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Space Adventure
Alana, Age 12, Sherwood Park, AB

Nikki Jacobs had wanted to be in outer space her whole life. Ever since she was four years old, she had dreamed of nothing but space crafts and astronauts. Now, 19 years later, those dreams finally came true.

May 29th, 2114

We had another meeting today. It was the third one this week. Ms. Rouge had gathered the entire station to discuss our latest mission.

“Good morning everyone,” Ms. Rouge said in her fake-sounding French accent, “I hope your day has satisfied you so far.” She brushed her long, wavy, black as midnight hair back behind her left ear, revealing a sparkling diamond in her newest piercing.

As I trotted around the long conference table, pouring coffee and handing out freshly made pastries to the astronauts, scientists and a handful of secretaries and interns, I listened in on what Ms. Rouge was saying, knowing it was useless. I had spent five years at the local university studying outer space and science, and during that time I had accomplished numerous degrees, and finished countless courses. Even though I was more knowledgeable and practical than many of the astronauts, Ms. Rouge had never considered adding me to one of the missions or promoting me in any way.

After endless announcements and acknowledgments, she finally got down to the point of business. “Our latest mission starts on June 7th. Our objective is to rediscover Planet Jomaga, which we have lost contact with during the last attack, and of course, to save the crew that was lost there. The crew that I have chosen is as follows—‘’ I listened carefully as I sipped a cup of peppermint tea to see is Jake and Amy were on the list.

“The captain will be Hally Kollins, and Amy Pockraft will be assisting her.” As everyone clapped I smiled and gave a thumb’s up to Amy. “I have chosen only three other crew members for this mission. Jake Spinelli, George Rank-Hoff—‘’ I clapped and smiled for Jeff too, “and the last member of the crew is Nikki Jacobs.”

Peppermint tea sprayed out of my mouth and my platter of pastries and empty mugs crashed to the floor. Amy and Jake were cheering loudly and I managed close my mouth and smile. I couldn’t believe it; I was going into outer space!!
            
June 7th, 2114

Today was the day. It was possibly the best day of my life. I had gotten the tea stains out of my clothes and had carefully prepared two suitcases full of my most needed belongings.  I was ready to head out.

Every member of the station and the whole crew had gathered where take-off would happen. Amy, Jake, Hally, and I set our bags in the monstrous, purple spaceship and hugged our companions good-bye.

As I walked into the flashing space craft, I looked around and saw two sections. The first was at the front, with two seats and a command board. The larger chair was probably for Hally, the smaller one for Amy. Behind a glass barrier with a door were about seven to ten other seats set up in two rows. The chairs were a slightly darker shade of the rocket ship’s color, made out of soft, spongy material and had over-the-neck harnesses. A funny looking warning light was perched above each of them. The whole looked like a flattened egg and it got wider farther back where it had three rooms, each with a bunk bed, a desk and a closet. Beside the seats was a large desk with a radio, a keyboard, and a video call screen.

Once we had all taken our seats and buckled up, a speaker over the intercom started counting down. Hally and Amy were typing in commands and codes and getting prepared for take-off. “Ten, nine, eight, seven” the speaker announced. I sat as still as I could in my seat, but I was vibrating with anticipation. “Six, five, four…” My heart was racing with excitement. “Three, two, one…” I clenched my armrest and closed my eyes.

I could feel the spaceship turning and shooting upward. The entire ship was shaking violently and everyone was jammed into the backs of their chairs. All of a sudden, the ship stopped shaking, and no one was stuck to their chairs. The ride felt smooth. A pencil that Hally had dropped rose off the floor. There was no more gravity. I smiled. We were in outer space!!
            
June 8th, 2114

We finally reached Jomaga. It’s a small, purple and blue planet. There is not much on it, other than a couple of cracked rocks, a few dead weeds and some burnt shreds of metal scattered around. We had found Jomaga last year, when it was still a lush and beautiful planet, with about thirty inhabitants. Since then, their enemies attacked and wiped out everything, included our last crew, from the planet.

We searched the arid planet, but found nothing. That is, until I tripped over a large green rock. This rock looked nothing like the others, so it seemed quite interesting. When Hally came over, she found someone even more exquisite than the color.

“Dnatsrednu nac eguor?” Amy questioned “That makes no sense!!” She was right. None of us could make sense of what the words or the symbols neatly drawn underneath them meant.

“Maybe it’s their language,” I reasoned. Hally agreed, but knew of no one that understood it.

We all studied the rock and the writing on it, but we still couldn’t figure it out. It took us hours, but then Jake noticed something.

“Hey Nikki,” he called me over, “read this backwards.” I did as he said. Jake was a genius!! When you read them backwards the words spelled out, “Rouge can understand!!”
            
June 9th, 2114

We have lost all communication with earth. Our radio is all static and our video call screen has shut down completely. We’ve attempted to call Ms. Rouge about our discovery many times, but nothing is working.
            
June 11th, 2114

We got a message from Ms. Rouge today:

“Sorry that I could not reply earlier. There was something, or someone, blocking all communication with you. I received the pictures of the rock you found. The message said to go under the surface to find the key. That’s all I’ve figured out so far.”

It didn’t make much more sense even after reading the message. The only thing we could think of to do was to dig under the planet’s crust.

“I hit something,” said Hally after hours of digging. We encircled her and peered into the hole. All we could see was a silver sheet of metal that was partially uncovered. After we had removed it, there was a hollow expanse that was about five feet deep. The bottom was gleaming, and covered with jewels and precious metals. But in the middle was what looked to be a large safe, with a lock the size of a small dog. Hally jumped down and looked back up at us. She told me to get her the laser from the ship.

When I returned with the laser, Hally grabbed it from us and began to cut away at the lock. It took no more than half an hour for the thick lock to be completely demolished. We pried open the massive door and looked through. It was a small room that was only a few meters across. We hopped down and searched around. But suddenly, slam!!—and we were trapped.
            
June 14th, 2114

We had been in the prison for almost three days now, and we were ready to give up hope. The dingy blackness surrounded us, and the small amount of light from the tiny, flickering lantern created long, creepy shadows along the filthy walls and floor.

Jake and Hally were whispering about something in the corner, but Amy and I were just playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” by the lantern. George was searching around the cell for food, or anything really.

“Hey, I found something!!” We could see George’s shadow flapping its arms about frantically. We gathered around and he showed us a long crack along the floor.

“Yah, it’s a crack,” Amy said, uninterested. I reached my hand down to see how deep it was. Darn, I was stuck. Amy tried to pull me out, but I had already slipped down further. I fell into a large, round tunnel, with chilling, lanterns on the walls, ablaze with crackling fires. I ran my hands over the top of the tunnel, trying to find where I had fallen from, but it was flawlessly smooth, with no cracks at all.

I gradually made my way down the ominous tunnel, stumbling over rocks and rubbish, even a rat or two. At the end was a moss-covered door, only 4 feet high. I slid my fingers in between the door and the wall and pulled. With a groan, the little door opened.

The only thing behind the door was a monstrous key. That’s what the message said!! I snatched it and fled. I sprinted through the tunnel, not caring what I stepped on or how I stepped on it. The eeriness was not bothering me anymore, mostly because I knew that this key could save everyone. At last I reached another tiny door, slightly larger than the last. The key unlocked it with a satisfying click, and I opened it. Behind it were all the inhabitants of Jomaga!!
            
July 14th, 2114

It has been exactly one month since the rescue of the Jomaga citizens. Ms. Rouge held a party in the crew’s favor. We have revisited the planet, and are happy to say that it’s well on its way to being restored to its abundant, gorgeous state. Jake, Amy, Hally and George all escaped the day after I did, and we returned a couple days after that. The lost crew is staying in Jomaga to help with repairs.

Everything is in order again, and Ms. Rouge is letting me on more missions too. Who would have thought that something that started as me spitting peppermint tea could end up like this?

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