Rose of Perseus
[The camera pans in from above a shiny glass and concrete building, large angular windows stabbing upwards towards the sky, solar panels sparkling on the roof, a corrugated metal hangar stretching out towards the rolling fields behind the building. The camera zooms through one of the windows to a third floor classroom. About two dozen desks are arranged in rows. MARA ROOKSON, a Prophet Candidate, is slumped over in her chair at a desk near the back of the room, sleeping with her head down on the desktop. Two of her classmates, TINE LEWIS and RENCE ERSON are talking while they tidy the classroom. All of the children are 15 years old.]
TL (resting her broom handle on her shoulder and biting her lip): Hey Rence, have you gotten your assignment yet?
RE (exhales heavily, running a hand through his hair): Yeah.
[TL resumes sweeping, steering the push broom between the desks while RE begins wiping off the desktops with a damp rag.]
TL: Far away?
RE: Yeah. Starship. It’s supposed to launch next year. I…don’t think I’ll be coming back to this planet again. At least, I’ve never heard of a starship Prophet being anything besides a Prophet. They certainly don’t come home afterwards.
[RE grimaces but his eyes betray a deep fear. TL gently leans the broom against the wall and walks to her classmate, putting her arms around his waist and leaning her head on his chest]
TL: It’ll be okay, Rence. I’m sure being part of a starship is amazing. You’ll get to see so many incredible things.
TL (blinks and a tear slides down her cheek): Just, don’t forget about us, okay?
RE (furrows his brow and pets the top of TL’s head): I never want to forget you, Tine. You…you’re special to me.
[MR, now awake, throws her head back and rolls her eyes, letting out an exasperated groan]
MR: Uuuuugh, get a room.
TL (puts her hands on her hips): Hey, don’t be like that. Rence is scared about being assigned to a starship.
MR: Don’t see why he would be, he’s the luckiest person in this room.
[MR scowls and looks out the window. RE whispers something to TL and she sighs, shakes her head in disgust, and trudges out of the room.]
RE: They’re sending you to fight the Deva, aren’t they?
MR (nods, still looking out the window): My combat aptitude is the highest in our class. I’ll be a rigger.
RE: Maybe I could talk to the counselors? I’m sure we could arrange for you to be one of my escort rigs.
MR (closes her eyes, gritting her teeth): No, Rence. I don’t need your pity. Just….go be with your girlfriend. Enjoy her. Everything….fuck it….I don’t even know anymore.
[MR lays her head back down on her arms, folded on the desk in front of her. Her shoulders relax and the camera pulls back, out through the window, high into the sky over Osiris IV. The setting sun makes the distant skyscrapers of Hitomi City glow a reddish gold. A lone rig, barely a speck above the horizon, flies in a long arc away from the city, its plasma trail flickering in the atmosphere behind.]