Authors: Kelly Beltz
Copyright © 2009 Kelly Beltz
All rights reserved.
E-Book ISBN: 978-1-6155037-2-8
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This is a work of fiction. The characters,
events, and locales portrayed in this
book are fictitious. Any similarity to real
persons, living or dead, is coincidental
and not intended by the author.
Dedicated to my family for their undying
support in all of my ventures. And to
all the dreamers out there with a love of
science, romance, and adventure.
We can never predict how our lives will turn out. That’s because tomorrow is always changing. Every day, we are forced to make choices—decisions that will ultimately influence what we create in our life. We can’t be expected to know the best path to take without enduring a few mistakes along the way. It is the only way to learn about ourselves and what we really want. We discover our strengths, our weaknesses, and our desires. We might even uncover a skill we thought we were incapable of performing. Your reaction to what life throws at you can make all the difference. To adapt is to survive. We are all faced with our own set of challenges. I found that it is important to believe you will succeed no matter what the obstacle. It is imperative that you maintain your values and be grateful for what you treasure. Friendship, love, and family should never be taken for granted. It is through the kindness of others that we find the strength to prevail. This was made clear to me on my journey across the galaxy. How did I get there? Me, of all people—someone who never planned on leaving the surface of Earth? You might explain it by faith or destiny, but I call it an unforeseen set of circumstances. Most events seem to be random, but in truth, they are merely waiting for the right time to reveal their full connections.
The day finally arrived. I just wanted this to be over with already. I had never planned on going into Space. Why go? Because my entire family was working on the completion of the Space resort, and I wanted to be with them. The Outer Space structure housed research and manufacturing facilities as well as a fancy hotel and zero-gravity sports arena. Although there was still a lot of work to be done, the resort was scheduled to start accepting guests early next year. I hadn’t slept well ever since I agreed to go on the trip. I wished I could just hit fast forward and have it all behind me. The wait was grueling. I tried to picture my trip as a success. I reminded myself that my best friend, Noah, had been to the resort countless times and had always managed to make it home without a glitch. I crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s. I was as ready as I’d ever be. It was now or never. I even amazed myself on how well I did on the mandatory Space training. There was no logical reason to back out now.
We were traveling to the Space resort on the newly-built Space elevator. Although a whole new generation of reliable launch vehicles capable of reaching Low Earth Orbit (LEO) had long replaced the Space shuttle for most of the transport into Space, they had drawbacks. They fell short when it came time to deliver larger payloads in the way of multiple passengers or numerous supplies. They burned large quantities of fuel, adding to the cost, and had a limited amount of space and weight they could carry. The construction of the lift was the perfect solution for eliminating issues like these. I was relieved that fuel-burning rockets weren’t lifting us off the ground. The lift carriage was electromagnetically powered and capable of traveling up and down its tracks at thousands of miles per hour. The elevator launch pad was built on a floating platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which had a lower risk of being hit by hurricanes or tornados. The elevator carriage would carry us up five hundred miles into LEO before docking onto a shuttle terminal. Once docked, the entire lift carriage would be detached from the elevator and reattached to a Space transport shuttle for the rest of the journey to the resort.
Everyone on the trip had limits to the amount they could pack because the majority of cargo space was occupied with building supplies. We were required to use the one standardized duffle bag and a small handbag handed out by the resort.
, that was probably the hardest thing for me. The weight limit for each passenger’s luggage was twenty-five pounds. I thought it sounded good until I started packing. It was challenging to adhere to both the weight and space limits. I kept thinking about what I absolutely needed to bring. The list changed daily. I couldn’t remember a time when I’d packed and repacked so much before a trip. I think I must have emptied and refilled the bags over twenty times.
Leah, my nineteen-year-old daughter, arrived early to pick me up. I got in her car and asked, “Honey, are you sure you want to do this?” hoping for some last minute change of plans. She just smiled.
“Oh, Mom, we’ll be just fine. Everything is going to go perfectly. You worry too much. I promise I’ll take care of you,” she reassured me.
“Thanks,” I grumbled. I didn’t care if she was my daughter and I was her mother, the thought of being taken care of sounded good to me. Leah was such a calming force for me. She had such a confident outlook on life. How in the world did I raise such a remarkable child? She was like a rock. Her poise made me feel safe. She definitely had her father Jack’s courage.
Leah was always the world’s best traveler. I remembered a trip we took to Europe for a science symposium when she and her brother Jackson were only five years old. We traveled by train from Moscow to Warsaw. Our train did not have compatible rails for Poland and had to be lifted onto new rails at the Belarus border in the middle of the night. I was unable to sleep one wink after the disruption. It was also impossible to ignore the strong, howling winds that blew under the train car as we traveled. It felt like we were going to blow right off the tracks. Jackson kept waking up from the eerie gusts of wind, as well. My husband Jack and Leah, however, appeared to sleep soundly through the night. We arrived in Warsaw the next morning. Jackson and I were walking zombies. Jack and Leah looked great, even
rested. “That was fun. Let’s do it again, Daddy,” Leah had said.