"I want my Curran. I want my Peg," I cried.

There were people yelling and there were people upset, and people appeared to be screaming their heads off wherever I looked. Half of us were little and half were old but as far as I could see, I was the only one without a guardian. A golden heart had sat me here who then went to look for a rag to clean up my sick, but she never came back. She was old and talked really fast. I don't even know what she told me. I can't hear right. I want to puke again. Everything is just spinning.

I wretched but nothing came up. Other kids too, were sick all over. Nothing felt right. The room begged for some fresh air, but there were no doors or windows to open. There was no blue sky.

"I don't want to be up top," I whimpered.

Peg said I'd be safe up here. I know she meant it because she hugged me when she said it.

There's not a familiar face that I recognize. The room is slowly emptying. Guardians are being called by name and one by one they collect their few things and take their crying children down a hallway to I don't know where.

The minutes in here seem like hours and I yawned reflexively as a young woman dressed in a Republican Guard uniform handed me a tissue as she smartly entered and then exited the room but by now my sick had dried to the front of my coat. But I had a tissue, and I tucked into a pocket. I watched the transport workers come and go through the room and I listened to their chatter as they passed by. They'd enter in a clatter and speak in raised voices until their conversations disappeared into another room beyond the counter. Every one of them appeared preoccupied or harried with something of importance. Today was a bad day for everyone here or so it appeared.

And then there was just me, sitting alone all by myself with just my own thoughts for company.

There were three of them behind the counter at the end of the room and one who looked like a boss was looking right at me while he surely spoke to someone electronically about the kid sitting all alone across the room from him.

A cleanup crew came into the room. It was a mustachioed man with a crew of three unusual looking droids who wiped and mopped up the enormous mess in here. He smiled a tiny smile that I could see beneath his moustache and he offered me a candy.

It was delicious. It was black licorice and it was the first kind thing that anyone had done for me in space.

The minutes went by and so did the cleanup crew. Whatever normally goes on here was obviously winding down for the day and just the boss man was present behind the counter; the others were gone to do other tasks they had yet to do or go home for the day I suppose. A young femme showed up and spoke briefly to the boss man behind the counter.

"Ivan of Shelby," he called out to me and he waved for me to approach the counter.

He spoke no more, - collected his things and then left.

"How are you feeling, Ivan?" and before I could answer she asked, "Was today your first experience on a matter transporter?"

"Yes. It made me sick." I answered.

She was a femme but had some facial hair in a trendy pattern about her cheeks. I've seen social techs before; she was pleasant but all business in the careful way that she chose her words.

"I'm sorry you feel unwell, but I can tell you that every young Earth child I've met - that they all adapt to life in space so well. You are going to have a bright new future here in the Republic. I promise," and she winked one of her bright brown eyes back at me. "You can call me Marta and I'm going to do my very best today to help you get adapted to your new environment. There are a lot of little steps that you'll have to take but in time you'll fit in. It's like eating an elephant. Right? It can be done but only with one little bite at a time," she grinned.

I tried to smile back but there just wasn't a smile within me at the moment.

"Do you need the use of a washroom?"

"Yes," I stammered.

"We'll do that first then and move on to the cafeteria before it closes so you won't be hungry. How does that sound, - Ivan?"

I think she forgot my name already because I could see her glance back to some paperwork in her hand.

"That would be nice thank you," and I took her sweaty hand and we proceeded down the hall to where everyone else had disappeared to.

The washroom was quite nice and much like I was used to on Earth. It looked to be meant for staff rather than someone like me. Thankfully, no one was in there and no one came in while I busily emptied my bladder. I always wondered what it was like to use a washroom in space. I thought you would need a funnel kind of thing that operated on vacuum but I was pleasantly surprised.

Marta was waiting for me once I was done.

"Are you ready to start your new adventure Ivan?" asked Marta.

"Yeah." I answered.

Marta pulled a pair of thin gloves out from a pocket in her trousers and placed them on her hands.

"Now Ivan not all of life in space will be like your last two hours. Let's go to the cafeteria like I promised," and then she took my hand into one of her gloved hands.

We approached a rather heavy door which opened automatically and you could hear the rush of forced air and there was scary signage in unfamiliar nomenclature indicating that you should have a free hand ready to proceed. She pulled me along with her in one big step and into a now weightless environment inside a corridor. There Marta simply reached her free outstretched hand and landed it on a long moving blue ribbon along the opposite wall of what now more resembled a long conduit. There were different colored ribbons that said: Receiving Dock, Reception, Public Restrooms and more.

"How's that," asked Marta grinning at me as we floated weightlessly along at a nice comfortable pace to the cafeteria that I guess was at the end of this moving blue ribbon.

"You think you can get used to this Ivan? It's kind of fun isn't it."

I faked my agreement with a reciprocal grin but I felt lightheaded and a bit disorientated with this floating thing.

"Why isn't it like back there? Where we had gravity," I asked.

"They say it's too costly and impractical to supply artificial gravity everywhere. So we have it in our living areas in most cases but when we are out and about; this is how we navigate in public spaces until we are at work, home - or school perhaps in your case."

I thought all the food up here would come from squeeze packs and that you would need a straw to drink, but just as Marta had said the living areas had gravity. It was pretty much a beige world up here I thought as I ate some tasty protein and carbs. It was like back home in a peculiar way, but it wasn't of course.

"Are my guardians back on Earth?" I asked.

Marta was obviously unprepared for the question and I cruelly studied her solemn face as she thought out her response.

"Ivan, you and I know that today something very profound happened. It affected many people. You and your cohorts are going to be starting over and I can guarantee you," and she touched my hand to reassure me, "that there is wonderful life for you here in the Republic. But I'd be deceitful if I told you that you will be reunited with your past guardians again.

"I can tell you that there is a bed and a desk at a school on the Thirteenth Colony orbiter that is waiting for you. You may even find some of your old friends there; wouldn't that be nice," added Marta trying to brighten her message.

"I miss my guardians," I said with more emotion than I wanted to convey to her.

"I know you do. They must have been wonderful people to care for you through all of what has happened. I'm sure that you will never forget them. They were being very unselfish I must say, sending you to us and your new future. They must have loved you very much to make that sacrifice."

I got quiet and continued to eat. A tear erupted from one eye and then the other.

"You be my hero Ivan," whispered Peg into my ear just hours ago and she kissed my cheek as I took a stranger's hand and boarded the last transport to leave for up top.


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