Chapter 1

Ava had seen the Earth blow up before her very eyes. The screen on the wall was so big that they could see it all in horrifying detail, unable to look away.

Keel and Jacii were both completely broken down, but both in completely different ways. Keel sat somberly, looking into nothing, retreating into himself. He just comforted Jacii and tried not to look extremely miserable.Jacii on the other hand had cried for days, until finally she became dehydrated and had to stop.

Ava had tried to feel something, but all she felt was a slight sadness and shock about what had happened, and the extreme excitement and anticipation of the new planet, Cahaya.

Where she was born.

Her excitement was only fueled by the visions of Cahaya in her dreams and daydreams. She never saw people though, only the planet itself.

It was beautiful, with lush vegetation and savannas. The water was clear and perfect, every island pristine.

The only scars on the planet were the random spots towards the middle that had nothing growing in them. Ava knew these were spots where radiation came up from the planet's core. The people thousands of years ago had learned to control the radiation and use it as energy.

As Ava had seen in her visions they had stopped on Mars, Guardis doing some unknown business, and Keel pretty much shocking the life out of the monster (which was called a Zacretarian) causing Guardis to suppress his and Jacii's powers, but not Ava's.

Two weeks into the trip supplies had started dwindling, and Guardis grew agitated.

Keel, Jacii, and Ava had gotten a "room" in the back of the ship behind some boxes and machines. They had blankets and pillows and all of their things, with wasn't much, because they weren't exactly at home or anything.

Jacii and Ava were playing mancala on the floor with some weird reddish-orange beans from Cahaya. They were called Vilos beans after the Cahayan that had first grew them. They made excellent marbles.

Keel sat next to them watching and occasionally helping Jacii with which bean pile to move. Jacii won every game.

"How do you know exactly what to do?" Ava asked, throwing up her hands.

Keel grinned which made Ava feel like the sun was coming up after the darkest day ever, and she mentally slapped herself. You are on an alien spaceship; this is not a good time to have a crush on a boy…

Keel started helping them reset the game. "I've always been good at strategy games."

"Yeah," Jacii interjected. "Not even Dad could beat him at chess…" Her smile fell and Keel grimaced.

Ava wondered how long it would be before either one of them could talk about their parents or sister again. Probably not for years.

"Well anyways," Ava said, breaking the silence. "Let's start a new game. And let Jacii play by herself please."

They played a few more games until Guardis walked in.

He walked in and towered over them, taking stock of their messy space. "I see you like making messes."

"We Earthlings are quite messy, yes." Keel said mockingly, flinging a bean dramatically over his shoulder.

Guardis glared at him. "In about a week we will arrive on the planet Calliope to resupply."

"How much longer until we get to Cahaya?" Jacii asked uncomfortably.

"With you brats? An eternity it will seem like." With that he strode from the room haughtily.

When he was gone, Ava sighed. "He needs some proper communication skills or something. We've been on here what? Two weeks?"

Keel leaned against the wall. "It takes two months to get from Earth to Cahaya."

Jacii made a heart with some beans. "How do you know that?"

"Did you overhear Guardis?" Ava asked.

Keel nodded. "Yeah, last night he was talking about it."

Ava got up and sat next to him, leaning up against the wall. "Another month? That's a long time."

"I wonder what Calliope looks like." Jacii thought aloud.

Ava smiled. "It probably is full of lava pits and snakes trying to eat us."

"Probably." Keel said. "I would think Guardis likes places like that."

"No kidding. He probably steals candy from babies." Ava said, cracking up.

Jacii sat in front of them. "That's not nice. Remember, my birthday is tomorrow."

Ava groaned inwardly. Jacii had been going on about it for a week after Guardis told them what date it was. Ava couldn't blame her though, turning ten was pretty important.

Keel rolled his eyes. "Yes, we know Jacii."

"Good," She replied. "Just because we are on an alien spaceship doesn't mean I won't turn ten."

"You are absolutely right." Ava said sadly.