By Kai Ellis
I frown as the comet passes the window. Outside the stars twinkle lazily, small white dots on an infinite black canvas.
My father used to say they looked like fireflies, some creature of the past. Ben stands next to me, tracing patterns in between a series of small dots on the window. Ben is the Captain’s son and thus has learned all about the stars and the “great” voyage of the starship. My father was a farmer; he grew up on earth in a place called The Netherlands and talked about it frequently. I was born on the ship, and I have never seen earth, and if Ben is to be believed, we won’t arrive at Alpha Centauri before we die.
I hate the ship. Ben and I have explored every nook and cranny and done all there is to do. We’ve played Blitzball a thousand times, read half the books in the library, and learned how to grow all of the plants in the fields. At the moment we were hiding in the water recycling facility, skipping school. I had never had the desire for school, since I knew my future was in the fields, and Ben had always felt a need to explore and hated stuffiness the classroom.
A meteor whizzes by the window snapping me out of my thoughts.
“Whoa,” Ben exclaims, tracing its movement with his head.
“How can you still get excited about those rocks?” Ben looks over at me and smiles.
“Because they are all unique, and even after 15 years, I still feel like I could watch them forever,” he says excitedly.
“What are those dots?” I ask.
“Nope.” I look between the dots, checking for some pattern or series. Ben laughs and motions for me to sit down on one of the pipes. Looking back at the window, I suddenly notice that each star is about an inch from a corresponding marking. “I placed a dot above each star I could see in order to mark the passage of time and distance,” he explained.
“How long ago?”
“About a year ago now, and despite the fact that we hurtle forward at thousands of miles an hour, the stars have only moved an inch,” he said.
“That’s depressing, I said”
“No. It’s amazing,” he insisted.