You have been chosen by the World Government for an exciting opportunity that we are making available to a few very special people. I’m sure you must be impatiently waiting to hear what this opportunity is…’
“I’m not actually.”
Alexis didn’t know why she was talking to a letter, but it made her feel slightly less out of control than she had done when it had arrived that morning. She already knew what it was, because someone, and the World Government wasn’t saying who, had let slip to the media that the World Government was choosing a number of girls to explore space in their newly created space ships. The ships themselves appeared to be based on something known as generation ships within many of the science fiction novels she’d read, although that wouldn’t do them any good, as it was only girls who’d be going.
No one was going to believe what was written in those letters. The World Government wanted them to believe that the day would come when they’d find another world, one that might be inhabited, but they knew the real reason. Even though they’d been trying their hardest to stop it from happening the population was still increasing and they were trying to fix that. Since the news had broken there had been protests, people doing their best to stop it from happening, because it might be their daughters who were chosen, which was the last thing anyone wanted. Alexis stared down at the letter. It had always been possible – she just hadn’t believed it would be her. Who would?
Receiving it meant she had three days to say her goodbyes and prepare herself for what was coming, if that was even possible. It wouldn’t be any easier for her just because she didn’t have parents, although for the first time she was actually glad she didn’t, as it was going to be hard enough saying goodbye to the people she had come to think of as her family. Being in a residential unit hadn’t been easy at the beginning and if it hadn’t been for Dany she might never have settled in. Dany… Alexis bit her lip. They couldn’t both be chosen, but that wouldn’t stop her from hoping that they were, because the thought of leaving Dany behind…
Alexis rested her head on the table. “Why me?” she muttered.
“That’s a question none of us have the answer to,” Dany replied. “I was told you got a letter, Lex, one that looked like it was from the World Government, so I already know.”
“Sorry.” Alexis couldn’t bring herself to look at Dany. “I have three days before I need to report to wherever it says in the letter. Couldn’t bring myself to finish reading it as I already knew what it said.” She sighed. “How can they be going through with this after everything that happened?”
“Maybe it really is their only option.”
“Did you get one?”
“No, love, and we both knew it was unlikely. I might get one in the next batch, because neither of us are being taken away from our parents, which does make it easier for the World Government, as no one’s going to complain if they’re getting rid of a few kids in care.”
For the first time that morning Alexis looked at Dany. “You can’t think like that.”
“Why not? It’s true.” Dany sat down opposite Alexis. “The general public have this distorted view of what we’re like and that means we’re expendable, as long as it’s not their children who are being taken.”
“Dany…” Their eyes met. “I don’t doubt the majority of the girls chosen will be being taken away from their families.” Alexis sighed. “Even though I don’t feel like it I’m probably one of the lucky ones.”
“They’re taking you away from me, Lex.” Dany wiped tears off her cheeks. “How am I meant to cope without you?”
Unfortunately the tears weren’t a surprise and Alexis took hold of Dany’s hand. “You coped well enough before I got here, Dany. I know it’s going to be difficult, sweetheart, but we can do this.” Alexis didn’t know when she’d become the strong one, but she was glad it was something she could cope with. “Promise me you will live you life. Don’t spend all of your time thinking about me, because it isn’t going to do you any good. The time will come when you will fall in love again and I want you to grasp that with both hands.”
“I love you.”
Swallowing around the mass of emotion in her throat wasn’t easy, but she managed it. “I know, Dany, and I love you. That’s not going to change just because some bastard’s decided that I’m one of the chosen, although the love I feel for you now in the reason I’m telling you to let go of me, in the same way I’m going to have to let go of you – if we don’t all we’re going to do is cling to a life that we can never return to.”
“What happens if I want to cling?”
“Then you’re going to end up being very unhappy in the future and I don’t want that to happen. I didn’t want to be chosen by the World Government, but I was, so we’re going to have to do our very best to deal with it, even though it’s not going to be easy for either of us.” Alexis brushed her free hand through her hair. “Look, Dany, we have three days together, so I want to make the most of them.”
“Is there really any point?”
For a moment Alexis didn’t know how to reply. “Maybe not,” she said eventually, trying not to show how much Dany’s words had hurt. “It might be easier if we make the break now, rather than putting ourselves through three days of pain.”
Alexis blinked away tears as Dany nodded. “For me it would be.”
***The Ships: Natalya: The Letter >>>