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The Problem With Spaceships: Zero G

Sample Chapter
Copyright ©2011 Rachel Ann Nunes.
All rights reserved. No part of this text may
be reproduced, in any form or by any means,
without permission in writing from the author.

Chapter One

In Space

"I've never been in space before," said a voice behind me on the passenger deck of our spaceship.

I sat cross-legged on the thick carpet, staring at a screen that covered one entire wall on the deck. On the screen was a picture of the deep black of space and the tiny bright points of stars that always made me smile. Everything about being in space made me happy.

I turned to see who'd spoken, and there was a girl with the whitest hair I'd ever seen. She had a thin face and her freckled nose turned upward at the end.

"I have," I said. "I was born in space." I loved telling this story. "My mom had me on a spaceship after she left Earth. We were on our way to Seren. That's where we live now."

The girl nodded. "I was born on Seren."

"Too bad," I said. Everyone knew that being born on a ship as it leaped through space was much more exciting than being born on any old planet, even one as cool as Seren. I loved space. Someday I was going to be a captain on a ship and never have to live on a planet again.

"There was a doctor on board," I told the girl, "so my parents didn't mind me being born in space. But our ship was one of the old kind that only had about half the normal gravity."
She shivered. "Only half gravity?"

"It's too bad that old ship had any gravity at all." I leaned back and grinned up at her. "Wouldn't it have been funny to see a brand new baby floating in the air, and waving his arms? Like flying or something."

"I don't like to fly," she said.

I laughed. "I'd have liked it. Or loved it, probably. Mom wouldn't have, though. She hates zero gravity."

"I hate zero G, too."

Zero G. That had a cool sound to it. Why hadn't I heard it before? That just goes to show you that you can't learn everything about space before you actually travel in it. I wondered where the girl learned the term and why she hated the idea of no gravity so much.

She was frowning now at the bright stars on the screen. She must be the saddest-looking person I'd ever seen. Her mouth twisted down so much, I bet it couldn't remember how to smile.

"It's only a picture," I told her. "We're going too fast to see each star. If this was a real window, the stars would just be blurs. Well, unless we stopped for some reason."

Her face turned sort of green, but instead of leaving, she sat down facing me, her back to the screen. "I'm Taina. Who are you?"

"Jordan. Jordan Riley. My parents and my brother, Miles, and I are going to Earth." For the first time I was going to meet my grandparents.

Taina nodded. "I hear Earth is a lot like Seren, except colder."

She was right. On Seren it was warm enough to go swimming in the lake all year long. There are other differences. Seren has three moons and two suns, and in school I learned that Earth has only one moon and one sun. That seemed very strange, but I was looking forward to seeing it for myself.

The girl kept glancing over her shoulder at the picture window. I could tell she was afraid of falling inside. Totally impossible, of course.

I sighed. Here I was going to spend three glorious months on a spaceship and the only other child on board besides my pesty little brother was a girl who was scared of space! Why couldn't there be more boys on board?

Well, I wouldn't let this trip be boring. I'd dreamed a long time about being in space, and I was going to enjoy every single minute. Maybe I'd go back to the room I shared with my brother and see what he was doing. Better yet, I'd go explore the ship by myself. There had to be a million places to see.

"I'd better go now." I climbed to my feet.

Taina jumped up after me. "Do you have to?"

Something moved under my shirt, and I hunched so Taina wouldn't see Snowball. My heart slammed in my chest. If anyone realized I'd taken Snowball out of his traveling cage, I'd be in BIG TROUBLE.

Too late.

"What you got there?" Taina asked.

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