MidReal Story

Galactic Love: Journey Beyond Stars

Scenario: A couple is traveling in outer space
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A couple is traveling in outer space
The first time I saw Mark Jensen, I was in a space suit.
I was also in a room full of people, so it wasn’t like I could just walk up to him and say hello.
But I wanted to.
I wanted to so badly that my hands were shaking.
I’d been waiting for this moment for years, and now that it was here, I was terrified.
What if he didn’t like me?
What if he thought I was too young?
What if he thought I was too inexperienced?
What if he thought I wasn’t pretty enough?
I’d spent the last six months in a training program with NASA, and now the day had finally come for me to meet the man who would be my partner on the first ever mission to explore a distant galaxy.
We were going to be gone for years.
We were going to be alone together in a tiny spaceship with no one else around for millions of miles.
We were going to be each other’s only company for a very long time.
I’d never even been on a date before, and now I was going to be stuck with this man for the rest of my life.
I’d never been so nervous in my entire life.
“Emily Carter, meet Mark Jensen,” the woman who was leading us to the launch pad said.
“Mark, Emily.” I extended my hand, trying to ignore the fact that there were a dozen people standing around watching us.
Mark took my hand and shook it, and I tried to ignore the fact that his hand was huge and warm and that it completely enveloped mine.
“It’s nice to meet you,” he said.
I hoped he didn’t notice that I was blushing.
He gave me a quick smile, and I thought his eyes crinkled up in the corners a little bit.
It was kind of adorable.
I couldn’t believe I was out here on the launch pad meeting him for the first time, and we were both already encased in our bulky pressure suits.
My heart was pounding so hard that I could barely hear myself think.
This whole thing felt so unreal.
Mark had been an astronaut for much longer than me, and he’d been on several missions before.
He had the tall, dark, and handsome thing going on: short hair that was almost black, dark eyes, and a narrow face with sharp angles.
He looked strong and brave and like he wasn’t afraid of anything.
Which was good, because I was terrified.
I’d met Dr.Emily Carter before, of course—I’d read her papers before I even joined this mission—but it was still weird to meet her in person after all this time.” The woman leading us to the launch pad pointed to me.
I reached out my hand again, and Mark shook it.
His fingers were long and warm.
“Sarah Li,” he said.
“Nice to meet you.”
Dr.Sarah Li stopped us at the door of the spaceship.
“Are you ready?”
she asked Mark and me.
“As ready as we’ll ever be,” Mark said.
“Good.” Dr.Sarah Li looked at her watch.
She was Asian, and she had sharp features and a narrow face that made her look like a wolf or a bird or something wild and dangerous like that.
Her eyes were dark and sharp, and they flicked back and forth so quickly that I couldn’t even tell what color they were.
Dr.Li was younger than most of the other mission control specialists, but she was a genius when it came to engineering and space travel and everything else we’d need to know to get us through the next few years of our lives.
“Let’s get this show on the road.”
It was finally happening: after all these years of training and preparation and planning, it was finally happening.
I couldn’t believe it.
I couldn’t stop shaking.
They were about to close the door behind us for the last time, and then we would be off on our journey through the stars.
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I took a deep breath and squeezed Mark’s hand.
I’d spent the last month getting ready for this moment, and now that it was here, I didn’t know what to do.
The past few weeks had been a whirlwind of events: training and testing and more training and more testing.
There had been meetings with NASA officials and interviews with reporters from newspapers and magazines around the world.
There had been parties and dinners and lunches and breakfasts.
There had been long hours spent in front of cameras and microphones, explaining what we were going to be doing on this mission and why it was so important.
And there had been lots of hugs and kisses from our families: our parents, our siblings, our grandparents, our cousins.
Even people we hadn’t seen or talked to in years called to wish us good luck.
The love and support from everyone was overwhelming.
It was almost too much.
I felt like I was going to burst into tears at any moment.
I smiled through my tears as best as I could.
I waved at my family one last time: my parents, my brother and sister, my grandparents.
My dad gave me a quick thumbs up.
My mom looked like she was about to pass out.
Mark’s family was there too, of course.
His parents, his older brother, his sister, his grandparents.
They were all there, smiling at us.
They were proud of us.
And they were terrified.
I knew how they felt.
Because I felt the same way.
We were about to leave Earth behind, maybe forever.
We were about to leave gravity behind, maybe forever.
And we were going to take off on a journey that would take us so far away that even if we found a way to come home again, it would take us years to get here.
That meant years without seeing our families or friends.
Years without feeling the sun on our faces or the wind in our hair or the rain on our skin.
Years without hearing the sounds of the city or the country or anything else but the hum of the spaceship around us.
My heart ached when I thought about it.
I didn’t want to leave my family behind.
I didn’t want to go on this mission without them.
But this mission was bigger than any one person or any one family.
This mission was bigger than all of us combined.
This mission could change the course of human history forever.
That’s why we were doing this: not just because we wanted to be astronauts, but because we wanted to explore new worlds and make new discoveries and maybe even find alien life.
That’s why we’d signed up for this mission in the first place: not because we didn’t love our families, but because we loved humanity and science more.
We were explorers, not just astronauts, but pioneers who wanted to see what lay beyond the stars and push the boundaries of human knowledge as far as they would go.
And we would do whatever it took to make that happen.
Mark squeezed my hand back, not saying anything at all as we floated above Earth in microgravity together, watching as everyone we’d ever known vanished below us.
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I’d known that from the moment I signed up for this mission and said goodbye to my previous life for good.
Or at least the one I’d had on Earth.
I’d known that I might not come back again, that I might never feel the sun on my face or the wind in my hair again or see my family again, and that had been something that I’d been willing to do anyway, because I’d known that this mission was more important than me, than Mark, than any one person who was risking their lives for it.
But to have it be happening right now, while I’m looking at my family for the last time?
It hit me harder than I ever thought it would.
I just couldn’t believe it was happening right now, after all of the time and work that had gone into preparing for it, after everything else that had happened before it finally came to this point, where I could no longer turn back, no matter how much I wished that I could.
The countdown had already started, and there wasn’t anything that could be done to stop it now.
Not while there were so many people who were watching us and counting on us to succeed, not when there were so many who were counting on us to fail or die trying.
“Let’s move it,” one of the engineers who was overseeing our launch said, and I swallowed back a sob as they opened the hatch for us to climb inside.
It was time to head inside and get ready for launch.
It was time for me to say goodbye to my family and get ready to leave Earth behind for good.
Maybe forever.
Dr.Sarah Li said as she approached me with a smile on her face.
She looked so happy and proud that I couldn’t help but smile back at her, even though I felt like crying.
I can’t believe it’s really happening.”
“Me neither,” I confessed as I watched Mark moving towards his own spaceship with his own crew.
Our collective crew: the people that we would be working with for the next couple of years as we crossed the interstellar void together.
It was hard to believe that we were finally here.
That we were finally getting ready to head off into space and do what we’d all been training to do for so many years.
“Are you excited?”
Sarah asked me as she came up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder.
I can’t wait to get up there and see what’s out there for myself.”
I know,” I said with a nod, squeezing her hand as I looked out the window at the stars.
“I’m just not sure I’m ready to go yet.”
It’s not too late,” she said, and I shook my head as I felt my heart break all over again.
We’re all counting on you.”
I took a deep breath and wiped my eyes one last time before I turned around to face her again.
I know,” I said with a smile, even though it was hard to mean it right now.
“We won’t let you down.”
“I know you won’t,” she said with a smile that was so bright that it lit up the room.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done to help make this possible.”
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The sunrise painted the sky in hues of red and orange that seemed almost fake in comparison with how gray that it had been outside when we’d gotten up to get ready for our big day.
It was so beautiful that I had to stop and take a moment to just stand there and appreciate it for what could be the last time in years or even forever.
It was so long since I’d been able to appreciate something so simple and yet so beautiful that I almost didn’t know how to feel.
It made me happy and sad at the same time, that something that seemed so simple could also seem so special.
That something that would happen every single day could also seem like something that could never happen again.
It wasn’t long before someone came up behind me and put their arms around me in a warm hug that made me feel safe and loved even though I knew that it wouldn’t last.
“Are you ready?”
my mother asked me as I leaned back into her embrace and wished that I could stay there forever.
I took a deep breath and turned around to face her with my own smile even though it wasn’t real either.
“I am,” I told her, even though I wasn’t sure that I was yet, and I hoped that she’d be able to tell that I wasn’t really being honest about how I felt right now.
I was a terrible liar, and I knew that she’d be able to tell that I wasn’t telling her the truth when I told her that I was ready for this, that I was ready to get on this spaceship and leave her and my family behind, maybe forever, even though I knew that it was something that I had to do anyway, and that I couldn’t keep putting off forever.
I was going, and there wasn’t anything that I could do about it now.
I just had to stand here and accept that no matter how much that I wished that things could be different than how they were right now, there wasn’t anything that could change them now.
It was already too late for that.
I squeezed my mother’s hand one more time and took a deep breath as we both turned away from each other and prepared for what was about to happen next: what we were both about to do next as soon as we were done saying goodbye, even though we knew that we’d never be able to say all that we needed to say in order to really be ready to go through with this, that there would always be something more that we needed to say in order for us to really be ready to go ahead and do this thing, even though it was already too late for either of us to back out now.
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