Day 347 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 14

I’m so tired!

Word count: 688

A tap on Henry’s shoulder woke him up.
“You here for the transport to the Glacier Labs?” a man’s voice said.
Henry nodded sleepily. He had just been dreaming he was back on Earth, except grown up. In the dream he was visiting all the old places his father had shown him on photographs. Henry had never actually been there – at least if he had, he was far too young to remember it. It was not often that Henry had Earth related dreams, but when he did, they always unnerved him. The last time he had one he must have been around seventeen. He dreamt that he had seen his mum dying. It was an awful, awful image that had lasted in his mind ever since. At least the dream he had last night was nowhere near that kind of horrific proportion.
“We’ll we’re leaving in about five min, so you better get yourself ready,” the man informed Henry.
Henry got up and gathered together his stuff and headed out of the building towards the large vehicle that would be taking him to the Glacier Labs. The man who had woken him was loading several packages into the back of the vehicle, but there was no other sign that anyone else was boarding.
“Am I the only one?”
“Yep,” he replied, “And if I didn’t have supplies to deliver, this service wouldn’t be running if you hadn’t have booked it.”
“Why not?”
“Too dangerous – no one is leaving the base at the glaciers because of what happened here. Some guy’s house got completely demolished because of the meteors!”
Henry stammered, “Th-that would be my house.”
“Oh crap, sorry – I didn’t mean to make light of the situation, sorry.”
“No, it’s alright. I would be doing the same if I were them.”
The man extended a hand, “I’m Michael by the way.”
“Henry,” Henry returned the handshake.
“Righto, well get in the back then and we’ll be ready to go in about ten. I just need to check fuel levels and that everything else is fine before I can leave.”
Henry clambered into the back, “Better safe than sorry!”
After about twenty minutes they were already beyond the boundaries of the colony. It had been the first time in years since Henry had left the walls of where he lived. Even from here, Henry could see entirely new horizons. It excited him.
The journey was going to take out a large chunk of his day, but still he could not sit in the back and rest. He was constantly looking out the window and seeing what was out there. There were huge lakes of water and high mountains capped with ice. In places, where the terra-forming process had actually worked properly, there were even patches of solid earthy ground.
Michael was not as much fun to talk to when he was driving. Both men remained largely silent. No music was played or anything. Michael had made this journey so many times in the past that he did not care once bit for the scenery any more.
“How often do you make this journey?” Henry decided to ease the silence.
“About once a week for the past five years. There ain’t nothing here for humanity though. This place is just ice and desert. I don’t know why you science lot continue to keep on coming.”
Henry was about to answer with someone witty and smart, but what appeared over the dip in the hill summarised everything he could ever attempt to describe about what was important about Europa. The sun was rising over some misty red hills. The foreground sparkled with fragments of snow. Jupiter above spun round without a care in the solar system. Resting on the slope of one of the hills was a compound. That was where he needed to be. Above it the great glacier that had caused so much grief and confusion overhung a ledge, ice dripping over like slow motion water. Answers lived here: answers that may only serve to ask more questions.
“That,” Henry begun, “ is why, my friend. That is why…”

~ by S.G. Mark on September 17, 2012.

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