“We’re not going back are we?”
“Not unless that shadow of yours holds oxygen or scrubbers.”
“It’s not fair! The Search was gonna make me rich!”
JonPaul examined his navigator. The boy was only sixteen adjusted, he had every right to be upset. But JonPaul wasn’t in the mood to be consoling. “BoyChild, the Search is about keeping life on the Rock going. As we’re not returning with technology to keep the system working, we’re going on and out and we’ll never waste any more precious oxygen or nutrients.” The boy didn’t reply, merely slouching deeper into his seat. “So you didn’t get relocated to another Rock. You could have chosen to take the sleep and be recycled.” The boy winced at the thought. “Look, why don’t you go and talk to the twins. They like you, y’know. And we’ve got nothing to do for the next day until we rendezvous.”
“Which one likes me?”
“They both do. They’re twins, they think alike.”
BoyChild pondered this. With a self concious grin he released his belt and floated out of his seat. He paused at the hatch. “They’re not, you know. Not twins.”
“They just look similar and dress the same. The Rock wouldn’t risk losing a bloodline by sending both of a set on a Search.”
“Of course not. I knew that.”
BoyChild launched himself from the hand hold at the end of the corridor. He tapped the wall once to adjust his trajectory and rotated to land in the free seat of the monitor room.
The one thing the Rock had in abundance was old spaceships to cannibalise. Even old Search engines had a homing instinct, in case the crew found something interesting before expiring. This particular vessel was on its third time out. The few working screens in the room were clustered around the twins’ seats. The empty spaces at the other three stations had been converted to storage.
“Hello BoyChild.” they answered in harmony.
“JonPaul says we’ve got a day to go. We should get some down time.”
“Did he tell you to spend it with us?” GirlChild was the younger twin.
“Because that’s what we told him to say.” YoungLady was shorter, but not by much.
“Come on, BoyChild. Have you never had a Search fantasy?” GirlChild released her belt and floated to his seat.
“This is ours.” YoungLady flicked switches and the monitors shut down.