The Terra Core

Follow the adventures of a group of young men and women as they try to tame the final frontier.

This story will contain scenes of sexual and violent natures, so read at your own risk.

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13. R & R

None of us in our little group had been given the chance to explore the ship in any detail so far, yet the first Saturday of our voyage arrived and with it, our first day off!

What did the entire dorm do that morning? We slept in.

Some of us slept easier than others. Miguel's snoring ensured I woke up pretty early- when I checked my watch it was 8.23am. Far too early. I tried to go back to sleep, but slumber eluded me. That happens when your room mate makes frightened bull noises every few seconds.

I quietly got out my tablet, and set it to record sound. I didn't know when I'd be able to prank Miguel, but for his terrifying snoring, I would find a way.

I yawned, stretched, felt something go 'ping' in my back, yelped a little in pain, then eased myself out of bed.

I tossed on the first pair of jeans I could find and pulled on an old t-shirt- my 'piano' t-shirt. Was it black and white- or white and black? No one knew!

When I got into the living room I noticed I wasn't the only person there. A couple of other guys were fiddling with their tablets or eating breakfast, so I quickly darted to the bathroom. Never waste an opportunity to pee.

Upon returning to the living room I discovered Carla was in the kitchen, making herself a big bowl of choco hoops. My hankering was for scrambled egg with bacon, but I really wasn't sure if I wanted to share the kitchen with Carla.

I think it was my imagination, but the red top she'd pulled on looked even tighter than her previous efforts. Short denim jeans completed the tantalising image.

If only the attitude matched the appearance. She looked at me with that strange expression of hers- was she going to be friendly or difficult this morning?

"Hello Adrian." She said coolly.

"Hello." I replied as I opened the fridge. I found a couple of nice big eggs and set about hunting for a bowl to mix them in.

"So what do you have planned for today?" She asked as she sat down with her cereal.

I retrieved a bowl from the cupboard and took a fork from the drawer. "Nothing. Just gonna explore the ship."

"I hear they have a lot of shops and entertainment on board." Carla was spooning mouthfuls of hoops into her mouth between sentences. "Cinema, bowling, tennis, music, loads of stuff."

"Yeah, should be fun." My eggs were starting to look scrambled, so now I moved on to finding some bacon.

"I was going to suggest we explore it together." Carla remarked. "But after last night I figure you wouldn't want to."

That annoyed me for some reason. "What makes you think that?" Aha! Bacon!

"You were getting pretty chummy with Kameyo last night." She sounded irked.

"What?" I turned around. "I was talking to her, yeah- I talked to a few people last night."

"Not me though."

"Yeah, well, you could have joined us at any time, besides you were spending most of your timeI br with Francis so I figured you were happy."

Carla looked at me. "You don't understand women do you?"

I bridled. "What is it you want from me? One minute you're nice, the next cold. All I'm doing is talking to new people and trying to make friends."

Carla sighed. "I want your attention. I thought that was obvious last night."

It wasn't obvious. Not to me at least. I turned back to what I was doing and popped my bacon into the frying pan I'd found.

"Look, I don't mind hanging out. But what are you wanting me to be? We barely know each other!"

She got up and put a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and looked at her, face to face.

"Adrian, you've got a dark side. You've got something the rest of these guys don't have. That makes you interesting, different. I've always liked that. What I don't like is being ignored." Carla took my left hand and placed it in her right hand. "Most of all, I don't like being on my own. I've had that happen too often."

I wanted to ask her why she'd been blowing hot and cold, but I already knew that was a baaad question to ask a girl. I'd asked it once of Chloe and she'd huffed and told me I didn't 'get' her. Chloe's face popped into my head and I felt guilty for even considering taking things further with Carla.

I very much didn't want to be lonely myself. I missed Chloe. I missed my mom. We were all a little lonely, even if we were making friends and bonding with each other. But Carla was brash and coarse half the time. She also thought I had a dark side. I didn't, at least, I didn't think of it that way. I had a... an accidently-ruined-my-life side that I regretted.

"Carla... I really don't think I'm that interesting. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and..." She kissed me and grabbed my butt. I heard the bacon sizzling in the pan and my first thought was to save it before it burned. An odd thought to have when a gorgeous babe starts kissing you.

When she broke the kiss Carla placed a hand on my face. "You are interesting Adrian. More than you might think. Eat your breakfast then lets go."

"Go where?" I asked.

"Anywhere! Lets go catch a film, or something."

"Ok, sure." I hurriedly scooped my bacon and eggs onto a plate and wolfed them down.

We were just leaving to properly explore the ship when the door to my room opened and Miguel walked out, yawning. He caught sight of the two of us and winked at me. I wanted to evaporate.

****

Carla had with her one of the little maps that had been handed out during Orientation. The corridors also held little information points- computers that you could ask for directions- and it wasn't long before we found the ship's cine complex.

It was a bit like being back home- the movie theatre had so much going for it! Cotton candy, sweets, cola, popcorn- it was all here.

It was also busy. People from other teams were here in droves- the bustling leisure areas of the ship were filled with shops, games arcades, even an art museum! I honestly can't recount the sheer number of activities available to us.

Carla was dragging me to the theatre. "I want to see if they have Dream Weavers." Great, a weird trippy 'is it real or not' film. I've never liked those.

Still, if it would keep her happy and 'on side' so to speak, then I'd watch it. Though Embarrassing Animals, billed as one of the funniest films of the year, was on. Hopefully it would stick around.

"I wonder if we have to pay for the tickets." Mused Carla as we got to the back of the queue.

"I think any activities we do get deducted automatically from our salary- I can see an eye scanner up ahead, that's probably how they know which salary to take the cash from."

"I can think of a few activities they can't deduct." Carla gave me a grin.

I gave her a smile back but I wasn't sure if I felt it. My head was a bit of a mess.

"We need popcorn too, and drinks." Carla was looking at me expectantly. I realised I was meant to pay.

"Ok, once we have the tickets I'll get us some stuff to eat and drink."

"Thanks." Carla flicked away some hair from her face and hooked her arm around mine. She shot me a dazzling smile.

I noticed some of the other guys were shooting me jealous looks. I guess they couldn't believe I'd scored a girl like Carla. I hadn't thought of it like that. None of them knew what she was like so their jealousy was a little misplaced.

The queue wound down and I paid for both tickets, one jumbo popcorn (toffee flavour, it had to be toffee, that was my gift to myself) and two large colas.

I didn't find the film to be as bad as I expected. I won't spoil the plot but it had one or two unexpected twists (and one that was obvious). Carla held on to me for nearly the entire movie and I think I spotted a tear slip down her cheek at the end.

Afterward we took a slow walk toward the shopping mall. Carla was looking at the floor more than anything else, and seemed oddly pensive.

"Is everything ok?" I asked.

Silence prevailed for a moment. We walked past a couple of clothes shops.

"I used to go to the cinema all the time as a kid. My dad would take me and my younger brother. I always looked forward to it. Up until the day my daddy walked out on us and never came back."

I have to admit, my heart ached a little. My dad had been murdered, but if he were alive I know he'd never have left us.

"The day he left, we were meant to be going to the cinema. My brother and I were looking forward to it, as always. He came down stairs, dragging a suitcase..." Her voice wavered for a moment. When it returned it was filled with cold fury.

"He didn't even look at us. He just marched out of the door, got in his groundcar and sped off. He didn't even bother to get in contact with us till last year. I was so pissed that I deleted his messages."

"I'm sorry." I couldn't think of anything else to say.

"It turned out he'd met another woman. When my mum gave him the choice- the other woman or us- he chose her. He abandoned his children for some... whore! I never want to speak to him again."

She stopped our forward motion and turned to look at me. "Thank you Adrian, for being with me. Since my daddy left me, I've... I've had a tough time. I got into trouble at school. I mixed with the wrong crowd a few times. Got involved with a few bad boys. I knew I shouldn't have but I felt so... pissed with the world." Tears welled up in her eyes. "I'm sorry, you lost your dad, I shouldn't load all this off on you..."

"It's alright." I said. "I don't mind. I'm... glad you trust me enough to tell me." I was genuinely glad. After all, I'd trusted her- albeit accidentally- with a dark secret of my own.

"Lets grab something to eat. I feel better after food, and I can see the golden arches. My treat." Carla gave me another smile- the warmest one yet- and off we went in search of fast food, feeling a little bonded.

 

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