A Pilot in the MakingChapter 1: First Steps
Jamil looked up at the huge doors looming ahead of him. The massive entrance was intimidating, a sign of the future. This would be the last door he would walk through before he headed outwards on his adventure. It would be the start of a new life, or many if the stories were true. He turned his head and looked back towards his family. He saw his sister, Keshia, smiling at him behind the barrier. She’d supported him in his decision even if his parents hadn’t been too keen. He gave a wave back to her and to his parents who stood beside her then turned and started to walk. The doors were massive and he felt tiny as he walked between them. He glanced left and right and saw fellow sign-ups beside him. One in particular caught his eye.
Jamil drifted in her direction as they walked up the ramps towards the loading area. “Hi there” he said once he was next to her “my name’s Jamil”.
She looked over to him, gave him a quick once over, “Anya” she responded with a smile.
“Caille?” he asked simply.
“Yea” she laughed “how’d you know?”
“You look about as lost as I do” Jamil replied smiling.
They talked about the journey to come. It turned out not only were they both destined for the University, they had both signed up for the same training; Pilot school. Like Jamil, she had never left the surface of their home planet. As they strapped themselves down in the hold of the Imicus and waited to leave they looked over at each other and exchanged a knowing glance. The territory ahead of them was unknown, but they wouldn’t have to explore it alone.
The pilot’s voice came over the intercom. “Welcome aboard the University of Caille Imicus class frigate, New Horizons. We’ll be leaving the planet in a few minutes and headed out to the school Headquarters around Bourynes VII. The journey should be quite pleasant once we’re in space and I encourage you all to enjoy the view. Make sure you’re strapped in and please, keep your heads back in their rests. You’ll be more prone to inertia back there in the hold and we don’t want any injuries. Okay ladies and gentlemen that’s us been cleared to launch, enjoy the ride”
With that Jamil felt a shudder as the engines of the frigate fired and it started to climb into the sky above. It was a slow descent through the atmosphere as like most star ships it wasn’t designed for atmospheric flight. That became more evident when they hit a spot of turbulence. The irony hit Jamil that thousands of years after the Gallenteans had discovered interstellar travel, they still hadn’t stopped turbulence.
It was a few minutes before they cleared the atmosphere and started the cruise through space. It took them a while to move far enough from the planet to engage the warp drive. Due to its very design it couldn’t be operated near large gravitational bodies. The passengers, Jamil included, took the time to take a look down at their home planet through the view ports. The lighting dipped suddenly and the ship began to shudder. Then there was a small boom (synthesised by the ship’s computer Jamil discovered later) and the planet quickly receded into the distance. In the blink of an eye the world which he had called home for 20 years of his life had disappeared.
A few minutes later there was another shudder, this time more prolonged, as the ship started to decelerate. The pilot’s voice came over the intercom again announcing that they had reached the first jump gate. He advised everyone who had not experienced an interstellar jump not to be alarmed and that the strange feeling of ‘going down the plughole’ was normal. Jamil and Anya looked at each other in confusion. ‘Going down the plughole’ what did that mean? They found out soon enough. He knew it when it hit him. He felt like his whole body was simply falling away from him, falling though a central point somewhere. He closed his eyes and laid back, starting to enjoy the sensation, when it suddenly stopped. Opening his eyes again Jamil saw that the sky out the view ports had changed. There was no doubt in his mind they had travelled a long way. The various nebulae outside had changed positions, shapes and colours.
For a third time the pilot’s voice came over the intercom. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you enjoyed that jump as there are several more to follow before we reach our destination.” Jamil leaned back in his chair and smiled. He was going to enjoy being an interstellar pilot.
Note: This is the first part of a series i'm planning on writing. Constructive criticism is welcomed. Either post here or email [email protected]