There is a date that rings inside of my head day after day. I just cannot stop thinking about it, and there is no reason I shouldn't think about it. It was the day that my life completely changed. It was my birthday, and I had just turned 18. I was finally a man. I was still in high school, but it would be my last day. Instead of celebrating my birthday, I was on a long flight, which had felt a lot longer. I wasn't alone however; in fact that plane was packed. It was hardly first class, and I wasn't very comfortable. I had never been on a plane before, much less a government C5 Galaxy.
Taking a look around the plane, most of us were in civilian clothes, I could see maybe 50 of us at the most. The rest of the plane was an assortment of soldiers, ranging from marines to the navy, and even the air force. The rest of the plane was full of boxes. Some had different company names on them that I recognized, but some just had cryptic numerical codes. I was very nervous, and I had every reason to be.
I was taken out of school but a man in plain black suit. I could see the well-used Glock hanging on his hip. You could have confused him for a police officer, or maybe a detective, but he had no badge or cuffs. The school was placed on lock down, no one allowed in or out, and everyone was confined to the classroom for the time being. They told us it wouldn't take long, and we had nothing to worry about.
They lead me outside to the parking lot with about 10 other students. The only thing in the lot was an unmarked school bus, and 2 armed guards carrying AR15 rifles, loaded with all the bells and whistles like lasers and flash lights and scopes. It could easily be confused for a videogame in fact.
They told us to get find a seat and get comfortable, it would be about a 20 minute ride. They didn't however mention where we would be going yet. Once everyone was seated, we started out of the school parking lot. Finally, one of the 2 guards spoke up. He identified himself as "The Man with the Plan", and that right now names were not important and we would simply refer to him as sir.
We were finally told what was actually going on. I can remember those words in my mind as the man with a plan told us, rather unemotionally to say goodbye to civilian life. We should be proud! We were selected after years of intense research to become part of the most elite armed forces platoon ever formed. We would be the "Second Chance". I was not sure what he meant by that, I was far to nervous to think about anything. I wondered if I would ever see my family, or my friends, again.
The rest of the trip, while not very long, felt like hours. We all sat in silence, with only the sound of the bus engine running. When we finally arrived, it was then I noticed just where we were going. I seen a large plane, the C5 Galaxy I mentioned. This was also when I noticed a few other buses.
Mr. Plan told us to get off the bus and get onto the plane, and soon all would be explained when everyone was present. I had many thoughts racing through my mind, such as what my family would think I didn't get off the school bus and sit down for supper. I still remember that day I would be getting one of my favorite foods. I could smell my mom's oven roasted chicken cooking now, and it made me very hungry but I quickly shook the feeling off.
Once everyone was onboard of the plane, Mr. Plan grabbed the microphone for the PA system and introduced himself. His name was General David Smith. He said we would still refer to him as Sir, this was the armed forces after all! This was not the army or marines, but a joint task force known only as Second Chance, and it was on the need to know. This was absolute secretive.
General Smith informed us that we were currently on route to Area 51, and you could hear the giggles in the crowd. One stern look from Smith and everyone was silent again. We were told that once there we would be fully briefed on our mission, but for now, we would get a small idea of what was to come.
We had been selected for certain traits that we had possessed when in school. For example, if we were good at math or thinking on our feet. Some were selected based on physical traits such as being able to lift heavy things or run long distances. No one would be told why they had been selected but it wasn't very hard to figure that much out.
General Smith took a seat and the plane started its take off check list. The sound of the 4 turbofan engines spooling up was an amazing sound I would have had a tingle down my spine to hear this close under normal circumstances but I couldn't focus. I tried to close my eyes and pretend this was just a nightmare and I would wake up in my bed any minute, but it never happened, and I became more and more terrified as I thought about my family.
It was a long flight to Nevada but it felt even longer to me, and I am sure it probably felt the same way to the other kids with me on the flight. It would be hard, if not impossible, to remain calm with all that was going on, let alone with many armed guards on the flight.
We finally landed, in the place that was always said to simply not exist, 90 miles north of Las Vegas. This was it, Area 51. It was extremely hot when we exited the plane, and we were lead into a building marked "Lab 3" in simple black paint. It was not exactly a building you would expect to have much going on inside actually.
We entered the building, single file, and were lead into the main auditorium of the laboratory. It was there that I saw some other people, who I assumed were probably all 18 or maybe a little older. We were seated, with about 200 other kids, and then General Smith went up onto the stage, and turned on a projector system.
He grabbed the remote and the clipped on a headset, much like you would use for a cell phone. On the screen, it showed a planet, much like Earth in appearance, and one could easily think it was our own home planet. He cleared his throat, and asked if anyone knew what planet this was, but before anyone could even answer, he made sure we all knew it wasn't actually a question.
"This is X200-1597, a planet that was 15 light years away from Earth", he said as he pointed at the planet with a cheap laser pointer. This planet was also double the size of Earth, had an orbit nearly three times as long, and a day that lasted for 48 hours. It was, as he put it, "Earth's fat sister planet." He went through several more slides, telling us the various details of the planet, which had been named Renascentia, or "Rebirth" in Latin.
He went into some details, like how the gravity on the planet, even though it was twice the size of Earth, had been around the same. I sort of zoned out so I can't remember most of what he said. What amazed me was when he went to the final slide, a live feed of the planet sent by a probe. He explained that a probe was sent to the planet, using some sort of hyper propulsion, in around a year instead of the 15 it would take going at the speed of light. The feed, which was only delayed by a few minutes was sent through subspace.
When I saw the planet it was no wonder why they had chosen a name like Rebirth. It was a dense and lush forest planet, and it was downright beautiful. Because of all the plant life, the air had far more oxygen than Earth's atmosphere. The planet was paradise in a nutshell. He even explained that it was almost always around 70 degrees.
This is where we were told what the plan actually was. We would have 6 months of training, standard boot camp pretty much. After the 6 months were over, we would leave Earth, for good.