An unknown endeavor, p.2
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       An Unknown Endeavor, p.2

           Lucas Zahn
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The above note was sent out to every inhabitant of the Epsilon Tunnels. Some laughed at it, others ripped it up in anger, a few felt compelled to seek more information, and fewer yet actually saw Martha and asked to be part of the crew.

  The day after the letter was sent out trouble began brewing in the tunnel that lead to the missile silo. A small group of people began protesting the launch and stood in the way of the Maintainers that were trying to work on it. The people were yelling that nothing was up on the moon and the launch would only lead to the passenger's deaths. Some even went so far as to say as soon as the rocket launched and the silo was opened, radiation would flood into the Epsilon Tunnels and kill everyone. Martha is the only Ruler to arrive in person to deal with the mob. John tries to help their case by explaining to the mob that they have nothing to fear. He tells them of the many safety precautions and measures taken to ensure everyone's safety. Of course trying to sway the unruly and frightened with words of logic and reason are a wasted effort.

  After hours of arguing and times where it seemed as if the mob would become violent Ezra finally yells at them, “What are you people doing?” She cries at them. Everyone becomes silent and listens. “I know it’s scary, and I know I haven't been a maintainer for long so I’m not very knowledgeable about any this, but my dad is. He has worked with this technology before and he has kept the systems in our sector in near perfect condition for a long time. My mom also believes in this rocket and is willing to take the chance to see if we have a new home. If we stay here we will run out of space to live, we won't get another chance like this. It’s really unlikely that we find another facility like this, or a safer way to see if the moon is terraformed. So please, let us do our work.”

  After she finishes her speech the mob dissipates, the people looking embarrassed. If a twelve year old girl was not frightened by this prospect and wanted to see what was out there, what reason did they have to be afraid? After seeing the blast doors for themselves, they finally believed that the endeavor would not endanger anyone else in the tunnels. It was not long after the outburst that one hundred and twenty-five of the seats were filled. A few seats were taken by Growers and Diggers, a majority of the seats were taken by the Maintainers, and one seat was taken up by Martha. John and Ezra both want to travel in the space ship to new lands. Ezra had received much experience in the way of a MoE, and was more than ready to see what was out above the tunnels and radiation. Everyone on the ship wants more than a life dwelling in tunnels could provide, and they were willing to risk their lives to have it.

  Each person on the ship was trained on how to use their personal life preserving equipment. A few of the Maintainers were tasked with ship maintenance while it was in flight. A few things had to be tweaked and the ship had to be piloted during their journey, who better to fill those rolls other than the people that helped build it. The training went on for a month and a half. Once everyone felt they were ready and capable of traveling to the moon, they bid all the others they knew goodbye and gave away whatever belongings they could not take with them. Some people were sad as they would never see these brave souls again. And others rejoiced for the same reason! But deep down, everyone had a fond feeling about the endeavor, as the possibility existed that humanity would be progressing and possibly flourishing just as it did before the war.

  “Gentleman and Ladies, it has been a pleasure Ruling with you, and it brings me sweet sadness to leave all of you.” Martha says to her friends the day before the launch is scheduled. They all nod their head and give their individual goodbyes to Martha. John meets with a group of three men that he had known since he first entered the Epsilon Tunnels.

  “It has been fun gentleman, but it is time to go on to bigger and better things!” John laughs as he finishes his sentence.

  “You always liked to take risks, John.” One of the other three men stated.

  Another of the three jokingly says, “I am just glad I don’t have to see you after this!” They all laugh, joke, and remember old stories from years past for a few hours while they play cards around a table.

  Ezra did not want to meet with anyone before they all left the tunnels. The two other children she played with were going to the moon with their parents, and she particularly did not like any of the other children. So she wandered around areas of the tunnels she had not been before, as she knew she would never get the chance to do so after tomorrow.

  After a final night’s sleep in the Epsilon Tunnels, the one hundred and twenty-five gather their gear and situate themselves on the space ship. They seem excited and yet a little nervous. The ship was filled with families who wanted more for their children, and individuals who were just tiered of staring at concrete all day. Martha sits near the head of the ship with her Husband and daughter.

  “We are off to see fantastic new places!” Ezra says to her parents in an excited tone. John and Martha both smile half-heartedly, for they know that there is a chance that they are headed to their doom.

  Maintainers of Electricity and Mechanics race around the area surrounding the rocket, where the controls are that will be responsible for the rocket’s takeoff. They are behind thick panes of fiberglass and concrete to shield themselves from the rocket’s fiery exhaust. They are triple checking their calculations and settings for the rocket’s trajectory and other essential functions, ensuring that they have not overlooked any detail.

  The ceiling above the ship opens up. Toxic fumes pour into the blast chamber of the rocket. Which is fine, everyone was anticipating this. Which is why the chamber was sealed off. The rocket began its pre-flight warm up. Maintainers inside and outside the space ship man their stations, ready to lead the rocket to a wondrous new world. Those passengers aboard the space ship hold their loved ones close and focus all of their energy to the machine they were inhabiting, in the hopes that it would keep them safe.

  With a nod from the head Maintainer, the rocket ignites and begins its ascension. The small viewing ports, that allowed the Maintainers in the Epsilon Hole to view the rocket, are blackened as soon as the space ship passes through the hole in the ceiling. Once Epsilon is without a rocket, the ceiling is closed off again and the decontamination process of the blast chamber would now begin. The inhabitants of the Epsilon Tunnels could feel the vibrations of the liftoff. They could hear the quiet roar of the flames. They knew that at least some of them would have a chance to live as all humans did days past. With both pride and sweet sorrow, the Maintainers of the Epsilon Tunnels declared the rocket launch a success. And with no way of communicating, they all assumed that the ship made it to the destination in mind. It was, of course, better than the alternative.

  The passengers of the finely crafted space ship hold on tight as they leave the earth’s life sustaining atmosphere. Some look at pictures of forests and starry skies, hopeful of what would be waiting for them where they were headed. Others only hope they would be able to breath at this new location! It was not until they are a few hours into their trip that they realize that they had left everything behind. And that they were not certain that where they were going was any better. But they all knew this before they climbed aboard the vessel. They are just unexpectedly re-acquainted with it.

  “How many forests do you think will be waiting for us?” Ezra asks her father with bright eyes.

  John smiles and replies, “I bet the entire moon is filled with them. So much so, that we will have to cut a few down just to have enough space to live.” Ezra smiles and nestles close to her father.

  Martha brushes her hand across her daughter’s hair as she smiles while looking at John, whispering, “No matter the outcome of this journey, I am glad I could make it with you.”

  John kisses his wife and says, “And I with you.” They close their eyes as they let the smooth sailing of the ship drift their family off into a comfortable sleep.

  The ship drifted in space for quite a while, unaware if its journey’s end would bring a most joyous life, or certain death. But the lure of possibility and
a better life was enough to afford the risk.


  Image taken from Microsoft Clipart 2011

  There are limited opportunities for grand adventures. Be careful not to let the risks weigh you down, and never think twice once you decide to take them.


  About the Author

  Lucas Zahn Writes purely for fun, as hopefully most people do. When he is not writing, he spends his days studying and practicing electrical engineering. He lives and writes in Wisconsin.

  Other books from the same Author

  *The King’s Challenge: A Quest for Eternal Life

  *The King’s Challenge: A Call to Battle (Available after January 2016)

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