PROLOGUE - DECEMBER 13, 2205
In the midst of winding tunnels, iron doors, and
gigantic vaults, a gleaming silver pendant twitches,
releasing a ray of light that burns from its core. The
shimmery dust of underground realms coats its spidery
carvings, which tell of forgotten, ancient civilizations.
One of three with the same silver coating, the pendant
has finally received its calling.
It is awakened, and the clear box that served as
its warden for over a thousand years starts to crack.
Soon, it explodes, penetrating the silence with
the delicate sound of breaking glass. Sheer power
vibrates from the pendant as it glides in the direction of
Thirteen years later, it will find her.
ONE among supposedly many different species that thrive
hundreds of thousands of miles away.
A buzzing noise forces my eyes open. I groan, It must be nice to live there. Luna can be so
swiping my hand through the holo, which displays a tiny boring sometimes, and this is proved as I swipe open
pixelated figure cartwheeling across the flashing “6:00 the gray curtains to reveal an even grayer landscape.
AM.” Usually, I stay in bed until my holo gives me a
mandatory wake-up alarm, but today I stand up I look away from the scene. We are lucky to live
cheerfully. One day until my thirteenth birthsol! on Luna, such a technologically capable, unharmed
planet. Earthens, though few, only live in the sparse
I slip on my standard academy uniform, a formal green land as self-sufficient farmers surrounded by
shirt and pants that I’ve equipped with hidden holoports air-cleansing domes. The rest of the Earth is shrouded
and screens. Every student is allowed to customize in pollution and plastic, land razed by fracking and
theirs to an extent, and I take pride in my mining.
inconspicuous, yet effective design.
Now, school research groups are the only visitors
head to the brightly lit, white-tiled bathroom. to the once blue planet. There’s one trip this year, but
Inside, I quickly scan my teeth against the dental niche, going would take away school time during one of the
feeling a cold shiver moments later. After this, the sink busiest times of the year. I don’t want to miss any
automatically switches to my face program, and I important lessons, especially in Computer Science 2 -
emerge from the bathroom feeling clean and refreshed. my hardest and most enjoyable class.
As always, the kitchen is empty - I’m still the only A quick glance at my wrist shows me that it’s
one in my family that bothers to wake up this early for time to leave: 6:23 AM. I look at my calendar, pressing
school. I reach for a cereal packet and shake out some today’s date, 12/12, for three seconds to mark its
of the pale, square chunks. I hold them over the water passing. It’s a task I carry out every morning, and today I
dispenser, waiting for the mixture to turn white. quickly open the terminal and program an all-day
holographic confetti blast for tomorrow.
At school, we learned about the original liquid,
milk. It was produced by cows, an Earthen animal. One I do this every year on my birthday. Up until last
year, 2217, I used to painstakingly write out every
sparkle, but I’ve learned to simply define it as a function. eight, and nine. No one else seems to be on campus,
I type in i(confettiblast) and it’s set for tomorrow. Poor and I wave the doors closed.
aunt Gina and Benjamin. They won’t know how to turn it
off; that should annoy them to the Earth and back! On my way up, I see the classrooms mostly
empty, but for the instructors prepping today’s
I walk over to my desk and remove the thin, holograms. The first level has unique buildings filled
rectangular drive, double tapping it to make sure the with handmade sculptures, while the second features
homework is safely stored. Shoving it in my pocket, I wallscreens with student work. Mine, the third level, has
head to the airlock and select my hover from the only three wallscreens, showcasing the best work from
wallscreen. It’s named Granger, a reference to the years 7, 8, and 9. I frown as I see Jasper’s math
character from my favorite Earthen story. Granger pops research paper in the eighth year screen slowly
out, and as I place my feet on her smooth foot pads, a scrolling down. Jasper! And I thought mine was the
clear case rises, shielding me from the lunar regolith most in-depth.
that coats everything outside.
In first year, we were given an engineering
The path to the academy is deserted, but I see assignment - to create the tallest tower using
some homes with bright lights shining through the interlocking metal dowels. … For weeks after, he and I
windows. Other than that, there are no differences. would test design after design, and our friendship was
A few seconds pass, and I arrive at the academy.
It gleams bright, the polished feldspar granules carefully
bonded together to create a structure that will endure
through the eons. Twelve cube-shaped sections are
stacked in rows of three, each with one
There are twelve sections in the school, one for
each year. Mine is eighth, so I walk over to the
holovator and select Level 3, the floor with years seven,