After conflicts in Korea, Pakistan and the Middle East turned nuclear, the world stood on the eve of destruction. Realizing that we only have this one precious planet containing all of humanity, the United Nations pulled us back from the brink, and started a new, multinational effort to conquer space. Many years later, the peak of achievement for any young person is to be admitted to the Space Academy. Previously available only to a precious few, it has recently opened enrollment to anybody who can meet their strenuous entry criteria. Space Cadets is the story of the first African-American girl, Aisha Parks, to enter into the academy, where she learns that the more some things change, the more they stay the same, and despite the honorable intentions of the academy, there are some dark secrets being kept – secrets that could be the end of us all.
Chapter 5. A Name with Meaning
For the rest of the day, the work was hard but it was joyous. Drill after drill on the ship, learning and understanding its systems. At first they were tedious, but once they became second nature, Aisha and the others were able to relax a bit more and even enjoy them.
David hadn’t spoken much since their walk on the lunar surface. He almost seemed embarrassed around Aisha. Like a very private thought of his had surfaced, and he didn’t want people to see him ‘like that’. She made a point of working closely with him, and referring to him in conversations, but that seemed to put him in his shell all the more.
Their quarters were tiny, barely bigger than the bunk bed and the small shared bathroom. They looked more like a prison cell. But it was a refuge from outside, and Aisha was happy to be sharing with Soo-Kyung again. She wanted solace more than anything, but Soo-Kyung’s discretion was the next best thing.
However, discretion wasn’t on her mind. As soon as they were alone, Soo-Kyung spoke up. “What happened out there? David hasn’t been the same since our walk on the surface this afternoon.”
“He shared something from his past,” Aisha said, trying to keep as neutral as possible. “And I think he’s a bit embarrassed about it. Like he doesn’t know why he shared it, and he doesn’t want me to know what I know.”
Soo-Kyung sat on the bed. “Is it bad?”
“It’s sad. But he did nothing wrong. He is angry though.”
“I can’t ever see David being angry.” Soo-Kyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “It’s just so not him. One of the things I really like about him is how calm and controlled he always is.”
“Don’t let Seamus hear you say that,” Aisha teased.
“That there are things you like about David.”
“You don’t know guys, do you?”
Soo-Kyung slumped on the bed. “No,” she said quietly. “I don’t.”
“Yeah. Think about where I came from. Think about who I am. Do you think a guy my age could ever possibly be honest with me? Those that would claim they liked me were probably prodded into doing so, and maybe some that really did like me were afraid to speak up, so I never really got guys.”
“You’re probably better off,” Aisha smiled.
“Am I? It leaves me in such doubt, I mean Seamus–”
“Seamus is one of the good guys,” said Aisha, sincerely meaning it. “One of the really good guys.”
“Because it’s clear that he knows how to love. And he loves you.”
Aisha sighed. “I’m not exactly an expert, but there are guys who would say anything, and don’t match it up with what they do. And there are guys who would do anything, but don’t match it up with what they say or who they are.”
“And neither of these types are sincere?”
“Exactly. To be honest, most of the time, when you see a sincere guy it’s because he’s already with someone else. When they aren’t with someone, you have to be sure that they are right, and it’s really hard to tell.”
“When their words are backed up by their actions,” Aisha said. “And when they’re willing to wait.”
“As in, not just trying out every girl that they can. Not just basking in the attention that relationships give them, or not just getting into one because everyone else is doing it.”
“I see. And if they are willing to be patient in that, they’ll be patient in many other, more important, things too?”
“And you think Seamus is like that?”
“And you really think he loves me?”
“For sure. The question is, do you love him?”
“I think so. I don’t know, but I think so.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“It’s obvious,” Aisha smiled. “Because you hesitate. You are thinking of his feelings, you are considering him. You don’t want to declare that you love him when you might not, because that would possibly hurt him. And you never want to hurt someone you love, right?”
“Can’t I just be compassionate?”
“Something tells me you’re passionate. I’m not sure about the ‘com’ part!”
They laughed, and hugged a little.
Soo-Kyung asked quietly. “Patrice is like that a little bit too, isn’t he?”
“I think so, but, I can’t tell for sure right now.”
“Like you, I think I love him, which probably means I do love him.”
“I can see why. When Seamus talks about him, I see his eyes light up. They were really good friends, and he’s hurting to see Patrice the way he is, but also proud of him for what he did.”
They sat in silence a while longer.
“So,” said Aisha. “I have a very important question for you.”
“Yeah. You guys went off alone for a while.”
“We were wearing spacesuits. It’s not exactly possible.”
Her only answer was a smack in the face from Soo-Kyung’s pillow, which despite the moon’s lower gravity, still hit her with some force.
Laurence Moroney is the author of more books than he’s prepared to admit. After several best selling programming books, his first Young Adult novel “The Fourth World” became a #1 book on Amazon Kindle, spawned two sequels “The Million Year Journey” and “The Legend of the Locust”, and is currently being shopped around studios for a potential movie. “Space Cadets” is his latest, a cutting edge science fiction novel, based on real science that starts a new series charting out humanity’s course to the stars. He’s presently working on the sequel “The Quiet World”, which he hopes to finish in 2015. For his day job, Laurence works as a Developer Advocate for Google, where he is constantly counting his blessings for being part of the best workplace in the world…
Space Cadets Blog: http://join-the-cadets.blogspot.com/
Space Cadets Website: http://www.join-the-cadets.com/