Woon’s goodbye was a somber bow to his mother and famous father.
The karate master placed a hand on Woon’s shoulder. “I expect you to return safely with a cure and ship full of black belts.”
“Osu,” Woon agreed. “The science I must leave in the hands of the scientists, but I’ll begin classes for the civilians right away.”
“I hope a good percentage sign up and learn to protect themselves. We don’t know what kinds of dangers you shall encounter. Don’t forget that even those who don’t achieve a high level of sparring skills will gain the benefits of exercising every muscle of the body, sharpening the memory, increasing balance, and feeling a sense of community.”
“I will be diligent with the fliers we came up with,” Woon assured him. “Fare well father, mother. I must go before the ship leaves without me.”
His parents nodded and watched him leave.
When all were on board, Chiron started sliding slowly on dock rails towards two Earth Coalition flags on long poles forming a gate in front of it. The flagpole barrier swung open to allow the vessel to pass. As Chiron moved, the flags lit up and shot out of the long tubes to precede the ship into space. The flag-less poles then projected a spectacular barrage of “fireworks” to light up the dark of space like a special kind of sunrise. A champagne missile gave a final, exaggerated shower of what looked like amber liquid as it smashed against the newly launched ship’s hull. Trays with champagne glasses popped out of walls in the docking bay, and everyone cheered, ready to party.
Around the world, news articles scrolled on screens. Holos of Roed posed by Chiron with a satisfied grin were headlined with Dr. Markus Roed’s remarkable engine could save Humankind. Walsh sitting in the Captain’s Chair, with the bold E.C.G. logo set into the redwood paneling behind him illustrated the story War Hero Colonel Richard Walsh sets off to Captain Earth’s Medical Flagship. Next to a group photo of doctors in the hydroponics garden was World’s Best Medical Minds Head out on Earth’s Life-Saving Mission. A black belted Woon sat in a cockpit firing a special affect bonanza to the tune of Medical Mission Protected by Elite Force; and always a media darling, the camera-friendly O’Bien was set against symbolic and patriotic backdrops to lines such as World’s Most Charming Ambassador Sets out to Set Things Right. The world had reason to hope.
Chiron became invisible from Earth as it made its way towards a moon made bright with the sun’s increasing light.
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