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Branch: Ekaterina

Chapter One

Avery Alvaran

 

I gazed out the window at the vast and beautiful galaxy, sketching the stars into my sketchbook.

 

I loved space. Which is why living in a space station is practically the perfect home for me.

 

I know, I know. You’re going to yell at me for not elaborating on my circumstances. And you’re probably asking yourself questions like: Wait a minute…space station?

 

So, let me elaborate.

 

My name is Avery Alvaran. I’m fourteen years old. And I’m one of the residents on the Voyage Base.

 

 

 

          White. That’s all you ever see in this place: white bedsheets, white blanket, white shirts, white shoes, white pants, white skirts, white dresses, etc. etc.

 

          You get used to it after living here for so many years.

 

          One thing we still had up here: school. I hated school. I’m not stupid or anything like that, I can do the school work. Heck, I could have all advanced courses if I wanted to. I was just lazy, and I didn’t like doing the work.

 

          My best friend, Aurora (literally everyone just calls her Rory) was really smart – not as smart as Ezra, though – and sometimes she’ll do my homework just because she doesn’t want me to get in trouble.

 

          Don’t get the wrong idea, though. I’m not one of those “friends” that’ll string someone along just for their amusement or just because they’ll do whatever I say. I genuinely like Rory.

 

She was really nice, although when we were in a group of more than just me and Percy, she’ll get weird and leave. When Rory does that though, she doesn’t seem mad, she just drifts off and looks through her sea life books.

 

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, school.

 

School here was different than school on earth. Here, we had a teacher for kindergarten through second grade, one for third through fifth grade, one for what’s considered middle school (sixth through eighth), one for freshmen and sophomores, and another one for juniors and seniors.

 

There weren’t a lot of kids up here. So, my teacher only had to teach us freshmen and didn’t have to worry about teaching sophomores too.

 

“Good morning, Miss Alvaran,” Mr. Harrington greeted.

 

I only replied with a disinterested, “Yeah, hi.”

 

Ezra Coxand burst in, his longish auburn hair flying and his grayish eyes sparkling with excitement. “Good morning, Mr. Harrington. You’re looking lovely today.”

 

I rolled my eyes. Ezra Coxand had to be the most enthusiastic kid ever about school. It was mostly science, but he still had an exceptional I.Q. I should know, I used to be his best friend.

 

He spotted me and smirked. “Hello, Avery,” he said flirtatiously.

 

That one won him another eye roll. He was a huge flirt. But he really only flirted with me. It was very annoying.

 

“I’ve had a crush on Avery since the day we met, which was at age three,” Ezra continued.

 

Mr. Harrington chuckled, “And why is that, Ezra?”

 

Please don’t, Mr. Harrington. I thought. Don’t get him started.

 

“Well,” Ezra started. “She’s beautiful, she’s mysterious, like the night, and we used to be best friends.”

 

Gee, it sounded like he just described a young adult male love interest. “Used to be,” I reminded him.

 

“Today is going to be a great day!” A happy voice called from the hallway. Rory. She was the sweetest, most optimistic little bean. Rory burst in, her long, black hair flying out behind her as she ran to her desk next to mine.

 

“Why is it going to be a great day?” I whispered to her.

 

“Because I woke up, I got dressed, and I love everything,” she replied to me.

 

Sometimes, I wished she’d never change that part of herself.

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Branch: Lucian

Seems interesting. :) *settles into seat and looks up expectantly at Sarah Lucy for more*

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NAME:

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REFRD2AS:

Elf

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ISA:

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SONG:

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Elf-

 

Thanks!

 

Chapter 2

Rory Zhang

 

I loved the ocean.

 

          I was fascinated by everything down there. Unfortunately, I’m living up in space and not at the bottom of the ocean.

 

          I still loved it up here though.

 

          I was what you would call an optimist. I always tried to see the best in things. And I didn’t care that people considered me as weird. I like that. It meant I was different. That I was unique. Normal people are boring.

 

          Just because I liked being weird and optimistic, didn’t mean that I didn’t have problems too. I just tried to hide them.

 

 

 

          The Voyage Base was actually pretty cool when you thought about it. Just because we eat rehydrated food doesn’t mean that it can’t be cool up here.

 

          Avery, on the other hand, always complains about the food situation.

 

          “Look at this,” she said, poking at her food during lunch. “What the heck is this supposed to be?”

 

          “I think it’s supposed to be rehydrated chicken parmesan,” I told her.

 

          She took a bite of it and looked up, her long, wavy blonde hair shifting on her shoulders. “It tastes gross.”

 

          “C’mon,” I started. “Look at everything else up here, it’s beautiful. We even have a pool.”

 

          “Yeah, I guess,” Avery grumbled. “You know that there’s this really old movie that came out in like, 2016 or something.”

 

          My eyes widened, “That old?”

 

          She nodded. “And the food they have up in their space station is normal. At least it looks normal.”

 

          “Boy, did they get that wrong,” Ezra said behind us, sitting himself down at our table.

 

          Avery rolled her blue eyes. She really didn’t like Ezra. I never asked her why. I figured that when she wanted to tell me, she’d tell me. Maybe it was because he flirted with her so much.

 

          “What do you want?” She asked him.

 

          “I came to sit with my future girlfriend,” he said.

 

          Avery rolled her eyes again – something she did far too much around Ezra. “I am not your future girlfriend.”

 

          Ezra shrugged, “One day you will be, you’ll see. We’re already having lunch together.”

 

          “Because you sat with me!” She yelled. “I didn’t ask you to plop your butt down at my table!”

 

          All he did was smile at her. This was getting to the point where it was awkward for me – and making me nervous – so, I changed the subject.

 

          “What are you eating for lunch, Ezra?” I asked him.

 

          Avery glared at me with a look that said: Why are you talking to this annoying little ugly?

 

          I ignored her look and focused on Ezra.

 

          “Chicken teriyaki,” he replied. “I think.”

 

          “Hey,” Percy, Avery’s thirteen-year-old brother, said, sitting down in the last chair.

 

          Percy. He was aesthetically pleasing, I’ll admit that. I didn’t dare tell Avery that, though. I knew that the second she found out I thought her brother was cute, she would do everything she could to keep us apart from each other. I wouldn’t exactly call my feelings a crush.

 

          Who knows? Maybe I would end up having feelings for him like that one day.

 

          Avery and Ezra continued arguing, so I focused my attention on Percy.

 

          “How was class?” I asked him, fidgeting my thumbs under the table.

 

It wasn’t that I was nervous because of him. I was nervous because of the arguing sound around me, and because I now had to deal with more than two people at once.

 

He smiled, “Not bad. But what I really want to do, is burn something up here.”

 

Avery momentarily paused from arguing with Ezra and turned to look at her brother, “No. No, you are not burning something up here.”

 

“I don’t want to set this place on fire,” Percy explained. “I just want to see a fire in person.”

 

That made me nervous too. Fire. I hated fire. Back on earth, my mom had died in a fire and my older sister was constantly blaming herself for it because she hadn’t kept an eye on the fireplace. She ended up in a mental hospital because she went crazy. So now, it’s just my dad and me up here.

 

Little did I know that I’d have to face my fear of fire quicker than I had imagined.

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Branch: Ekaterina

*races to virtual kitchen and grabs popcorn * *races back and collapses on the floor* keep going!

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    Sally

 

HAMMOCFLAVORED DRINK FAMILY

 

I have loved you all for years, and I will never stop.

My friends, my family, stay awesome.

 

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Branch: Ekaterina

Sally-

 

Your wish is granted!

 

Chapter 3

Percy Alvaran

 

Rory and Avery were sitting on my sister’s bed.

 

          I liked Rory. A lot and was glad she and Avery were best friends. That means she was around a lot. She was pretty and smart and always saw the best in things. She got nervous a lot though. I didn’t know why. But I don’t think she knew why either.

 

          Anyway, I came into Avery’s room and grabbed some of her colored pencils off her desk.

 

          “Hey!” She yelled and got off her bed. “You’re supposed to knock.”

 

          I ignored her.

 

          “I’m serious, Percy!” she told me.

 

          “I just need to borrow these really quick,” She tried to grab my arm but I ran out of the room and closed my own door, so she couldn’t strangle me for taking her precious colored pencils.

 

          I admit, Avery was way better at art than I was. But, in my journal, I like drawing various drawings of fire.

 

          If you really look at it, fire can be all sorts of different colors. For example, a burning house will have more yellows and oranges, while I bonfire can have some blues and even some purples.

 

          I was fascinated by fire. I don’t know why, but I was. Although, if you looked through my journal, you’d probably think I was a psychopath because of all the fire drawings.

 

          “You have got to be kidding me.” I heard my sister groan from her room.

 

          “Just go,” Rory told her.

 

          I got up off my bed and pressed my ear to the wall, trying to listen in on their conversation.

 

          “Why?” Avery asked. “He probably just wants me to go out there, so he can try something.”

 

          “Avery,” Rory said. “He may flirt with you, but I don’t think he’d try to make a move without your consent. Besides, if he does, you can totally take him. He’s a tiny little bird.”

 

          “I’m still not going.”

 

          “Okay, I’m not going to make you, it’s your choice.”

 

          I chuckled and shook my head. They were probably talking about Ezra. He was my best friend, and he had the biggest crush on my sister. He flirted with her all the time. It was hilarious watching her grow more annoyed with him.

 

          I kind of remember them being best friends when they were younger, Avery doesn’t like to talk about that though.

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Chapter 4

Avery Alvaran

 

No, I told myself that night. You are not going out to meet Ezra just because he left you a note.

 

But it wasn’t just that. What had me doing this wasn’t because it was the scrawny little flirt who was three inches shorter than I was. It was because it was my former best friend. The kid Percy and I would hang out with when my mom was working (and my dad was out again).

 

That was why I was doing this.

 

I tiptoed out of my room and into the space station. It was eerily quiet at night. I have a whole list of things that are perfectly normal, but they creep the heck out of me. Stopped clocks were one of them. So was piano music playing in a place that is otherwise silent. Oh, and seeing someone’s light go off in their window, along with static in the air and everyone’s hair standing up.

 

But none of those will ever compare to my worst fear. Ever. But we’ll talk about that later.

 

I shook my head and forced myself not to think about that in the dark, empty space station.

 

          I found Ezra sitting at one of the tables in the eating area. He brightened when he saw me.

 

          “I didn’t think you’d come,” he whispered.

 

          “Yeah, I didn’t think I’d come either,” I retorted.

 

I winced because it came off as the normal sarcastic tone I have when speaking to him. The truth was, that I actually kind of liked this. Ezra was talking to me normally, not flirting, not spouting off some science thing, just talking to me, like he always used to.

 

          “Why did you give me that note?” I asked. “You know, to meet you out here at this hour.” I reached out, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, and pulled him close so that we were nose to nose.

 

          He grinned, “Well what have I done to deserve this display of affection?”

 

          I glared harder, “I swear Ezra Coxand that if you try to make any sort of move on me, you’re gonna get it, you hear me?”

 

          He started to giggle, “I wasn’t bringing you out here to try and kiss you or anything like that, although that would be nice.”

 

          I rolled my eyes.

 

          “I wanted to show you something,” he said.

 

          I let him go and stared at him quizzically, “What are you talking about?”

 

          He shook himself off, then motioned for me to follow him. We walked silently in the darkness. Eventually, he led me to the airlock.

 

          “Wait a minute,” I interrupted him before going any further. “You’re not taking us outside, are you?”

 

          He looked back at me and nodded, “My dad knows all the inner workings of this place. And I remembered that you love space, and how you’re always talking about how you’d love to go outside and see it for yourself.  So, I decided to ask my father about how it worked, pretending I was just asking questions for my own curiosity and now we’re here.”

 

          I could feel myself smiling – I couldn’t help it, I swear!

 

          “Here, put the suit on.” He handed me one of the space suits and I stepped into it.

 

          After we checked to see if the other had put it on right, Ezra opened the door, and we stepped outside into the vast space that is outer space.

 

          As much as I had read stories and drew pictures and admired space, this was the first time that I’ve been out in it. I never realized how amazing it was.

 

I stared, marveling at the stars until Ezra said, “You look more beautiful when you’re smiling. You should do it more often.”

 

He said it seriously, matter-of-factly. No trace of his usual flirtatiousness in what he just said. I don’t know why, but it made my face go warm.

 

I looked at him, “Oh really?” Then, I made my expression go from awed and smiling to a one-thousand-percent-done-with-everything-look.

 

He smirked this time, “You still look beautiful like that.”

 

I rolled my eyes.

 

Ezra looked down and said, “We should head inside now.”

 

I nodded and started to follow him back in except… “Hey, what’s that over there?”

 

I looked at it in confusion. Was it a rip? A hole? It looked like a giant cosmic spiral with a white hole in the middle of it. Wait a minute…

 

“Is that a…wormhole?” Ezra asked. Then, he got this big grin on his face and emitted a little squeal. “This is…this is amazing!”

 

“Ezra…” I started. “We should go inside. Look, it looks like it could suck you in.”

 

Ezra laughed. “You know, for someone who is fascinated by space, you really know nothing about wormholes.”

 

I raised an eyebrow at him, “What are you talking-”

 

Before I could finish my answer, a hand grabbed my arm and hauled Ezra and me inside. I looked up to whoever hauled us back in. It was Ezra’s father, Larrence Coxand.

 

“What were you doing out there?” He asked us, casting a pointed look towards Ezra.

 

“Sorry, Dad,” Ezra said.

 

Sorry, Dad doesn’t answer my question, but I guess we’ll deal with that later,” his father sighed and helped us take off the suits. “What’s that out there?”

 

“A wormhole,” Ezra replied, stepping out of his spacesuit.

 

Mr. Coxand’s eyes widened and he ran off to tell everyone.

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Chapter 5! *crickets chirp* Alrighty then...

 

Chapter 5

Ezra Coxand

 

The adults on the base were in pandemonium, they did just find a wormhole to another galaxy.

 

          Rory Zhang, Avery’s best friend, came rushing out of her living quarters. “What’s going on?” She asked us.

 

          “Well,” I explained. “The Voyage Base just passed through a theoretical passage through space-time that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe.”

 

          Rory stared at me with wide eyes like she genuinely didn’t understand this concept. “Also, please talk down to me.”

 

          Avery sighed, “A wormhole. We passed through a wormhole.”

 

          If you’re like Rory and don’t understand this right now, allow me to explain: Wormholes contain two mouths, with a throat connecting the two. The mouths would most likely be spheroidal. The throat might be a straight stretch, but it could also wind around, taking a longer path than a more conventional route might require. Think of a folded piece of paper, and then poke a pencil through it, basically like that.

 

          Rory nodded, still somewhat confused. “Wait- but, wormholes only exist in science fiction movies, right?”

 

          Avery shook her head, “I guess not.”

 

          Now my best friend came out of his living quarters and rubbed his eyes. “What is it?” Percy looked at Avery and me and sighed, “What did you guys do?”

 

          “Nothing. Calm down, Squirt,” Avery told him. “This thing that happened was out of our control.”

 

          Percy rolled his eyes that were a perfect match for Avery’s. “Okay, you don’t need to call me Squirt, I’m only a year younger than you are.”

 

          “Yeah, so?”

 

          He lowered his voice and leaned in closer, so Rory wouldn’t hear. I don’t think that she’d hear, either way, she had her hands over ears to muffle out the sounds of a bunch of adults shouting and barking orders. “Could you please not call me that in front of Rory?”

 

          She made her face into a pout and said sarcastically, “Aw, is it ruining your chances of ending up with my best friend?” Avery rolled her eyes, “She doesn’t even like you like that.”

 

          I didn’t think that was true. I saw the way she looked at Percy. She definitely liked him in that way, even if she didn’t know it.

 

          Their little quarrel stopped when my father clapped his hands together, signaling everyone to look at him. “People, people! This is a tremendous discovery, and we’re going to need a group of people to investigate this. Who’s with me?”

 

          Avery started to step forward, but my dad stopped her, “Not you.”

 

          She rolled her eyes again – she was the best at that – and groaned, “Oh, come on! Why?”

 

          “Because, you’re trouble, Alvaran,” my father said, pointing at her. “I don’t understand why my son has such a crush on you.”

 

          She walked back to us, grumbling and muttering under her breath.

 

          “It’s okay,” I whispered. “One day, he’ll come to appreciate his future daughter-in-law.”

 

          Avery groaned once again, and I heard Rory and Percy snickering.

 

          After my father had his team all assembled, Ms. Alvaran pulled her kids off to the side, and I heard her whispering to them, “Promise me that you won’t do anything stupid.”

 

          I heard them both mumble, “I promise.” But, I saw Avery with her fingers crossed behind her back.

 

          What was she up to?

 

          The two of them returned and Avery declared, “We’re going out there.”

 

          Both Rory and Percy’s eyes widened.

 

          “You literally just promised Mom that you wouldn’t do anything stupid!” Percy shouted, facepalming.

 

          Avery held up her crossed fingers, “Faked it.” She lowered her voice and said, “Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do.”

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Chapter Six

Rory Zhang

 

After Avery made us go pack a backpack with an extra change of clothes (and my favorite ocean book) in case this mission took a while, we were trying figure out how to get off the base.

 

          “We could always take one of the escape pods,” Ezra suggested.

 

          “Are you crazy?” Avery hissed. “Those things are tiny. One of those will never hold all four of us comfortably.”

 

          “Don’t you remember coming here?” Ezra shot back. “The spaceship wasn’t very comfortable either. Spaceships aren’t designed to be comfortable.” Ezra smirked, “Although, I wouldn’t exactly mind being in such confined spaces with you.”

 

          Avery rolled her eyes and gave Ezra a light shove.

 

          I shuddered just thinking about that trip. It was about five or six years ago, and it was terrible. Maybe it would’ve been fine if it was just my dad and me on the ship, but it wasn’t. There were like, seven people in that thing, and it was cramped, and they were all talking at once. On that trip, I was desperately wishing that I was one of the lucky residents who were able to get on the station before it took off into space, but no such luck. The station departed from Denver and I lived in California. On the bright side, the view was gorgeous on the way here.

 

          We were walking by the escape pods, so I was able to get a good look inside of them. Avery was right, they were tiny. There were only two chairs, and only one of the chairs were in front of the dashboard-like thing, the other one was off to the side. And the thing was circular, so it made it look even tinier. I thought they were cute, though. Petite. Perfect for only two people.

 

          “We’ll find some other way to get there.” Avery continued telling Ezra. “Maybe they’ll park this thing on some planet or something, and we can sneak off then.”

 

          “Yeah,” Percy said. “And maybe they won’t. This place isn’t exactly one that can just be parked like a car. Did you even think this plan through?”

 

          Avery was sheepish, “Well-”

 

          “But, Mr. Coxand, how will we get to one of the destinations?” I heard someone saying.

 

I guess they were wondering the same thing we were.

 

“Hide,” Percy hissed.

 

Ezra pulled Avery into one of the escape pods and ducked down inside. I thought that was a good idea, so I pulled Percy into the pod next to the one that Ezra and Avery were hiding in.

 

Thankfully, Mr. Coxand and the other guy didn’t see us hunkered down in the escape pod. I started breathing again and Percy stood up.

 

“Whew, that was close.” He leaned back against the dashboard and the door to the pod shut closed.

 

“What’s going on?” I asked.

 

Escape shuttle preparing for takeoff,” a voice in the pod said. “Please fasten your seatbelts.

 

Oh no. I didn’t want to shoot off into space in this thing. Especially not without my best friend. But, I also didn’t want to rattle around in this thing like a pinball, so I did sit down and fasten my seat belt.

 

Percy sat down in the driver’s seat and grinned, “Oh yeah! I’ve always wanted to drive one of these!”

 

I took a deep breath and cringed a little. I liked Percy, but I didn’t believe for one second that he knew at all how to drive one of these things.

 

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” I said.

 

Maybe he’ll figure it out, I told myself. It’s not like he’s stupid or anything, and the thing doesn’t look too hard to figure out.

 

          He turned to me and smirked, “Try to be a little more optimistic about this. You’re always so optimistic about everything else. Channel that into this.” And then we were off.

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Chapter Seven

Avery Alvaran

 

“Do you even know how to fly a ship like this?” Ezra had asked me as I settled into the driver’s seat of the pod.

 

          I had just looked back and said, “Of course I know how to drive this thing.” That was a lie. I didn’t know squat about how to work a ship like this. But I just kept my eyes on the “road” and tried my best.

 

          And I was not about to let Ezra think he was right about this (even if he was).

 

          “You’re supposed to-”

 

          “Shut up,” I hissed.

 

          Maybe I shouldn’t have shot down his advice because even though I was starting to understand how to at least keep it steady, I still couldn’t make heads or tails of this pod.

 

          He raised his hands up in mock surrender and continued to stare out the window.

 

          I know I talk smack about the stupid Voyage Base (see? I did it again) but there’s one thing I must give it: the view. It was a gorgeous view, and for a space lover like me, it’s perfect. At least, it should be.

 

          Ezra’s annoying little voice snapped me out of my trance staring at the stars, “Uh, Avery? Is the ship supposed to be beeping like that?”

 

          “Yes,” I lied.

 

          “I don’t think so,” he said. “According to my mom when it’s beeping like that, it means-”

 

          “What did I say about talking while I’m driving?”

 

          “Well, nothing but-”

 

          “But I implied it, so shut up.”

 

          Ezra pointed, “Well, I would brace myself because that planet is coming up pretty quickly.”

 

          “What?!” I looked at the dashboard, it was going haywire. I turned around and smacked him on the arm, “Why didn’t you tell me that the beeping wasn’t a good thing?”

 

          I know, I know. He tried. Don’t try to tell me that he did, because I knew very well that he did. It was just easier to blame someone else for this, and Percy wasn’t here, so…

 

          “I did!” He protested.

 

          Well, whether he told me or not, we going to crash, and soon.

 

          I don’t know what compelled me to do it, especially since he was being annoying as heck right now, but I abandoned the driver’s seat since I didn’t have a prayer of figuring out how to fix this pod and threw myself on top of Ezra – who was on the floor now – to protect him from the impact of the crash. Hey, he was still my ex-best friend and I wasn’t about to be responsible for his death. Being this close to him was a small price to pay to be able to sleep at night.

 

          He didn’t even smirk at me or make some flirtatious comment. He just stayed curled up on the floor.

 

          The impact broke the windows, and I felt the glass raining all around us. And then, I heard birds.

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Hello crickets! *cricket noise* My point exactly. Anyway, moving along with the story:

 

Chapter Eight

Percy Alvaran

 

I’m so getting the hang of this. I thought. Yeah, I’m completely getting the hang of this.

 

          Rory had been pretty quiet the whole ride, which I was kind of disappointed by. It’d never been just Rory and me. Sure, we’d hung out before, but Avery had always been with us, so we’d never been alone before. I wasn’t even sure what’d I’d do if we were ever alone. It wasn’t like I was gonna kiss her or anything.

 

          All of a sudden, Rory gasped excitedly and pointed out the window, “Look!”

 

          I followed her finger to where she was pointing, “What is that? It’s all blue.”

 

          She looked at me, grinning, “We should go check it out.”

 

          Finally. Some real planet exploration!

 

          I maneuvered the pod towards the blue planet. The more I saw of it the more I saw that it wasn’t just one blue. It was all different kind of it. Cerulean and aquamarine and turquoise (I remembered what Avery had said about those names for the colors not being interchangeable) all swimming around.

 

          “It’s so beautiful,” Rory breathed.

 

          I snuck a glance at her when she said this.

 

          “We should drive this pod into it,” I suggested.

 

          Rory’s grin got wider, and she nodded excitedly.

 

          I tried to press the button to go forward but the lady’s voice came on again and said, “To visit this planet, you will need to activate the submarine feature. Would you like to do that?

 

          “Why would this thing have a submarine feature?” I asked.

 

          Rory shrugged, “I don’t know.” She brightened, “Maybe it’s an aquatic planet! You know, like, a planet that’s all ocean.”

 

          “Well, let’s do it then.” I pushed the button that activated the submarine feature and drove it into the planet.

 

          It was no fire, but it was still pretty awesome. If you asked me to describe that old ancient city of Atlantis for you, this planet would be how I would describe it.

 

          There were different kinds of houses and stuff built specially for underwater, and they were all different colors too. Bright purples and pinks and oranges and blues. And the people. They looked crazy cool. They were like mermaids, but different than mermaids in the sense that their skin wasn’t a normal skin color, but a somewhat lighter version of their tails. And some were riding dolphins and giant seahorses.

 

          Looking at something like this I could see why Rory liked the ocean so much.

 

          Speaking of Rory, her reaction made everything ten times better. She was grinning from ear to ear, her dark brown eyes lit up with excitement. She was also murmuring ocean facts to herself, “Dolphins only sleep with like, half their brain and with one eye open so they can watch for predators.”

 

          “That’s really cool,” I said.

 

          She looked at me, kind of startled. “I’m sorry, I was talking to myself again, wasn’t I?”

 

          I nodded, “But…you don’t have to be sorry about it. That fact is really cool. Do you have any more that you could tell me…?”

 

          She grinned again and nodded, “Did you know that octopi have three hearts and their blood is blue?”

 

          I actually did know about the three hearts thing, from some really old movie, I think, but I had no idea about the blood thing.

 

          I was going to ask for another fact but then I felt our pod getting pulled until we were in some kind of parking garage and one of the mermaid thingies stepped into the light and stared at the pod.

 

          “Welcome,” it said. “To Aquatilium.”

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

I've been in such a writing slump with this story...even though I have it all outlined...

 

Chapter 9

Ezra Coxand

 

I opened my eyes to see Avery curled up on top of me. I had never been this close to her, it made my heart beat faster and I was almost certain that she heard it.

 

          I decided to shake off the nervousness and awkwardness of the whole situation, and smirk at her. “Well, well, alone at last.”

 

          Her eyes opened, and she rolled her eyes, “Yes, you are.” Then, she stood up and stepped through the opening that the broken glass had made.

 

          I got up off the ground as well, brushed off myself off, and walked out of the pod.

 

          As soon as I stepped out, my jaw dropped open. This planet looked exactly like earth! Before the destruction happened, of course. Well, I guess if we were in an alternate universe from the wormhole, it’d make sense that there’d be a planet that was almost exactly like earth. I wondered if there were any other planets in this universe that looked almost exactly like the standard planets in our own universe.

 

          “Woah,” Avery breathed. “Did the wormhole suck us into a dimension where the earth was never a disaster zone?”

 

          I shrugged. For once, I didn’t have the answer to it. “Maybe.”

 

          I’ll give you a slight recap of earth now: it got bad. Only the wealthy (my family) had enough money for food, the whole world was in a war, etc. That’s why we had to go up to the Voyage Base. I still don’t know how I feel about only certain people being able to go up on the base, but I try not to worry about that too much.

 

          “We should go exploring,” Avery suggested.

 

          I nodded, “Definitely.”

 

 

 

 

I could stay on this planet forever. I was fascinated by earth and how everything came to be. I never thought I’d be able to see Earth how it was supposed to be other than pictures. I mean, technically, I’m not on Earth, but this was the best I was going to get.

 

          We were wandering around in a large field surrounded by waterfalls when I tapped Avery on the shoulder.

 

          She turned around and raised an eyebrow at me.

 

          “Who’s that?” I pointed to a girl maybe around our age. She was tall, with long, brown hair that spilled down her back in unruly curls.

 

          “Do I look like I know?” Avery cupped her hands to her mouth and called out, “Hey!” When the girl turned around, Avery nodded, “Yeah, you! Come here!”

 

          The girl hesitated for a moment, but eventually rushed over to us. Now that she was standing right in front of us, I could get a good look at her.

 

She looked human, but there was something about her that made her look just a tad bit different than a human that I couldn’t put my finger on. Maybe it was her eyes were a just little too big and vibrant? Or her nose was a different shape than that of a human’s? I’m not sure, but there was something keeping me from fully saying that she was a normal human.

 

I know what you’re thinking: but people come in all shapes and sizes! True, but the differences in this girl weren’t like the typical differences of your average humans back on earth.

 

Before the girl could even speak, Avery peppered her with questions. “Who are you? What is this place? Why does it look so much like earth?”

 

The girl looked a little startled at first but then she sighed. “I’m Jen and this is Zeme.” Jen giggled and said, “You two aren’t from around here, are you?” Avery opened her mouth to protest but Jen stopped her, “You don’t exactly look like people on this planet.”

 

“People come in all shapes and sizes,” Avery said, tight-lipped.

 

Jen laughed this time, “Yeah, but you guys look really different.” She motioned for us to follow her, “Come with me. We’re gonna meet my family.”

 

 

 

Jen’s family was huge, and again, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what made them different. It was kind of unnerving, but at the same time, it was kind of fascinating.

 

          If it wasn’t morally wrong to study one of these creatures, I would.

 

          They offered us to stay with them, and Avery started to object, but I nudged her and whispered, “Where else would we go? Our ship is broken.”

 

          She rolled her eyes and sighed, “Yes, we would love to stay with you.”

 

          Jen’s mom grinned, “Great!” She motioned for Jen to stand next to her. “I’ll take the girl, and Jen, you can take the boy.”

 

          I followed Jen up the weirdly cool stairs and into one of the guest rooms.

 

          “This is where you’ll be staying,” she said, motioning for me to sit on the bed. “Hey, that girl you were with, is she your draudzene?”

 

          “Huh?”

 

          “You know,” Jen said, motioning her hands. “Your mate?”

 

          I grinned. Someone actually thought Avery and I were boyfriend and girlfriend! Well, Jen said mate, but same thing!

 

          So, I said yes. Is that so bad?

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Chapter Ten

Rory Zhang

 

Aquatilium was breathtaking (literally, since it was underwater).

 

          This would be my choice to live. I loved it here. It was all ocean. I’d stay here forever, except my best friend was still lost somewhere. Still, I could maybe stay here for a little while.

 

          The mermaid-alien that first greeted us, was Queen Syreni of this district. She had given us breathing masks and told us that the planet was carved up into six districts and that this one was the one where the mermaids lived.

 

          “Wait a minute,” Percy had said. “So, this is the only place on the whole planet that has mermaids?”

 

          Queen Syreni had nodded, “Correct. One of the other districts is home to the aquatic dragons and their king.”

 

          Percy’s eyes had lit up, “Really?” He had turned to me, “You think we can go check it out?”

 

          When I was about to give Percy an answer, Queen Syreni had shaken her head, “I’m sorry, but the dragons are very dangerous.”

 

          Percy’s shoulders had slumped, “Aww.”

 

          Aside from that, Queen Syreni was very beautiful. Her tail was a shimmering mix of all kinds of blues and purples, which matched her top perfectly. Her skin looked kind of like her tail, but much lighter. Although, it still shimmered like her tail. And her hair! It had blues and purples, and at the top, one streak of yellowish orange. She explained that all royal mermaids had that streak in their hair.

 

          I made a mental note to notice that when I saw other mermaids.

 

          Queen Syreni had some of her servants take Percy and me to some rooms where we’d be staying.

 

          Lily’s (the servant that was taking me) main color was pink. Her colors weren’t as vibrant as Queen Syreni’s, but they were still beautiful. And she didn’t have the orange streak in her hair, her hair started out a light pink at the top, and slowly descended into magenta.

 

          “We’ll be giving you a sort of makeover to make you look more like the people of this district,” Lily explained to me.

 

          My eyes widened. I was equal parts excited and nervous (I had a word for that, nervouscited). The mermaids were beautiful, but if you’ve ever seen a female mermaid, then you know what my problem is.

 

          I took a deep breath and told myself that it wouldn’t be too weird since all the female mermaids were like that.

 

          Lily managed to find a fake lavender tail for me to wear and pulled out a top that was the same color as the tail. And instead of dying my hair lavender (Dad would probably kill me if my hair had been dyed lavender), Lily put streaks of it in my hair. She also managed to put the oxygen supply of the breathing mask into the tail, so I wouldn’t suffocate and die.

 

          “I can’t tint your skin color, but you look alright,” she said and faced me to the mirror.

 

          I couldn’t believe it, I looked like a mermaid! Like in those fantasy books that I sometimes read. The top situation still kind of made me uncomfortable, but I told myself to just shake it off.

 

          “Do you like it?” Lily asked.

 

          I nodded, “Thank you.”

 

          Lily smiled, “No problem.” She motioned for me to follow her, “Let me show you to your room.”

 

          I swam behind her. (Do you know how fun it is to swim in these things?) Eventually, we got to my room, which looked exactly like how I’d imagine a mermaid’s room to look.

 

          After Lily had left, I heard a knock on the door.

 

          “Who is it?” I called.

 

          “Percy,” the voice called back.

 

          Oh no. I had sort of gotten used to it, but having a boy see me like this was beyond embarrassing.

 

          It’s just like wearing a swimsuit, I told myself. Percy’s seen you in a swimsuit before, right? Yeah, but not one of those swimsuits.

 

          Where did Lily put my regular clothes again? I couldn’t remember, for the life of me.

 

          “Uh, Rory, you okay?” Percy called.

 

          “Yeah, I just, uh…”

 

          The door opened, and Percy stepped in. The first thing he did was turn the color of a ripe tomato. Warmth met my cheeks and I just knew they were turning red. I looked down at my feet…well, the bottom of my tail.

 

          “Wow, uh, you look great,” he said.

 

          I looked up and smiled a little, “Thanks, uh, you too.” Looking up allowed me to get a better look at him. He was shirtless (which wasn’t a huge shock to me, since I had seen him that way when we’d go to the Voyage Base pool), with a fake orange tail, and orange streaks in his blond hair.

 

          “So,” he started. “Cool place, huh?”

 

          I nodded, “Yeah, it is.”

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Lucy

 

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Don't you forget about me