed like the best time since everyone was there to listen. She could ensure that her father and mother would be in the same place. Dinner was the one thing they both had not missed. Although their schedules had kept them away from the house for most of the day, they always came back for dinner. It kept some semblance of normal going for Andromeda and Maffei. At that moment, her younger brother was eagerly eating his dinner, not caring what was being said.

Her father began, “Well, I think it’s a fascinating proposition.” Her mother jerked her head in his direction.

“Fascinating, hon? That’s the word we’re going to use here?” She turned toward Andromeda. “Honey, I know you want to fly and learn to be a pilot but, no. Absolutely no. You are not enlisting.”

“But, mom,” Andromeda said.

“Well,” her father said. Andromeda could tell the tension in his voice rising.

“It’s just that Callie is going and I’ve always wanted to be able to travel space more.” Andromeda interrupted. “Think about all the places I could go!”

“You don’t know what the base commander has planned for the flight teams. What if they send you to your death” Mom said.

“What if we all die in 7 days?” Andromeda stood up from her chair. Her mother paused.

“Well Andi,” her father said. “I am of a similar opinion to you. Tanya,” He turned to her mother. “We should give her a chance. Enjoy these moments on the base. You’ve seen how she and Maffei are stuck at home. I heard that in a couple days they are going to shut down the market and deliver food. Do you want your daughter to be a prisoner?”

Mom signed. 

“Time for another yummy meal!” Sparky called from underneath the table. He had gobbled up some of Maffei’s food that scattered the floor around his seat. Her dad smiled. Andromeda giggled and her Mom smiled too. The air didn’t feel as intense. 

“Ani,” her mom said, “I think that I could take Maffei with me. He could become my little assistant.”

“What’s an assistant?” Maffei interrupted. His mouth was full of food.

Mom continued “You might only have 7 days left. So I guess it would be good to forget your impending doom. Learn how to fly a craft.”

“Really?” Andromeda couldn’t believe her ears. Was this really happening? Her dad smiled. “Just make sure to bring us the paperwork by tonight so you can start right away. I think tomorrow might be the last day of recruitment.”

Andromeda quickly finished her meal. Shoveling food into her mouth as fast as possible. Her mother and father were talking quietly about what had happened throughout their day. She couldn’t believe it. She was going to fly.

“Andromeda!” Callied shouted down the hallway. “What did your parents say?”

Andromed grabbed her friend’s hands and started jumping. “They said yes! And I am going to recruitment just like you!”

The girls squealed together, giving eachother big hugs. Callie pulled from their embrace and said. 

“We have to go! I don’t want to be late” she started running full speed down the corridor. Andromeda followed with Sparky hot on her heels. Her parents had left early for work, Mom taking Maffei with her. She was glad that no one was going to drop her off because this felt like the first adult thing she had done since turning 16. I guess imminent destruction did that to people.

Andromeda weaved her way through the unit passages and into a whole new part of the base. She had never been to the space carrier wings. Callie was in front of her keeping pace and running from one big room to the next. Everywhere people who were part of the flight operations walked about with purpose. Everyone seemed to have a place to go. Some people did glance at Sparky and Andromeda wondered if she would be allowed her pet companion. They were running through a huge hanger that helped multiple space crafts. Andromeda hadn’t seen such larger planes before. They were indribile. Their very presence is formidable. Then Andromeda heard a siren. People on the floor around her responded by moving away from the center. Then with a loud thud, Andromeda saw the floor open and slowly a lift moved into view. On the lift stood a striking team of space pilots. They wore sky blue jumpsuits with red helmets. She noticed that one team member looked to be her size and height. She wondered if they could be the same age. One person didn’t have their helmet on and she saw bright red hair and bright red glasses. The woman was clearly the leader and motioned for her team to follow her to the other side of the wing. After another siren, the people around her kept moving along and Andromeda realized she had lost sight of Callie. Sparky kept close to her with all the moving people and expansive spaces. She looked around to see if she could find Callie or any indication of where she was to report to. Then someone tapped her shoulder.

It was a boy with brown hair who clearly had been born on 678 with his blueish nose and ears. He looked extremely nervous and his hand gripped the bag on his shoulders like it was a life saver. He coughed.

“Are you a recruit too? I am looking for where to sign up.” he said

“As a matter of fact I am.” andromeda said. “What gave it away? My confused look?”

“Actually it was your dog.” he said looking at Sparky. “Everyone knows that no animals are allowed on the hanger.”

“Oh” andromeda looked down at Sparky. Her dog had grown quiet but was alert to all the happening in the hanger. “Also, I don’t know where I am going.” she said

The boy smiled “Maybe we can go together. I’m pretty nervous with this being the first day and all. Also my name is Harvard. Nice to meet you.” 

Harvard lifted his palms to face Andromeda and bowed his head. She returned the greeting and remembered how Danny and her dad greeted each other in “678” fashion. 

“My name’s Andromeda and this is Sparky.” she said.

“And I run very fast. Don’t forget.” Sparky added, sniffing Harvard’s shoes. “Mhh you smell like petroleum and forests.”

“Okay, Sparky that enough” Andromeda said before he had more time to say weird things. “Let’s find that office together.”

She and Harvard walked alongside each other looking around the hanger. A crowd had gathered on the far side of the expanse and they started walking toward it. As they approached Andromeda saw a screen sign with the words “recruits” glimmering in neon blue. It took a few minutes to reach the sign and the group of people since the hangar was so large. She and Harvard walked in silence as Andromeda’s nerves started to rise the closer she got. This was it. This was the beginning of her flight training. 

“Alright” a voice at the front of the group said. “It’s time to officially register. Once we have your name down and your paperwork filed, we will send you off in teams to go down to start training. Let’s get in orderly lines, people! Make it quick!”

Andromeda and Harvard were at the back of the group and followed as people started forming different lines. 

“Andromeda!” a familiar voice called. She turned to see Callie waving at her in a separate line.

“Where did you go? Oh it’s so exciting! Make sure you tell them that we want to be bunk mates! Then we can be together in our rooms!” Callie said.

Harvard spoke from behind her “So you know that girl?” he asked

Andromeda waved and smiled at Callie. Then she said to Harvard “Yeah she and I are from the same unit.”

“Woah, you must have some smart parents. Cause Callie’s dad is the nuclear bio-engineer on the base, I’m sure they live in the nicest parts on the base.”

“Well we’re all going to be flight students now, so I guess it doesn’t really matter where we come from.” Andromeda said. The line moved forward. 

“NEXT” a voice called.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

5 thoughts on “Andromeda and the Moon : Part 4- A Short Story by Leona

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