Updated: May 19, 2021
I watched as the Journeyman walked down the aisle checking the different cells occasionally pressing a button outside the cell that would dispense more food or water. He made his way all the way down and then disappeared behind two automatic doors, the air hissing as the hydraulics snapped the doors closed behind him. I sat down on the floor of my cell looking at my now full water dispenser counting the bubbles gurgling up to the surface. One.... two, three, four... five. I was bored. And completely in the dark as to where this damn craft was taking us. I could feel the gentle rumble of the engines vibrating the floor beneath me as it had for the last two days. Wherever we were headed, it was far.
I would figure that out soon enough, and tried not to dwell too long on it. My boredom on the other hand was something I would never stop trying to cure. I tried doing push-ups and yoga stretches. I found a microscopic thread that was hanging from the hem of my suit leg, I plucked it and tried to see if I could tie it into a knot. My fingers proved to be too big and clumsy. While it did help kill a solid amount of time, I ended up throwing the thread to the floor in frustration. I stood up and went back to the door of my cell gazing out. Another Journeyman making his rounds, dispensing water, checking on the cells. I looked across the aisle at the cell in front of mine and was greeted by two large round golden eyes. I stared, waiting for the eyes to blink or look away but neither happened.
"What are you in for?" I finally broke the silence but got no response.
"Hello!" I shouted.
A bright white light flashed in my cell, and a woman's voice sounded over the speaker "Speaking is prohibited between prisoners. Please follow all rules and regulations during your journey for the safety of yourself and others. Thank you!" Her voice was meant to be calming, but I just found her annoying. I rolled my eyes and then looked back at the cell across from me. But the eyes had disappeared and left only an empty window.
Dammit, now what? I thought. If this journey to where ever the hell we were going was going to take much longer, I might just die.
I cocked my head, holding my breath, waiting to see if I'd actually heard that.
I did! I ran back to the window and searched for the source. The cell window next to Golden Eyes' cell was filled with a pale face and two almond shaped eyes. She waved at me and lifted her face to reveal a big toothy smile.
"Hi there," she whispered.
"Hi!" I strained to keep my volume low but I was bursting with excitement. I hadn't spoken to anyone in days, let alone an attractive anyone.
"The big brute next door doesn't talk much. He's ya know... crazy," she emphasized that last word and then crossed her eyes and giggled.
Her laughter was contagious and I tried to stifle my own chuckle.
"Why are you here?"
"I'm not exactly sure. I got busted, and the judge said I myself was crazy. Or wait, the exact term was 'not fit for social integration at risk of public safety'," crossing my eyes stuck out my tongue. A sorry attempt to hear her adorable giggle again. Mission accomplished.
"Well, of course you're crazy, silly. We all are! Otherwise, we wouldn't be here," she whispered motioning to our current surroundings.
The hissing of the automatic doors cut into the conversation, and we both snapped our mouths shut and stepped away from our windows. I heard the slow footsteps of the guard as he made his way down the aisle, occasionally checking cells and clicking buttons. I waited until I heard the hiss of the doors, signifying his leave before I returned to my window.
"What do you mean? What is this place?" I asked.
"You don't know?" Her eyes widened. "Poor baby," she cooed. I preferred the flirtatious giggles to the baby voice, but beggars can't be choosers.
"This is the Crazy Ship. All the outcasts, psychos, and degenerates from aaaaaall over get put on this ship and then zoom! They take us far far away and drop us off. Then zoom! they go back home and we're stuck," she shrugged her shoulders and stared at me.
My mouth was slack as I tried to fully process what she was saying. "Wait wait wait.... they just leave us somewhere? Where?"
"Yep. Oh I don't know. I heard someone mention the name once, but I can't remember. Errt? Hurt, maybe? Hold on, it'll come to me," her brows furrowed and her eyes disappeared as she lowered her head, suddenly lost in thought.
I waited patiently, staring at the top of her head through her window, not able to fully understand her mumblings.
I couldn't wait anymore. "Hello!"
Her eyes came back into view. "Hey!" I saw her eyes squint with a smile.
Okay, maybe she was crazy.
"Whats the name of the place we're going?!"
"Oh, I can't remember. Hey, have you ever heard of a Baer?" "A what?" I was struggling to keep up with her, especially since my own train of thought was still stopped at the 'where the fuck am I going?' station.
"A Baer! I can't remember where they're from, but apparently they're these enormous furry creatures with big sharp teeth and claws! They're supposed to be docile and sweet, but when messed with can be a real danger. Crazy, huh?"
"I mean, sure. I guess."
She then motioned to the cell next to her, Golden Eyes' cell.
"That's what you-know-who is!" she whispered.
I stared at the empty window where the golden eyes once looked back at me. A Baer? That's obviously a whole other species from somewhere I'd never even heard of. How many other species were on this ship? If what Crazy Girl was saying was true, they were going to drop us all off and abandon us. How many of these species were dangerous?
"Hey, do you know why he's here? Is he the docile and sweet kind of Baer, or is he, ya know, dangerous?"
She shrugged again. "Dunno. He doesn't talk. I think there's a good chance that that's why he's here. Defective, ya know?"
Great! A ship full of crazy and or defective species heading to some unknown location to all live together. Or maybe it'll just be complete chaos and as soon as they push us all off the ship, we'll kill each other. Maybe that's their plan, send us social rejects to some shit hole, where we'll die or be killed. Relieving them of the burden of our existence. Whelp, I wasn't going to get too discouraged just yet. I'd had it rough my whole life and came out on top always. Or at least not the bottom. Who's to say everyone else on this ship isn't just like me anyhow? Just all misunderstood and slightly mischievous. Yeah, that's probably more the case. I bet we all hit it off just fine. End up being one big family, even!
"Hey! I just remembered something! About where we're going," she had her face pressed all the way up to the window and her cheeks were smooshing her mouth into a comical pout.
"Yeah?" I asked, hoping for some good news so I could continue adding to my pipe dream of a happy ending.
"Yeah! Apparently, it's some weird place really far away. It's got mountains, oceans, land, everything! Can you believe it? All in one place! Anyways, it's completely uninhabited, probably because of how far away it is but it can sustain life."
"Well, that's good," my voice trailing off as I try to picture a place with all of those things. It must be massive!
"Yeah! And apparently, they've been taking the whackos and rejects there for a real long time! Like a really long time. Imagine how many that is!" Her mouth was still puckered but her eyes were wide and rapidly blinking at me with excitement.
"Wow. This place doesn't sound all that bad, actually."
She shook her head. "No, I think it's going to be wonderful. I can't wait to be around so many different species. Nobody who's going to call me crazy or weird. Won't that be nice? Hey! Have you ever heard of a Dog?"
I hadn't. But I was too busy imagining living in a world filled with no judgement. How can you be an outcast among outcasts? She was right. This could be a wonderful thing. A fresh start.
"Oh! Oh! I just remembered the name!"
I leaned in as far as I could. "What is it?"
Her eyes wide, she said it slow and full of awe "Earth."