2.1. Welcome to the ship

The moment Quinn opened her eyes her head was feeling heavy and sore, as if she had slept during a hot summer’s night with too little to drink. The sounds around her were strange, which was even more odd than the sudden headache. There normally weren’t sounds in the field, at least not sounds like these. Warily, she got up and looked around.

What she saw blew her off her feet, mostly because she wasn’t sure what it was exactly what she saw. It wasn’t from this world, as well as that it was too much for her brain to properly register. The walls around her seemed to be made from metal and were unlike anything she knew. Quinn could only identify the material because she had seen soldiers wearing plated armour made of metal. She remembered the clattering of the material as they marched through the small village she lived in, looking for young men to join them as they marched towards wars and even Crusades. Quinn had never been jealous of the boys who could run away with these armies, at least, she wasn’t jealous of the idea of fighting. However, there was the feeling of envy. They could run to freedom, where the families always kept the girls close by. Destined for marriage and herding sheep, destined to become mothers. But never destined to see the world and do great things like the heroes in the stories her mother told her and her younger siblings.

And now, she was suddenly surrounded by the material she had seen those boys wear. Completely overwhelmed, shocked, and with her mind possibly blown to several thousand pieces, Quinn looked around. The cold touch of the floor seeped quickly through her clothes, causing her to shiver as she registered the grey, empty room. While she didn’t know where she was, she was sure that whatever was going on was not a dream. There was no way she could dream of this place.
“Aah, you woke up.” Quinn turned around so quickly she almost lost her balance. Something was really off, normally she was light on her feet, she could balance on anything even if other people told her it was too thin or too high. That it was too dangerous. She never cared, as she knew it would be all right, as she knew this was the one thing she was really good at. The fact that here she almost tumbled over as she turned around, that was something that grabbed her attention more than her direct surroundings.
“Wow, careful there cutie. You don’t got your ship legs yet.” Although the guy’s words seemed friendly, he didn’t move an inch to help her. Warily, Quinn looked him up and down. He was a strange fellow, but she couldn’t put her finger on what made him strange. All she saw was that he was taller than anyone she had ever met, his face long as a horses face, and he seemed sick with his skin being a shade of white that she had only seen on people who were beyond saving. However, he was leaning casually against the wall and nothing about him showed that he felt unwell in any way.
“Where am I? Who are you? And what do you mean by ship legs?” She wasn’t on a ship, so why would he say something like that.
The guy grinned, his lips moving over a set of weird greenly coloured teeth that startled Quinn. That certainly wasn’t normal! “I am Nava, and you have been picked up by The Beyonder. The finest trading vessel in this part of the galaxy.”
The what in the what in the what? None of his words made sense to her. What kind of name was Nava? ‘Beyonder’ certainly didn’t sound like a word to her, and neither did ‘galaxy’? For a second Quinn wondered if he was a foreigner, using words from beyond the region she had grown up in. But that couldn’t be either. If strangers entered the valley she would have known. The villagers weren’t necessarily kind to foreigners, and everyone would have been on high alert. Nava grinned even wider when he saw the pure confusion spread over the girl’s face. He loved using these words on the newly captured stock. Many of them were familiar with space travel, they usually started fighting back as soon as they saw a face like his or heard a name like The Beyonder, but just as much creatures had no clue about it and he loved that. He knew that this girl was an inhabitant of Earth, a planet far behind in technology and knowledge of science when compared to his own home planet. There was no way that she would know about outer space, let along space travel.
Quinn recovered quickly though, still not entirely comprehending what had happened. “So… We’re on a ship?”  The part about this weird box being a trading vessel had been the only thing she understood. Even though she had never been to the harbour herself she knew her father went once a year for the annual market.
Nava laughed, a sound of genuine amusement. “You can say that cutie. The Beyonder is the best ship there is. Why don’t you just look out the window over there?” He pointed to a porthole just behind Quinn, a porthole so small that she hadn’t noticed it before, and she wouldn’t have registered really if the strange man wasn’t gesturing at it. As she peered outside, she really pressed her nose against the glass. It was freezing cold to the touch and at first there wasn’t much to see, just an endless amount of black space. Only slowly did something come in view, a blue ball, shimmering with live and nothing like anything Quinn had ever seen. Her eyes became big as she jerked her head back, moved it towards the glass again, moved backwards, but whatever she did the shimmering globe didn’t seem to get any closer or further away. As if she was looking at a painting, and immediately she knew she was looking at something completely different. Something she simply couldn’t comprehend.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it? You got a lovely planet there. It’s almost a shame you have to say goodbye to it.” Nava looked at the young girl, knowing the effect of seeing Earth from space for the first time. It was always baffling. It took all of Quinn’s strength to look away from the magnificent view.
“What do you mean, that that is Earth?” And what did he mean by saying goodbye?
Nava started grinning again, it was a sight that was not enjoyable. “Exactly what I’m saying sweetie. That’s where you lived, and you’re not coming back. So, say your goodbyes and come join us when you’re ready.” After which he simply turned on his heels and left the room at the same time Quinn’s legs collapsed from under her. Earth? That was Earth? What did he mean by that? You couldn’t leave Earth! Unless you died of course, and your soul moved on to the next life. With space, did he mean the sky? The sky that was as black as whatever it was that surrounded them when she looked beyond the blue ball that she had seen outside the window? Hastily, and because of that a bit clumsy, she scrambled after Nava.
“Wait up! What do you mean, left? Am I… Am I dead or something?” Was that what happened? Was this the way to move on after passing away? Nava chuckled while he rolled his eyes. Creatures who didn’t know about space were hilarious when you tried to explain it to them at the beginning.
Nava laughed again.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Why would we pick up a dead chick? You’ve just travelled beyond that big blue sky of yours. You better get used to it, you’ll learn soon enough that whatever it was that they taught you on that narrow-minded little rock is the furthest from reality you can get.” And with that, he picked up the pace, almost losing the scared Earth-girl twice.

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