Deciding not to think about the Xiniti’s stranglehold on space, I concentrated on getting us to the gate. And anyway, according to Grandpa, it wasn’t their fault.
Arguably, we owed them.
The blackness of space stretched out ahead of us. Amid the stars, one of the spots of light had to be the gate and the Xiniti warship guarding it. Even at the speeds the League jet could reach outside the atmosphere, L4 wasn’t close. It was the same distance as the distance from the Earth to the sun.
I set the engines to burn until we were halfway there, and set the alarm. I’d have to flip the jet, and start decelerating at the halfway point.
With that done, I unstrapped myself, and stood up. “It’s all set. We may as well get up. We’re stuck here for a while.”
Haley got out of her seat.
We both wore League space suits over our clothes. Form fitting, they looked more like the space suits on the covers of 50’s science fiction magazines than the white, bulky suits I could see in the moon landing pictures.
“How long?” She walked over to the right side of the ship, and looked out the window. The windows on the left side had darkened, protecting our eyes from the sun.
I joined her. “A couple hours.”
I’d had the seats in the area behind the cockpit fold themselves into the floor before takeoff. With them out of the way, we stood next to each other, watching Earth become smaller.
She took my hand.
“It’s really quiet up here. Do you have any music?”
I thought about it. “No. I didn’t think to bring any. I should work out a way to plug my iPod in. Anyway, not having music going might make it easier to hear any calls we get.”
“Are you expecting any calls?”
“No. You never know though.”
Eventually we got sick of standing, and sat down on the floor. It had carpet–not fluffy carpet, but better than bare metal.
“What did your grandpa say about the Xiniti?” Haley asked.
“Nothing special. After the whole Abominator fight in the 70’s, the Xiniti stood up for us, and told all the other aliens that we weren’t on the Abominators’ side, and that we’d stopped them. That’s it.”
“My grandpa said they seemed like animals. He didn’t know whether they’d help or attack.”
“I think I remember something about them having different castes. Maybe their fighters are particularly animal like? I don’t really know. Grandpa didn’t say much about their culture. He said they were good at fighting though.”
Neither of us said anything immediately after that. We sat next to each other, our backs against the wall, hearing the hum of the engines, and feeling the warmth coming up from the floor.
Taking her head off my shoulder, Haley said, “Did Isaac ever say whether it was real aliens? Or were the invaders from the humans the Abominators modified?”
“He didn’t tell me. Why?”
We sat for a while longer, and talked. Then, (and I don’t know who started it, but I think it might have been Haley) we started kissing.
And, naturally, the alarm rang.
I got up, used the directional jets to flip the ship around, restarted the main engines, and felt deceleration begin.
After that, we picked up where we’d left off. We didn’t take all our clothes off or anything like that, but we did unzip our space suits.
So that, of course, couldn’t continue either.
The jet’s communicator started beeping. Loudly. Insistently.
Haley started laughing. I sighed. We both started rearranging our clothes, and zipping our suits.
I got into the cockpit, and clicked the button that opened up a connection.
“You over there! Heroes League jet! What do you think you’re doing up here?”
Well, I knew that it wasn’t a Xiniti at least, and so I’d have to explain myself to somebody on the UNS Jay.