Fifteen year old Troy Robinson stared out of the porthole of the spaceship as it took off. He watched as planet Earth slowly became a beautiful blue, green and white sphere floating in space. There was a certain amount of sadness in his heart to be leaving the world on which he was born. He was leaving so much behind, his friends, his school, his home town, and perhaps most of all, his grandparents. However, he was excited too, by the prospect of becoming a pioneer colonist.
Troy was going to start a new life on Mars with his parents, Dexter and Dana Robinson, both astronauts with a scientific background, and his thirteen year old sister, Summer. They would be part of the first wave of settlers to arrive on the planet in 2051.
It had taken over ten years to construct and prepare the biospheres in which the settlers would live, but now they were ready and waiting for the first colonists to arrive. Four huge biospheres would provide the settlers with everything they were going to need to survive in this alien environment. The biospheres were totally self sufficient, farming their own food and livestock. They also had their own micro climate, and completely protected the colonists from the Martian environment outside. The colony had its own shops, hospital, and schools. Its aim was to eventually create a new Earth on Mars.
The colonists had a long term plan for Mars. For the first few hundred years they would live in the biospheres, and in the meantime the planet would be terraformed. This was a process which would take a long time, as it involved artificially warming up the planet to enable plants and other life forms to begin to grow. The scientists aimed to produce a greenhouse effect which would lead to a gradual rise in temperature. Once they deemed the environment suitable, plants and vegetation would be introduced, and thus life on Mars would be given a kick-start. It was an ambitious plan, but not an impossible one.
Troy was very excited to be a part of this brave new venture, and could hardly wait for the three week journey to Mars to be over. For now though, he was stuck on the space shuttle feeling slightly bored.
The space shuttle was almost like a cruise liner. It was five times bigger than the early space shuttles of the late twentieth century, and rather luxurious. To begin with the shuttle had artificial gravity. This solved a great many of space travel's earlier problems. Gravity meant that astronauts would not have to cope with muscle weakening from weeks in zero-gravity. It also made certain things like eating and sleeping much easier. But gravity aside, the shuttle also provided quite well for the other needs of the space travellers. All the travellers had their own living quarters. The size of the living quarters depended on whether the traveller was alone, part of a couple, or belonged to a larger family unit. There was a cinema, a gym, even a swimming pool. A school had been set up on board to ensure that children's educational needs were not forgotten. It was a home from home. However, to Troy it felt like he was in limbo. No longer at home on Earth, but not yet part of his new home on Mars.
As Troy was fifteen, and Summer was thirteen, both brother and sister were expected to attend school on board the shuttle. Once there, Troy and his sister were put into different classes according to their age. Troy found himself in a class with about ten other teenagers. It was then that he noticed a very pretty, dark haired girl sitting just in front of him.
"Hi, I'm Troy Robinson," he said by way of introduction.
"I'm Sky Hammond," the girl replied shyly.
"Where are you from? You sound Australian," Troy guessed.
"You're right, I am Australian. You sound English," Sky smiled.
"I'm half English and half Scottish actually," Troy grinned.
Troy hoped that now he had met Sky the journey to Mars would not be quite so dull. He felt drawn to her, and wondered whether she felt the same way. Once school was over for the day, Troy returned to the family living quarters.
"I met a girl called Sky Hammond today," he told his parents.
"Hammond you say? I think I know her father, Mark Hammond. I'll probably be working with him actually on the terraforming project," Dexter Robinson commented.
"What's this girl like?" Dana Robinson asked.
"She's okay, I suppose," Troy replied.
He was reluctant to tell his mother more. He knew his mother, if he sounded just a little bit enthusiastic about Sky, she would think he was really serious. Within no time at all she would probably start planning wedding outfits, even though they were both only fifteen!
"I'm glad you've made a friend. It's going to be lonely for you and Summer if you don't have any friends on Mars," Troy's father smiled.
Over the next few weeks Troy, Sky and Summer spent most of the time together. So that for Troy at least, the weeks went by fairly quickly, and fairly enjoyably. Before he knew it, the space shuttle had arrived at its destination. They had arrived on Mars.