Chapter 2

That thing you were talking about

Nilo had finished his coffee and the elevator still hadn't arrived. He was used to it being late, there was a long way to go and everyone had to be there before they could come up. It was pretty expensive to use the elevator. He walked over to the Café and decided he should get a doughnut, to pass the time. Sitting back down on the windowsill he put his doughnut down beside him to button up his jacket.

As he looked up, Nilo noticed someone coming towards him. It was the lead engineer, the head of business on the Tether, coming towards him. Nilo's skin turned cold, all of the colour flushed from his face. He always got nervous when the lead engineer came around. He always worried that he was going to say something stupid and get fired. Then all his hopes and dreams of one day working on The Fitzgerald would come crashing down.

The lead engineer had white skin, not Caucasian white but pale white ghost skin, which contrasted his dark eyes to a point where it was almost scary. He was a middle aged man at 67 years with grey hair and an aged face. He wore the commission outfit for all the top guys at the station. He was very wise but also very stern. One wrong move with the guy around and you'd be out the airlocks in little pieces.

"Nilo may I have a word with you in my office?" The lead commanded briskly as he came face to face with Nilo. His voice was rough and deep. Stifling a shiver Nilo replied inquiringly,

"What is, Dexx?"

"Just come with me to my office, I'll explain there." Dexx answered even more briskly then before. As Dexx turned his back Nilo relieved himself of his shivers and followed him closely. However, on the way to Dexx's office Nilo's mind whirled. He could only wonder whether he was going to get fired or have to get his partners fired. Or maybe it had something to do with Wells or the video. Nilo's face filled with red as his nervousness overwhelmed him.

Or it did until they reached Dexx's office. It was a large room seemingly cut into the hallway, the décor on the walls rough and ragged. The doorway was barely bigger than that of a gym locker's and it made Dexx have to turn slightly to get his broad shoulders through. There were no windows in the office due to it being nearer to the centre of the Tether. Inside there was a desk with a computer on it with filing cabinets lining the walls. There was a chair pulled out on either side of the table.

Dexx walked over to the seat behind the desk and sat down, motioning for Nilo to do the same. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of Nilo's head as he sat. He reached up and nonchalantly scratched his head, wiping the sweat off as he did so. Dexx was staring at him intently, seemingly holding back something of grave importance. He barely blinked, doing so only after what seemed like ages. Nilo couldn't stand the silence.

"So what did you bring me in here for, sir?" He said slowly, holding the nervousness out of his voice. Dexx suddenly looked away from Nilo, blinking rapidly for a brief moment as he looked for something. Finally he brought out a file filled with papers from the drawer of his desk and placed it on top. Then he proceeded to open it and scan through the documents contained inside. Most of the documents were printed in black ink but every now and then there was one that was printed with red. Nilo knew that the red meant that the person had been fired.

A flashing icon appeared in the corn of Nilo's HUD, showing him that his heart-rate was increasing dramatically. A small heart with his beat-rate was flashing as he became more and more anxious. This was it for him, he thought, it was all over now. What had he done that was getting him fired? How could this have happened to him of all people?

"Here's the deal Nilo," with a start Nilo noticed that Dexx had found his files and was speaking, "this paper says that you're no longer going to be working here in a few days." Nilo felt sick, his cheeks puffed out, his lips clenched, and his eyes widened.

"Sir…?" Nilo said hoarsely, barely holding back the distraught in his voice.

"No, Nilo, there's no talking your way out of this one. You have to go." Nilo's heart skipped a beat at that. Go? What had he meant by that, Nilo wondered.

"Go where, exactly?" Nilo inquired, his face now in an interested state. Dexx half smiled.

"To Mars, my boy!" Nilo's heart skipped a beat and the little icon in his HUD sent a warning across his vision. "You'll leave in a few days to take a position as Chief Mechanic at the Xavi Repair Station in Galileo City."

The rest of the day was a blur to Nilo. He remembered Dexx giving him a transfer card and then shaking his hand. He could have sworn he saw the guy get red faced but it was all so fast. He left the office and ended up in the orbital elevator. Then he was leaving the workers lounge and riding the elevator. Finally he was lying in bed, looking up at the white ceiling. His work uniform was bundled up in the corner of his bed. He remained thoughtless until he fell asleep.

In his dreams he saw The Fitzgerald approaching; Nilo hopped in and rode it to Mars. He was then sitting on a car covered in rusty dust. He could see people walking around a large industrial city. Then he noticed some strangers walking up to him. Turning around, though, revealed that there were police officers behind him. They had riot shields and batons. He looked back at the people; they had guns and were pointing them at the police officers. The next thing he knew he was running across the street out of the way of the gun fire. He turned back to see all the police were dead lying next to the dusty car. There was a bright flash of light; the car had exploded, knocking him over. He looked back where the car had been and seen The Fitzgerald flying away, leaving Mars. He was freaking out. He looked at his hands which were now somehow covered in blood. He looked at his stomach and seen a large fragment of metal sticking out from it.

Nilo woke with a start that made him sit up in his bed. It was daytime now and his bed-table was displaying that it was time to get up. Shaking his head Nilo turned the alarm off and lay down again. He had been given the next few days off to prepare for the move to Mars. The fading dream was hard to make sense of. He stayed lying in bed, thinking of the dream, for an hour before finally getting up.

Nilo got a cup of coffee and walked over to the large glass wall. He looked over the city towards the spacedock and sipped at his coffee. The Fitzgerald would be landing soon, as it always did. He wondered if it would, though, after what had happened the day before. Then a thought struck him: What had happened the day before?

Putting down his cup-of-joe on the floor, Nilo ran over to his computer. It was a large flat screen imbedded in a desk, like a large Helix Pad but (as with the Palm Card) without the control panel. He quickly booted it up and accessed the web. Going to the CBC's website he found what he was looking for instantly. The front page article showed The Fitzgerald as it landed on the moon. The headline read "Attempted Terrorist Attack on The Fitzgerald!"

Nilo couldn't believe it. Why would anyone want to destroy The Fitzgerald? He read further into the article:

"At 8am yesterday The Fitzgerald was landing in the Halifax Spacedock. All was going well as the massive craft landed and locked into the clamps. But before workers could begin unloading, the captain received word from the military that they had just intercepted intelligence suggested an attack to happen on The Fitzgerald. The ship immediately took off at this word and was given permission to bypass the security station. It headed for and landed at the Xavi Moon Station…

…Officials have said that this may be the work of a recently formed group who're calling selves the Terra. Spokesman for the Galileo City Police Department have stated that the Terra group has been responsible for attacks all across the city…

…Our Mars corresponded tried to find a spokesperson for the Terra but no one could be found. We will be updating the story when we can."

Nilo looked up from the computer, his face blank and his mind wandering. He wanted to know why the Terra was trying to destroy The Fitzgerald. It only did good things and was a symbol of human achievement. He looked back down at his computer and opened a new application.

A splash screen appeared saying "Google Chat X V124" then a window came up showing a list of contacts. Nilo navigated the list until he came to his friend, Wells. He double tapped his friends' icon and a new window appeared. It was attempting to acquire connection to Wells' computer. It stopped connecting and a video feed appeared. It revealed a room, much like Nilo's, with a chair in the middle.

Suddenly Wells flew in from the side of the screen and landed, sitting, on the chair making it roll off screen. After a few moments it rolled back in front of the camera, this time closer than before. Wells was smiling as he reached the centre of the screen. He reached off camera and grabbed something, when he brought his arm back he had Earpiece's in his hand. He put them in and nodded to Nilo.

"Good morning, Nilo, how's my little Martian doing today?" Wells chuckled and shook his head. Nilo was putting his Earpiece in and simply smiled. "Yeah I heard about the promotion you lucky bastard. When do you leave?"

"Uh, they're putting me on a transfer ship in a couple days. I'm off work until then, though, to pack my things and whatnot." Wells was nodding and smiling, obviously happy for his friend.

"Eh man you do realize that tomorrows Saturday anyways, right?" Nilo frowned slightly and shrugged.

"Well at least I'm getting promoted." Wells looked intrigued so Nilo continued, "There sending me over there to become Chief Mechanic." Wells shook his head, chuckled, and clapped, spinning in his chair.

"That's right good then, eh?! Geeze, you know that you're buying drinks tonight, right?" Nilo laughed as well and nodded.

They continued to talk for a while before Nilo remembered why he had called Wells in the first place.

"Wells, did you hear about whole The Fitzgerald ordeal?" He asked in a slightly gloomy tone. Wells nodded gravely.

"Yeah what about it?" Wells asked slowly, his eyes narrowing with interest.

"Do you think it has something to do with the video you showed me yesterday?" Wells shrugged.

"I don't know, I guess it could of. The police said that the Terra were showing up all around Mars." Nilo sighed deeply and looked around the room before returning his eyes to the computer. "Is something wrong, Nilo?" Nilo looked Wells in the eyes.

"They're sending me to Galileo, Wells!" Nilo exclaimed. Wells looked confused at first but quickly realization set in. The police had said the most activity was in Galileo.

"Aw man I don't think you have anything to worry about." Wells assured him, although he didn't sound very convincing. "You'll be fine." Nilo shook his head. The remnants of his dream were still nagging at his thoughts. He didn't believe it at first but now he accepted the truth. He was scared to go to Galileo city. Not only would he be going to a whole other planet but he would be doing so as terrorists were trying to destroy the place!

Nilo and Wells said their farewells and logged off the chat. Nilo got up and walked over to the window, picking up his now cold coffee as he did so. He looked out over the city, The Fitzgerald was still docked. He sighed and walked over to the kitchen and placed the mug in the sink. He decided that he might as well start preparing to leave.

"Dot, can you schedule for some boxes to be sent to my new place in Galileo City?" Nilo called to the room. The familiar robotic voice filled his ears as it responded,

"Of course, Nilo, any company preferences?" Nilo half laughed and shook his head.

"Well obviously Xavi, Dot!" He said, making gestures and expression as if talking to someone in front of him.

"Ah, most certainly Nilo!" Nilo could have sworn that Dot had sounded a little happier.