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Planet Eos

This is it.

After the years of training, it’s all going pay off. At least that’s what they tell me.

“Do you think you’re ready?” I ask Stephanie in a hushed voice, trying not to break the silence. Everyone else is waiting in nervous anticipation.

“I hope so,” she replies, turning around, “If not, well, there isn’t much I can do about that now.”

Chuckling, I say “You’re right, I feel the same.”

She gives me a nervous smile.

The hallway we’re standing in is all white and well lit. I’m third in line, and there’s dozens of kids behind me. Stephanie is directly in front of me, along with a boy. At the end of the hallway is a white room, visible through a large glass window. To the right of the window is a door, leading inside. The room is empty aside for a machine and single chair. A woman enters, dressed in white as well. She has bright blue eyes and blonde hair, tucked into a ponytail. She faces us through the window, wearing a headset. I hear a beep and the intercom sounds, shamelessly piercing that heavy silence.

“Good morning registrants, would student A-1 please step forward.”

The boy at the front exhales and approaches the door, his footsteps echoing down the hallway. He’s around 15 years old with brown hair and eyes. He turns and takes one last look,

“Bye guys”

“Bye” Stephanie and I both say.

I never really knew him all that well, but his name is Max. Max takes a deep breathe, forces a grin and enters the room, trying to be brave. The door closes silently behind him. He sits down in the chair, robotically, like he isn’t really there, and the woman talks with him for a while. I can’t tell what they’re saying, he looks puzzled, but after awhile he gets a relieved look on his face and the woman is smiling. Readily he hands her his arm and she produces a needle from a case in her pocket. The woman injects Max, and he slumps in the chair.

“Hey, that’s weird, he was supposed to follow procedure,” I say to Stephanie.

“Hmm, maybe he chickened out or something,” she replies.

“I don’t think that’s even an option at this point” I say, frowning.

Mutely another woman and two men enter the room. The woman is carrying a box, and the men wheel in what looks like a large bullet, but really it’s some sort of spacecraft. She presses a button on the shuttle and the interior opens up. The men lower Max inside, closing it after him, along with the box. They wheel him out of the room and disappear. We all know where he’s going.

The intercom sounds again,

“Would student A-2 please step forward.”

“Guess that’s me,” says Stephanie in a small voice. Her eyes are wide with fear. She gives me a hug.

“I’ll miss you Aaron.”

“I’ll miss you too... Stephanie?” I ask.

“What?”

“Try to remember, see you soon.”

This brings tears to her eyes. Wordlessly she wipes them and then enters the room, closing the door behind her. I feel an ache as I watch her go. I will in fact see her shortly, but we won’t recognize each other. We were very good friends. This time the woman motions her towards the machine, it looks similar to what I’ve seen eye doctors use. She sits down and they talk too, although it doesn’t take as long as it did for Max. The woman holds a device over Stephanie’s arm and words begin to materialize on her wrist. She says something and Stephanie nods her head. Turning towards the machine, she rests her chin on the brace and the woman straps her in. We make eye contact, she looks scared, and then they begin. The center of the machine begins to glow. A bright light flashes into Stephanie’s eyes, her body convulses and then goes limp. The servant and men re-enter the room with a new shuttle, and box. They lower Stephanie in with her package and take her away.

“Good bye,” I whisper.

I hear a beep. It’s the intercom.

“Would student A-3 please step forward.”

Now it’s my turn.

----------

My heart leaps and starts pumping at full speed, and I feel a tightness in my chest. Those primal instincts of terror start to consume me, but there’s no where to run. Taking a few forced breathes, I turn around and take one last look behind me, nodding to Rebecca. She’ll be next. In total there’s 240 of us, all aged 14 to 17. I’ve been with these people ever since I was a baby, some of my best friends. I’ve trained with them, laughed with them and cried with them my whole life but now, that will all be lost to me. I don’t want to follow through with this. Recomposing myself I enter the room. The door seals shut behind me.

The woman greets me in rather a monotone voice, “Good morning Student A-3.”

“Good morning,” I say, “Mrs…”

“Lisa,” she says, “you can call me Lisa, please sit down.” I do.

“Now, let’s get down to business, as you know, the human species as a whole is dying. The alien race we call the Ungovernable have all but decimated our entire population, we are some of the last humans left.”

I nod.

“That’s where you come in, you are the council’s last resort. For your whole life you’ve been training to restart civilization. We have found a new home for humans, deep in space, where you will be able to live safely. This place is called planet Eos,” she says.

“You have all specialized in different areas so that when working together, you will make a functioning society.”

“I know that much,” I say, “Sorry to interupt, but why do we need our memories wiped? It just doesn’t seem necessary.” Even though it doesn’t really matter at this point, I feel that I deserve to know.

She pauses for a moment, collecting her thoughts.

“That is a good question, with a good answer. Memory wipe is necessary for several reasons. If we didn’t wipe your minds, when you would arrive to Eos you would all be living in fear of the Ungovernable. You would yearn for your previous lives in luxury, where you had access to all kinds of different technologies, your chances for survival would greatly diminish. As you know, in the past 100 years, humans have been warring to the point where only a third of our population was left alive, after that the Ungovernable just cleared the scene. Humans need a clean slate from the violence, if you brought all this trouble with you to Eos, it would be anarchy and you would turn against each other. Thats why we can’t have you remembering your previous lives, we don’t want you missing the world you left, and holding the grudges of your ancestors.”

I take a deep breathe, even though she’s right, I wish she wasn’t.

“So will we remember nothing?” I ask, “Will we even know how to talk?”

“The technology we have here won’t completely wipe your minds, you will know how to talk and how to perform tasks, but you will forget everything about your previous life.”

“Ok, how is this all going to work? What’s the plan?” I ask.

“Right then, after you fall unconscious, you will receive your own shuttle. In 24 hours we will launch you to Eos, right off this spaceship. Your journey will take about a month, but you won’t wake up until you arrive. You will all receive your own packages that will include instructions on what to do and necessary tools to perform your roles,” she says, “We are also going to put a temporary tattoo on your arm that will last for three days after your arrival, it will tell you your name, where you are and to go find Max.”

“That’s just it!” I exclaim. “Why Max? Why didn’t he get his mind wiped?”

“Someone has to remember Aaron, someone who won’t tell anyone else, Max has proven that he is that person,” she says. “We don’t want the previous era of humanity to be lost, but, at least in the beginning, not everyone can know about it. Before Max dies he will pass that information onto someone else. With time, the truth may be revealed to everyone. Max also has another role to fulfill. When you first arrive, you will all be like children who have lost their mother, not knowing what to do or who you are. At first Max will guide you, get you on your feet and then the leaders will take control.”

“Who will take the role of leader?” I ask. I know Raph will want that position.

“You and Stephanie have shown exceptional leadership skills, you have been chosen to lead the others together.”

“Wow! Thank you!” I blurt out. I guess I have a lot to live up to.

“Don’t thank me,” she says. “You proved yourself. Do you have any more questions?”

“Yes, I have two, will you be monitoring us when we’re on Eos, and what happens if the Ungovernable do find us?” I ask.

She sighs. “Under normal circumstances, we would be monitoring you, but, we have picked up a foreign signal, an Ungovernable ship has found us and is coming our way, we won’t be able to escape, and you’ll be on your own. Originally we had planned to send you at least when you’re full grown, but we don’t have that kind of time anymore. As for them finding you, upon previous exploration of Eos, the council has added a cloaking device to the planet, a new technology that will be able to hide all of Eos from even the best of the Ungovernable’s devices. Eos is relatively small compared to earth, so adding the machinery was quite possible, the only glitch is that Max will have to activate it when he gets there.”

“So if all goes well, we will live in safety for years on end.”

“That is correct, now, are you ready?” She asks.

“Yes,” I say, trying to convince myself.

She holds the tattoo device over my arm and the words begin to appear. Even though it seems everything has been planned out, I can admit that I’m nervous. I rest my chin on the brace and stare into the machine as she straps me in.

“Good luck with that Ungovernable ship,” I say.

“Thank you. There isn’t much hope for us, but that’s not important, so long as we get you to Eos.”

She begins to count down and the light starts to glow in the center. I take a deep breathe and try to silence my frantic thoughts. There’s no going back now.

“Five.”

I always wondered who my parents were, I guess I’ll never know.

“Four.”

The light is getting bigger, I’m starting to shake. Do I really want to do this?

“Three.”

I suppose this will be a bit like dying, at least to my old self.

“Two.”

The light gets so bright I can’t bear it, my body is starting to convulse. This is it...

“One.”

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