Chapter 1

The sprawling metropolis of Roshanah was quiet as I gazed over the city in the very early morning from the high-rise apartment that housed the city's political figures. I lived on the top floor, as my father, Jacob Valen, is the head representative of Roshanah. Roshanah is the largest city out of three on planet Genesis, so my father acted as representative for the entire colony. Humans colonized Genesis just fifty years ago, and established three cities. Eden and Cordolia were not nearly as successful as Roshanah, but both cities have a substantial population and have important responsibilities to ensure the success of the colony.

The reason I am awake at this ungodly hour was to wait for my mother Liliana to come home from business on Earth. I decided that I would go ahead and dress while I waited for my mother to come home. Genesis is very humid and sunny, so we usually dress in short, loose robes and light sandals. After I finished dressing and I brushed out my long, brown hair, I heard the front door open and close.

"Mother!" I exclaimed as I jumped on my mother to hug her.

"Meredith! How are you, my darling?" my mother asked as she returned my tight hug.

"Lots better now that you're home," I replied.

Mother just laughed and asked, "Is your father still asleep?"

"Yes. He said he wanted to be awake when you came home, but he had a meeting today."

"Fine, fine. Since you're already awake, how would you like to see a show with me? I'm sure something good is playing in the theater," my mother questioned.

"Really? What should we go see?"

My mother smiled, "Whatever you would like."

My mother and I left our large our apartment and headed towards the all-hour theater. The all-hour theater showed plays and motion pictures at all hours, without the use of human labour. The theater was run by machines during the night with a few human workers in the day. We spent a few hours in the theater watching sappy dramas and comedies.

Afterwards, we decided to grab a late breakfast and do some morning shopping. I loved to be with my mother. She was always with me when my father couldn't be, which was a lot.

When we were back at the apartment, in the afternoon, I found my father packing his bags in the his bedroom.

"What are you doing, father?" I asked confused.

"Meredith! Liliana, welcome home, dear! I am needed on Earth. It's very important. It's about the war," my father said grimly.

I understood. There must have been a turning point in the war if my father was called so urgently. Humans are locked in a terrible war with the Fahk'rii, the race of aliens that lived in the Karana system. We met the Fahk'rii about five years after we established the colony. They were friendly, but wary, when we first met. A deadly dispute between the two races about the colonization of Genesis began a bloody war between us. The war is currently at a standstill, the humans and Fahk'rii being evenly matched.

"Oh, I wish I could go to Earth, father," I lamented offhandedly. I had never been to Earth and I've always wished to see our home world.

"Well, Meredith, this trip should be pretty routine... Would you like to come with me? What about you, Lili? I know you just came home, so i would understand if you didn't wish to come," my father asked.

"Oh, mother! Can I go? Please?" I practically begged.

My mother gave a small smile, "Yes, Meredith, you may go. You two go on ahead. I will spend this time to relax."

I clapped my hands and gave my mother a tight hug. I ran quickly to my room to pack. I was so excited my hands were shaking! I grabbed my suitcase and began packing dresses, leggings, shoes, and my other necessities. I finished packing in twenty minutes and next to the door stood my father who smiled when he saw my elated expression.

"Are you ready to go?"

"Yes!" I said excitedly.

My father picked up our bags and I turned to my mother and gave her a hug and a kiss.

"I promise you'll love Earth. It's beautiful," my mother whispered in my ear and I smiled.

I turned and followed my father to the elevator for a smooth ride to the bottom floor. Our escort took our bags to the hovercraft that would transport us to the spaceport. The spaceport in Roshanah is the only spaceport in all the three cities, and it is huge! There are many ships and shuttles, always coming and going.

The small, private ship that was taking us to Earth was called Exodus. It was a beautiful vessel, clean and bright, and fresh. The cool metal of the walls felt wonderful against my fingertips. The trip to Earth will only take a few hours, thanks to updated FTL drives.

"Well, darling, what do you think of the Exodus?" my father asked once we were settled in the passenger sitting area.

"Father, the ship is marvelous! It's much bigger on the inside too," I giggled.

Father smiled and patted my hand, "We should be taking off soon. We'll be on Earth before you know it."

I grinned back and stood to look out of the window to watch Genesis fade away as we went into space.

"Five minutes until departure," the automated voice said over the intercom.

My stomach fluttered as the ship powered up and departed from Roshanah. We were moving so quickly and it didn't take long for the city of Roshanah to become smaller and smaller. A few long minutes later, Genesis came into full view. It was more beautiful than any picture could show. The blue, blue oceans and the forests were all in full view. I could also see the three moons hovering over the beautiful planet.

"Gorgeous, isn't it? This is why I wanted Genesis for my family. So perfect and untouched. Unmarred," my father said quietly from my right side. I looked over and he had a ghost of a smile on his face.

I just stared at the planet until my legs were tired from standing so long. I sat on the plush black furniture and pulled out a book to read. After about two hours of straight reading, I had finished my book and was exhausted. I placed my book back in my bag and snuggled up in the large chair, hoping to get some sleep.

*****

I awoke to a large explosion throwing me out of my chair. I screamed.

"Daddy! What's going on?" I cried.
"Darling, everything will be fine. I promise. We just need to get to the evac shuttles," my father assured me.

I was terrified, with the sirens and the lights. My father pulled me to my feet. He made a move to open the door, but didn't make it very far before the door slid open and three menacing Fahk'rii soldiers strode into our room. They had blue skin, tendril from their necks, and glowing eyes. Their four fingers grasped heavy pistols and the soldiers wore thick armor.

A soldier brought back the butt of his pistol and smacked my father in the forehead. He let of a grunt of pain and collapsed to the floor. I screamed as the soldiers advanced on me. The leader pulled a needle filled with a clear liquid out of his armor and stuck it into my arm. I cried as the world fell into darkness.