The vastness of outer space made Maceo Carbwright feel queasy. He wanted to be like the other people in his crew who accepted each mission with a bright smile. He wanted to cheer on the Wide Horizon teams as they pushed further into new galaxies. He wanted to love his life as a space steward, but it had never been his choice.
His mother’s name was Gañella. Her family, the Mountcastles, chose the wrong side in the last earthly war. As punishment, they were confined to their estate, Mottlewood Farm. Maceo, was out in the orchards when the doors were sealed and was driven off the grounds with the gardeners and their families. He landed in an orphanage that funneled all of the children that aged out in its care to the space explorer program.
Now he crept through the overgrown orchard, layers of rotten fruit oozing under his boots. The sweet stench of rich earth and decayed vegetation brought back a rush of childhood memories. He paused, letting the stream of bright images flash across his mind. A warm sensation welled up in his heart and he smiled.
The house was still standing. An atomic lock held the massive wooden doors shut. The technology was decades old and soon, after a few minutes of struggling, the glowing orb fell to the ground. Maceo gasped as a soul-rending howl tore through the air. He tensed, waiting for something to throw itself against the door, but the howl slowly died out.