25: Tears (part 1)

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25.1 Monotony

Roosa Section, the Moon: 30 May 2128

"Ellie," Rick shouted.

"Rick, where are you?"

Then Ellie's eyes opened and she groaned. Another damned dream.

She sat up too quickly and nearly bounced out of the bed.

"Damn this gravity," she moaned, and started to stand, hand outstretched to the wall for support. She felt slightly sick, and her hand immediately went to her belly. She hadn't told anyone about the baby – she was still unconvinced it really existed.

Detecting motion, the room light came on, and the cramped box she was forced to call 'home' became illuminated. She checked the time – 07:43 local – at least they kept to a normal 24-hour clock, and it hadn't been too far out from the one in London.

She dressed and went out into the corridor. All the doors along it looked the same, though names had been hastily scrawled on many of them alongside the numbers. Jenny's was next to hers followed by Long, Matty, Holls and then Phil. His door opened just as she was about to push the buzzer.

"Breakfast?" he said, yawning. She nodded, though she wasn't really in the mood for food.

She followed him up, down and around the underground warrens. His frame bobbed and weaved as he went, and sometimes reaching out a hand to the wall to steady himself. She was hardly any more proficient, and the constant changes in direction made her feel dizzy. It was like trying to walk on the bottom of a swimming pool as well as being nothing like that at all. A lot of the time they spent trying not to crash into the locals who seemed to swim along effortlessly.

At least Phil had managed to get the hang of finding his way around the Roosa area of Lussac using his navpad, a device they'd all been issued with. She hadn't felt the motivation to explore.

They reached one of the larger rooms used for meals. She wasn't sure if it was the same one they had met the others in yesterday or not. Everything looked identical – the rooms, the corridors, the people – a uniform starkness of decor. She looked about the place – many of the NewGen were starting to blend in, mainly due to having been issued with clothing identical to that worn by the locals.

Spotting Jenny and Long, Phil led the way over to their table.

"How on Earth do they stand it?" she whispered, sitting down.

"What?" Long said.

"All this – this, oh I don't know. This – this lack of variation."

"Well, they don't stand it on Earth," Long replied, grinning. "It's the Moon."

"Shut up," Ellie snarled.

Long made a face, picked up the menu and pretended to read it.

Ellie was as annoyed with herself as much as with the others. They seemed to accept all this, maybe they were even enjoying it, despite the monotony.

"They say we may not get back to Earth for years," Jenny said.

"Who's 'they'?" Ellie snapped. "And what gives them the right to say that?"

Long sighed. "Ellie, 'they' are the ones providing a roof over our heads, letting us breathe their air, trying to help us adapt despite the reluctance of certain people."

Ellie glared at him, but he continued, "We're here because Rick brought us here, because he decided we were safer here. And, looking at that," he pointed a thumb back over his shoulder at the wall screen showing a live feed of satellite views of the Earth, "proves he was right. You want to be back on that hell?"

Long locked his gaze on her. She returned it, hard and uncompromising.

"Hey, give her a break," Phil said.

"Sorry, Phil," Long sighed, "but she's been doing nothing but moping since, well, you know..."

"Since we last saw Rick," Phil finished.

"I'm not hungry," Ellie said, standing and starting towards the exit.

Phil got to his feet. "I'd better make sure she doesn't get lost. She hasn't even tried to use the navpad they gave her."

Long and Jenny glanced at each other and shrugged.


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