An Extraordinary Vehicle

Solar solar-blast

Published on September 22nd, 2012 | by Solar Blast


5. A test and a collision

The moment I read about the OddRocket and Moon Mission 3, I knew I’d found my future. Staring at the flat screen in the library reading about the lost books in the universe, the continual buzzing in my mind silenced and I felt this clarity, this purpose that told me that I’d discovered an extraordinary vehicle for my life. The OddRocket was my ticket off the family farm.

In secret I filled out the online application, submitted a physical and completed a series of rigorous strength and agility tests while some skinny white coated woman named Loretta took notes. After every test I got a letter allowing me to progress to the next phase of the selection process and I never told a soul.

Finally it came down to one last test. “The evaluation and summation of all things scientific and valuable pertaining to the maintenance, management and the co-existence of living organisms, dark stranger concentrate and anti-matter in space.”

Seemed to me to be a lot of fancy words for saying I needed to know what was out there and how to survive. Also, the test sure asked a lot of questions about moon rocks. Brushing up on lunar geology had taken a thirty minute read by flashlight sitting in the barn. One speed read through and every detail seared into my memory like a brand on cow’s hide.

Sitting in the exam room, I tapped my pencil against my teeth day dreaming for the millionth time about what it would be like to finally leave home, stomach churning when I thought of telling Mom and Dad the truth about my dreams.

“Excuse me,” a girl with bright blue hair sitting in front of me turned, raising an eyebrow. “Do you mind cutting down the racket?”

My pencil. Clicking. My Teeth. Oh Geeze. Oh Gosh. “Sorry,” I whispered, smiling. “Nerves. My bad, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. It’s just this thing I do sometimes, it’s like ratta tatta tat….” My voice trailed up under the heat of her stare. Her eyes were as bright as her hair.

“And she’s still talking,” she dead-panned.

“Sorry,” I whispered. “Really. I am.”

Teeth gritted she turned away, I heard her mumbling under her breath but couldn’t make out the words. I hoped I didn’t end up hurtling through space with her, she hadn’t even cracked a smile, like she’d never had a nervous day in her life. Must be nice being all cool and smart with crackling blue hair and hip red leather ankle boots that looked like they cost more than Dad’s green tractor.

I wouldn’t be rattled. I couldn’t fail, not when I was so close. Mr. Anonymous recruiter was going to find out that I was one of the best and the brightest. Me. Solar Blast from Perry Iowa, home of the best sweet potatoe pie and prize winning corn bread.

I returned to my bubble test zipping through the answers again. Cross checking every one making sure I hadn’t moved too fast. I’d gotten them all right.

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