Part 1

Chapter One

Time Heals No Wounds

She stood staring at the red headed child who ran towards her. Stay strong she thought to herself, you need to stay strong. Her long black hair blew in the wind around her covering her sculpted cheek bones. A young human man appeared from the front of the ship next to the woman. His eyes were darting back and forth as he watched the world around him fall to destruction. His voice quivered as he spoke to the woman. "Ma'am. We have to leave now. The temperature is rising too quickly. If we don't leave soon we won't be able to escape your planet's atmosphere in time."

The woman gazed into the red and orange sky as she listened to the man. She couldn't look away from the two colors that danced in the sky. Why must it come to this? She took a deep breath trying to calm herself before saying, "I will not abandon my people." The man checked his watch on his left wrist and jerked his head up to look at the woman whose eyes were filled with pain.

"But… I was ordered to evacuate you and your family before your planet…" He stopped speaking. The woman had turned her head to face the man. Her piercing blue eyes shone through her black hair like a full moon at night.

"I will not run away like a coward. If my people are to die like this than so am I," she spit out with disgust. "Take my children. Their lives are more important than mine." She picked up the red headed child who was now clenching her leg and handed her to a blond girl standing behind the man. "Arianna, it is up to you now. Take Keomey and live with the humans," the woman instructed the girl. The red headed child began sobbing into the shoulder of the girl.

"Mother I can't leave you. Not like this," the girl pleaded with the woman.

"You know was well as I do that I must stay. You saw what I saw. It has to come true. If not the universe will fall into his hands and more will die." She stepped off the platform of the ship and closed the door. Her voice was muffled but the girl could make out what the woman said. "I love you both very much. Your futures are bright. And Arianna tell Rayah this is not her fault. It is mine." The ship began lifting off of the ground.

"Mother!" The girl shouted out to the woman on who stood watching their ship lift. She punched the glass that separated them.

A voice sounded over the ships intercom ordering everyone to buckle their seatbelts and prepare for departure. The girl fastened the crying child's seatbelt and sat down to buckle her own. She whispered to the child as she gave her a hug," everything will be alright, Keomey. I promise." But she didn't even believe that.

The woman watched the ship shoot out of the atmosphere. Everything will be alright. She smiled to herself. "Please be safe, my children," the woman whispered.

Keomey awoke suddenly pushing quickly into a sitting position from the reality of her dream. Panting, she tried to catch her breath; sweat had started beading at the top of her forehead. Why must I always have this dream? She questioned herself. She flung off her red comforter and turned towards her window that was beside her bed. Yet another beautiful day in space, she thought with sarcasm as she stood up and stretched her aching muscles.

"Well, time for school," she said. She walked into the bathroom that was just outside of her room and peered into the mirror. "My God, I'm a mess." Her long locks of carmine colored hair were thrown around her head and looked as though she had been electrocuted. She ignored it and washed her face in the sink before trying to brush out her knotted hair.

"Keomey, are you up?" Arianna yelled from their kitchen that was down the hall from the bathroom.

"Yes, mom, I'm awake," She responded, rolling her eyes.

A woman appeared in the door frame. Her blonde hair was placed in a curled side pony, held with a clip. "Stop calling me mom, you know how much I don't like that," she said angrily.

"I'm sorry; you just act like my mom all the time. Keomey don't do this, don't do that. Is your homework done? Are you really going out like that?" Keomey let out a small laugh.

"Shut up and get ready for school and don't be late again today. I'm tired of having to talk to your principal about all your tardies and absences. If you don't want me to act like your mom anymore, start taking responsibility for your actions."

"You know as well as I do that my principal would still call you in to talk to you. He likes you," Keomey explained.

"Ugh, I would never in a thousand years date a human," Arianna responded in disgust.

"Whatever, Arianna, you know you like him"

"You're disgusting Keomey. Now get ready for school," Arianna ordered.

"Aye aye, captain," Keomey replied as she saluted her sister. Arianna turned and walked back to their kitchen.

Keomey continued trying to brush out her hair; I wish I was like Arianna. That woman doesn't even have to try to be beautiful. Once Keomey finished brushing out her hair she pulled it up into a pony tail. My eyes are extra red today, Keomey noticed as she stood staring into her pools of deep red, oh well. She put on a little eyeliner and mascara before heading back to her room to get dressed. She picked up a baggy, vibrant blue shirt off her bedroom floor and examined it, looks clean enough.She threw on some skinny jeans and put on her black shoes that were sitting beside her bed where her shirt has been.

She walked out of her bedroom and into the kitchen where Arianna sat reading their micro script that had the daily news on it. Arianna put it down and turned towards Keomey, "What the hell is Metallica?" She questioned referring to Keomey's shirt.

"You ask me that every day. It's a band from a long time ago." Keomey explained as she continued walking into their living room. She sat on their white couch and propped her feet up on their coffee table.

"Get something to eat and go to school, I'm going to go to work." Arianna stood up and brushed her light blue blouse and white pants of anything that might have clung to her. She grabbed her purse and opened their front door. Before she closed it she turned towards Keomey and said, "Remember what I said about being on time. And for God's sake don't skip anymore school." She closed the door leaving Keomey alone in the kitchen.

Keomey let out a small laugh. She dropped her feet onto the ground, stood up and went to their fridge. She grabbed an apple and picked up her lime green backpack off of the ground beside the door. Here we go. She opened the door and shut it with a bang.

I hope today is better Keomey thought to herself as she put in one of her wireless headphones and turned on her Music Man. It was a small odd shaped object that was as thin as a piece of paper. A little man wearing a bowler had laid on his side asleep on the front of it. Keomey tapped where his virtual forehead was. He opened his eyes and Keomey could hear his electronic voice begin to speak.

"Good morning, Keomey. Which song would you like to listen to today?" It questioned her.

"I'm feeling something old school," she answered.

"How old school would you like me to play?" It questioned further.

"Twentieth century old. Maybe the Beatles." She said.

"Yes Keomey, The Beatlesplaying now," A soft guitar began playing in the background and a man began singing. As Keomey kept walking she passed human after human. Each human was dressed in bright colored clothing that was decorated with rhinestones. As she walked by they would turn and give her a puzzled look. And I thought I looked weird Keomey thought.

"Hey, Keomey!" A boy's voice called out from behind her.

"Pause song," Keomey ordered her Music Man. The little man snapped his fingers and the music stopped.

"Hey Josh," she said as the boy ran up to her side. He was tall, about half a foot over Keomey's 5'8". Though he still looked like a young boy, his jaw line was strong. He had short dark brown hair and dark eyes that glistened in the light as he smiled.

"You look extra boyish today. What's a Metallica? That another old band you listen to?" He asked as he noticed her shirt.

"Yes, in fact, it is. Don't judge me," she said with annoyance.

"Yeah, you're cool," he said sarcastically. "Are you excited? Your birthday's tomorrow. It's the big eighteen. Then you get to get out of this hell of a place and move far away," he said.

"God I can't wait to get away. The universe is so big. It's just waiting to be explored. Plus I wouldn't mind getting away from our classmates. It's not very fun getting mocked every day. I want to find somewhere where I belong. I don't want to be treated like a weed amongst flowers anymore." She looked down at her shoes.

"You'll never be normal, Keomey," Josh said.

"Thanks Josh, that's exactly what I wanted to hear." She stopped walking and kneeled down to tie her shoe.

He helped her to her feet before they resumed walking down the white hallway. "What I mean is you're too unique, Keomey. You won't be normal because you're an individual. To be honest I wouldn't like you if you were like all those other bitc-" Josh stopped talking immediately.

"Good morning, Commander, you look very sharp today," Keomey said. A man just as tall as Josh appeared in front of them. He wore a white military uniform covered in elaborate medals and ribbons.

"Good morning, Keomey. Good morning, Josh. You must be heading to school."

Josh's face was hard as he responded in a monotone voice, "Good morning, Sir. Mom told me to inform you that she will be home late. There are more soldiers being brought in today to the sick ward. She thinks she'll be gone all night."

"Ah, more brave men and women being brought in. It's terrible what is happening to them," he said with a hint of guilt in his voice, "I wish I could be fighting alongside them."

"This war is horrible. I can only hope that we find a way to win one day," Keomey paused before adding," Sir."

"Yes, well, maybe one day. Are you thinking of joining the Navy once you graduate Miss Rean? We could make you into a fine soldier."

"I don't think so, Sir. I just want to get out of this spaceship and onto some real land," Keomey replied.

"It's a shame, you would be great. Both of you get to school. I will see you at home later, Josh. Have a nice day you two." With that he turned and walked away.

"Your dad scares me sometimes Josh. I can never tell if he thinks I'm the enemy or not," Keomey whispered to Josh once the Commander was gone.

"Keomey, how many times have I told you? He likes you; he thinks you're a nice girl. Besides I think you're the least of his worries right now. I've heard rumors that we're losing the war. I've over heard my dad saying that our soldiers are defenseless against the Korations. He said that they fight with no mercy and that their skin is like a bullet proof vest. It takes a hundred bullets to kill just one of those things and they fight in groups of fifty." Josh whispered back as they continued walking to class.

They arrived at the schooling section of the ship a few minutes later. There were boys and girls everywhere gossiping about popular celebrities. Keomey took a deep breath and walked to her locker next to a group of girls who watched her like a pack of hungry lions. The minute she arrived at her locker the girls walked away.

"God girls are mean," Keomey stated to Josh as she typed in her combination.

"They're just jealous of you. Every girl in this school knows that you're the most beautiful of them all," he paused with a grin, "even if you do dress like a boy," he teased.

"Shut up." Keomey turned and punched him in the arm.

"Ow! Keomey, you punch hard!" Josh complained as he rubbed his arm where she had hit him.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to hit you that hard. I just don't know my own strength, I guess," Keomey apologized with little sincerity. The bell signaling the beginning of school started to ring.

"Time for class. Bye Josh, I'll see you later." She said as she started walking to her class.

Josh watched her walk away, her red hair swaying in its ponytail in rhythm with her hips. His eyes filled with longing. Just tell her tonight, you can do it Josh tried to reassure himself. Yeah right. He turned and started walking towards his class with thoughts of occupied with a red haired beauty.

Chapter 2

The Start of Something Great

Keomey walked into her first period class and took her normal seat in the back of the room. She plugged in her student ID to the computer pad at her desk and logged into the class server. Slowly the classroom began filling with students. Patiently she waited for her friends to walk in. She leaned back in her chair and watched the kids pour into the classroom. She noticed them the minute they walked in. Her friend Aliah was abnormally tall and slender with long blonde hair highlighted with purple that fell to her lower back and had bright green eyes that were filled with excitement. She wore a knee length dress covered in a purple flower pattern and tall white high heels. She always wore high heels even though she was already tall, always claiming that she didn't care if they made her giant. She wouldn't let her height hold her back from wearing what she wanted to wear. Accompanying Aliah was Keomey's other friend Cred. He was average height for a guy but was strong and alert. His black hair was short and his darkened glasses he wore hid his eyes from sight. He was born blind and though there were operations that could be done to fix his sight he didn't want them. They were too expensive and he didn't mind being blind, he never allowed it to hold him back. He had a way of getting around without help from anyone but Aliah always insisted that she go with him wherever he went just in case he needed help. She had always had a small crush on Cred but he failed to notice her hints. He thought she was just being helpful. Aliah sat down to the right of Keomey and plugged her ID in. Cred sat next to her and felt for the plug in. After he plugged in his ID he turned towards Keomey.

"What up, Keomey?" He said. "Are you wearing another band shirt or are you dressed normal today?" He questioned with a shy smile.

"Nope, not normal," Aliah answered in her loud cheerful voice. "Today's shirt is some extinct band." She smiled at Keomey and began twirling her hair on her finger. "What's on the agenda today, Keomey?" She asked as she leaned back in her chair.

"Well first off we have school, then school, then lunch, and then school," Keomey responded.

"Sounds like another space adventure for us then," Cred said.

"Just like every day of our lives. I guess we'll just have to find something fun to do. Let's skip third and go exploring!" Aliah said with excitement.

"That sounds fun. I can miss third, all we're doing is talking about quantum physics," Cred pointed out. "Nothing too hard. Keomey are you in?" He asked.

"I can't. Arianna would kill me if I skipped another class. The principals already out to get me as it is," Keomey replied.

Aliah leaned forward and rested her head in her hand. "Yeah, so? She always kills you when you skip. What's the difference this time? And who cares about the principal. He's just a man who wasn't strong enough to join the navy and was forced to go into education," she said with a hint of anger.

"Yeah come on, Keomey. It's not the same without you." Cred said as he took off his glasses to rub his eyes.

"Ah, what the heck. I'll go," Keomey responded excitedly. "I'll text Josh and see if he's in." She took out her red phone and opened up a message to Josh. The room began to darken and a holographic man appeared on everyone's desk.

"Good morning class. Today we will be learning about World War 3 and the destruction of Earth. Please turn off all electronic devices," the man ordered.

"And it begins…," Keomey whispered to her friends.

"Keomey, pay attention," the tiny holographic man ordered.

"Sorry, sir." Keomey apologized as she winked at Aliah and hit send on her phone.

Josh slouched in his chair as his teacher Mrs. Young talked in her regular scratchy voice about the exploration of Mars and Saturn. He gazed around the room at his class mates to try to stay awake. Half of them were already asleep on their desk and the other half were playing on their computer pad. Mrs. Young could care less if her class paid attention to her. She was retiring this year so she rushed through lectures and showed as many movies as she could not caring if her class was failing. He turned his head to look at the girl sitting to his right. She turned and looked at Josh with a kind smile. She gave him a quick wave before she continued playing on her computer pad. Her name was Katie Vanderlin. She was short and skinny but very busty. Her long brown hair fell to cover her sharp and sculpted face while her big brown eyes fixed on the game she was playing. Most guys had a crush on her but not just because she was pretty and had a nice body. Her dad was the pilot of the space station so her family was incredibly wealthy. Josh used to like her because she was always nice to him, though most people usually were. No one wants to fight the Commander's son. She always used to walk with Josh and laugh at the stupid jokes he made. She even helped him with his cold fusion project but he stopped liking her once he found out that she despised Keomey.

Most people don't like Keomey, it's a known fact. They're racist towards her since she's not human. But Keomey was his best friend and he would do anything for her and he knew she would do the same for him. Whenever anyone made fun of her he was the first to defend her. They had been best friends since her sister and her were rescued from their home planet when she was three. I remember it like it was yesterday he thought as he laid his head on his desk.

His father had introduced himself to them when they had first arrived to their space station. Arianna didn't say much, she had never really liked humans because of what they did to Earth and to her home world. She only nodded and said hello when Josh's father first introduced himself. Josh was hiding behind his father's leg when he noticed Keomey lying on Arianna's shoulder; her face was partially covered by her sister's long blonde hair but he could make out her red eyes through the tangled mess.

"Hello and welcome to space station Orion. You are welcomed here as long as you would like to stay. I know you have had a hard day but protocol requires me to debrief any and all rescued civilians from hostile territory. If you would please come with me Arianna we can make this as quick as possible."

She bit her bottom lip and narrowed her eyes at the Commander. He stood his ground and returned a soft smile. Her face softened. She put Keomey down on the ground. "I'll be right back, Keomey. Stay here and don't go anywhere," Arianna ordered. She looked like an Angel to Josh with her long blonde hair and bright eyes but there was something about how she spoke. Her voice was soft and kind but Josh detected anger behind her words. She turned and walked with elegance and perfect postures with his father into the room behind him. When the door slid shut Josh turned to Keomey who was sitting on the floor staring at a wall. When he walked over to her she turned her head and looked him up and down.

"Hi, my names Josh. I'm six and I like dinosaurs," he paused for a moment to catch his breath. "Do you like dinosaurs? I do they're cool. Why are your eyes red? I like red it's my favorite color. What's your favorite color? Mines red, oh I told you that already. Well hi. I'm Josh. Do you want to go play?" Keomey didn't say anything for a while. She only watched him ramble on.

"No, I don't want to play," she muttered before turning to look at the wall in front of her.

"Oh, okay. Are you okay? You look sad. My mommy gives me a hug when I'm sad. Do you want a hug?" He continued staring at her with a smile.

"No, I don't want a hug," she mumbled.

"Oh, okay. Well where did you come from? I came from my mommy. She said I grew in her tummy. My mommy's pretty. She has brown eyes like me but hers are big and she's always smiling. Where's your mommy? I bet she's pretty, too. Most mommy's are. Does she have red hair like you? Your hairs weird, by the way. I've never met anyone with red hair before. Do you like to color? I have a coloring book in my dinosaur backpack. Do you want to color with me?"

Tears began sliding down Keomey's cheeks but she continued watching the wall. "No, I don't want to color." She wiped the tears that slid down her face with her black shirt.

"Well, what do you want?" Josh asked now a bit frustrated.

She looked down for a second before belting out, "I want my mommy." She put her face between her knees and began crying hysterically.

Her sudden sobs scared Josh at first. He sat down beside her and put his arm around her shoulder. "Well where's your mommy? We can go find her if you want."

Keomey kept crying into her knees but managed to choke out a few words, "She didn't make it." Josh was shocked at her response. He turned to look at the wall that Keomey had found so interesting.

"My big brudder died, too."Josh stopped to look into his hands. "He was in battle and got shot. But he died saving a family from being killed. He ejected their rescue pod before those mean aliens could hurt them. My daddy always said one life isn't worth the sacrifice of others. I cried when I found out he was dead. But now I'm proud of my big brudder. He was buried a hero. That's how I want to be buried just like my brudder."

"My mommy died saving me and my sister," Keomey whispered. "Is she a hero?" Keomey lifted her head and looked at Josh. Their faces were inches apart which made Josh a little uncomfortable but he didn't move away.

"Yeah, I think she is. She saved both of you. You should be proud of her. What was she like?" He moved his arm off her shoulder and sat criss-crossed in front of her with his hands in his lap.

"Well, she had long black hair that fell all the way to her back and she had bright blue eyes like my sister Arianna. But my mommy's were darker, kind of like the ocean."

"I've never been to the ocean before. Is it pretty?" Josh asked curiously.

"It's really pretty. I used to sit and watch the sun rise with my mommy. We had a house on the beach. It was big but my mommy let people stay in our open rooms we had because we only need five of the thirty-seven bedrooms it had. She always said she didn't like how big the house was. She liked small cozy houses that had wrap around porches and swings that you can sit on and just read. I can't read yet but my mommy used to tell me stories all the time. We would sit on the beach and just talk for hours." Keomey turned and sat in front of Josh. She had stopped crying and was starting to smile from thinking about her mother.

"Why did you have such a big house?" Josh asked confused.

"My mommy said my Grammy Tan had given it to her as a wedding gift. My Grammy Tan liked to spend money. But my mommy only liked to buy what she needed. She always said that money shouldn't be wasted on stupid things. It should be used to help people. She gave away a lot of money. That's why everyone liked my mommy. She was so nice. And pretty. I hope I look like my mommy when I grow up." Keomey looked down at her hands that were nestled in her lap. "Oh. You asked if I liked dinosaurs. Yeah I do but my planet didn't have dinosaurs. Or maybe it did. I don't remember but you can ask Arianna. And my favorite color is red, too. I've never colored before. We don't have crayons on my planet." Josh sat and listened to her talk. He was intrigued by her and what her life was like.

"No crayons? What? What do you do for fun on your planet then?" He asked.

"We'll I used to swim a lot with Arianna. She loves swimming. She has a hard time seeing but she says when she's in the water she can see better. I don't know why. I think she's a little crazy. I also used to go exploring in the forest behind my house. It spread out for miles. I would just go for a walk and see where I ended up."

"How old are you?" Josh asked.

"I'm five. But I turn six in a few days."

"You're five and your parents let you explore in a forest? My daddy would never let me do that."

"My mommy trusted our people. She didn't think anyone would hurt me."

"I've never been to a forest before, either. I've lived here my whole life. Born and raised. In fact I've never been to a planet."

Keomey leaned her head to the side. "That's weird. It's pretty on my planet. You can see our four moons during the day and at night they light up like a Rearne in water." She laughed to herself but Josh only sat with a puzzled look on his face. "Oh a Rearne is a water animal that lights up whenever it swims."

"Oh, that makes sense. You're really cool; do you want to be my friend?" Josh asked with a giant smile that shone on his face.

"I've never had any friends my age before. There were no kids where I used to live." She looked down at her hands. "My mommy used to tell me that most people didn't like being around me, they were scared of me. Probably because I look weird."

"Yeah you look a little funny but I don't care. I think your red hair is pretty and your eyes are cool, too. Why are they afraid of you?" He asked puzzled.

"People think I'm bad. Most people who have red eyes grow up to be mean and do bad stuff. But I got my eyes from my daddy. He had red eyes, too. People liked him though. But they had, too. My mommy said that the people that were afraid of me were, um, igno…um… ignar… I forget the word she said but she said they were dumb for believing the stories about red eyed people."

"That's stupid. I don't think you'll grow up to be mean. I think you'll grow up to be pretty, like your mommy."

Keomey looked up at Josh again with a big smile on her face. "You're sweet. I'll be your friend. I'm Keomey." She reached out her small hand to Josh. He took it in his and shook it up and down.

"I'm Josh."

Just then the door that Arianna and Josh's father had walked through opened. Arianna stepped out with the Commander.

"Come, Keomey. The Commander has been very generous to give us a unit to live in until I can find a better place for us. Say goodbye to your friend." She walked over to Keomey and picked her up.

"Bye, Josh!" She said with a smile.

"Bye, Keomey!" He began waving at her as he watched Arianna and Keomey walk away.

Arianna walked down a long hallway that had windows on both sides that over looked the giant city. The buildings were lit up with a rainbow of colors and several different shapes. "What strange architecture. I've never seen building like these. Life here will be different, Keomey. But we must stay strong. It's what mother would have wanted.

"Your phone beeped, Josh." He lifted his head to find Mrs. Young standing in front of him. Oh God. I fell asleep in class.

"Oh, uh, thanks." He flipped his phone upside down so the screen was covered.

"Whatever, I didn't see anything." She turned and walked away with a smirk on her face. Thank God. My dad would have killed me if he knew my phone was on. He reached for his phone and flipped it back over once Mrs. Young was back at the front of the room. One new text message from Keomey was lit up on the front of his phone. He clicked open and a message popped up. Want to skip third? Hell yeah I do. He opened the keyboard on his phone and responded to Keomey.

Chapter 3

Happy Birthday

"Where is this place, Keomey?" Josh asked as he tried to keep up with her quick pace.

"It should be just up here." I know it's here somewhere. She turned down a long hallway that led into complete darkness. "It's down here!" She quickened her pace and hurried down the hall anxious to find the door.

"This doesn't look very safe, Keomey," Josh said as he followed behind her. "Who knows how long since someone's been here. It could be dangerous."

"Stop your worrying, Josh. We'll be fine," Aliah called out from behind him as she led the way for Cred.

"It doesn't matter any to me. I can't even see where the hell we're going," Cred said as he held onto Aliah's arm. "What does it look like Aliah?"

"Nothing but darkness." She let out a sigh. "I thought this place was going to be cool. So far it's boring."

Keomey stopped walking suddenly causing Josh to run into her. "This is the door! I remember the weird writing on it." Keomey ran her fingers over what appeared to be a door in front of her. There were large letters written on it in some weird language that none of them recognized. She moved her hand to where the handle would be but found nothing. "Damn. It's a slider. I don't think we'll be able to open it."

"Try kicking it or something. That always seems to work," Aliah said.

"Let me see. I might be able to override the doors control panel and get it to open," Cred said stepping in front of Aliah.

"Cred. I hate to break this to you but you're blind. You can't see much of anything," Keomey said jokingly.

"You are so funny, Keomey," Cred said. Aliah led him to the door and put his hand onto the electrical box located to the left of it. "Damn this is old. This had to be one of the first generations. I've never dealt with anything like this before." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a flat screwdriver. When he put it onto a screw it immediately shaped into the right screw head. He unscrewed the box and opened it to find a vast assortment of colored wires.

"Are you sure about his Cred? I don't want you to get electrocuted or anything," Aliah said as she looked at the wires.

"I'll be fine. I do this all the time. Wires feel different depending on their color so I know which one is what color. I just have to find the right…" he stopped talking as he reached his hand into the wires. "Got it! I found the green wire. Now all I have to do is…" he paused again. "Done. The door should open now. Try pushing the open button, Keomey." Keomey turned back to the door and pushed the button to the right of it.

"I don't know how you manage to do that every time, Cred." A loud banging sound erupted as the door tried to slide open. It opened a few inches before jamming. "God damn this freaking door!" Keomey yelled out in frustration as she kicked the door. With a loud bang the door bent inward and fell flat on the ground with a loud crash.

"Dude, Keomey. How long have you been able to do that?" Josh asked staring at the opening where the door used to be.

"I… I don't know. I've never been able to do that," Keomey said. "Well I guess that works." Keomey stepped over the door and walked into the darkness.

"Come on, Keomey. There might be something bad in there or like a leak or something. We could get hurt." Josh stepped back from the doorway.

"Or there could be people that were exposed to a radiation leak that caused them to turn into flesh eating zombies. Get over it, Josh. You'd think you'd have bigger balls since your dad's the Commander," Cred said as he walked past Josh.

"Seriously," Aliah said trailing behind Cred.

"Guys, get in here. You have to see this," Keomey's voice called out from in the room. Josh, Cred, and Aliah followed her voice into the darkness. They turned a corner to find a giant hanger with windows that overlooked the nearby planet that their space station was near. The light from the stars illuminated the room revealing a black spaceship dented and scratched from past battles.

"What is it?" Cred asked.

"It's a…ship," Keomey said. "Let's go inside." Keomey walked forward to the ship gazing at the purple planet and stars.

"Guys, we should go. If they found out that we were in a hidden military hanger our asses would be hung," Josh said.

"I'm not going to miss this," Keomey called out from the back of the ship. "The bay door's already open. We can get inside easily." She stepped up into the ship and looked inside. When she climbed into the ship it activated and powered up causing lights to flicker on. She stepped around the scrap metal and broken glass that covered the floor and moved towards the front of the ship where the control panels were. "Be careful when you get in here. There's debris everywhere."

"Duly noted," Cred said as Josh, Aliah and he appeared at the back of the ship.

"This is amazing. Look there's still parachutes and gas masks in here. This ship has to be fifteen years old at least," Aliah said. She stepped around the glass on the floor and helped Cred. Keomey stepped through an open door at the front of the ship into a room with two black chairs that faced a window that looked out into the hanger. In front of the chairs were several rows of colored buttons.

"Guys look, I'm flying the ship." She sat in one of the chairs and acted as if she was navigating the ship. "There's so many buttons. It's crazy to think someone knew what every single one of these does." She reached forward and pushed a square button. Air began to rush from the back of the ship as the bay doors closed. "The ship still works!" Keomey called out as she pressed more buttons. The ship started to shake back and forth as it attempted to lift off the ground.

"Keomey, that's not funny. We should go," Josh said.

"You're no fun, Josh." She stood and started to walk back to her friends but a small button to the far right that was lit up caught her attention.
"Hold on. I want to see what this button does." She stepped back into the room and pressed it. A click like a lock opening sounded from the floor. "What the hell." She looked down and found a small compartment open. She grabbed the metal lid and slid it backwards. Inside was a small box wrapped in silver with a red bow. "There's like a present in here," Keomey said as she picked up the small box. "It must have been some poor guy's gift to his wife or something." She looked over the box and let out a loud scream. She dropped in onto the ground and backed away from it. Josh immediately appeared behind her to see what had happened.

"What's wrong? Are you all right?" He looked her over to make sure nothing had hurt her.

"The box… it." Keomey stood in shock staring at the small box that was upside down on the ground.

"What? It's just a box." Josh as he picked it up and examined the small present.

"Read…. read who it's for." Keomey braced herself against a wall still over come with shock. Josh lifted the bow to reveal a small tag. He flipped the tag over and had to grab one of the chairs to balance himself. On the piece of paper was To Keomey written in cursive handwriting.

"Maybe it's for a different Keomey. You never know," Josh tried to reassure Keomey.

"Oh yeah I'm sure. Keomey's is a very popular name now-a-days," Keomey said as she lay down on a couch. Once Keomey had recovered from finding the gift that was for her, the four left the hanger. Keomey was too freaked out to explore anymore so they went to their favorite hiding place in the stations library to sit and talk. No one ever went in there ever since V-Tech industries invented a virtual book where you actually see what's happening as you is read it. Since the library was always empty they would go there after school to get away from their peers and relax in the overly plush furniture.

"You should open it," Cred said as he lay sideways in a tan chair next to the tan couch Keomey and Aliah laid on. "I want to know what's inside."

"Yeah, open it. It's kind of exciting." Aliah lifted Keomey's head and set it on her thigh.

"No. On the note it said open on my birthday. I don't want to piss off whoever left this box. I mean, how the hell did they know that we would be in the hanger, on that ship, and that I would push that button. I'm really freaked out by this." She sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. "This is just too…. weird. Things like this just don't happen and I don't know if I should tell Arianna. It's almost too creepy not to tell her about it."

"You know she would freak out and ground you for a million years for being in that hanger," Josh said sitting against Cred's chair. "How would you explain that to her? So Josh, Aliah, Cred and I were skipping third period to explore an abandoned military hanger. I kicked in a metal door to get inside and found a present for me in a ship's hidden compartment in the floor that says to open on my birthday which happens to be tomorrow. I'm sure she'll understand."

"Well what the hell else am I supposed to do? We just can't ignore this and act like it never happened."

"I guess the only thing you can do is wait until your birthday and find out what's inside," Cred said. "Since you won't open it now."

"I'm kind of scared to open it." Keomey put her left leg down so only her right leg was held against her chest.

"You shouldn't be! It's not going to be a bomb or anything, or at least I don't think it will be," Aliah exclaimed. She sat braiding her hair as she listened to everyone discuss the box.

"Yeah, I guess you're right. I still want to know how it got there," Keomey said. She looked at her white watch that was on her left wrist. "We'd better get back to school. Fourth period is going to start in a few minutes." She put her right leg down and stood up. "At least we only have one period left."

Aliah got up and ran her fingers through her hair. "Yeah we might as well go."

The four began walking back to their school but were stopped in the hall by a woman dressed in a pink business suite with diamond encrusted pockets. Her short blue hair covered her ears but failed to cover her peacock feather earrings. "There you four are! I've been looking for you everywhere!" She strode over to the group and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "The principal wants to have a word with you four. Now get your asses moving and get to his office."

"Oh, God," Cred said as he grabbed a hold of Aliah's arm. The four followed the woman back to the school where they were seated in front of the principal's office in hard chairs that the four knew too well having sat there many times before. The woman sat down behind a desk positioned in the far corner of the room and looked at the four. "Keomey, you're first. Your sisters already in there waiting for you."

Arianna's going to kill me. Keomey stood up slowly and walked into the room dragging her feet behind her. Once inside she saw an angry Arianna sitting back in a chair with her arms crossed against her chest. The principal's eyes watched Keomey sit down in a chair to the left of Arianna. His gaze felt like ice against Keomey's skin. Arianna turned towards the principal without looking at Keomey

"I'm disappointed in you, Keomey." He sat back in his chair and folded his hands on his round stomach. "This is the seventh time this semester that you've skipped. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"I guess that I'm sorry. What else can I say? I didn't mean to skip?" Keomey matched her Principle's gaze.

"I don't understand why you keep skipping, Keomey. You only have a few weeks left and school will be over for you." The principles eyes wandered over to Arianna who still sat with her arms across her chest.

"We've had this conversation several times before. I hate it here. I hate the people in my school, I hate this stupid station, and I hate not being treated like a normal person, Mr. Rodrick. The people I go to school with mock me every day. They make me feel like a freak. Why don't you ever do anything about them?" She turned her head and stared at a picture of her principle's wife that was hung on the wall. She was a round woman with big brown hair that circled her head like a top hat.

"Well to be fair, Miss Rean, you aren't normal looking at all. You do realize the fact that both your eyes and hair are red. How many other people do you know that have those," he paused to look Keomey over," features."

"Excuse me, Mr. Rodrick, but Keomey is quick normal. You don't call people who are short abnormal just because they aren't the same height as you, do you?" Arianna said joining in on their conversation.

"We'll Mrs. Rean, short people are still human." Arianna's eyes grew wide as she pressed her lips shut to.

"Its Miss Rean and you realize Mr. Rodrick that I am also not human. Does that make me abnormal?" Arianna uncrossed her arms and sat up in her seat.

"Well no, you fit in with humans. Your hair and eyes are normal colors. Keomey's on the other hand are, for a lack of a better word, weird."

"Screw you!" Keomey stood up and walked to the back of the room where she tried to cool down.

"Don't you dare talk about her like that. She is not weird. I'll have you know on our home planet she would be exceptionally beautiful and accepted by our people." Arianna said trying to control her anger.

"I remind you Miss Rean that your home world is no longer around and to the fact that your people aren't here. To humans, she looks abnormal."

"How dare you bring the destruction of our home world into this," Arianna spat out with disgust.

"You were the one who brought up your people, not me. Now back to the situation at hand. Keomey you skipped. I warned you last time that if you did it again you wouldn't walk. Since you decided to skip again I'm afraid to tell you that you are no longer eligible to walk at graduation."

"What!" Keomey exclaimed from the back of the room.

The door began to open and the secretary with the blue hair's head popped in. "Sir, Cred's parents are here."

"Ah yes, send them in please." He turned back towards Arianna and Keomey. "I'm sorry Keomey. You shouldn't have skipped. I don't know what else to tell you." Just then a man and a woman walked into the room with angry expressions on their face. Arianna stood up letting the woman sit in her seat.

"Let's go, Keomey." She walked out the door without taking a second glance at the principal. Keomey followed but noticed the principal watched Arianna as she walked away.

"Stop looking, you pervert." She turned and marched out the door.

Once they were back at their home Arianna walked into the kitchen and grabbed a banana. Without looking at Keomey she sat in a chair with her back to her. Keomey walked into their living room and sat on the couch waiting for her sister to start yelling. Minutes ticket by but Arianna didn't say a word. Keomey was puzzled. Usually Arianna had chewed her out by now and grounded her.

Keomey took a deep breath. Might as well apologize. "I'm sorry, Arianna. I messed up." Arianna didn't turn. She just sat with her back to Keomey. "Arianna, please look at me. Don't give me the cold shoulder."

Arianna turned suddenly and looked at Keomey. Tears were streaming down her face. "Arianna, don't…" Keomey stood up and took a step towards her sister.

"Don't." Arianna stood and walked into their kitchen to throw her banana peel away. Keomey sat staring at her sister like a deer caught in head lights. Arianna turned and held onto their counter before she continued. "I'm disappointed in you. He warned you Keomey! He told you straight up if you skip again you don't get to walk and yet you still skipped! Are you stupid? Have you learned nothing? People already don't trust us because we're not human and now they think you're up to no good! I've worked my ass off to get people to trust us and treat us like humans and yet you still go against their rules and screw off with your damned friends!" She covered her eyes with her hand before continuing. "You have no idea what I've gone through to get us a normal life in this human infested station."

"I do know, Arianna!" Keomey said.

"No, you don't! You have no idea!" Arianna moved to stand in front of Keomey.

"Arianna, don't. Your life is easy! You're beautiful and you look normal. I'm not! I get weird looks everywhere I go! Red heads went extinct two hundred years ago, and not to mention I have red eyes! I get teased at school, people mock me and give me shit every God damned day!" Keomey yelled.

"You should be glad that the humans gave us a place to live! We would be dead if it wasn't for them. Don't forget that they saved us from our world. If they hadn't we would have suffered the same fate as the rest of our people!" Arianna's voice was beginning to rise.

"I wouldn't know, Arianna! You won't tell me what happened! All I know is that they died and we survived." Keomey was screaming now.

"You want to know, Keomey? Fine! They suffocated and burned to death because our atmosphere disappeared! " Arianna shoved past Keomey and walked into their dining room.

"Why? What the hell did we do to deserve that?" Keomey asked as she following her.

"We didn't do anything! It was our…" Arianna stopped speaking. She sat in a chair and crossed her arms, closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.

"What? It was our what?" Keomey asked. Arianna only sat taking deep breaths. "Arianna! God damn it! Tell me! It was our what?" Keomey pulled back on the chair that Arianna was sitting in. "Arianna!"

"It was our sister!" Arianna put her face in her hands. Keomey stumbled backwards and grabbed a hold of their table to balance herself.

"We don't have a sister," Keomey said.

"Yes," Arianna looked up at Keomey, "we do."

"No. No I would've known if… why didn't you tell me?" Keomey pushed down on the table and left an indent where her hand had been. "Why does this keep happening?" Keomey yelled out in frustration. Arianna looked up at Keomey in amazement.

"How long has this been happening?" Arianna pushed back in her chair and walked over to where Keomey stood.

"It started today. I don't understand why." Arianna felt the imprint.

"It's starting." She took a step back and looked at Keomey.

"What?" Keomey looked at Arianna.

"Nothing," Arianna turned from Keomey and walked to a window at the back of the room. Outside was the purple planet that Keomey saw earlier. "Yes we have a sister. Her name is Rayah. She's older than I am but a few years."

"Wait, we have a sister? You mean she's still alive?" Keomey's eyes grew large as she looked at Arianna.

"Yes. She's still alive."

"Where is she?" Keomey asked.

"Far away where no one will find her. Where she belongs. I have to go, now. I'm meeting up with my boss to discuss future plans of our company. I don't know when I'll be home." Arianna grabbed her purse off the table. "Keomey, I want you to know that I love you, regardless of your stupid actions and the poor decisions that you make. Life is going to change for you, I promise." She hugged Keomey and walked to their front door. Before opening it she turned her head to look at Keomey who sat watching her leave. "I love you, Keomey. I'll see you soon." She opened the door and vanished into the hallway.

Keomey was lying on her couch when she heard a knocking at her door. Good, Josh is here. She walked to her front door and opened it to find Josh holding a cupcake with a candle on it.

"Aw, Josh. You didn't have to do this." Keomey smiled at him.

"It's your eighteenth birthday. I wanted to make it special." He walked into her house and sat on her couch.

"It's not my birthday yet. I still have ten minutes of being a kid left," she said as she sat down next to him.

"Here, make a wish." He handed her the cupcake. She closed her eyes for a few seconds before blowing out the candle.

"What did you wish for?" He asked.

"I'm not going to tell you! It won't come true." She broke the cupcake into two pieces. "Here, you get this half," she said while handing him a piece.

Josh popped his half of the cupcake into his mouth. "Damn, who ever made that cupcake is awesome."

"Shut up, Josh." She smiled and laid her head on his shoulder.

"So what did you get for skipping?" Josh asked.

Keomey looked up at the ceiling. "I don't get to walk."

"What!" Josh exclaimed. "Aliah, Cred, and I only got a week of detention!"

"Yeah, that's because you're human and you are the Commander's son. You have to walk. They treat me different than everyone else." Sat back on the couch and hugged herself.

"That's messed up, Keomey. They can't treat you differently."

"Yeah, well they always do. I've been treated differently my whole life. I've started to grow used to it."

"Keomey," Josh started but didn't finish his sentence.

"I've always wondered what my life would be like if Arianna and I still lived with our parents among our people where we're accepted. We wouldn't get any weird looks, I wouldn't be ridiculed by anyone, I could just be normal for once in my life."

"If it makes you feel any better, I think your abnormalness is what makes you you. I wouldn't want you to be like all the other girls, I like that fact that you're original. Here I got you a gift."He shifted and reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box. Well, here I go he thought to himself before handing her the box. She lifted the top and found a silver bracelet inside covered in red rubies that were aligned in a swirling pattern that circled it.

"Oh, Josh! It's beautiful!" She gave him a hug and kissed him on the cheek. Josh touched his cheek where Keomey had kissed him and blushed. Luckily she didn't notice because she was too preoccupied by putting on the bracelet.

"It was my grandma's. Those are rubies. My mom says they're very rare and near impossible to find now that Earth's destroyed."

"Josh this is so beautiful. But I can't accept it," she said in a soft voice.

"Yes, you can. My mom gave it to me and now I'm giving it to you. I wanted to get you something special. Something that you'll never forget."

"Thank you. I love it." She slipped the bracelet onto her wrist and lifted it into the light to watch the rubies shine. "I'm never going to take it off."

"Good. Now you have something to remind you of me. What did Arianna say when you got home?"

"She freaked out and said that I didn't understand how hard she's worked to get us a normal life." Keomey crossed her legs on the couch and rested her head back. "And apparently I have another sister."

Josh looked into Keomey's eyes that sat gazing at the ceiling. The red had grown softer. She turned her head and noticed Josh watching her.

"What's her name?" He looked away quickly embarrassed.

"Rayah. Arianna said she's older than her."

"What does she look like? Is she on this station?" Josh asked.

"No, she said she's far away where no one will find her whatever that means. She didn't say what she looks like. Maybe she looks like me." She smiled. "Maybe I'm not the only one in my family who looks like this." Josh watched her outlined her body with her hands.

"What, a girl? You realize Arianna's a girl, right?" Josh said with a crooked smile.

"She is? Since when?" Keomey returned his smile and twirled her bracelet on her wrist.

"When is she going to be home? I don't want her to freak out if she finds me here." Josh said.

"I don't know. She never stays out this late. She's probably just getting a beer with her boss or something." Keomey responded.

"So how much longer do you have to be a kid?"

"T-minus two minutes. Oh, I almost forgot. Come with me." She got up and took hold of his hand. She pulled him up and dragged him down her hallway.

"Where are you going?" He said as he trailed behind her.

"I forgot about that creepy present we found in the ship." She walked into her room and sat on her bed.

"One minute left. Ready to be an adult?" He jumped on her bed causing it to shake.

"Hell yeah. I'm ready to leave this place." She opened her bedside drawer and picked up the silver box with the red bow that was inside.

"Ten seconds left," he watched the second hand tick away on his watch. "Happy birthday! Congratulations you are no longer a stupid teenager! Now you get to be a stupid adult like the rest of us." Keomey gave him a quick smile before turning back to the little box nestled in her lap.

"Well, here I go." She slowly started to untie the red ribbon and lifted the sliver top. She closed her eyes afraid to see what's inside.

Josh leaned in to get a good look at what was in it. "Oh my God, Keomey. It's beautiful."

Keomey opened her eyes. Inside the box was a necklace. The strap was several red bands made of metal held together by a silver clasp. The pendant on the necklace was twisted and shaped like a leaf but it was colored with red, silver, green and blue that sparkled in the light.

"It's…. beautiful." Keomey brushed her fingers over the colors of the pendant.

"Keomey, there's a note." Josh reached into the box and removed a small piece of paper that was hidden underneath the necklace.

"What does it say?" Keomey leaned into him to look at what the note said. Her long red hair fell and covered Josh's arm. She threw it over her shoulder and watched as Josh opened the note. He slowly unfolded the piece of paper to find a letter written to Keomey inside.

My Dearest Keomey,

I don't have a lot of time to write this so I'm going to be straight forward. You must never take this off. It will keep your abilities under control so they don't get out of hand. Never forget who you are and where you come from and always keep moving forward. Everything will work out in the end I promise. I love you.

Love,

Mom

Keomey's hands started shaking as she snatched the note from Josh's hands. She kept reading the note over and over again. "This…can't be real…." She dropped the note onto her lap and looked out her window. "My mother's dead." Josh lifted his arm and put it around her shoulders. Keomey leaned against him still shaking from reading the note.

"My mother's dead," she whispered again. "This has to be a sick joke." She sat up and lifted the necklace into her hand and analyzed the design on the pendant.

"Well, put it on." Josh lifted the necklace from her hand and unhooked it. He wrapped it around her neck and fastened the two ends together. She lifted her hair out from being trapped in the band and took hold of the pendant again and continued to look at it.

"Keomey, I want to tell you something." Keomey looked up at Josh with her big red eyes curious to hear what Josh was going to say.

"What is it Josh?" She looked back down and the necklace flipping it in her hand to look at the back.

"I don't know how to…" Josh looked out Keomey's window before turning back to her. "Keomey, I…." his voice began to shake as he continued his sentence. Just say it already. "Keomey, I'm in love with you." Keomey looked up suddenly at Josh. She looked puzzled but Josh continued. "I have to get this off my chest. I've been in love with you for a long time. I mean a long time, as long as I can remember. Whenever I see you I just get so happy. No one has ever made me feel like this before."

"Josh, I…" Keomey tried to interrupt but was cut off.

"Please, let me finish. It took a lot for me to get the courage to say this to you." He grabbed Keomey's hand and held it in his. "I don't care what people say about you. You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I love the way your eyes shine in the light and whenever I hear your laugh I can't help but smile. I would follow you into hell and back. I would fight a hundred Korations with my bare hands just to see you smile. I've never felt like this before and I never want to stop feeling this for you." He stopped talking, afraid to say anymore. He looked up at Keomey who sat watching him. Without warning, she grabbed his face and pulled him into a kiss. Josh was shocked but wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her back. Keomey ran her fingers through Josh's hair and pulled her body closer to his. They kissed for a few minutes only pausing to take a breath. Keomey eventually leaned back from Josh to look into his dark eyes.

"Keomey, that was…" Josh paused to find the right word to explain what just happened,"incredible."

"I've wanted you to tell me that for a long time." She rested her hand bellow his jaw and gave him another quick peck. Suddenly her necklace began glowing. They both looked down at the colorful pendant. "What the hell." Keomey tried to pick it up but when her fingers touched the pendent a bright flash illuminated and blinded Josh.

"What the hell just happened, Keomey?" He said as he rubbed his eyes. "Keomey?" He looked at where Keomey had been sitting next to him. "Keomey!" Josh started panicking and looking around the room. The spot where she had been sitting was empty and Keomey was nowhere to be found.