Derelict 9: Alone

Amelia couldn’t help but think about the book. In it were diagrams on every aspect of the Tighar. And there were other books. Books on piloting, navigation, shipping lines. But going down that path meant giving up here. She stared at the planet slowly turning below.

08-08-15_2-27 PM-2base

She’d not heard from them in…years? The last time…

***

Amelia waited at the satellite radio. She kicked her feet against the chair. Thud, thud. Each thud was another second. It was the designated time for her parents to call, but – she glanced over at the clock behind her, they were already ten minutes late. Maybe they were too busy, she thought. It was probably harder to tell time when you were on a planet. They didn’t have clocks everywhere. Although if they were really busy they would have sent Electra or Mr. Winters to check in with her. They’d done that before.

She almost jumped when the beep finally came alerting her to an incoming call. She pressed the accept button. Quickly.

“This is Amelia Echo of the transport ship Tighar.” She enunciated carefully as her father had told her do. Just in case it wasn’t from the planet.

“Amelia, honey, sorry I’m late.” Her mother’s voice was tinny over the speakers, she sounded breathless. “How are you doing?”
withmom
She kicked her feet once against the chair. Thud, thud. “I’m fine.” That was what her mother wanted to hear. Not that she was lonely. “All the lights up here are still green.” Which meant, according to her father that the Tighar was fine as well. And Electra promised her nothing would go wrong for years. Not that they would be gone for years, Electra hastened to assured her. But no need to worry about things breaking.

08-15-15_12-27 PM
“That’s good.” There was a slight pause. Amelia frowned and looked closer at the image, her mother looked…sick. She looked tired, like she hadn’t been sleeping. But more worrying, it looked like her mother had the same rash Amelia had seen on Electra. “And you’re eating all right? Your father wants to know,” her mother continued.

08-15-15_12-41 PM-2
“Yes.” She was getting tired of yogurt, but she wasn’t sure what the other buttons did. She had planned on asking her father today. Where was he? Thud. Her feet stilled. Amelia was certain that if her father could have been there he would have. “Um, I made soup today.”

“Really? I tell him.” Her mom smiled softly.

There was a long awkward pause. Amelia knew that there were a hundred things she wanted to ask her mom, but suddenly she was too afraid to ask. She was afraid of the answers. Where was her father? Where was Electra? Was Al better yet? Why did it look like her mom was sick.”

“You know we love you very much, right?” Her mom broke the silence and broke the chain of questions bubbling in Amelia’s head. That wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

“When are you coming back?” The question broke through before she could stop it.08-15-15_12-30 PM
Her mother’s face fell slightly. Lost it’s smile. “Oh, honey. We’re not sure. If we came back now, we’d make you sick and we don’t want to do that.”08-15-15_12-41 PM-4

Amelia didn’t care if she got sick. If that meant she could be with everyone again. And there was no way her mom wasn’t working hard to find a cure. She would find one for sure. “But you’re getting better, right?” She asked.

Maybe there was a delay on the call, Electra had taught her and Al about communication delays. That was when the signal had to bounce from place to place before it got where it was going. Maybe that was why her mom took so long answering.

“We’ve sent a signal out to the alliance government. They’re coming to help. Wait till they come, okay honey?”

08-15-15_12-31 PM-5
“Okay.” Amelia said after creating her own communication delay. It wasn’t okay. But her mom looked so tired.

“We love you, Amelia.” Her mom said again.

08-15-15_12-41 PM-3
“Love you too.” Amelia replied this time, it was what her mother was waiting for. Her mom ended the connection.

Amelia sat in the chair staring at the now empty video screen. Wait till they come. Her mom’s words echoed in her brain. Her mom didn’t think she was coming back. No. No. No! It was supposed to be okay. Her mom could make anyone better. She was a doctor. It was just taking more time than normal. No! “No!” She shouted. Her voice echoed in the tiny room, bouncing against the paneling. “NO!” she sobbed, running upstairs, away from that room.

She threw her self on her bed, crying until she gave herself the hiccups. Her father didn’t come in to see what was wrong. No one did. No one was on the ship but her.

***

They hadn’t called back. She’d waited every day for a month, but they hadn’t sent another message. And no one had ever shown up. Amelia knew, deep down inside, no one was going to show up. She didn’t know what had happened, but she knew she was all alone and no one knew she was here.

She looked down at the panel. She had no idea what all the buttons meant. That one was pulsing, was it supposed to do that? What about the amber one over there? It was supposed to be green, right? What was the Tighar trying to tell her?

08-08-15_2-30 PM-2

Amelia studied the books, she studied the course materials on her computer.

08-15-15_5-25 PM

Eventually she realized there wasn’t anything more to learn. She’d taken the all the quizzes in the tutor module for mechanics, piloting, and navigation and passed them all. She knew what needed to be done, but she still wasn’t ready.

08-16-15_2-01 PM-4

But she knew how this would end if she did nothing.

***

Amelia stared at the control room. Would it be today? Everyday for the past week she’d sat down here. She sat down in the chair staring at the panel before her. The buttons no longer looked frightening. She knew what every one of them did. The amber light winked at her. She reached out and flipped the switch, the amber light winked out.

08-08-15_2-29 PM-2 (2)

Amelia took a deep breath. “Okay Tighar, let’s get out of here,” she whispered.

08-08-15_2-28 PM-2

She initiated the ships engines and eased the ship out of orbit. Her hands trembled. “It’ll be okay,” she tried to convince herself. “You’ve check the fuel, plotted the course, you can do this.” She refused to look at the planet, that blue planet she’d been in awe of but now only brought tears, as it slipped out of sight.

Water-Planets-in-the-Habitable-Zone-Kepler-62e-and-62f 2

 


Room Challenge complete after 88 days. Final score 142. Skills topped: Cooking, Gardening, Gourmet Cooking, Painting, Wellness, Writing (handiness at level 9. 13 Aspiration stages completed. Fabulously Wealthy and Manson Baron completed. For the rules (and tips) on this challenge check out the Sims4 Official Forums: http://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/793808/sims-4-room-challenge/p1.


Chapter 10: And Beyond >


15 comments

  1. Oh. this was so bittersweet. I’m really proud of Amelia for how far she’s come despite her solitude and loneliness and doubt all these years. But at the same time, how heartwrenching it must have been for her to have had that last call with her parents. And it must have been so difficult to make that decision to move on and away from the area. I wish I could be there to hug her. She’s such a brave Sim.

    Thank you for sharing her progress with us throughout this ordeal! I see a Chapter 10 link there, so I know her story hasn’t ended as of yet. Still, congratulations on completing this challenge! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If I had a novel, I could probably show the anguish fully. This was just a taste. There’s a gap of maybe a year between this last call and the first post in this story. I may try turning this into a proper short story.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, and yeah, I wanted to give her all the hugs after I write this. Stay tuned for the epilogue next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know… I feel like it’s perfect like it is. That it’s gem-like. There’s so much unsaid–and then the screenshots add so much, that dialogue between screenshot and words.

      It’s truly beautiful, and so deeply, heart-wrenchingly sad. The ending is beautiful and terrifying. And I can’t help but continue to feel for that very little girl.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I do enjoy the interplay between the words and screenshots. It’s so unique to simlit. You can truly see when a photo is worth 10,000 words. I struggled to figure out when to stop the flashback, little Amelia was so miserable and I only touched on that heartache, plus I can only just imagine how awful she felt when they didn’t call again. It’s earth shatteringly, world endingly, horrifically sad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was plenty–we can imagine that abandon. By glancing it, rather than piercing it, we are able to fill in what’s missing, calling upon our own experiences of abandonment, and that makes it all the more heartbreaking. This is truly Art and transformative. You’ve got a gift for transforming your reader through your fiction.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, I could read even more about Amelia’s isolation and anguish and all the things happening and not happening. Sometimes I felt a bit like I too was stuck in a ship, or a plastic box, scratching the walls. Wow, that sounds pretty messed up, but it was just me getting immersed into the story. It’s nice that Amelia has come so far, and that she’s finally gathering up the courage to do something. Like I said, I could have read even more of this. Well, that just means I have to move on to the short stories and the epilogue, then. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure how it ended up with only 9 posts to be honest, the actual challenge is a bit of slog near the end and since this is only half plotted, I kind of ran out of sim inspiring things for her to do that wasn’t more of the same.

      There is definitely much much more suffering and box scratching that she did. And I’m very glad that the short stories allowed me to continue her story ‘beyond the room’ so to speak.

      Glad you were immersed! And I can confidently say, there will be more Amelia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand that it may feel redundant to write about doing nothing or doing the same things over and over. So maybe it’s good that the story doesn’t stretch on too much. And I’m glad about the story continuing outside of the room too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am too. I wrote the epilogue right after I go her out of the room because it didn’t feel finished, but I’m so glad to get to show the hardships she still encountered even after her rescue. Life didn’t suddenly get easy for her. Perhaps each of these short stories are the chapters I would have written if this wasn’t challenge based. Well, not challenge based so much as challenge inspired.

          Like

  4. Oh wow!!! So incredibly brace!! I mentioned castaway at the beginning and I’ll mention it again now. This really felt like Tom Hanks’ character gathering his courage to leave the familiar and take off to find civilization once again!! Such a wonderful ending!! Cannot wait to read the epilogue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Up till the midway point I knew she was going to save herself, but I wasn’t sure if she was going to actually move the ship or if someone would come by and find her. But it was more impactful this way, I think. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      There are two followup Short Stories with Ameila as well. The Lighthouse and Welcome Back. They occur after this final chapter and before the epilogue – timeline wise. But of course were written after this story was complete.

      Liked by 1 person

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