Escape Velocity

As Human Civilisation reaches further out to the stars, the first 12 'Habitats' are launched, each with a population in the thousands. Ericeta is one of the last to board the newest of the Habitats - Haverdine - before launch.


2. Dakenile

Chapter 2 - Dakenile

I felt myself trembling, just two minutes to lift off, I glanced to my left to see an older man, relaxed and smiling. He seemed too carefree, no sign of nerves at all. I became suddenly self-conscious of my own shaking, I tried to sit still and appear unafraid but I could not prevent my unrest from showing. I jumped as I felt the man’s hand on mine, gripping firmly onto my trembling fingers. I jerked my head around to see his gentle smile.

“First time?” he asked, knowingly. I nodded, looking down, ashamed at my cowardice.

“Ah, don’t fret, I was the same my first trip, it’s only natural. What’s your name?” He spoke with a strong Irish accent; it was encouraging to hear something as terrestrial as an accent just as I left everything I knew.


“Dakenile, nice to meet you” I looked up and saw him watching me with bright emerald eyes, his face was weathered, betraying his previous trips beyond the comfort of home. I suddenly felt incredibly inadequate, this man has been through so much more than I could ever experience, and he was the one smiling. I felt a chill in my hand and realised that Dakenile had let go and turned away from me, realising I've been staring at him for quite some time now, I turn away as well.

"You better get ready, we're launching." He said, not even glancing my way. I felt the low rumble of the primitive solid fuel rockets igniting. Blue lights flashed on the walls, indicating a successful start-up sequence. The tension in my limbs as the craft began to lift caused me to grip painfully on my harness. Then the G-force hit, I felt it slam into my back like a train, my head snapped back and hit the headrest, dazing me for a second. I glanced over to see Dakenile, focussing on something on the wall. I tried to do the same but couldn't distract myself from the immense force being exerted on me as we climbed. How far had we come? I couldn't quite see out of the small window to my right, I tried to lean forward to look but found my body pinned to the seat. I began to panic, realising I was unable to move. I began to breathe rapidly, feeling claustrophobic like never before, my vision blurs, my surroundings darkening rapidly.

My body is suddenly released from the Earth's imprisonment. A sudden sense of freedom overwhelmed me as my vision returned, but only for a moment, as my vision was again obscured, this time by tears. Were they tears of joy? Relief? Pain? I don't know, but I know that I felt all of those things.  

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