I looked out the window. I could still see the ocean, but I knew that it would soon be gone. I will never see it again. Blue dot of Earth was getting smaller and smaller.
‘Missing home, already?’ Cooper asked.
‘Don’t you want to get one last look?
‘I don’t really care, Daisy. Never had much luck over there.’
‘Is this why you joined?’
Before he could answer the ship started to spin. Everything went black.
‘Alert, alert’ a computer said, like we didn’t know it ourselves.
The emergency lights kicked in. Smoke filled the cabin. In the red glow we started to look what had happened, either to fix it or to determine the cause of death.
In 1951 Tsygan and Dezik were the first dogs in space, but it was Laika who on the 3rd of November, 1957 reached the Earth’s orbit. Soviet propaganda announced that she died after three days from hypoxia. Sputnik 2 disintegrated during re-entry five months later. In 2002 a scientist “revealed” that Laika was killed after only seven hours by high temperature and stress. It’s a big cover-up. They don’t want people to know what really happened. Laika came back, alive and well. You’d think that soviets would be all delighted to share the good news. But not. They hid the truth. They didn’t want people to know what Laika had to say about the space. They didn’t want to listen themselves. After all, how a stray dog could be smarter than the scientists of the almighty, and always right USSR. They decided the world is not ready. They tried to silence her. They tried to put her to sleep.
‘We are not alone’ Laika explained over and over again. ‘There are other dogs out there.’
All she heard was ‘niet’. She called NASA and they hang up on her. She had no choice. She run away and in the middle of Syberia she started the Canine Space Agency (CSA).
Brave Laika was my great-great-grandmother and I was leading the first dog expedition to what humans call Kepler 452-b or the “second Earth”. However, reaching our destination seemed more and more unlikely. Fire alarm was so loud that Cooper got confused and started chasing his own tail. The sprinkling system went off. With the rest of my wit I chewed through a couple of cables, so the ringing stopped. In the silence I was able to grab the steering wheel and stabilise the rocket.
‘OK. Computer, what happened?’
‘Phew, that was close, beep beep’ the computer was relieved.
‘What was the problem?’
‘We have an intruder.’
‘On board, beep.’
‘Can you be more specific, please?’ I got this this job because of my patience with IT equipment.
‘The main engineering.’
‘Don’t mention it, beep beep.’
‘Cooper, come here boy. Let’s check it out.’ He came to his senses. We grabbed our ray guns and left the control centre. We moved along the dark corridor. There was definitely something in the engineering. We could hear it. It was banging against the walls. As we approached the door, there was a loud bang. Then another.
‘Cover me’ I said.
‘Do you want a blanket? Now?’ Cooper asked.
‘Never mind. Let’s go in.’
On the count of three we opened the door. The engineering was dark. The green eyes shone in the corner. Then in a split of a second the creature rushed towards us. Its paws were inches away from my nose. Cooper shot. The laser blast lighten the room. I reached the switch and turned the light on. On the floor, next to my first officer, lay the stunned intruder.
‘Cooper, it’s a cat.’
‘I’m allergic to them, you know.’
The cat woke up in few hours. He explained that he just wanted to get warm in our engine, apologised for all the trouble and promised to help with repairs. I accepted Leo as a crew member, and after couple of days even Cooper started to like him.
‘Guys, look at that!’ There we were, two dogs and a cat looking through the window. You know what the say about the grass being always greener? The planet below us was more green, more blue and more everything.
‘This is our new home,’ I said.
Cooper’s ‘Wow’ was so expressive that it steamed the glass. Leo wiped it. We starred in silence for a good half an hour, looking at the oceans, rivers, forests, and mountains.
‘What about our families and friends back on Earth?’ the cat asked.
‘Don’t worry. They will come here too.’ I told him all about the big evacuation plan. We were the first to make the journey, but soon our new four legged friends from the Kepler 452-b would send ships to collect all the animals from the Solar system. Except for humans, of course.
‘Do you think people will be alright alone?’ he asked.
‘Sure,’ Cooper said. ‘They can always have veggie burgers.’