Part of USS Altai: The Other Side of Us

Fall From Grace

Denver, Colorado, Earth
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[ Denver, CO January 28, 2391 ]

The sun was still below the eastern plains as sixteen year-old Astrid Vogler pulled on her white snow pants and slid the suspenders over a pair of tan long johns made of a special material designed to hold body heat in and not absorb water.

Pulling the rubber band off her wrist she ran her hands through her recently bleached blonde hair and pulled it into a pony tail before she pulled on a heavy wool turtle neck sweater, and equally heavy woolen socks and stopped into her Nordic ski boots and laced them up tight.

She picked up her comm unit and walked across her room and set it on top of her dresser while she started stuffing gear and necessary survival gear into her open backpack.

“Astrid!” Her mother’s voice filtered up from the downstairs.

“Coming!” she shouted back.

“Could you two be quiet! I’m sleeping, or trying to,” her older sister Mindy yelled from her bedroom down the hall.

“Sorry!” Astrid replied and ran out of her room only to return a second later to retrieve her backpack and rushed down the stairs. Her mother and father were sitting around the dining room table sipping their coffee. “You didn’t need to make me breakfast.”

“You burn more calories at elevation, and when it’s cool,” he father said. “You need your energy.”

“Dad, I know!” She consumed enough calories for an entire day with that meal, and washed it down with some Earl Grey tea. She didn’t like coffee.

Standing at the door her father handed her the keys to the reproduction Jeep Cherokee. The family didn’t own an anti-grav car like normal people. Her father said always made the excuse that when your life depends on your transportation in the back woods you wanted to keep it simple. Astrid personally thought that he just liked doing things the hard way, and pretending like they lived in the twentieth century. They didn’t have a replicator in the house until she was in junior high.

“You have a change of clothes in a water tight bag?” he asked.


“And food and water for two day?”

“Yes dad,” she said getting annoyed.
“Who are going with you?” her mother asked.

“Just Melanie and Jarod.”

“Who’s Jarod?” her father demanded.

“Mel’s boyfried.”

“Oh, did you pack a fire starter and a laser knife?” Her father asked suddenly remembering something he forgot to ask.

Astrid cocked her head in thought, and then shook it, “No, I don’t think so.”

Her father left and a few minutes returned with a small butane torch and silver handled laser knife. You could adjust the blade length to suit your needs and could be used as a portable saw, but the power cell would drain faster. She shoved the items into the cargo pocket of her snow pants and zipped it closed.

She kissed her parents goodbye and left the house and jumped into the Jeep and fired it up. Putting it into gear she backed out of the driveway and headed North West for the Rocky Mountain National Park seventy-three miles away. In the summer the drive would take a little over an hour. In winter using four-wheel drive, because her parents were dumb and had a car it would take almost three hours.