Veria rode the Acquapod with ease. The light from the first moon of the evening ensured she could see the drilling platform in the distance, her ultimate destination. She was in no hurry. She’d set the Acquapod to stroll mode, giving her time to relive her rendezvous with Petta. “Petta” she whispered softly to the rippling waves on the darkened ocean. It was safe to whisper to wind and waves, she must never say such things at home.
Petta the rebel. Wanted for sabotaging two of Aquaterran’s twenty-six drilling platforms. Veria had lived all her life on Platform No.8. She had never even visited the Terran part of Acquaterran. Waterworkers were not allowed to go to Terran. Terranworkers not allowed at Acqua. It had always been so. Petta and his gang of saboteurs were determined to bring about change. Veria was all for change. She wanted to feel land under her feet, to dig her hands in soil. She’d read about it, seen pictures in her mother’s books. She may have grown up on seas but she had earth in her heart.
Petta was as romantic a rebel figure as any girl could hope for for her first love. They had met one day when Veria, anxious to escape “the village atmosphere of home” had taken an Acquapod out into unknown waters, to breathe air unbreathed by others. He had climbed aboard the pod full of himself and ideology, climbed straight into her imagination and heart. From then on life had become exciting. Secret meetings, secret messages by carrier gulls, romantic assignations. Veria allowed herself to fall in love, with the man and the cause.
Tonight had been their last meeting. It had all been arranged. Tomorrow her life would change forever. Behind her the sky erupted into a ball of orange fire, briefly burning bright then dying, disappearing back into the darkened ocean. Veria did not look back. She had loved Petta. He would always remain in her heart, but the lure of earth was stronger. She had cut a deal for her mother and herself. They were to go to Terran. In exchange she gave up Petta and his gang. She had set the detonator to destroy them herself.
Veria could see her mother waiting on the dock with Captain Morno. She patted her pocket to make sure the rebel plans were safe. She would only hand them over when they reached Terran. Terran. For the first time in her life she would feel dirt under her feet, on her hands and perhaps in her heart.