By the time your feet touch the flight deck, your hands are shaking. That's the second time in as many days you nearly died in space and you're not willing to risk a third. You should probably report to Commander Vesta before you go in search of something to drink.
But the briefing room is empty and you have no idea where else she might be, so you decide you might as well go get that drink. If you're lucky, you might have enough time to get good and drunk before she finds you, so she won't be able to send you out again on another mission.
You head for the mess hall. If anywhere on the Genesis has alcohol, it'll be the mess hall.
The sound of a lot of voices hits you as you reach the right corridor. You smile and laugh at the sight from the mess room door – it looks like most of the ship have the same idea as you.
Except they all seem to be celebrating.
A couple of the pilots you vaguely recognise from the briefing wave you over to their table. Someone puts a drink in your hand and you figure it'd be rude not to join them.
"What are we celebrating?" you ask.
Everyone within earshot laughs.
"You and your discovery, of course! Jenny said it's a terraforming experiment, sending an AI and some 3D printers ahead of the colony ship so we'd have somewhere to live when we arrive. It's been all hush hush in case it failed. She said the city's not quite finished yet, so the experiment's not a complete success, but things will go much faster if we send down some tradespeople to help. The captain and Commander Vesta are talking to High Command now – seeing if we can organise some sort of peace treaty with the Titans so we have the personnel to spare to build the city instead of fighting. We're celebrating the end of the war!"
Cheers erupt, drinks clink together and you find yourself swept up in the enthusiasm.
"Well, I'm definitely signing up," says one man. "Building a new city has to be better than patching up fifty year old wiring on this tub. Stars, I'll sign on as a city electrician for however long they want me. Anything to live on a planet again."
"You're as crazy as your old man, Apollo," another man says. "I'm not living on any planet that doesn't have an atmosphere I can breathe. I'm not hiding under a flimsy dome. Elysium for me."
"What about you, newbie? You've seen the city. Would you sign up for it?"
The room falls silent as everyone stares expectantly at you.
You manage a smile. "As a freight pilot, flying stuff into a construction site comes naturally to me. So, yeah, I'm definitely in, if they'll have me. As for when it's finished…I have to admit, it looks like a pretty good port in a storm."
Like Sunshine City was supposed to be, or the Genesis. But neither of them was the same as the home you lost when your parents died.
This new city, this Colony…well, they did say third time's the charm. Seeing as you discovered it, maybe they'd even let you name it. The Colony sounded like some elitist enclave only open to rich arseholes. Naming something after yourself was something pretentious arseholes did, so you'd have to think of something good.
Then it hits you.
New Hope. That's what you'd call it. You vaguely remember watching a movie with that name as a kid, and it just has the right ring to it. You'd be happy to call New Hope home.
Want to start reading the story again and maybe find a different fate?
Or are you ready to move on to the Colony on New Hope?