Morning dawned as the greenish streaks across the amber sky brightened: another day in the Madesco Biosphere. Gloria slid out of the sleep pod and rubbed her drowsy eyes. Surely the Time Monitor had it wrong. She didn’t feel as if she had the necessary rest required to face another day in the incessantly wet environment in Madesco, let alone another miserable day at school.
“Just thirty more cycles,” she told herself, “then you can leave regardless of what Mom says.”
For the past five hundred cycles, give or take a few, she had been doing little more than existing in Madesco. Gloria left all resemblance of life back at the Apollo Biosphere. She didn’t want to be here. She hated it. She had no friends. Not even the droids liked her.
“Gloria! Are you awake?”
“Yes, Mom,” she beeped through the communicator.
“Hurry down. I have something to tell you before you leave for school.”
She stepped into the personal hygiene unit and let the droids have their way for once without resetting the hair program a hundred times. Donned in the waterproof grey and magenta school uniform she arrived on the nutrition level of the two-bedroom super pod she shared with her parents.
Lucia looked up from the morning news cast as Gloria materialized in front of her. “You look nice. Great hair!”
“Right,” Gloria rolled her eyes. “What’s the news?”
She took the cereal from the droid as it rolled by.
“Your father has been offered the position of Lead Researcher in the Paluster Biosphere.”
Gloria choked on her Asteroid Crunchies. “Paluster! The swamp! It’s bad enough I have to endure the nonstop rain here in Madesco, now you want to take me to the Swamp Creature’s home biosphere! I refuse to go! I only have thirty cycles left before I go back to Apollo. Back to my friends, back to the sun, back to my life!”
“Honey, I know you haven’t been happy here but you really haven’t tried. You do have friends, you’re doing great at school and what about the drama team at the Concilium? Where would they be without you?”
Gloria knew where this was going. “Bloom where you’re planted,” she said sarcastically.
“Deus planted you here for a time and for a reason. Don’t waste it away wishing you were somewhere else. I know you miss the sun at Apollo but remember how much you missed the rain when you were there? I miss the sun too but I know we’re here only for a season.”
“But Paluster? Really, Mom, this is too much.” Gloria continued the whine.
“I said he was offered it. I didn’t say he accepted it.”
Gloria stopped chewing in mid-crunch. She looked at her mom and saw the excitement in her green eyes.
“I know you only have thirty cycles left until school is released for the season. I agree to let you go and stay in Apollo with Silva and her family. In fact, I’ve already arranged it.”
Lucia smiled smugly. It’s always satisfying to be one step ahead of a teenage daughter.
Gloria was speechless. She waited with an anticipation she hadn’t felt since she was a child just before her first inter-galactic flight.
“Your father has also been asked to assemble a team and head the first community of scientists into the new Grandis Biosphere,” Lucia paused. She was enjoying watching her daughter’s face change from one emotion to the next in microsecond intervals.
“It’s a five thousand cycle commitment, the remainder of your secondary schooling. Your father and I won’t accept without your approval.”
Gloria recovered from her temporary muteness. “Who would be on his team?” she quietly asked.
“Silva’s, Pardus’, and Campana’s parents for starters. They’ve all agreed to go if we do. What do you think?”
Gloria couldn’t believe her ears. Her three best friends from the three previous biospheres she lived at in the last five thousand cycles. All of them would be together for the remainder of their schooling. It sounded like heaven to her.
““Please tell Dad that I would love to move to the Grandis Biosphere,” she couldn’t believe how emotional she was getting. She took a breath and then added, “Mom, you were right. I haven’t really tried to connect with anyone here. It’s hard when you know you’re not going to be around for the next thousand cycles. But I promise, starting today, I am going to do some serious blooming.”
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