Her dream was right there on the screen.
A dazzling storm of camera flashes. The world was frantic over the news of astronaut Mitsuaki Gamou returning alone from his stay on the moon, with an unprecedented world record of three years and three months.
A beautiful girl with black hair was staring at the TV in the living room.
“Now, at this very moment, the OSTO return ship has landed. Mitsuaki Gamou has returned alone from the moon. It is a true moment of glory for a Japanese astronaut. We are witnessing history right now. It’s amazing. It’s really amazing. I’m so excited I can’t hold it in anymore!”
The reporter’s voice was shaking so much it was difficult to hear, and press reporters from all over the country were crowding around.
A staff member rushed forward and opened the door of the return capsule.
As Gamou was lifted out on both sides, a huge cheer rang out from the crowd. He was carefully placed down on the ground, and he pointed his finger to the sky and addressed the world.
“The universe is right there, everyone.”
Everyone in the world, regardless of language, quieted down to hear his words. The surrounding noise dissipated.
“It may be time for humanity to become more acclimated to space. Just like how a child cannot eternally remain a child, we must make full use of mankind’s wisdom and go beyond Earth. Only then will we evolve to our next stage. Now, let us all prepare to live new lives in a new world.”
There was a moment of silence in the air before cheers broke out. People began to chant his name. Studio commenters began to praise him as a hero, and as the pride of mankind.
“He’s so cool…”
The girl’s eyes were glued to the screen, entranced by the man like the sun. This is it. This is my dream. This is my future. It was like something within her was burning. She clasped her Tanabata1 strip, where she had written her wish, to her chest. The writing on the strip was neat but firm.
“When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut”
“I’m going to Jupiter with Mr. Gamou. No matter what.”
Next to the girl, watching TV with her, was a young boy.
“Man, it’s so cool you’ve already decided what you wanna do in the future. I’m kinda jealous,” he said, very deeply impressed with her.
The boy’s words were full of genuine respect.
The girl’s cheeks were dyed red with pride. The boy, her childhood friend, was always good at cheering her up like this. Whenever she was with him, she felt a certain kind of warmth. He was the kind of positive person who made everyone else around him positive. It was a rather amazing talent he had.
“I’ve already decided what I’ll call my rocket.”
The girl giggled and smiled, and held out a V-sign with her fingers in front of her.
She explained that she’d read about an asteroid with that name in a book about stars.
But the boy looked somewhat concerned.
“…Isn’t Icarus the one who flew too high and fell…?”
“I’m pretty sure his wings melted because the sun was too hot.”
“Yeah, I read a comic about it…”
The girl was in shock. This was the first time she’d heard about that kind of thing. She’d already hit her very first snag in her important future plans. Not just a snag, a crash…All of the excitement she’d just gathered cooled down in a split second, and her eyes started to overflow with tears.
The boy hadn’t expected her to cry like this, and quickly began stammering.
“Ah, sorry — um — it’s — it’s okay!”
“How is that okay?!”
The girl lashed out with piercing words. She felt as if everything had been ruined.
“Why don’t you just make friends with the sun?”
“If you’re the sun’s friend, the sun wouldn’t let you fall, right?”
“Be friends with…the sun…?”
It didn’t really make sense, but it was exactly the kind of thing the boy would say. Most importantly, he was thinking positively.
“Yeah. So yeah, Icarus is a good name. It sounds like a superhero name.”
The girl burst into laughter. It was like a spark of something warm was back in her chest. Ah, he really was too good at cheering her up.
“Yeah. We’ll go with Icarus.”
Feeling completely at ease, the girl had a huge smile on he face.
As she smiled, “something” was watching her from a distance. They were the emotionless eyes that transcended time and space. Eyes like gaping holes. Softly wriggling, with terrifying fervor, gaze slithering back and forth. Searching for something to fill the emptiness…
- Tanabata = A summer festival that is usually celebrated by writing wishes for the future on small strips of paper and hanging them from bamboo tree branches.