Piercing the predawn haze with ease, the brilliant red light of Alpha Centauri A splayed across Alex's wall, momentarily intruding on his slumber. The already bright light was magnified by the material in the windowsill that looked like glass. Unlike glass, however, it had withstood years of punishment that by all means should have destroyed it, but instead caused it to defiantly curve ever so slightly inwards, as if daring him to give it his worst. While not much to look at, it had the effect of magnifying the light directly into Alex's face every morning, which he wrote off as the window's well earned revenge for years of abuse. The white-yellow hue of the wall became orange under the star's light, which was just as well since Alex had tried every method conceivable to alter what he thought to be the most repulsive color in existence. The smattering of furniture (mostly covered with stray pieces of equiptment and discarded cloathing) was relitively plain, as the only function the furniture regularly preformed was to have things placed on it. Since Alex had been able to chose the colors of his furniture, at least, he had opted for a dark blue, which was a sharp contrast to the furniture in his sister's room. The latter was even at this moment radiating an eye-blistering pink. Alex's bed matched the furniture, and he stirred slightly under the dark blue sheets. He opened his eyes, but quickly shut them again when he was rewarded by an eyeful of invading light. Groaning slightly, he attempted to sit up, but decided to abort halfway though, deciding it was far too much effort. Instead, he lay glaring at the light, carefully weighing the pros and cons of moving any further. Pros included watching the sunrise, having an early breakfast, and going for a jog, all before having to check in with the lab. Cons where the fact that doing any of those required energy, he had no desire to watch the sunrise whatsoever, he wasn't especially hungry, and he despised jogging with a fiery passion. With the dilemma solved, he rolled over and stabbed his finger in proximity of the shade button, hitting buttons in charge of turning on three lights, turning on the shower, and activating an intercom to the basement before hitting the right one. After the shade snapped over the window, rudely evicting the morning light from the room, he turned off most of the devices he has activated by accident and dropped his head back onto the pillow.

"I may not have any self discipline, but I get an extra two hours to sleep in," he muttered to himself before descending again into sleep. Exactly five minutes later, the ugliest alarm clock in the entire colony, perched beside Alex's bed like a hideously obnoxious bug, began shrieking in a buzzing tone that was fit to implode eardrums. The wretched device was an antique, one which his parents had a particular relationship with. While they didn't want it within a mile of their room, they where perfectly inclined to bestow its presence on their son. And if that wasn't insult enough, the status of "antique" apparently meant that anyone who so much as scratched it would meet an untimely end. This was the only thing that saved it from the numerous deaths Alex dreamed for it.

Not that this particularly mattered, seeing as, as far as Alex could tell, the device was completely indestructible. He had knocked it over numerous times over the years, at first accidentally and then experimentally. He had even, at one point, threw a wrench at it, but to his dismay the wrench ended up with a scratch and the clock was infuriatingly undamaged. This morning, he silenced it with a professionally executed karate chop, and the device thrashed its self off with a ringing gurgle. Although he had no idea why he had set the damned thing for the unholy hour of 6:30 (let alone set it at all), he surrendered to the elements conspiring to pry him out of bed. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, and covers slipped down to reveal that he had gone to bed fully clothed, as he always did. Simple pants and a t-shirt, dark, loose fitting, and faded, made up what had become his uniform. People had a difficult time recognizing him in anything other then his faded black attire, and although he chose to shock them occasionally by wearing eye-scalding colors, for the most part he rarely changed in appearance. He rose with a grunt and carefully picked his way through the potentially lethal mess that littered the floor of his room to the closet. The steel doors of the closet were closed and secured with a metal bar through both handles. Even so, they bulged dangerously outwards, belying the sheer volume of things too old or worn out to be useful yet with too many memories attached to throw away. Anything put in was immediately swallowed and wouldn't appear for years later. Anyone opening it would suffer a similar fate. He instead reached into the mass of clothing in the "clean" heap, and changed into an almost identical outfit, tossing the old clothes into the half of the room the dirty clothes mostly lived. Like most of the pants he owned, there was a thin pouch on the side of the right leg, though nobody knew what exactly for. He snagged a formidable looking wrench from his desk and sheathed it in its familiar position in the pouch. He had taken to carrying the wrench simply because he felt he should be doing something with the pouch, and because he often used it while he worked at the lab. Of course, wrenches were rarely needed at the lab, and he had only used it in the capacity it was meant for twice. The rest of the time it became an all purpose bludgeoning tool with which he hit uncooperative machines or jammed valves. Since he wasn't old enough to hold a full time position at the lab, he was officially being mentored, however he did a lot more learning and a lot less of the janitorial work typically delegated to others in his position. Another benefit of the wrench was it made people around him nervous and less inclined to assign him to sweeping floors, as most of them had seen him beating the hell out of one computer or another at some point. Not that he would ever attack someone with it, but they didn't know that.

With everything in order, he strode out the door to his room, which parted to accommodate him, and entered the kitchen. Since most cooking in his family was left automated, he didn't have to strategically search for the food which took the least amount of time and effort to make, but instead was faced with the decision of which meal to select on the small display which controlled the kitchen. His mother had made a recommendation, which showed in red text that was larger then the other options, of orange juice, oatmeal, toast, and eggs. Alex selected Macaroni and cheese with a side of ice cream. The machine informed him of its displeasure with an angry beep and a message informing him that wasn't allowed. Alex hit it with the wrench. After several minutes of similar negotiating, the machine compromised and allowed the macaroni on the condition he take the orange juice too. Alex agreed, collected the food from the dispenser, and brained the computer with the wrench one more time for good measure before marching towards the door. He chugged the orange juice, inhaled the macaroni, and left the containers on the counter before punching in the code on the main door and stepping into the Novan sunlight. The star had cleared the horizon, and the red had become a lighter orange, which it would remain until sunset. The light was more orange then the light of earth's sun, and the air was thinner, but otherwise the day was indistinguishable from any day on earth. The gravity was a little heavier as well, though everyone here had long since gotten used to it. A frigid breeze from the east warred with a balmy one from the south for control of the climate, the east threatening to bring snow and the south rain. There were no seasons, like on earth, because Novus had no wobble in it's orbit. Depending on the wind and the position of the two stars, you were equally likely to wake up to sun or a snowstorm. It made life interesting. Alex strode to the transportation terminal, and punched in his destination, the lab. On earth they still used individual vehicles for transportation, which, to someone from Novus, was insane. There was never a traffic jam on Novus, and no one was ever late for anything unless by their own fault. Public transportation was the preferred mode of travel, and the world had been planned for and around it. Large magnetic tubes had been placed below ground, with small two person crafts that were publicly available stored in hubs and transport terminals. Every terminal had one or two of the spherical crafts available, and if more were required, a simple push of a button would call another. Each transport terminal connected to a magnetized tube, which connected to a hub, which in turn connected to an even larger tube. These tubes went everywhere and anywhere, and the entire system was controlled by computers to ensure there were never any collisions. Since the tubes and the spheres both had a positive charge, they repelled each other. That way, the spheres needed no propulsion of their own, they were repelled by all sides of the tubes they traveled through, and simply floated in midair when no other force was applied to them. When they needed to go somewhere, however, a magnetic surge was applied to the tube behind them which pushed the sphere down the tube at shocking speeds. The same method, only in front of the sphere, was applied while stopping. As a result, the cities of Novus caused little effect on the local ecosystems. There were no streets, except what was required for walking. Cities were built around the local environment, pollution was kept to an almost nonexistent level. Novans had built their world to last, learning from the mistakes of earth and taking advantage of their ability to plan their new world.

Alex stepped into a sphere, sealing the door behind him and climbing into one of the well upholstered seats. As the docking clamps released with a click, the sphere moved slowly to the entrance of the tube, hesitated for a moment, and then shot through the opening. The ride would be short, as the lab was only a few kilometers away, but he called up the local news on the craft's small computer screen as it sped towards the lab. He sighed as he read the news from earth, which was pretty much the same as it had been for months. After the colonies had been established, and billions of adventurous souls moved off world, a new majority had taken over. They tended to be intensely conservative, extremely religious, and utterly adverse to space exploration. Since the new colonies where in space, their existence only served to make them grumpier about the entire situation. Luckily, any action they would have taken was prevented: the party was split. Half wanted to isolate themselves from the colony worlds entirely, which would have suited the colony worlds just fine. The other half felt the colonies needed to be either brought under complete control of earth, or eliminated. Needless to say, none of the worlds involved particularly wanted the latter agenda recognized, but it seemed increasingly likely. Members of the isolationist faction were shifting ever so steadily towards the ideals of the more radical faction, who had taken to calling themselves "The Pure". Today yet another senator had gone over to their side, tipping the balance ever so slightly. It wouldn't be long until it all came down. Alex frowned as he read the report, but before he could give it much thought, the sphere slowed and the proximity alarmed chimed politely, informing him that his destination was near. He waited as the sphere cruised to a stop, and then docked next to the main building of Cythlic Laboratories. He stepped out onto the terminal, shutting the hatch behind him and leaving the news report glowing on the screen.