[Now Entering Hangar 067]
Sophie entered what seemed to be a vast open hall with hundreds of space shuttles neatly packed into rows with passengers streaming into them.
Each passenger was directed into one of these vessels and the constant noise of engines humming with power could be heard.
Sophie patiently waited in line until it was her turn to enter one of the shuttles.
The shuttles had a plain white exterior with the logo of the aviation company 'Maximise' prominently displayed on the sides.
There was only twenty seats and remaining students had already entered and were sitting down.
Sophie could not see any familiar faces from the Royal Academy, so she just sat down on the last seat and waited for lift off.
She began to feel a bit bored, so she checked her communicator to find that there were several messages from both her father and Cleo.
Cleo: [ What testing site are you going to?]
Sophie: [ My ticket said Site 13 which is in the Alpha System. How about you?]
Cleo: [ Damn it! Looks like we're going to different sites :( ]
Cleo: [ I'm heading to Site 03, but we can always meet on the virtual net]
Sophie: [ Sure! Why don't we talk tomorrow night?]
The pair exchanged a few more messages before the shuttle's AI made an announcement that the departure was in five minutes.
Sophie hurriedly said goodbye before leaning back in the seat to get more comfortable.
..well as comfortable as you could be with four spider appendages jutting out of your back.
Sophie was going to shift and turn to get a good spot, but she noticed that the other passengers were staring at her with unfriendly gazes, so she just quietly sat in place.
There was an intense atmosphere of competitiveness among the students in the shuttle as each was a genius who knew that their fellow passengers were rivals.
Only those who knew each other beforehand were talking quietly amongst themselves in whispers.
The ship's AI loudly informed the passengers about the final check point before departure.
[ Security Protocol Initialised --> Final scan for class three and above weaponry]
Blue light beams scanned the entire interior of the space shuttle to detect any security threats before departure.
It was highly unlikely that there would be any problems as all bags were scanned prior to entry into the spaceport but the additional security sweep was still necessary as a precaution.
Sophie basked in the blue glow as the light passed through her luggage without any alarms being triggered.
The other passengers were also generally nonchalant about the extra scan, but some wore noticeably tense expressions which cause Sophie to keep a small note on their faces.
[ Security Status --> Cleared for departure]
Sophie couldn't suppress her feelings of excitement as the space shuttle vibrated with power before the thrusters activated and they shot out of the hangar.
She looked out of a window to see hundreds of other shuttles exiting the spaceport like tiny drones all heading in the same direction.
The buildings became smaller and smaller as the shuttle slowly rose up and broke into the upper atmosphere.
Each vessel was equipped with stabilizers, so the passengers felt none of the turbulence from travelling rapidly in an upward direction.
Humanity's deepest desire was to explore the stars and the cosmos. To see the great mysteries of the universe and to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Technology made space travel commonplace but maybe it was past memories from Sui Meng that made Sophie very appreciative of the opportunity to travel among the stars.
The outside of the shuttle turned red hot as the spaceship finally burst out of the atmosphere and escaped the gravity of the planet.
Sophie held up her wristband and took a picture of the scenic view of planet Gaia.
Gaia was many times larger than Earth and the planet's surface area was only comprised of roughly ten percent water while the rest was a vast land mass that made up the central continent.
The planet was initially quite inhospitable but terra forming had transformed the landscape from harsh deserts into lush forestry.
With the rate that technology advanced over the last thousand years, it was a simple matter to form colonies on new planets.
Sophie saw her home planet and felt humbled to see just how tiny of speck she was among the countless other members of humanity.
[Engaging warp drive Estimated time of arrival...7.891 minutes]
Electric arcs ran wildly inside the engine as the spaceship prepared to enter hyper speed and reach its destination.
The surroundings began to blur as the shuttle shot forward and Sophie could see Gaia shrinking rapidly into the distance.
The transport sh.i.p.s were too large to float over the planet without causing atmospheric changes, so they were all located a significant distance away in a desolate belt nearby.
Sophie made sure to check her wristband for the room allocation that she received.
The four universities would naturally provide free accommodation, but it could be upgraded to a premium room for a price.
Premium rooms contained a practice duelling room, gym, and holodeck as well as various other entertainment services.
Unfortunately, space was still limited on the transport ship so even the wealthy would have roommates.
Sophie had chosen the minimum option on the number of roommates, but there was still going to be four of them staying in one suite.
The crowd of space shuttles had begun to thin out as they all split up and went into different directions.
There were fifteen transport sh.i.p.s with corresponding to the individual testing sites.
[ Arrival Transport Ship 13 is 2500 meters away]
Spatial ripples formed as the shuttle exited hyper space and Sophie got her first look at her new home for the next couple of months.
"Wow," Sophie could not help but let out a small gasp of shock.
She knew that it was going to be a large ship, but it was even more impressive than she had imagined.
The transport ship was comparable in size to a small moon with a slick streamlined design.
It was a powerful beast that was painted in a shade of black that seemed to blend into the darkness of space.
Sophie saw several plasma cannons lining the hull and one massive shield generator that caused the ship to be surrounded in a protective bubble.
There was a small gap in the shield that led to the entrance of a port, so the shuttle smoothly entered, and Sophie disembarked with the rest of the passengers.
She heard a small ding as her wristband was sent a message that contained her room number and a map of the ship.
Sophie was going to be in room 105 which was only a few minutes away from the port, so she walked briskly while running over potential greetings to her new roommates in her mind.
It didn't take long to find the right suite, so Sophie placed one finger on the bio metric scanner and entered.
The room was very spacious with four king sized beds placed at each corner of the room. There was a kitchen and two bathrooms with the holodeck and gym connected via a small door at the back of the room.
Her roommates did not appear to have entered yet as there was no other luggage present and the beds seemed to be empty.
Sophie placed her stuff next to the bed closest to the door and started to unpack. She carefully placed her precious egg in one of the drawers and lifted up the bedsheet to put in the pillows.
"Eww!!" Sophie shrieked.
"What the f.u.c.k is that!"
A metallic bowl was hidden under the bed covers and Sophie looked inside only to immediately regret her actions as the sight before her eyes was not a pleasant one.
Someone had placed a greenish sloppy liquid inside the container that strongly gave her the urge to throw up. It had a musky odor and seemed to be moving slightly from side to side almost as if it were alive.
Sophie hurriedly turned around to rush for her communicator to contact one of the cleaning staff to sort out this mysterious object but soon heard a resentful voice behind her.
"Hey you! I was trying to get some sleep."
Sophie turned around only the see an exact replicate of herself standing completely n.a.k.e.d in the middle of the room.
The greenish liquid in the container was gone and Sophie just stood dumbfounded.
"Um I think this is the right place," a soft whisper came in from the outside as Qiana walked into the room with her luggage.
She looked up from her wristband to see what appeared to be the n.a.k.e.d figure of the famous hybrid girl from her year and another version of the hybrid girl fully clothed but standing still with an expression of horror.
"Thisthis might be the wrong room."
Qiana promptly exited the suite without looking back.