Chapter Three – Part Two
Sector Three, Galatia
After wandering for far too long, Gideon finds himself underneath a sign which read Maintenance and he slips through, unable to fight the urge to check out this particular room. He had passed several other rooms in his exploration of what he now believes is a Coalition hovercraft, one of the big ones he occasionally saw on the Founders’ Day celebration every Eighth of August.
“Can’t believe we are doing this again,” A voice resounds from down the narrow corridor Gideon is about to enter. The voice echoes off of the many metallic surfaces in the hovercraft. Gideon was surprised he could hear the comment above the constant hum of the engines. Gideon gently eases the door shut behind himself as he quickly searches for signs of whoever had spoken.
“Please, not this again,” Comes a quiet plea. Gideon continues down the corridor, assumedly away from the voices. He has to resist the temptation to eavesdrop, which was something he had always struggled with. After all, why would someone talk loud enough for others to hear, if they didn’t want everyone to know what they were saying?
“We are exiling children and telling them that they are soldiers!” The first voice continues with its protests, “And it’s all for what? Keeping the streets free of kids being kids?”
“You know we shouldn’t be having this conversation…” The second voice warns. Gideon stops at the base of a ladder and looks up to what appears to be daylight, pausing, he gives in to his urge to listen in on the duo which are somewhere behind him.
“Or what? They’ll send us out too?” The first voice demands.
“I don’t know what, Clo. I don’t ask questions,” The second voice responds after a thoughtful pause.
“Don’t you, ‘I don’t know, Clo,’ me,” The first voice who must belong to Clo promptly fires back. Judging by the tone of voice, Gideon imagines that Clo could have delivered her retort with a scornful look and hands on her hips. Gideon can’t help a slight grin from spreading across his face as he hears the other person struggle for a response.
“Well I- it’s just… it isn’t my place to know everything,” The second voice eventually pieces its response together.
Gideon flies up the ladder that leads between him and the daylight above. Once at the top, he hoists himself out of the opened service hatch and into an open cabin which is illuminated by several large windows along one wall.
“It doesn’t have to be your place for you to be curious, Jackson,” Clo chides, “Sometimes you just need to know some things.”
“You’ve said as much before…” The second voice which must belong to Jackson reminds Clo.
Gideon tunes out all the noises around him as he walks toward the windows as if he was in a trance. One step at a time he feels his eyes grow wider and wider as he takes in the outside world.
“It’s everything I dreamed it was,” Gideon whispers to himself, awestruck by the sight, he continues with a chuckle “I wonder how big those trees are up close…”
Gideon watches the forests race below him for several moments before he allows his eyes to wander to the white peaks of mountains along the horizon. The only landscapes he had ever seen like this were in pictures from old storybooks, Gideon finds himself speechless as he takes it all in for the first time. Strange straight scars in the treetops crisscross through the forest below, disappearing into the distance in every direction. Whatever the lines were, they had to of had a purpose. Before long, a blue river enters Gideon’s field of vision and he fixates on it. At peace, Gideon’s eyes follow the winding blue thread’s tail back to the mountains as far as he can track it.
Gideon begins walking toward the front of the ship, figuring he could figure out what was happening a lot easier there. The whole time, he refuses to take his eyes off of the beauty outside that he had been starved of for his entire life. The expanse of greenery below him goes on for what seems like forever, hemmed in only by the mountains that Gideon can only describe as majestic.
Gideon catches his breath as he realizes that he hadn’t even seen the sky before, and his eyes turn to the heavens. The sky holds a gentle aqua blue and whispers of white clouds dot the skies as far as Gideon can see. The sun shines with a slight green tint and Gideon presses his hand against the window to feel its warmth. Closing his eyes, Gideon smiles broadly as the familiar feeling of peace from his dreams fills him.
“I remember my first time,” A feminine voice says from behind Gideon after several moments, starling him. Gideon swings around and stares the intruder in the eyes as he contemplates whether he should talk, fight, or run. The intruder continues as she casually approaches the window next to Gideon, “It all looks so peaceful from up here,”
Gideon swallows a lump in his throat as he stutters, “W-who are you?”
“I am Commander Hayes, and this is my ship,” The woman, Commander Hayes, responds. She continues staring out at the world beyond the window absently for a few moments. Eventually, she chuckles and continues, “And you, Mister Lennox, are not supposed to be up here,”
“Well, I-uh,” Gideon starts, unsure of what he should say.
“Don’t worry about it, we have bigger matters to attend to.”
“Oh, right,” Gideon sighs as he remembers what the AI had said about the limited training he would receive.
“It isn’t that bad, you’ll pull through,” Hayes says as she taps Gideon’s shoulder encouragingly.
Gideon tries not to roll his eyes as he wonders if this woman had even seen the outside world up close like he was about to. No amount of encouragement could overcome Gideon’s fear that the beasts from beyond the Dome were as terrifying as those in his dreams. With all of the attention his drawing attracted, Gideon found himself terrified. No weak attempt of telling himself the creatures weren’t as horrifying as the image could convince him otherwise. He was doomed.
He silently follows Commander Hayes as she leads him down a corridor that branches off from where they had been. Gideon had entertained the thought making a run for it but decided it would be best if he made the most of his time here. He figured that he had no real chance of escaping the craft, so that meant his next best bet was to stay alive long enough for his next opportunity.
“Now, I know things don’t look so hot for you in your eyes, but I am here to help you all I can while you’re here,” Hayes tells Gideon in a hushed voice, losing her previous formality, “I want you to pull through, and to help keep the others alive, especially my daughter.”
Gideon looks to the Commander skeptically, his interest piqued. Why would a Coalition Commander have her daughter taken? He wonders, A nameless kid like me, sure, but the daughter of a Commander? Phew.
“Yes, my daughter is part of the program,” Hayes cedes, guiding Gideon into a brightly lit room which, like the rest of the ship, is lightly furnished. All Gideon can see is two chairs and a small table which is ladened in a large assortment of supplies. Hayes stops at the table and picks up a length of rope, “Now, let’s get to it,”
“Who is your daughter?” Gideon asks as he takes some rope of his own and slowly matches the Commander’s quick movements as she tangles the rope up in seemingly no pattern.
“You’ll know,” She says simply. Smiling, she holds up the tangle of rope she had made and announces, “This is a snare, it’s good for catching small game, almost useless for the bigger things out there though.”
“The bigger things?” Gideon asks, trying not to sound as scared as he truly was.
“From what I hear, you know what they look like,” Hayes says as she reaches over and straightens out Gideon’s rope, helping him finish his own snare. Once she rescues his attempt, she nods with a smile. After noting Gideon’s look of confusion and concern, she offers, “Want to watch me do it again?”
“Please,” Gideon says embarrassed. He had never been the best at tying knots. Even tying his shoes took him years to finally figure out, it wasn’t until intermediary school that he finally figured it out. He matches Hayes’ slower movements and smiles as the tangle of rope makes more sense this time around.
“You’re picked that up fast,” Hayes praises Gideon after he ties a snare on his own. Pausing, she continues weaving the rope in a different way, “How about this one?”
Gideon silently matches the Commander’s movements through several different knots. He can’t help but smile as he figures one knot after the other. Maybe I’ll be able to make it out there at this rate, He thinks confidently.
Would you look at that? Another chapter!