The hologram of the blue and green planet cast its bright glow throughout the large study, across the books, chairs, and over the two people inhabiting the room.
Jayko Troven leaned on the projector table, his hands folded under his chin, his young, round face gazing up at the blue and green planet in wonder. At the age of six, he was drinking up all the knowledge that his father could teach him. The planet in front of him was new and Jayko was determined to get his father to tell him all about it.
His father on the other hand, standing just across the table, an open book in his hand, had different plans. Jaymen Troven was going to make his son work for the knowledge just as he had.
"Father! C’mon! Tell me what planet this is! I already know it’s not our own," complained Jayko staring up at the hologram.
Jaymen chuckled. "That’s a start, son. I’m glad that you know what your planet looks like, but I’m not going to tell you the name of this one just yet."
"I could always look it up in the database!" replied Jayko, trying to counter his father’s plan.
Jaymen chuckled again. "But this planet isn’t in the database, Jayko. This is a special planet. It took me years to learn of it."
"Why?" asked Jayko, tilting his head to one side as he looked up at the hologram.
"Because the knowledge of this planet was lost thousands of solar years ago." Jaymen looked from his son to the hologram, studying it.
Jayko looked over to his father, his face scrunched up in deep thought. "But how do you know about it?"
"There’s the right question, son. When I first learned of this planet, it became my life’s work to find any knowledge of it."
Jayko looked disappointed. "But I thought I was your life’s work!"
Jaymen laughed and looked over as his son with a smile. "That’s very true! You are my life’s work."
"So what’s it’s name?"
"Earth," said Jaymen.
"Like the ground?" asked Jayko.
His father shook his head, chuckling at his son’s comparison. "Yes and no. That term is rarely used anymore, but the name of this planet is where it came from. This planet is inside all of us. Most of us just don’t know it."
"How is it in us?" asked Jayko, perking up at the revelation that his father was finally going to let him in on the knowledge.
Jayko was really interested now, his father saw. He motioned for his son to come over to him.
Jayko pushed off from the table and trotted around to his father.
Jaymen closed the book he was holding and set it on the projector table. Turning to his son, he knelt down so he was closer to eye level with Jayko. Reaching out he put a hand on his son’s shoulder and touched the center of his chest with one finger. "It’s in all of us, because Earth is where we–where our ancestors were born. It’s our home planet. Do you understand?"
Jayko nodded. "It’s our home. Like our home here, but not our home."
Jaymen laughed and pull his son into a big hug. "That’s right! Ah, this is why I love you! This is why you’re my son!"
He released his son after a moment. "Alright, now that you know the name of the planet and what it is, can you tell me where it is?"
Jayko frowned and shook his head.
"It’s in your heart isn’t it?" said his father.
Jayko shook his head again.
"Well, you’re right to shake your head. Not even I know where it is. Just remember that it’s real. Earth was once a real place. No one knows if it is now. It could be gone, it could still be there, no one knows. That’s why I wanted to find out."
"What would you do if you found where it was?" asked Jayko, looking into his father’s eyes.
"I would take you and your mother and we’d go visit it! That’s what I’d do."
Jayko smiled and hugged his father. "Then I hope you find it!"
Jaymen hugged his son back. "I hope so too."
Suddenly, without warning, the room shook violently, nearly throwing the two of them into the projector table. The book that Jaymen had set down slid across its smooth surface and was flung to the floor. Jaymen held tightly to his son until the shaking stopped.
When he released Jayko the lights in the room had turned a deep, dark, pulsing red. The hologram of Earth had vanished to be replaced by red text that Jayko couldn’t quite make out in the light.
His father rushed to the table controls and tapped in a series of commands. The text changed to a hologram of the flying city they lived in awash in the color red with warnings surrounding it. Jaymen studied it for a moment and then slammed his fist down on the projector table, denting it’s surface. He hung his head for only a moment before turning to Jayko, worry in his eyes.
Jayko saw it and it worried him as well. Nothing like this had ever happened that he could remember. The only time that the lights had gone red that he’d ever seen was in an emergency drill and his father never reacted this way during those.
Jaymen knelt down in front of his son again. "Jayko. Do you remember what to do during an emergency drill?"
Jayko nodded, scared of what was to come next.
"Good," said Jaymen. "I want you to take this." He placed a golden coin in Jayko’s hand. "It’s a good luck charm. Take it and go find your mother."
He closed Jayko’s hand around the coin and pulled him into a tight hug. Standing, he turned Jayko and guided him to the door.
The room shook violently again before they could make it there and Jaymen grabbed onto his son, holding him upright. "Don’t forget to keep that charm with you at all times!" said Jaymen, resuming steering his son towards the door. He keyed the door open and it quickly slid up into the ceiling. "Now find your mother. Get going! I’ll be right behind you, I have some things to take care of first."
Jaymen shoved Jayko through the door and closed it behind his son just as the room shook violently once again.