The first year ended in a blink of an eye, Leah, Vivek and Colin were sat hidden behind the sofa trying to keep quiet in the darkness, three others were scattered about the room hiding in, under and behind various items of furniture all holding their breaths. Then doors of the station slid open, and someone flipped the lights on.
“Suprise!” The waiting trio leaping from behind the sofa, one from a cupboard, another from behind an armchair and the last banged his head on the table. They pulled party poppers and grinned widely at the shocked faces of Jason and Sarah who had entered the crew lounge holding a piece of paper each.
“My word!” Sarah exclaimed shooting looks of disdain at the collection of cadets.
“Nice, nice, nice” On the other hands Jason pulled out gun fingers and pow pow pow’ed at the collection of excitable teammates.
“Congratulations” Colin nodded at the two and handed Sarah a champaign flute.
“Thanks,” she took it and rested against the door frame.
“It’s time to party!” Jason clapped Cain one of the second years on the back, and they headed to a table with an assortment of snacks and drinks covering it.
“What’s your training assignment?” Colin asked Sarah as the others clamoured around the alcohol.
“The Star Singer she’s heading out next week to start exploring section seventeen.” She had a sparkle in her eyes.
“At last an opportunity to really get out there.”
“I know I can’t wait.”
“Yeah” Colin frowned as he said it and followed it up with a sigh.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get your chance soon enough, and you’ll get some new members for your crew as well!” She gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder and headed to the party. Colin joined them, the festivities were rambunctious. They resulted in a desperate need for rehydration and recovery in the morning.
A week later, they saw off Jason and Sarah as they took a shuttle to their futures.
“Stop looking so glum they said we’d see them again,” Vivek said while he stood his spoon upright in the custard. They were sat in a large canteen, a colossal viewscreen covered one wall projecting a beautiful picture of the gas giant outside of the station, gorgeous purple clouds swirled into pools of inky blackness, dashes of white clouds swirled to join them. The planet was called Melara, and the Home station leisurely orbited her.
“Yeah, they said that but space is pretty big, and there’s no guarantee they’ll have to come back at the end of the year right?” Leah said, stabbing her drink carton with a straw.
“You know I think there is something very wrong with custard that can support a spoon” Vivek waved his hand up and down the spoon as though he were a presenter on a late-night advert channel showing off a fake gold necklace. Colin’s frown broke, and he smirked.
“You’re all right, we should just get to the matter at hand, besides we get our rookies next week, right?”
“I wonder what they’ll be like” Leha tilted her head back drink flopping around in the air propped up by the straw in her mouth.
“I wonder which one will be sick bag!” Vivek waved his hand around the still upright spoon as though he was performing a sequence of magic tricks. He then looked up a sudden look of worry, “On of them will throw up, right?”
Colin laughed, and Leah exhaled blowing the carton into the sky and almost swallowing the straw at the same time, the three of them were in fits of giggles.
“Well if it isn’t the F crew. Look lads it’s the losers!” A collection of uptight looking students looked down at them.
“Hey Walker, what you doing here I thought you had to visit the zoo,” Vivek asked the lad in that had initiated the document.
“What, why?” He looked confused and unsure as to if he should be offended.
“Yeah, didn’t’ you need to visit your parents.” Leah propped her chin on her hand and glared at the group.
“What he’s saying is your parents are animals.” Colin spelt it out for Walker who at that moment exploded in rage, grabbing Vivek by the collar.
Colin leapt across the table and grabbed Walker’s collar in return. Walkers mates turned to join the fray, Leah was already up, fists ready and poised in a powerful stance.
“How about you let him go, or I’ll put you in the medbay for a month” Colin growled.
“Nice threat Earther.”
“It’s no threat, it’s a promise, I’ll count to five.”
“Hey, no need.” Walked let go and backed off.
Vivek performed an imitation of Walker’s mother to which Walked leapt at him, but Colin was between the two. Walker bounced off his chest. Walker hadn’t neglected the physical aspect of adventuring before he joined the Space Adventures training guild that had only redoubled since he had. Walker packed off again.
“Gobby losers can give it, but the second they get a bit back they get upset.” Vivek leant back.
“Hmm?” Vivek and Leah looked at Colin, who had custard all over his coveralls. They pointed and laughed. He glared at Vivek.
“This is your fault.” Vivek got up and bolted, Colin in hot pursuit, they raced through the corridors, lobbies and, other rooms of the station. Despite his looks, Vivek was lightning quick, and it took all his efforts to keep up, Vivek bolted past an intersection. Then someone walked out into it, looking in the direction Vivek was running in. Colin started trying to stop, but he was going flat out, he yelled, and the person looked around at him.
A loud curfuffle, he’d rolled around the girl in civilian clothes she followed him down, and he placed himself so that his body would take the brunt of both impacts. A second past and he was laying on the ground a girl on top of him, a note of familiarity about the whole scenario, a moment later and the girl was stood up and facing him, roars of laughter from Vivek who had stopped to see the cause of the noises. The girl’s eyes burnt wit smouldering rage. Cain and Lina looked down at him and at the girl, another shorter girl behind the two of them.
“You!” The girl in civilian clothes pointed at him, he instinctively pointed at himself.
“Me?” He thought something was striking about her besides her good looks.
“Smooth introduction Colin,” Lina said, looking down at him.
“Again!” She was shaking with exacerbated rage.
“Again?” Now he was flummoxed.
“Yes, You, again!” She leant down with impressive speed and dragged him to his feet by the scruff of his neck until he was towering over her, feet still on the ground but only just.
“Oh. It’s you!” He dropped a clenched fist down on the palm of his other hand.
“I never did thank you for that morning.”
“Ah no need, free service.”
“You, what, ooooo, You’re insufferable!” She let him go and backed up.
“Deep breaths now, we can’t have you hyperventilating after all this excitement.”
“I’ll” her whole body shook with rage.
“I take it this is some kind of a reunion?” Cain asked. Her head snapped to look at him, and for a moment it looked like she was going to explode at him as well. Lina looked expectantly.
“I bumped into her near the end of school, I think she’s been stalking me since.” He grinned. Vivek clapped somewhere behind him the intense giggling and laughter mixed with desperate ragged breaths.
“Names’ Colin. The Hyena is Vivek and the lass staring holes in you there is Leah, guessing your one of our new team members.” He offered her his hand. She was paralysed with a seething rage.
“There’s no point being mad with idiots,” Lina said with a smile and a shrug.
“I’m Case,” the girl behind Lina and Cain said. Colin waved.
“Sorry about the rowdy introduction Case, welcome to the crew.” Colin smiled and nodded, then looked at the stalker. Who looked down a moment breathed deeply and then looked back up at him, then she scrunched up her brown in confusion and looked back down at him and acknowledged the fact he was covered in some kind of sticky yellow goo. Lina also did the same and then leant silently to the other side and looked at the girls back. The girl watched her, abject horror on her face as Lina straightened back up. Pursed her lips and lit out a hmm.
“I think we should get you both cleaned up.” Lina declared.
“What the hell is it!” She was about to jump on him and rips his eyeballs out.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Colin smirked, and the hyena exploded with laughter once more.
She really did look like she was about to kill him. Lina stuck a finger out, rubbed a patch and then stuck her finger back in her mouth. She suddenly had an awkward look on her face eyes wide, lips slightly sucked back into her mouth.
“What is it!?” Almost in tears.
“Custard,” Colin said, unwilling to take a joke far enough that a girl would burst out in tears.
“Yeah, it’s why I was chasing Vivek.”
“Why are you always running around uncontrollably?” She turned to look at him.
“If I recall you were the one that decided to chase me.”
“That’s not the point.”
“Isn’t it? If you’d not of fallen for my irresistible charms you wouldn’t have been forced to chase me that day so wouldn’t have had to stand there with buckets in your hand.”
“This is fascinating, I didn’t know one team could get so many idiots,” Cain muttered to himself. Cries of laughter from Vivek in the background.
“Please, you’re going to kill me.” He wiped a flood of tears from his eyes, and his nose was running.
“I don’t think idiots can die from laughing” Cain looked down at him.
“Are you sure?” Vivek wiped another tear and snorted a moment.
“God, I hope I’m wrong.” Cain ran his hand through his gelled hair.