Author: TJ Gadd

Anna stared at where the panel had been. Joshua was right; either The Saviour had never left Earth, or Anna had broken into a vault full of sand.
She carefully replaced the panel, resetting every rivet. Her long red hair hid her pretty face.
When astronomers first identified a comet heading towards Earth, national alarms were raised. Governments tried to work out how best to save the human race, and, unsurprisingly, none of them could agree on anything. It wasn’t until Ben Jamerson, oh he of QuestX and ClickCart fame, put together a plan. Most of it were ways to lessen the impact, but his primary strategy was to protect all the world’s best thinkers. He devised a list of people needed for a mission to send humans off Earth: biologists, engineers, scientists, doctors, agricultural experts, etc. All these specialists would board The Saviour and depart Earth until it was habitable again.
Everyone thought this idea was dubious; of course, Ben Jamerson would just invite all his rich buddies. But everyone was proven wrong; the billionaire graciously said he was a businessman and wouldn’t be useful to the next generation and declined to join. He would stay home with his family (he had nine children by four ex-wives) and wait out the end of life as he knew it.
Anna’s childhood friend, Steven, had always been “wick’d sm-art,” and consistently excelled in every academic endeavor he put his mind to. Unsurprisingly, he was on Ben Jamerson’s list.
“Of course, you should go – the next generation will need thinkers like you!” his family said, knowing they would never see him again.
But Steve didn’t want to go alone.
He arrived at Anna’s apartment with a bouquet and a ring. At first, she had refused – she had never loved him that way. And he said that maybe she could learn; after all, she probably would never get the chance to love anyone else if she stayed on Earth. She relented, and they were married the following week. And the day after, they accepted Ben Jameron’s invitation.
Anna tried to wiggle the panel, but it was sealed firmly.
Joshua watched her from the hatch entrance. Considering.
“Now what?” Anna asked.
“I don’t know,” he admitted.
“Why do this at all?” she waved her arms at the ship.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Joshua looked at her, head to the side. Anna hated when everyone assumed she wasn’t smart because she was a “plus one.” And she hated it even more when they were proven right.
“Think about every emergency on the ship,” Joshua paused. “Out of every single one of them, a piece of tech is improved or invented. None of that would be possible in the real world.”
Anna looked at the floor, then at her watch, “I’ve got to get back.”
“The old ball and chain?” There was some spite in the way Joshua said those words.
“I don’t want him getting suspicious about us.” She looked down.
“I get it.” He was also a plus one, although a far more useful plus one than her.
“I’m going to show Steven this tomorrow,” Anna pointed at the replaced panel.
“He is my husband – I owe him that much.”
“Anna… Steven is in charge of the artificial gravity engine – He already knows.”
Her heart went cold.