'The U.A.F. Gallant! What a great name for a starship. I just know we're going to have lots of fun living here. Sandy and I will explore every square centimeter...except for the restricted areas. Then maybe...'
Scott jerked his head around. His mother was looking through the serving window of the kitchen into the dining room where Scott and Sandy sat working at the table. She had an excellent view from there.
"Don't daydream when you're supposed to be doing your school work."
Glancing down at his Math workbook, Scott saw he had only done two questions in the last half hour and one of them was wrong. He had written 5 square inches instead of 5 squared. From across the polished, wooden table his thirteen year-old sister snickered.
"Sorry, mom." he replied in what he hoped sounded like a subdued voice.
"I know this is exciting," she said with a twinkle in her eyes, "but your school work still has to be done. As soon as you finish your day's goals, you may go out and look around."
For the next hour it was all Math and Science. Boring stuff compared with exploring one of the largest starships to ever sail the outer reaches of the galaxy, but what must be done, must be done.
The Langlish family had just moved onto the Gallant starship after Mr. Langlish had finally gotten permission to open his furniture store on the gigantic starship. Even though large sections of the Gallant were empty [they always were except in times of war] the starship still carried over 100,000 people. Most of the people were military personnel and their families. A few, like Mr. Langlish, were civilians who had seen the opportunity of not only selling to the people who lived on the starship, but also to the people on the remote planets that the Gallant visited and protected.
Mr. Langlish had bought an apartment on Level 45. He and Mrs. Langlish had been there several times getting it ready, but late last night was the first time Scott and Sandy had seen it. It was a medium sized apartment with 3 bedrooms, a bathroom with a tub you could almost swim in, a family room, a study, a dining room, a living room, a store room, and the kitchen.
"Finished!" declared Sandy closing her books with satisfaction. She went into the kitchen.
Moments later Scott was at her side. He rubbed his hand through her shoulder-length, light-brown hair. "So am I."
"Don't Scott." she complained, ducking out of his reach.
The musical notes of the door bell interrupted them. Mrs. Langlish walked between Scott and Sandy separating them on her way to the door. She pressed the Door Release button and the door slid noiselessly into the right side of the wall.
In the light blue hallway stood 3 people. The first one was a tall, slender woman with short, black hair. She looked to be about forty. In her hands was a tray with a towel covering the top of it. On her left was a teenage girl. She had her mother's dark hair, only longer, and dazzling green eyes. The other person was a boy of thirteen. His hair was a dark brown, like Scott's, and freckles were dotted over his grinning face.
"Hello. I'm Mrs. Lewis." said the woman with a friendly smile.
"I'm Mrs. Langlish."
"We're your neighbours across the hall. Janna's just baked some of her special chocolate-chip cookies and we thought you might like to try them."
"That was very thoughtful of you. Won't you come in?"
Complete introductions were made. The girl's name turned out to be Janna and the boy's name was Dick. Soon they were all seated in the comfortable family room chairs and couch except for Mrs. Langlish. She went into the kitchen to start making a pot of tain, then returned to ask the young people if they would prefer milk, rejer juice, or lemonade.
"Milk." said Sandy at once,"It's the only thing that really goes with ..." Sandy stopped when she caught her mother’s eye. Silently it said, “Where are your manners? Guests first.”
“...chocolate-chip cookies.” finished Dick.
The others agreed except for Janna who politely asked if she could have a cup of tain with the adults. Scott secretly wished he could have a cup of tain as well to impress Janna, but he knew his mother might not allow it so he decided not to risk asking.
Mrs. Langlish returned with the drinks on a small tray. Sandy passed the milk around as Mrs. Langlish poured the tain into three cups. Soon Mrs, Langlish and Mrs. Lewis were chatting like old friends. Where Scott, Sandy, and Dick were concerned, the cookies and drinks simply seemed to disappear. Janna nibbled on a cookie and sipped her tain with a contemptuous eye on Dick, who had just gulped down the last of his milk and was helping himself to his fifth cookie.
"That's enough, Dick." said Mrs. Lewis who had also noticed.
"But mom..." began Dick. He caught a glint in her eyes and said no more. It is amazing how much a mother’s eye can communicate!
"Let's explore," said Sandy wiping a milk mustache from her face.
"We'll show you around," offered Janna as she set her empty cup gently on the low table.
"They've got some neat places." added Dick.
"You can eat out if you like." said Mrs. Langlish as they went to put their glasses in the kitchen sink, "Do you two have your cards with you?"
"Yes, mom." replied Scott and Sandy in unison.
"Good. Be sure to be back by 6, because Sgt. Walters is coming to talk with us about life here on the Gallant."
When they were standing in the outside hall Janna asked, "What would you like to do first?"
"What is there to do?" asked Scott looking around and trying to remember all the things they had read about the Gallant.
The hallway seemed to stretch away in both directions almost into infinity. Every 48 meters it was intersected by another hallway. All the main hallways in the Gallant were 4.5 meters wide. The walls were painted in light, friendly colours. Each section was a different color. On the doors were printed in neat, black letters the apartment number and the family name of the people who lived there.
Don’t miss Part 2 as Scott and Sandy begin to explore the Gallant...but trouble is right around the corner!
Go to Chapter 1, Part 2
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