A young man was in a spaceport, looking rather nervous. Although this would not be his first time off planet, it would be the first time he had gone alone. A strange sort of fear set over him, that of the unknown. He was headed for a prestigious school on the moon Maropa, technically known as Paradisio 4-2, the second moon of the fourth planet in the Paradisio system, but nobody called it that because it was a pretty stupid name. Also, nobody would know what you were talking about. The young man always thought that numbering the orders of the moons of a planet was pretty arbitrary. The large gas giant around which his home planet, Utopia, and his destination, Maropa, orbited was called Colossus.
Sometimes, the young man got distracted by minor details in his life, and neglected to pay attention to the fact that things were still happening around him. Thus, he was slightly surprised when a man who appeared not much older than himself walked up to him and addressed him.
“Richard! Stop staring off into space… or rather at the wall, but anyway, you’re checked in now and all we need to do is get you cleared with security and get on the shuttle. We don’t want you to miss it.”
This slightly less young looking man was Richard’s father, Mr. Smith to most people. Adoptive father, technically, but the fact that they didn’t share genetics somehow never prevented them from looking somewhat alike. Richard was of average height, with light brown hair and a relatively thin build. He had facial features that made him relatively attractive, but his manner of dress and the mere relativeness of his attractiveness prevented him from standing out much. This was especially true when he was out with his father.
His father also had light brown hair, perhaps from the same batch, and strikingly similar facial features, so that sometimes people mistook them for brothers. However, he also had hair that, instead of being short like Richard’s, nearly reached the floor behind his noticeably above average frame. He was also more filled out in terms of muscles, like a person who is involved in a lot of sports but might not always win because they don’t take steroids. At least, that was what Richard thought that body shape said.
His mother, somewhat less noticeable standing just a bit back and with only shoulder length blonde hair, was an interesting contrast. She looked positively delicate, perhaps even weak, although Richard knew for sure that she was neither. Some people might have called her beautiful, but with her being his mother, Richard was not one of them. Except maybe in birthday cards. She also appeared to be not much older than Richard, but he didn’t know exactly how old she was. It was something of a joke, since his mother always told him “You should never ask a lady her age.” His father always made mention that he was much, much older than her.
Even in pictures of when he was a baby, they looked just about the same as they did now. Richard knew that there was only so much anti-ageing treatments could do, so he was pretty sure they had picked their parents wisely, to age so gracefully. He had picked his parents well too, but since he hadn’t actually picked them and was adopted, there wasn’t really much that their good genetics would do for him. Still, he hoped to look half as good in his forties… perhaps even into the early fifties, if his speculations were right.
So Richard walked with his parents towards the security checkpoint, which was mostly a formality on Utopia, because practically nobody obtained anything they weren’t supposed to have, and therewas a very small list of common things forbidden to be taken on a space flight. Mostly, they checked for things dangerous to the general populace that might not be dangerous to the person carrying it. Noglicans, for example, often brought with them lucky travelling statues. They also happened to be highly radioactive and dangerous to most other species, especially in the confined quarters of a spacecraft. There is separate storage for such things.
Anyway, because he was human- thus not carrying anything inherently dangerous to other species, and not carrying much but clothes and some simple electronic necessities, he was surprised when security motioned him to the side. His parents came with him, of course.
“Sir, we’ve noticed some unusual interference around you, and need to take a closer look. It shouldn’t take more than a minute. Just stand over there, if you would.”
Finding no reason to object, since Richard wasn’t one for flouting authority for no reason, he complied. After some quick electronic sounds and some whirring noises, probably artificial to let people know things are happening, the security guard looked at his data screen and said, “One moment please, just wait here.”
Richard did, especially since there was another guard watching just in case he decides to skip past the desk, although he’d never get on the ship until he was cleared. The guard went to talk with some kind of managerial guard or something, but a few minutes passed with no result. “I’ll be right back,” said Richard’s father.
He went over and talked to the guards, and shortly walked back with the first guard. The guard said, “Thank you for waiting sir, you’re free to pass. There should be nothing to worry about, it was probably just a faulty scanner reading.”
Thus, Richard didn’t worry. Rightly so, too, for there was nothing wrong with him or what he carried.
Some walking, waiting, hugs and promises to call later, Richard was on the ship. The trip would take a bit over forty hours. The travel time would be much shorter if he rode on ship with a Time Distortion Device or TDD, but it would also be much more expensive and less comfortable. This particular ship had modest quarters for sleeping in, as well as a variety of restaurants to choose from. Granted, the restaurants were rather compact, and the quarters were mostly just a bed. Still, you weren’t crammed next to other people in rows of seats, and it didn’t cost as much as a year of college. Ironically, it cost less to travel several solar systems over than to take a quick hop between moons of the same gas giant. The key there is the speed of the travel, as well as the complications with gravity wells. Richard wasn’t sure on the exact details.