MoboReader> Sci-fi > The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow

   Chapter 4 Yowza

The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow By EJBowman Characters: 27032

Updated: 2017-12-27 12:04


Crap I'm a horrible friend and girlfriend. I kind of spaced calling any of them to plan a get-together because we were so busy in the first week. It was only on the Sunday that I actually got them all together at the mall (no, I didn't like shopping. It was just an easy place to get to) so I could break it to them. I wanted to tell Aiden privately, but there wasn't time for that because my father expected me back in four hours so we could do more 'gleeful' organizing.

I did not have much time to keep a social life in between schoolwork and sport so the friends I had were the loyal ones. Tanya and Elisa were actually both in my hockey team which is why I got to see them so much and Kim –who was actually Kimberly but hated her full name– was my 'math buddy' in class seeing as she worked faster than a calculator. – Strict Chinese family, you know how it is. Well, that's unfair because she was also Hawaiian. Meh, she had a Chinese tiger mother which was where the strictness came from.

And then there was Aiden, with his soft brown hair, green sweater vest and leather loafers. Some of the boys at school laughed when they saw us because I was just over six feet tall and he was barely 5'7. Not like we cared, because shortly afterwards I would be beating those boys up in the parking lot. Yeah, there was a kind of gender-swap in our relationship. He was more of a Yin guy while I was Yang. I only say this because Kim thought it would be hilarious to buy us promise necklaces and she gave me the black side while he got the white. She said we could swap them, but we never did. Just every time someone asked I would explain how it meant he was a part of me or some crap like that which is why I had his side… and then they would meet the boy and understand.

Here they all were. My dearest friends all on the bench in front of the indoor fountain, laughing at Tanya who had been laughing so hard that soda had come out of her nose. – Idiots. No, I did not actually think they were idiots. They just preferred to laugh at the strangest things.

I clapped my hands together to get their attention. "Okay guys, so who is ready to hear the big news?"

All four of them looked at each other before Tanya shrugged and Kim nodded. "Sure." Tanya said. "Is it bad news?" Elisa asked.

"No." I reassured her. "It's not bad news depending on how you look at it."

"That sounds like bad news." Aiden joked. I didn't make eye contact with him. He was going to be the one I hurt the most.

I probably should not have done this but I decided to get all my news out in one breath. "Well a week ago I got accepted into Starside Academy so I'm moving there at the end of this month which is in three weeks but I gotta leave Wyoming in one week." I blurted out.

It felt as if the whole mall went quiet for a moment. They all sat in silence with blank expressions as their brains tried to process what I had just told them. I could not tell if they had actually misheard me or were in shock. Personally I hoped it was shock because I hated repeating myself.

"Yowza." Elisa said placidly. That was kind of her one-liner that she used whenever she was surprised. It was the appropriate time to use it I would say.

"What the fuck is Starside?" Tanya asked bluntly.

"A giant USM outpost in the Dalowit System, it's a couple light years from here."

"Of course it is."

"You're going in a week?" Elisa asked with a strain in her voice. She did not know how bad I was feeling about giving them so little notice but I hadn't had a chance earlier.

"Yeah. Sorry I couldn't tell you earlier. I'm lucky to even be with you guys right now." I explained defensively. "Apparently space travel requires a lot of planning and time especially when it's all crammed into four weeks."

"So have you only had four weeks' notice?"

"Yeap. At the end of the month I'm hopping on a spaceship and going away."

"For how long?" Tanya asked with annoyance in her tone. – I was going to miss her birthday which was happening in just over a month.

I opened my mouth, but no words came out. Being in the USM Navy was kind of a lifetime job. "Err… Quite a few years… A couple of decades." I mumbled.

"This better not be a fucking joke." Tanya growled. "You're a sick bastard if this is a joke."

"I can promise it's not a joke." I thought for a moment with a raised eyebrow. "Well… it could be the USM version of a joke, but not mine. Keep an eye on the news. I should be making headlines soon."

All of them were looking at me as if they expected me to burst out laughing and tell them it actually was a joke, but I didn't. Neither Aiden nor Kim had spoken a word so it was finally time to ask for their thoughts… I was going to ask Kim first because I feared Aiden's response.

"And what do you think Kim?"

Kim; the only girl to have ever successfully pinned me to the ground in Kung-Fu. Sure, I was terrible at martial arts. However I found this rather annoying seeing as she was almost half my height, but that made us more competitive with each other.

"Stars don't have sides. They're spheres." She said icily.

Classic Kimberly.

"I'm aware of that." I muttered.

She smiled. "But I'm actually really proud of you. A part of me would love to go there but I didn't have the athletic skills to even apply. How did you apply by the way?"

Oh, bless her blue plaid dress (no, I'm not religious, but I'll bless her anyways). At least somebody wasn't panicking. I could always count on Kim to not freak out; she was too smart to panic. Of course she was the only other person who knew what Starside Academy was. She was the kind of girl who would love to exceed all other humans by going to that academy.

"Well Kim, you don't apply. They just randomly select you I guess."

Kim was not amused by the answer because it felt like she had little control over her education and career if it was all random selection. It was not actually random and apparently I was the top student in the world, but I was not going to tell her that. I'm not really sure if that was even true and maybe the USM had lied to moi because they had ulterior motives.

Finally I looked to my boyfriend. He was just staring at the floor.

"Well should we all go grab smoothies and talk this through a little more?" I suggested. That way there wouldn't be an awkward silence between us and more of a suckling noise.

We sat on the rail on the outdoor roof garden for quite a few hours. It was nice. None of them were pressuring me for questions or complaining about Starside Academy. They were simply enjoying what they knew would be our final day together as a group. Kim would not hang out with Elisa and Tanya once I was gone because she was closer to me than she was to them and Aiden, well… I didn't know what Aiden was going to do. Hopefully find another lovely girlfriend who he would give himself up to because he had built up a level of trust like he had with me. He was such a shy boy. The reason we got together two years back was because I sympathetic for him on prom night. A chunk of students had gotten together and voted in poor Aiden as prom queen… and then when the red-faced boy got on stage they dumped pig's blood on him. Yeah… that had been a pretty bad night. After Tanya and kicked the crap out of the leader of the horrible scheme, I took the sobbing boy away from the prom. I would have taken him straight home, but he did not want his parents to find out so I took him back to my place first. After I leant him some of Sven's clothing, I released my inner geekness and showed him a few episodes of Star Trek and Unnatural while he calmed down. He was incredibly patient with moi which is probably why I fell for him so quickly.

"Do you know how we're going to call you once you leave?" Elisa asked, staring out at the parking lot below and wondering what would happen if she spat.

"Hey, I'll be lucky if I'll even be able to call my Sven and Geraldine." I laughed fearfully.

"Dude that is so not cool. You sure the acceptance message wasn't just spam mail? They could just want your credit card number." Tanya joked.

I smiled, considering it for a moment before shaking my head. "No, it isn't. We just talked to the head of Darwin Enterprises and the Secretary of State's assistant. Unless the government is in on the conspiracy I doubt it."

"You never know with this fucked country." Elisa muttered before going back to chewing on the straw of the green smoothie.

"True." I agreed before realizing the time. It was nearly six and Sven expected me home at seven and I still hadn't talked to Aiden. I looked at Tanya and did a sort of head cock in Aiden's direction so she would understand that I needed to talk to him.

"Hey guys we should leave the lovebirds alone for a bit." Tanya stated as she swung her leg over the rail and hopped back onto the roof. "We'll have a group Skype chat later on this week before she goes. Won't we, Amelia?"

I joined her on the right side of the rail. "Not a bad idea. It may have to be around midnight when my father frees me from the organizing hell."

Elisa and Kim joined the two of us but Aiden stayed on the rail. He knew he had to stay behind no matter how much he didn't want to. We still had not spoken properly even though he had warned me earlier that my straw had come out of the cup and fallen off the roof. He was more mysterious than a woman!

"Later. You guys rock by the way if that wasn't made clear by the fact I hang out with you every week." We had a small group hug. This was the last time we would meet face-to-face so I did not mind hugging on this one occasion.

"Later loser." Kim joked. "Enjoy being the first human at Starside Academy or whatever."

"If you had told me earlier I would've gotten you a going-away gift." Elisa moaned. I gave her a hard pat on the back.

"No need." I reassured her. "I've got to live out of one duffle bag for the rest of my life so I probably can't take anything cool, just a lot of gifts for my new 'space friends'. Yeah, I'm taking a lot of souvenir Ray-Ban sunglasses to space. I don't know why, it just seems like the right thing to hand out to aliens." I joked despite the fact I actually was taking Ray-Ban sunglasses to Starside Academy.

"Oh lord, stop rubbing the fact that you're rich in everybody's face! Who hands out cool sunglasses as stupid souvenirs?" Tanya exclaimed.

I raised my eyebrows smugly. "I do."

"Oh whatever. See you around… or not."

What a blow to the gut that was. But I just smiled at her remark before giving all three of them another hug. That was the good thing about the girls I chose to hang out with; they did not get all emotional.

I watched them all the way to the glass doors of the elevator. They waved goodbye as the elevator moved down and until they were out of sight. Wow, my best friends had just left and I was never going to see them in the flesh again. I felt like I should have done more with them. I would've used my savings to get them a trip to New York, but I had already planned with my father that all of my own money would go to some child fund I cannot recall the name of. The USM only took credits as currency so I would not need cash anyways.

I turned back to Aiden. He had his back to me and was staring out at the parking lot. He was hell when he was dead silent. I knew he was shy, but usually there was always a smirk or giggle from him when I cracked a joke. Now he was quiet. If he was trying to give me the silent treatment because I was leaving him behind on short notice while I moved onto greener pastures, then I was supposed to understand, though I didn't want to end on bad terms with him. I did not like expressing my feelings, but he needed to know that I really cared about him.

"So, " I jumped over the rail and took a seat next to him, he shuffled away a bit, "how are you?"

It was all I could come up with.

"W-what?" He shook his head, astonished. "You just came out of the blue and told me you're leaving forever. How do you think I'm doing?"

"Great, I would suppose." Shit, he was mad at me. "But hey, it was pretty out of the blue for me too. What would you have liked me to do differently?"

"Never taken me to your house that night. That way we wouldn't have been together and I wouldn't have fallen in love with you."

Every word was like I knife stabbing into my chest. He was mad, I got that. But he didn't need to be mean or anything. It was not my fault I got into an academy I never applied for. What was I supposed to do, stop being good at everything?

He realized how what he said had come out and decided to re-write his words. "I… I didn't mean that. But… You know?"

"Yeah." I sighed. "I do know."

"It's just kind of…"

"Agreed."

That was how we learned to communicate. He was not much of a talker so I just had to predict the end of most of his sentences. It greatly confused Geraldine and Sven when he came over to dinner because we would both be laughing so hard at something even though we hadn't told them what we were joking about.

"This is it, isn't it?" Aiden asked after a short amount of silence. He knew the answer I had to give him already.

"Heh… I guess it is."

He let out a small laugh as if he was in hysterical pain. "Wow."

The sun was almost setting behind us. Though the clouds some stars could be seen far in front of us and all they made me think of was 'Starside'. Kim was ri

ght, it was a stupid seeing as stars did not actually have 'sides'.

"Hey, do you think that if you had chosen to stay that we would've…" Aiden drifted off.

"I don't know. I don't want to know. You're going to find a kickass girl who's a lot nicer than moi and marry her. Then you'll never look back."

"And you?"

"Fuck my future." I scoffed. "You get to be happy. I'm going to get early stress-marks in space."

He laughed. "What if you meet a sexy alien dude?"

I punched his shoulder. "There is no such thing as sexy in space, darling. If it makes you feel better, you'll probably be the last serious relationship I have… Actually, make that the last relationship!"

"That doesn't make me feel better at all."

"It should."

He kissed me. If it had been the end to a romantic drama the sun would've set right at this moment, but it was our luck that we heard the crack of thunder in the distance. I then had a graphic vision of us both getting struck by lightning in mid-kiss and quickly pulled away from him.

The mall hadn't quieted down. A new horror movie was being released at midnight so more people were actually going to be coming in. In Laramie the mall basically had everything from the theatre to a bed store. The 'Mighty Mall' killed all the other businesses within a one mile radius and probably a little further. That was the way since 2235 when a chain of Chinese malls were opened up in America that literally killed thousands of small businesses. But hey, globalization had basically killed all businesses that could not handle the heat. That was what first put the USA on edge because certain people felt we had too many immigrants coming in that didn't take jobs, just destroyed them. President Kathryn Santos –who was also the first Latina president– was in the White House at the time so she was not going to take any shit on immigration seeing as both her parents were immigrants and she let it happen. Instead of pulling a Sweden and closing off the borders, the USA just became one hell of a mixing pot and that didn't make a lot of rednecks happy. Guns had to be banned from civilians when the number of shootings that went on in foreign churches increased. It wasn't just Muslims taking crap anymore; anybody who wasn't white was screwed. Sad that America could fall so low, but the issue was going to come in full force eventually. It was good that Kathryn was president at the time because she got the issue sorted just before another Right Wing president was brought in.

(As I said earlier, yes, Sweden did close its borders to immigrants for a hundred years. Not because they hated other countries, they just wanted to keep out the Finns mainly. By 2808 it was sorted even though some countries like Finland were mad at them for doing a thing like that. Don't get me wrong; the Finns are not bad people. They are just too kind, friendly, humble and all these terrible things.)

A part of me wanted to hold Aiden's hand as we walked through the mall while the other part said 'hell no'. It was best not to lead him on again see as we had basically just broken up. But we were much closer than boyfriend and girlfriend. We were friends; there was a bond between us that wasn't even romantic. I would not be jealous if I came back in ten years and he had a wife. I would probably high-five him and say 'good job'. I think he knew that too. Romance was only the tip of the iceberg in our relationship.

I drove my personal shuttle home, the one my Sven had bought me for my sixteenth birthday. Aiden and I had departed on good terms, just a simple kiss on the cheek and then I left. It was a little past seven so no matter what Sven was going to be in an anxious mood. When he had gone on his first mission to space it had taken almost two years to plan and the USM had given us one month.

I was not a very focused driver. There was a little on my mind at the time and I accidently went a little higher into the atmosphere. I had to quickly pull back down because the police had tracked all shuttle activity in the sky and they could probably see how high my shuttle went. I suppose it would not matter much longer seeing as by the time I got a ticket I would be either in Washington D.C. or space. That would mean Sven and Geraldine would have to deal with the ticked, but not like they would complain.

The shuttle was a little shaky when it landed in the garage. Despite being only two year sold it was already outdated and seemed kind of rinky dink. Sven had wanted to buy me a new one last Xmas –formally known as Christmas– but I refused, it's funny how you get attached to the stupidest things. But my LFA V04 (I called her Liffy) had been very understanding of my landing techniques like when I let her accidently grazed her on the trees or the roof of the garage. A few days before Geraldine had joked about how many scratches the spaceships I controlled would have. I had not laughed because I was still annoyed with him about the whole 'dusk' incident.

Sven had been pretty ignorant about the situation as he usually thought of me and Geraldine having a rocky relationship. We officially first met when I was two when my father came back from Kingston with him. Our maid, Deanna, who had also been a dear friend of Sven's since he hired her four years before had been looking after me in the two months my father was absent. My grandparents in Sweden had insisted I come and stay with them instead, but I demanded to stay with Deanna (or 'Dee' as I called her). I greeted Geraldine formally with a handshake instead of a hug despite the fact my father had said he was going to be in our life for a while. At that time I liked it just being me and my father and didn't want any of his attention taken away from mine. Eventually I came to understand that Geraldine was going to be staying even if I didn't like it, so after a few months I finally accepted him even though I never called him 'father'.

"Where have you been?" Sven's voice was strained. He had been making at least twenty-five calls a day on no sleep so I could see why. "Have you realized that you're only leaving in one week?"

I gave him a pat on the shoulder as I walked past him. "Take chill pill Daddy-O. Darwin Enterprises has already promised that they would do all the organizing. I want you to take this week off."

He laughed. "Please, I trust something run by the government as much as I trust a member of the Cult of Disney. They still don't understand how the USM works, I do. And–"

"Come with me."

He blinked a few times. "What?"

I shrugged. "Follow me."

"W-why?"

"Because I want to show you something."

He raised an eyebrow in suspicion. "Like what?"

"Just come with me and you'll find out."

I presume he did not like the placidness of my voice but he followed. It was going to take a lot for him to relax but I had the perfect solution. He got a little confused when he was led to the lower floor where only the entertainment devices were. He presumed I wanted him to play a game with him, but I had something better in mind.

"Hurry up Amelia. I'm planning your move to Starside Academy if you haven't noticed."

I waved his statement away. "Oh, stop worrying. Have a little faith in Darwin Enterprises."

"Hell no, it's named after Clive Darwin."

"No, Harry Darwin endorsed it and it's in honour of Charles Darwin, silly."

Sven scoffed. "Sure… That's what he says."

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what door we were heading to. Now he knew exactly where we were going.

"No." He said bluntly.

"Yes."

"No. We've got a lot of work to do, darling and now isn't the time for any movies or television."

I did the one thing I never thought I would have to do. – Pulled the puppy eyes in hopes of getting sympathy.

"I just want to watch something with my daddy." I said in my little girl voice. "How many more chances are we going to get to do this?"

He growled. He knew I was trying to manipulate his emotions but he couldn't resist feeling bad. I was technically right, we weren't going to get a 'geek night' anymore. And he probably would not watch all the old movies we had because it would be too painful knowing I used to be there, in the leather seat next to him, watching a movie like Wrath of Kahn on the theatre-sized screen. I hoped he wouldn't be too lonely when I was gone, geek wise, that is. Geraldine had not realized we didn't watch old sci-fi because of the sets, animation or acting in the case of Star Trek. It was about seeing what the people of the past thought the future was going to be like. And for me and my father it was about the bonding experience. We got joy from watching the old shows and loved talking about the characters later or joking about the plot holes. Once I was gone who would Sven joke about the plots with? More importantly, who was I going to joke about the plots with?

Even though people on Earth thought old movies and TV shows were stupid and silly (yes they were, but still) most of them at least knew what they were. The aliens up in the USM would have no idea what any of the movies or shows were. And they would probably find the shows offensive because the aliens were inaccurate to real aliens. Man, I was going to be so alone in space. Sure, I was going to be surrounded by all sorts of crazy species, but I was going to lose my human connection. Maybe my classmates would have some cool alien shows… Probably not.

Sven let out a heavy sigh. "Alright, fine. One movie or television show and then that's it. Then we go back to work."

"Yay!" I kissed him on the cheek before pulling him into the theatre.

He took a seat in the front row and crossed his legs casually. He was secretly was glad I was forcing a break on him, he was especially glad that his break involved spending time with me watching some rinky dink old movie.

I took my seat next to him and pulled the options panel up on the screen. "Okay, what shall it be, Star Wars, Star Trek or Unnatural?"

He looked up in thought for a moment. "Err… How about a Star Wars tonight?"

"Okay… Which one?"

"The Phantom Menace?"

I sneered.

"Fine, fine." He waved the suggestion away. "Would you like to watch A New Hope?"

I smiled sweetly and nodded. "Sounds good."

The movie began. I grabbed Sven's arm and nuzzled my head on his shoulder. I would regret acting so lovey-dovey in the morning, nevertheless I was enjoying myself at the time.

"How did your friends take it by the way?" My father asked.

I sighed. "My friends took it really well. However, Aiden was a little mad at me because he wished I had told him earlier."

"Yowza."

"Exactly. But then we made up so we're cool now."

"That's good… Sorry I didn't let you out to tell him earlier."

"It's all good. We all ended on good terms so it didn't matter anyways."

"Well I'm sorry for you too." He said honestly. "It must've been very hard for you to tell them. I wish the USM had given us at least a year's notice. Sadly they don't work that way. Things go much quicker over there and they expect us to work at their rate. Lord, " Sven sighed, "when I was an ambassador in the USM they gave me so much work, I literally had my computer filled with random crap that didn't make any sense to me, and they expected me to get it all done in an hour." I stared at him wide-eyed and fearful. "Sorry honey to tell you this. I know you do excellent in school and all, but Starside Academy ain't no school. It's going to really take it out of you."

"Joy to the world." I laughed.

There was silence for a moment as I readjusted the sound. If you were going to get engrossed in a movie then the sound has to be perfect.

"Hey dad, can you believe this is our last week together in this house? This really isn't like going off to college eh? I mean… I'm only going to see holograms of you after I leave."

My father stopped breathing for a moment before exhaling deeply. "Yeah… Let's not talk about that. Let's just enjoy the film and see who can recite the lines quicker."

I smirked and punched his shoulder before settling back into my seat. It almost made me want to cry knowing I wouldn't get to see my father every day. Even during special events like birthdays I probably would not be able to just catch up with him. I would be lucky if I could even see a hologram of him, let alone send a gift. I would miss my friends, boyfriend, the maids and Geraldine, sure, but my father… I couldn't imagine not seeing him every day. With that thought I did not even feel like going to Starside Academy at all.

It was too late to back out now. Earth needed a stronger presence in the USM so I had to play as the military ambassador. If I could get through Starside Academy and become part of the crew on a naval ship, I would prove that humans were fit to become full members of the USM society. Earth was treated as a second-class planet because we were still seen as in a primitive stage of life because our society seemed so un-advanced both technically and mentally. My presence would prove we were not at primitive as they thought. Thinking about how much of an impact I would be making in the USM and on Earth really scared the crap out of me. If I failed, Earth would forever be seen as second-class. Even if I made it through Starside Academy the pressure would always be on, people would always just be waiting for me to slip up.

I did not sleep that night.

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