The smartest race in existence, turned its own planet to waste. A series of conducted modifications. A redesigning of one person’s entire genetic makeup. Subsequently, this is the story of a child who was modified. Brilliant enough to craft a most grand departure, escape, and fly away.
“Baba?” Three year old Isra called out.
“Yes, my child?” Dr. Sultan replied.
“Will I ever go to space?” She asked.
“Maybe someday. Meanwhile, we are going to go on a trip, where you will be able to visit the stars, so to speak.”
“I can visit them? Really?”
“Really. You can do anything you set your mind to.”
* * *
Isra was brought back to the present day and time from her reverie; she had been thinking of a time when things were simpler, when she felt like she could trust her own father.
But now, things were definitely different. She was older, less naive, and aware of the apocalyptic war zone the world had become. She knew both how and why she was being used.
She might have been out of school due to being in the science laboratories as a glorified guinea pig, but she was still being taught about history. People had been told since the start of the 21st century, and even before it, that taking care of the environment was obligatory for the survival of the human race. Their lack of caring proved to be detrimental and now, in the year 2068, 9 year old Isra Sultan was witnessing it all firsthand.
World War IV broke out a little over a month after her father moved the both of them to Virginia from Saudi Arabia, back in 2062. Since the beginning, her father had been feeding her lies about why they moved. Of course, he had painted them in pretty pictures consisting of stars and outer space. Isra knew better. She found out the truth for herself, to some extent, by walking around and casing out the place she was set to call home for who knew how long. She found out the truth the hard way, just like she did about her mother.
After years of being used as a guinea pig in the Pentagon’s secret set of labs, Isra had acquired exceptional, though not yet out-of-the-ordinary talents. This was also how she found out about her father’s mission to infiltrate Saudi Arabian laboratories, under the US government’s order. His undercover mission was to find out how advanced the science was in the Middle East. The US government contacted him and threatened to kill his wife if he did not fulfill his mission by their standards. Soon, Dr. Sultan would be speaking with a highly ranked US government agent, via video call on an extremely secure server.
* * *
“Khawar, you’re out of time. You have failed to give us the feedback we’ve requested; again and again.”
It was nearly 1:00 A.M., and Isra was awake; she’d heard her father’s voice. He sounded upset, so she wanted to see what he was up to. She peeked out from her room and seeing that the door was ajar, snuck into his office. She hid behind a desk just out of her father’s line of sight. Isra could see that her dad was speaking with a man on a screen, though she couldn’t understand a word they were saying.
“Agent Chase, trust me, I have been trying my hardest, but infiltrating these labs has been extremely hard. I am starting to form connections, please. If you just give me a few more weeks, the job will be done.”
“No, you were supposed to give us the intelligence over a month ago, you are not allowed any more extensions. We had a deal, and you broke it. You better go check on your wife.”
“Check on my wife? Why…?” Sultan muttered in Arabic, confused and concerned. Isra rushed out of her hiding place to go check on her mother, and the commotion was heard by Dr. Sultan.
“Isra why are you awake? Go to your room at once!” he shouted.
“Dr. Sultan if you do not want anyone else to die, you should start doing what you are told. We have arranged a private jet for you and your daughter for Virginia, tomorrow at 1300 hours. We have things to work out. In person.”
Dr. Sultan nodded and closed his laptop in a hurry. By the time he got to his room, he saw little Isra standing over her mother’s dead body.
After packing his and young Isra’s bags, they made their way to the jet Agent Chase had arranged for them. After witnessing the events that took place last night, the fact that it was Isra’s first time on a plane did not scare her. Her father had not spoken since then, and neither had she.
Though she had a sharp ear, Isra had always been a heavy sleeper, and naturally slept during the entire 13 hour flight. Dr. Sultan woke her up once they landed. As soon as they got off the plane, a large black car with tinted windows was waiting for them at the bottom of the stairs. The air really stinks over here Isra thought to herself in Arabic. They got inside, and Isra was confused as to what was going on. The ride was no longer than 10 minutes, and once they arrived to their destination they were greeted by a tall, stout and bald man wearing a full suit.
“Welcome to the Pentagon,” his deep voice boomed as he shook Dr. Sultan’s hand. Sultan glared at him silently, his jaw clenched tightly. Isra just stood, confused, holding her father’s free hand.
“Hopefully last night’s events will not be repeated,” he continued, looking over at Isra. She couldn’t understand what he was saying, but she didn’t like the way he looked at her. She shifted slightly so she was partially hidden behind her father’s legs.
“Khawar, join me in my office why don’t you? We have some catching up to do. I will have someone escort your daughter to her room.” The way he said it left no room for discussion. It wasn’t a question, it was a demand.
Minutes later, all alone in her new room, Isra sat on her bed in shock. ‘It’s way more comfortable than my old one…’ She started looking around, wondering what her father was doing.
“I should have never put my trust in you, Khawar, but you know… I see something in you, and your help would be highly appreciated. You are one of the brightest scientists I know. Plus, you do not have a choice anyway,” said Agent Chase to Dr. Sultan.
“What can I do for you?” Sultan replied.
“Well, you see, in this building over the past few years, we have been researching a way to increase life expectancy due to grannies and grandpas dropping dead in their 60s; prematurely. I am sure you noticed when you got off the plane that the air here is not as clean as it used to be, and we have predicted that in less than 10 years it will become considerably worse.
“Due to this, we have given up on trying to fix the planet. We have shifted our focus to fixing the human race, while we still can. To do this, we need to experiment on young children. We need to figure out early on what is causing death later on in their lives. However, the experimentation cannot be conducted on American children; it would cause utter chaos within the walls of America. Our children here are too valuable. And I’m not saying that I agree with this, but I have my orders, you understand?
Sultan felt pressured to nod.
“Regardless, we have been trying to ship children from various countries but none of them seem to be the key to the ever-tricky locked door of increasing life expectancy.” Agent Chase explained in a voice that seemed too nonchalant for the subject matter of the conversation.
“And what makes you think I can help you out here? I cannot just find the perfect child out of millions,” he replied.
“I had hopes that we could use your daughter… you would be dense to think we didn’t do our research before contacting you about the technology advancement task, Khawar.”
“My daughter is strictly off limits, sir.”
“Well, Khawar, this is strictly up to you: either you let us experiment on your daughter, or she will end up like your wife before you even get to her room.”
Dr. Sultan was left speechless, and had no other option just to nod in agreement, just before rushing to his daughter’s room to make sure she was alright.
* * *
While being experimented on, Isra’s entire biological makeup was manipulated and modified. That’s when things started to get complicated.
Experiment after experiment, Isra had accepted that this was what her life had become. Day in and day out, everything was the same; wake up, eat “nutritional” food, shower, and get ready for more tests. Just like the day before, and just like the following day would be.
While she should've been, Isra wasn’t entirely aware of what month it was. But she did know that she’d been in this place for too long. Six years, she figured, as her father brought her an apple as a treat for her ninth birthday. An apple. Isra didn’t even like apples. At least a clementine would've been nice because at least she liked those, but she supposed it didn’t matter anyway.
Needle sticks and injections, synapse shocks and physical tests. You name it, she’d done it. And every time she finished her testing for the day, she would be escorted back to her room, where she would sleep off the post-experimental exhaustion.
It became easy after a while, to accept that things were not going to change. But of course, as soon as you allow yourself to fall into a routine, complacency loves to throw you off. Isra learned that the hard way.
Once again, she found herself sitting in her room, thinking. Thinking about thinking, and maybe even thinking about how she shouldn’t even be able to think, and how, despite being underground, she wished there were windows in her room...
Many more weeks and months came, and she became more focused than ever on the details of her presence in the underground labs of the Pentagon. These details were in fact so classified that most people within the massive building didn't even know about them. There were only a select few people (aside from the doctors, scientists, and test subjects themselves) who knew about the experimentation that was being conducted.
This time, instead of trudging back to her room in a zombie-like daze after testing; hardly able to remember her own name, she was cognizant of everything. Her surroundings, the male nurse named Jonah who escorted her only on Tuesdays and Sundays, and that she wasn’t wearing any shoes. Why wasn't she wearing shoes? For such a “sterile” set of labs, this place was underground, she could practically see the filth and disease, so she should have been wearing shoes, but she wasn’t; she was really bothered by it.
On a separate day; not different from the others, Isra was sitting in one of the rooms where she got her synapse shocks. For some reason , the scientist who was conducting the experiment left the room. This left Isra free to look around and roam.
There was a black and shiny window that took up the entirety of one wall, and she knew it to be a one-way mirror. Other scientists and maybe even doctors like her father were on the other side of it, viewing the results of the tests in real-time, and taking notes. On the wall just opposite the window was a clear board with bright yellow marker scribbled all across it. Weeks ago, the writings on this board looked like a foreign language to Isra. And they were, since Isra hadn’t known English until that one day when her life became a lot less monotonous.
So today, and in that moment, Isra looked at the board and saw that there were formulas and notes scribbled down in poorly written English. A look through it all, and she could tell that the formulas and equations were unsolved. If you asked, she wouldn’t be able to tell you how she knew, but she picked up the marker and wrote in the answers to the formulas.
She stood back and looked it all over before shaking her head and changing what she had written. Sharp eyes scanning the board again, she nodded to herself, satisfied with what was written down.
In the days that followed, she underwent less testing for the everyday things she had grown accustomed to, and more testing of her remarkable aptitude for science. The doctors and scientists figured that her sudden spike in IQ had to have been a result of one of the drugs she had been given, in addition to the shocks changing her brain waves.
Unfortunately, what with the combination of different drugs as well as the vast number of them, it would be impossible to pinpoint how Isra had gotten this way.
Things had been constantly changing, and for the better, ever since the day she became a certified genius. And one particular day threatened to stand out more than the others when a decidedly happy-looking Dr. Sultan appeared at her door.
“How would you feel about going on a little field trip?” he asked her, not bothering to speak in his mother tongue of Arabic. He didn’t see the point when he was forced to speak English every other time anyway. She nodded and followed him out of the room.
They went down a series of hallways and tunnels that Isra didn’t care to attempt to remember, and before she knew it, she was in an underground garage, being ushered into a large black vehicle with equally dark windows. It looked exactly like the one they got picked up from the airport in years ago. It felt like a lifetime ago, yet she remembered it vividly.
The driver did not speak a word to them, and the entire ride was silent. From what she calculated, they weren’t in the car for more than 10 minutes. The pollution was so thick she could barely see outside. Since she didn’t know her surroundings outside of the Pentagon, she had no idea where they were being taken; but she paid attention. As soon as they stepped out of the car, Isra noticed a massive building with the countries’ flag on it. Of course there’s an American flag on it, there always is, she thought to herself.
“We will not be here for long,” her father said, “I just need to get some paperwork done.” As they walked inside the massive, structure Isra saw what it said on the wall, and pretty much everywhere else in the building: “National Aeronautics and Space Administration.” As soon as they arrived, they got escorted into an elevator by two massive bodyguards, which brought them to the top floor. Every door looked the same, Isra was used to this. She was not quite sure why they went through the door they did and not another simply because she could not distinguish a difference between them, even with all of her knowledge.
Behind the door was a woman in a white uniform, with, of course, this same NASA logo once again. She had short brown hair and sparkling brown eyes. “I’m so glad to meet you!” she enthusiastically spoke out, only paying attention to Isra. “Isra, this is Dr. Ives, I will leave you with her while I go and sort out my paperwork.” said her father, just before whispering something in Dr. Ives ear. I wonder what’s going on, but then again, when don’t I?
Half an hour turned into an hour, which bled into an hour and a half... still no sign of her father. ‘We will not be here for long’, well that’s just another lie… and who even is that woman? She keeps trying to make conversation. Isra had not spoken a word to Dr.Ives since her arrival. She had been looking around the room. A lot actually. She noticed a lot of blueprints scattered across the walls and different pieces of technology she had never seen before. She did recognize one thing though, a whiteboard with poorly written equations. “Do you want to walk around the room and give everything a closer look? I uh - I’m supposed to tell you not to touch anything, but I trust you. Just don’t break anything and we’re cool.”
Confused, Isra didn’t take time to deliberate and immediately started taking a closer look at everything around the room. Her main concern was the whiteboard. She stared at it in awe for a few minutes while Dr. Ives was moving some stuff around. “We have been trying to solve this equation for years and not even the smartest people on the planet have succeeded,” said Dr. Ives while she searched in one of the many cupboards around the room, with her back to Isra.
Immediately, Isra picked up a pen and started writing on the board and erasing older data. “What are you doing, this is years of work that you’ve just wasted! Now I understand why your father told me to not let you touch anything.” Shocked Isra drops her pen, thankfully though she was done with whatever she was writing. “Get out of here!” screamed Dr. Ives. Isra ran out of the room, confused and panicked, and got to the elevator. She got inside, pressed a button and ended up on the first floor. Guards saw her and called whoever her father was in a meeting with, and he came to get her. “What happened, Isra?” he asked.
Dr. Ives arrived downstairs furious and told Dr. Sultan what happened. Doubtful, he went back to the room with countless scientists who reviewed what Isra had written. “It all makes sense!” one of them shouted out. “Who solved this and how?” another one asked enthusiastically. Isra had indeed solved the unsolvable formula, after years of error, and in just a few seconds. Dr. Sultan immediately escorted Isra back to the Pentagon, and this time decided to never let her leave again, it was too dangerous.
Weeks went by, and NASA kept contacting the Pentagon, asking for Isra to be brought back, as they believed she could assist them in building breakthrough technology. These propositions were of course all declined by Dr. Sultan, and of course, Isra had no idea about them. In fact, she had been punished since they got back. It was nonetheless obvious that the government wanted Isra’s body, while NASA wanted her brain. This left Isra even more confused than ever before.
She had no idea what was going on, but she continued with her daily routine, day in and day out. She thought she would never see the end of the monotony, and quite frankly all she could think about was going back to that room at the top of the NASA headquarters. She wanted to see more, and examine all the details she could in more depth.
During one of her many reveries, her father walked in, “Isra, I have to go back to Saudi Arabia for some work,” he said.
“Am I not allowed to come with you, Baba?” Isra whimpered out. Dr. Sultan smiled somewhat apologetically, he had not heard his daughter speak in a very long time. “I’m sorry but it’s too dangerous for you to go back there. You will be safe here, I promise.” As much as her father thought this, Isra was not stupid, and she was aware that he was going back for yet another secret mission. She nodded and he came in for a hug. What is he doing? He has not shown me any affection in years… Isra hugged back despite desperately waiting for him to leave the room so she could keep reviewing her memories of the room back at NASA.
Isra hadn’t seen her father in months, and she didn’t know when he would be back. She also hadn’t gotten any news or heard any updates about him from his coworkers in the Pentagon. She noticed that they had been giving her weird stares; they were always weird but not that weird. Why hasn’t he called me? She wondered. She figured it was nothing to worry about, and that he would be back soon, not that she missed him anyway. She had noticed though, that since he had left there had been less and less testing going on. Isra could sense that something wasn’t right, and that something big was coming, even though she wasn’t entirely sure how she knew it.
Left all alone in the Pentagon, Isra spent her nights exploring. No one checked on her between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m., so she had plenty of time. She started to memorize the floorplans of the Pentagon in more depth and eventually learned the locations of every camera, as well as the routine of every single worker. Now she knew how to go about her business and remain undetected. Her goal was to find even more rooms… she could sense there were many more. She could also sense that she was not the only child within the prison-like walls of the Pentagon.
She soon came to notice that when there was a wall in front of her, she could tell how thick the wall was and what is behind it, weird, that’s never happened before. This was when she found out there were indeed other kids in the building. She managed to sneak in their rooms a few times, it looked no different than hers, except there were many more beds and many more children.
After trying to speak with them, she soon noticed that they couldn’t understand her. Why can’t they understand me, don’t they speak English? Maybe they are also foreign... She then tried to talk to them with body language, which seemed slightly more rewarding. She could speak any language, though these kids seemed to lack the actual brain capacity to do so. Most of them looked extremely sick and tired, almost the exact opposite of Isra, who could now go with just an hour of sleep per night. As she came back to their rooms day after day, she couldn’t help but notice that their conditions were worsening rapidly; some of them had even died and no one had bothered to move them. This did not shock her, she had seen her mom’s dead body. It can’t get worse than this.
One night on her way to the children’s room, Isra stumbled upon guards who weren’t supposed to be where they were, at least not according to what she had memorized. She hid behind a desk attached to a wall, hoping they would leave soon. She held her breath and tried her hardest to not make a sound, and listened.
“It’s terrible what happened to Dr. Sultan and all those other people,” said one of them.
“It really is,” said the other, “Does the subject know about it?” he continued.
The first scientist spoke up again. “Not that I know of, no. I don’t think anyone had the courage to tell her, she’s so strange anyway, she probably wouldn’t even understand. Things will be back to normal soon. And we don’t want to make any premature judgments, but we believe she just might be the ultimate key to this low life expectancy shit. We’d lessened the frequency of the testing to see how her body would react and we are all amazed by how she’s coping. And since there are more tests coming, I am thrilled!”
Shocked, Isra tried her hardest to remain calm. Her palms started to gather sweat and she could feel her knees getting weak. Suddenly, her body felt like it was weighed down by lead, and out of nowhere she woke up in her bed, startled awake by an extremely loud noise coming from the East of the building.
Gunshots. Bombs. She remembered these noises from when she was in Saudi Arabia with her father. She jumps out of bed and runs out of her room. There was only one way for her to survive, and that was to find the nearest exit. She did not care about the cameras or the guards at this point, she just had to get out. She made her way to one of the main exits of the building. She had seen maps of where they were in case of fire. On her way there, more bombs kept going off, and she could see fire, and judging by the various screams of agony, it was spreading fast. I need to hurry… She managed to find her way out by following workers and other people she had never seen before. Hopefully they don’t notice me, they’re too busy trying to survive anyway.
Once Isra got outside, she ran to the nearest car, and shocked herself when she found out she knew how to force open it and force start it. Though she had no idea how to drive it. She went with the logical way, she had observed people drive twice so figured it should not be this hard. Isra could barely reach for the gas pedal but managed to start going forwards. Even with the thickness of the pollution, she knew which way to go, and even though things didn't go well last time, the only place she was aware of was the top floor of NASA headquarters.
Isra didn’t know how she’d gotten to NASA before, but apparently her mind had its own fully-functional GPS, because before she knew it she was screeching to a stop before one of the main entrances. She got out of the car, and started making her way to the main gate. There was security, naturally, so Isra had to decide if she would lie to them or tell them the truth; with her knowledge she probably would've gotten through with a lie, but despite her rough upbringing, she knew that honesty was the best policy.
A man in a uniform looked her over, an expectant look on his face. He was probably confused to see a young girl in a hospital-like gown with ash on it. Isra didn’t plan on elaborating on that part.
“My name is Isra Sultan, and I’m here to see Dr. Ives. She requested that I come here, and I need you to tell me where to find her.”
If the man whose name tag read Kenneth was not surprised at all by the girl’s bold tone, it didn’t show on his face. “Take the elevator on the right all the way to the top. You’ll find her there.” And Isra nodded her thanks and took her leave.
A short walk later, Isra found herself again in a room of wonders; a room she hadn’t seen in nearly 6 months now.
“Isra! I’m so glad you came back! I didn’t think you’d actually change your mind.” Dr. Ives called out amicably upon lifting her head to see a familiar ash-covered 9-year-old.
“Huh? Change my mind about what?” Isra replied, confused.
“What do you mean? I’ve been contacting the Pentagon and your father for months; I’m pretty sure I got blacklisted… but, speaking of your father, why isn’t he with you?”
“Dead…” mutters Isra under her breath.
“Dead? What do you mean? What happened?”
“Dead.” replied Isra.
She didn’t want to elaborate, and Dr. Ives, as smart as she was, realized it would be pointless to try and get her to talk. She was already thrilled that Isra had come back, she definitely did not want to scare her off or make her uncomfortable like last time.
“How about we take a seat, and talk about what it is I wanted you back for?”
Hesitant, Isra nodded and sat down at a desk opposite Dr. Ives. Both of them were fully aware that employees at the Pentagon were going to come looking for Isra sooner or later.
Hours deep in their conversation, Isra was starting to open up, and Dr. Ives could really sense that Isra had no intention of going back to the Pentagon, even once things were under control. She had told her about the conversation she overheard that one night between two workers while sneaking into the kids room.
“I have a proposition. You are an incredibly brilliant young lady, and I truly wouldn’t be at all surprised if you built a rocket on your own in just a few days. That said, I don’t believe staying here would be in your best interest. And by here, I mean Earth. You need to escape while you still can, because there isn’t anywhere on this planet that is safe for you... you’re so young and you’ve been through way too much.”
“And why do you care? You barely know me, I don’t understand.”
“I’m supposed to care about the science; the facts, the hypotheses. But you walked in here with your father, and you solved something that was immensely difficult. You’re different, Isra Sultan. And you deserve better than the hand you’ve been dealt. And you deserve to see the stars.”
“I’m going to... visit the stars? Really?” Isra whispered out with barely repressed hope, thinking about the time when she had this conversation with her dad.
“Yes, really.” replied Dr. Ives with a soft smile. “Let’s get right into it. Time is short, and resources here are even shorter. We’re gonna to have to take a private jet to the Kennedy Space Center. It’s in Florida. I can have everything ready in the upcoming hour, would that be okay with you?”
Isra nodded. She was happy and more than ready to finally leave Virginia and to be going somewhere new.
Once again they took the elevator, descending to the ground floor. Next they walked down a series of hallways and ended up in another underground garage. Dr. Ives directed her to her personal car, and they took off to the airport.
Isra was used to cars and planes at this point. During the plane ride, she kept looking out of the window. She had never truly admired what earth looked like from up there. They were so far up, away from any visible pollution. She looked up and saw the seemingly dark blue area beyond the nearly nonexistent ozone layer. I will be there soon, she thought.
Lost in thought, Isra was startled when Dr. Ives called out her name.
Gentle lines appeared on Dr. Ives’ still-youthful face as she hesitantly smiled at the girl. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. I’ve been meaning to ask you since earlier-- why are you covered in ash?”
The 9-year-old closed her eyes, her thoughts going out to the many children she knew had died without a doubt. “There was a fire and endless chaos. I escaped.” After speaking, she opened her eyes, just enough to see Dr. Ives’ concerned gaze.
“The people who kept you there as a… as a guinea pig-- a prisoner… those were bad people. I know you know that. And I know that you don’t trust them. But I want you to know that you can trust me; because I’m not like them, Isra.”
“I do know that. I am just lucky that you haven’t proven to be like the others, Dr. Ives.”
“You can call me Megan, if you want to. That’s my first name.” The woman explained unnecessarily, taking a sip from her bottle of water.
Isra shook her head somewhat fondly at the doctor before changing the subject. “I have always wanted to try orange juice in Florida...”
“I’ll make a call; there will be some waiting for us when we get there, kid.” Dr. Ives chuckled, allowing Isra to bask in the silence of the cabin for the remainder of the flight.
Upon arrival to the airport, they hailed a taxi, and the ride was longer than other car rides Isra had been on. There was no traffic. The pollution was equally as thick, and that might have been why there weren’t many people around. 42 minutes, 33 seconds, thought Isra as soon as she stepped foot outside the car.
“Here we are,” announced Dr. Ives, “The Kennedy Space Center. Let’s head inside and get started.”
They walked to the front gate, “Welcome back, Dr. Ives” said the guard. “Isra, it’s nice to finally meet you.” Isra looked over at him, and hid behind Dr. Ives.
“She’s a bit shy,” Dr. Ives laughed, placing a comforting hand on Isra’s shoulder. The guard chuckled and let them in. They walked to a massive room, with bits of rockets scattered everywhere, Isra immediately assumed this was where she was going to build her rocket.
“Are you ready to start?” asked Dr. Ives.
“Not yet!” Isra said, shaking her head.
“No?” she asked, her head tilted.
“I didn’t get my orange juice…” the girl complained, but no sooner had the words left her mouth, a man walked in with a mini fridge on a hand truck.
“Hey Dr. Ives. Here’s all the.. Orange juice you asked for?” the man said, while he removed his hat to scratch his head.
She waved away his unspoken questions and smiled disarmingly at him. “Thank you, Mitch. We’ve got a lot of work to do, so if you’ll excuse us,” she gestured toward the door while Isra had walked over to the refrigerator with wonder in her eyes.
“Go on, drink up. But come over here, I need to show you the blueprint. It’s from an old rocket, because having to redesign one would take way too much time away from our goal.” Isra nodded at Dr. Ives’ words, while taking a gulp of her new favorite drink. Isra examined the blueprint and realized that she had seen countless others similar to it around Dr. Ives’ office. She immediately understood what she had to do. She got up and started asking for parts.
The rocket started taking shape faster and faster. Dr. Ives was amazed by how quickly Isra was working. Isra was obviously not physically strong enough to bolt everything together on her own, so she ended up giving orders to the employees, to Dr. Ives’ amazement. The programming of the rocket, which usually takes years of trial and error, took Isra only a few hours. At this point, Dr. Ives was rendered speechless as she was sat on a chair, sipping Isra’s orange juice. That is, until Isra noticed her and told her not to touch her orange juice. Despite her being busy helping the rocket get assembled, Isra noticed Dr. Ives had been receiving a lot of phone calls, way more than usual, and they had been increasing in volume as the hours went on. She didn’t think much of them, and continued working on the rocket.
A seemingly irritated look had appeared on Dr. Ives’ face, and Isra turned to ask her what was going on.
“It… it doesn’t matter; what matters is you finishing this rocket.”
Isra had a gut feeling that this was about the Pentagon. It had to be. Seeing how Dr. Ives was reacting. She was close to finishing the rocket anyway. 1 hour and 24 minutes, she estimated, taking a sip of juice and getting back to work.
An hour and 22 minutes later, the young genius spoke up. “We’re ready to take it outside and raise it,” Isra told the head scientist, confident in her words.
“Okay, but we haven’t figured out a space suit for you, so follow me. Hopefully we can find one that fits you in the collection here.” They walked to a back room while the employees took the rocket to the launch pad. They were amazed by what Isra had accomplished, and the fact that she knew more about building this than them, and they had been doing it for years. It made them rethink their own purpose.
Naturally, none of the space suits fit her; not any of the new ones, at least. Neither did the old blue ones. “Hm, how about we try the original ones? The all white ones,” proposed Dr. Ives. Isra nodded, she was not really aware of the difference. Dr. Ives finally dug out a space suit that fit Isra, well, partially. It was really baggy for her, but she fit in it nonetheless. “I think you’re ready,” spoke out Dr. Ives, with a huge smile on her face, she seemed to also be tearing up. Isra broke out a smile, she did not quite understand why Dr. Ives seemed to be getting emotional, but she knew she had to give her a hug. This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do, and this suit is so bulky.
As they approached the launch pad, Isra turned around to Dr. Ives.
“Thank you,” she mumbled out, looking down at her where her shoes would be if she could see them.
“You’re welcome, kiddo. We need to get going, as much as it breaks my heart to see you leave, you need to go. Now.” She spoke out, with a very monotonous and serious tone. “I will be in the control room with a team, manning the firing control systems, ground control station, launch pad, and tracking stations. Everything is going to go smoothly. We both know what we need to do, right?”
“Yes,” replied Isra, feeling sort of claustrophobic in her huge suit.
“I guess this is goodbye. I am so glad I got to meet you. You’re all set to depart, I guess you can go wherever you want, this ship is yours to command.”
“Goodbye, Megan,” Isra muttered with a somewhat forlorn look on her face.
They embraced each other one last time, and both made their way to their location.
Up in her rocket, Isra was setting up for launch. Dr. Ives was seated in the control room, getting ready for Isra to make her departure.
“Megan to Isra, are you ready to go?” Speakers in the spaceship called out.
“Uhh, 10-4,” Isra replied with her helmet on.
Megan smiled at her response before answering with laughter evident in her tone. “Have a good one, kid.”
There were multiple explosions and vibrations that were forced out of the spaceship. Isra could feel the sheer power, and she thought that maybe this was where she was meant to be. With awe in her eyes, Isra sat back in her seat, wondering where this next chapter of her life would bring her…