Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ipomoea #4

"We’re going to die,” Rizzo groaned.

“We’re all going to die,” Sabrina replied.

“No, I meant soon.”

“We will be fine. Cardy and Robot will realize something is wrong and come look for us.”

“In an hour, those terraforming charges go off. The atmosphere gets warmer, the ice melts, and we plunge into a newly created ocean.”

“We don’t know that. The planet may be all land and all the water will pool into a basin or something.”

“I wish I could be that optimistic,” Rizzo said. “Where do you get that from? Neither Mom or Dad were like that.”

“Mom had her moments but I think I get it from Aunt Sonja. She was eternally optimistic. Even about the cancer that eventually killed her,” Sabrina said. “You should take the officer’s exam.”

“Me? Why?”

“Well, for one thing, you wouldn’t be trapped on this planet waiting to die.”

“No. But I would be dead.”

“Good point,” Sabrina nodded. “Still, you should take it. You’re smart and you actually know how stuff works.”

“A guy like me isn’t going to become an officer,” Rizzo scoffed. “I didn’t go to college.”

“But you know how these terraforming things work. I’m not saying you become a colonel or commander but officer, private, corporal at least.”

“Did you know that my career and life planning teacher called me a failure?”

“No,” Sabrina gasped slightly. “Ms. Segundis? Why?”

“I don’t know. What would cause any teacher to say that to one of their students?”

“I know that you had problems in school. I didn’t really know how bad it was,” Sabrina said.

“I nearly dropped out but my hatred of Assistant Principal Stokeler made me stay.”

“Stokeley was an ass. What’d he do to upset you?”

“I was doing bad in, like, all my classes. He called me in to talk to me about my grades and attendance and asked me what I wanted to do after graduation. I said ‘circus roustabout’ and instead of encouraging me to aim higher, he spoke down to me and encouraged me to get out of the way so the other kids could learn.”

“That seems harsh,” Sabrina said. “Wait, you said ‘circus roustabout’ despite being in high school after the Ferris Wheel Massacre and Great Clown Uprising destroyed the circus industry?”

“It was a joke.”

“What did you want to do?”

“I was 17. I didn’t really know. Maybe a musician,” he shrugged.

“You don’t know how to play an instrument,” Sabrina responded.

“Yes, I know that, Mr. Stokeley.”

“Just so you know, it wasn’t easy being your younger sister in high school. Teachers dreaded me being in their class and I had to constantly keep proving myself. Even when they knew that I was nothing like you, they still treated me like Lester.”

“I’m 27 now and if Mr. Stokeley asked me what I wanted to be now I still wouldn’t have any idea,” Rizzo said. “Then I’d punch him in the face.”

Sabrina let a loud laugh escape. “So how’d you end up here?” she asked. “It’s not because you wanted to look out for me and it’s not because of Lisa Yates.”

Rizzo sighed. “Remember when I was dating Nicole?”

“Yeah, you really loved each other. When you two broke up, it was really a surprise.”

“Not to me. She had this friend that she would constantly talk to and I always joked that they might as well date and Nicole always reassured me that they were just friends. Then one day, Nicole wrote me a letter that Ryan was shipping out and that she was going with him and they were getting married.”

“We all thought that you were going to marry her. We all really liked her.”

“I liked her, too. So I wandered around for a bit and when you were going to ship out, I decided to do the same thing that Nicole did. Ship out with you.”

“I’m not marrying you, Lester,” Sabrina rolled her eyes.

“You’ll cave someday,” Rizzo said. “By the way, guess who Ryan worked for?”

“Oh my God. Really? Did he work for us?”

“Different ship but yeah. He actually has your job.”

“So you became what you hate.”

“So much hate. I honestly hope that Nicole and Ryan’s ship goes through a wormhole and that they aren’t off-ship,” Rizzo said. “Was high school really that hard for you?”

“It wasn’t terrible. It got tiring constantly being compared to you. And I got compared to you on everything. Even hair.”

Rizzo thought for a second about his hair. His hair back in high school was long and stringy. Her hair was long but taken care of. “Is that why you shaved your head your junior year?”

“I didn’t shave my head. I cut off all of my hair. There’s a difference.”

Thoooom! What sounded like an explosion shook the Blue Dwarf.

“Well, we’re boned,” Rizzo exclaimed.

“At least we’re spending our last moments together as a family. Who else in our situation could say that?”

“Who else has ended up in our situation?”

Orion III?” Sabrina said.

Orion III,” Rizzo scoffed. “Duh, I want to send a bunch of people to die on a mission to Mars because it will prove how amazing of a president I am,” he mocked. “Idiot,” he scoffed again.

“Yeah, they’re in here,” Cardy said, coming into the hold. Robot followed behind.

“Cardy,” both Rizzo and Sabrina exclaimed. She ran up to hug him.

“No time for thanks, right now. Those charges are going off. We need to get back to the ship.”

The four of them loaded themselves into Blue Dwarf III and quickly pulled away from the ground and into the air. As Rizzo and Sabrina looked out to where the Blue Dwarf I was, the land underneath split open but the ship remained. Thunderstorms were starting to form and soon--maybe in a few thousand years--life would form.