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It was never really an option for me. I was supposed to graduate from Sunny Creek High School and attend the United State Military Academy and become a very famous army general. It was never an option. Never. The only thing is that I would miss my girlfriend Maria. We loved each other. We were never going to move apart. She was actually thinking about going to the University of Pennsylvania for nursing so that she could also be “in” the military. I went through with it and five years later, I was in the Pennsylvania National Guard. I was working my way up in the ranks until this operation came on my desk.


“Operation Zona?” Maria said putting down the paper later while we were at dinner. “What in the heck is that?” “Apparently it’s a ‘top’ secret mission for me and me only” I told her. She was very skeptical. I was very happy. “Do you really want to go?” “I really don’t know. I want to, but I don’t want to leave you by yourself.” I replied. “Maybe you could ask your superior if I could go.” she replied. “I doubt it, but I could try. Lets just get some sleep. You have that big test tomorrow at Penn.” I said. “Don’t remind me!” she replied sneakily.


When I returned to the Guard’s office, I asked my superior, Felicia. She said that only top military official could have someone come with them and that I wasn’t a top official, only one of the two delegates from Pennsylvania. “Who else is coming?” I asked. “I don’t know sweetheart but you beta’ start working harder cause you aint getting that opportunity ‘gain,” she replied in her southern accent. Felicia was from Tupelo, Mississippi and was actually a childhood friend of Elvis Presley. She was one of them that was also coming on the trip. The flier that I received said that the trip was actually going to be next week. “So much time they gave us huh?” I said sarcastically.


The rest of the week had passed and I was time to leave for Zona. The superior’s supervisor's supervisor, the Secretary of the Department of the Army, arrived in Philadelphia, where our offices are based to brief us on our mission. We are to take rock samples, plant samples, and bacteria samples. We would have to get sized for our space suits. Our suits were white and had a big logo of the Department of the Army, Philadelphia National Guard, and NASA. NASA coordinator John Mercury had said previously that this was a joint mission. Before we could leave, there has to be a conference on how to react in space. The planet didn’t have a strong enough gravitational push, so we would float. After the conference, we were allowed to call our loved ones for 10 minutes. I called my parents and then Maria. She was still bummed that she was not allowed to come with us, but she was still happy for me. They all told me to be safe. Do they think I wouldn’t be safe. If only I knew that they were right.


As soon as we lifted off of Earth, I was feeling homesick. Either that or I had eaten too much lunch. Either way, I wasn’t feeling good. I felt that something bad was going to happen. It took 10 years to get to Zona, so we lived and thrived on that ship for those 10 years. I met a new friend, Zane, who was the Mission Director at NASA. I also met Fiona, a Army Nurse who comes from Nevada. She has been in the Army for 2 years, yet was a friend of a army captain. She had the cutest dimples, tan skin, blue eyes, blonde hair, the whole package. I had to remember Maria when I was around her. I had to stay faithful to Maria. I had too. She was the love of my life, but this new girl…


“I am dating Zane, before you ask,” she replied the very next day. “Ohh, good for you, he is a really lucky guy,” I was shocked. I never thought about new girl again, until…


“We have arrived at Zona!” groggily said a voice over the intercom I believed was the pilot. I was still sleeping. I only vaguely remembered passing Pluto. It had been a long journey. I was still shocked about new girl, but decided not to think about it. I would move on. Plus, I had a planet to explore. Everyone soon got up off the seats and started leaving the plane, but suddenly stopped and all started screaming. “Holy…,” cried Adam. “What?” I asked scaredly. “A bow and arrow hit the plane,” cried Adam. “That means…” “Yes, there are humans.”


    Everyone suddenly started turning around and running. The captain came out and asked what was going on. We told him that there are humans. “How do you possibly know that there are humans?” asked the captain. “We saw them” some said. Others said, “We just got hit with a bow and arrow and Premina is bleeding.” “Someone get the first aid kit,” cried that captain. He hastily ran down the corridor for the first aid kit. Meanwhile, I was shocked. How did this happen. How did NASA not know that there were humans out there? When did they arrive at Zona? Where is their spaceship? How long have they been here? I think the biggest question that was on everyone’s mind was, Why were they here?


    The next day, I woke up and looked out the windows, but there were no windows left, they were all busted by the “humans” of Zona’s planet by their bow and arrows. They were really acting childish. Why couldn’t we be friends. Did they have some sort of secret that they didn’t want us to know about? The previous day, before I went to sleep, I did remember several people screaming, but thought nothing of it because people screamed for many different reason, happiness or sadness. What I didn’t know was that they were screaming because one of those “people” from Zona has shot through the window and was trying to enter through it. It didn’t because of all of the courageous people of this ship, but it almost did. I thought and thought, and soon figured a way to patch up the window with wood, staples, an ironing board, and a bookcase. It took me a long time, but I was able to patch it up. When I was finished, I still had materials left, so I boarded up the door and several other window. It was a strenuous job, but I was able to finish right before the first droplet of sweat started. I really never sweat before in my life, but when I really get hot, which isn’t often, I sweat. As soon as I was finished, people started waking up. It was only then did I start realizing that I woke up at two in the morning in earth time, but the light was on outside. I was really starting to think that we need to go out and explore the unknown, but we need weapons. If they would have bow and arrows and we didn’t have any kind of defense or offense, we would be dead on the spot. I started making makeshift bows and arrows and shields. While, I was looking for more materials, I found two loaded pistols which would help us, but for all we know, bullets don’t hurt them. Little did we know that this would be the hardest time in any of our lives.


    Once everyone woke up, I told them my idea. They were skeptical, but I eventually got them all on my side. Ten of us would go out for one hour, and would return and tell the rest about our experience. I was on the first team to go out because it was my idea. I took the pistol and one of the shields. Fiona also went out when I did. I wanted to let her know that she didn’t need to do this, but she chose before I could tell her. She chose a bow and arrow and I made her take a shield. When we left the spaceship, we were all scared for our life. I had told the rest that were to stay in the spaceship to close the door and barricade it again. I also told them to watch out and make sure that if we came back early to open the door for us. We stepped foot on Zona’s ground, but unlike all the other planets except earth, we had gravity. We saw the first people that were on Zona after a few minutes of taking ground and plant samples. They looked just like us, like we each had a twin that lived on Zona, except that was one thing that was different between us and them.


    “They were PURPLE!” asked the captain, with skepticism in his voice. “Did they try to kill you?” another asked. “Were they friendly?” asked another. “We didn’t get to meet them because they didn’t see us.” I flatly stated. All that I knew at the moment was that the “people” were purple, had a big forehead, and had ten eyes. They looked friendly, but I don’t know. They were somehow communicating with another one of the creatures and seemed to be laughing about something. They had bow and arrows around their back, the same ones that had been used to hurt us. I was starting to think that they didn’t like us impeding on their turf. Everyone was shocked once I told them everything and they had every right to do so. They hadn’t attacked us again since last night, but that didn’t mean that they wouldn’t attack them again. They would stay awake during nightfall, since it seems that they are only awake during the night. One of us would stay awake and watch out with the pistol. Shocker, I was me.


    I was terrified, but I didn’t want people to know that. At ‘6”8 and weighing 280 lbs., most of it being muscle, I looked like I could either be a cop or in boot camp. People like me don’t get scared, at anything, including Purple People. That is what we called them. We didn’t know what they were actually called. But we did know that this planet was their home and the last thing that any of us wanted to do was to impede their planet. Because of this, we decided to go find their capital. The next group that went out would go and take more samples, but the first group would strategically follow the armed guard to their leader. In a sense, they would take us to their leaders without even knowing. It took us about a half of an hour to plan how this would go down. New Girl and I would be the “captains” of the expedition. Two people would hang out in the green trees that surrounded the pathway. New Girl and I would follow the Purple Guards from the distance and make sure that they didn’t spot us. But something happened while we were following them. They spotted us. Our entire group had to flee back to the spaceship. We arrived just in time. They were right in the back of us. Once we arrived, we were huffing and puffing and all out of breath. We were exhausted. This is not the way that it was supposed to happen. Inside, the Purple Guard was trying to claw through the window, but they couldn’t because of the blockaides on the window.


    We decided to return to Earth the next day, it wasn’t anything against Zona. I loved its Earth like weather and purple atmosphere, but it was the people. They were strange and I think we all voted at once to leave that planet. So, the next day, we left. It was a long journey back, but after nine long years, it was finally over. But Earth seemed different…


    “Where is Maria?” I said once I came in on the spaceship that I had called home for twenty years that brought us back to Earth. “I’m right here,” called a women well in her early thirties. “Oh, honey... what happened to you?” I was shocked. It had been about 20 years since I left Earth, but she looked, pardon me, old. I left her house and returned outside. Everything else was different too. Instead of cars, everyone had flying saucers. Instead of brick and mortar, everyone ordered stuff online. There was no grass, nor animals. Earth had been overpopulated and overrun by humans. It reminded me about my favorite movie, Back to the Future, but the future had really overrun Earth. There was no reason to live anymore. That’s why I let it happen.


    The next thing I knew, I was lying on a hospital bed. The doctors told me, even though I couldn’t hear really well at that point, that I had survived the accident, but during the surgery, the found that I had Prostate Cancer. I had if for a long time, but I didn’t know, nor feel anything because I was in space so long. They told me that I had a few days to live. I was shocked. After surviving the Purple People and their bow and arrows, surviving space travel, and surviving military boot camp, I would die from having Prostate Cancer. I asked if there could be any kind of cure, but he said that by this time, this far in advance, there could be no cure. I was devastated. How could I tell Maria?


    Seems that I didn’t have to because the doctor had already told her. She came running into the room and hugged and kissed me vigorously. She was crying so much that I joked that she could fill the entire Atlantic Ocean with her tears. She laughed and I told her not to worry that I would be going to a better place and to not miss me. I emotionally hurt me so much that I wanted to go under the covers and not come back out until I died. The next day, I just remember eating a lot of stuff and watching TV, just like I was waiting for the angel of death to come. Later that evening, Maria called in a priest, one I fondly remembered growing up with, to administer the Last Rights. As soon as he was done, I don’t remember anything else. I must have died.


    “No, please Adam, don’t leave me, don’t leave me.” I pleaded while he was dying. I had met Adam while we were in college and he was the love of my life, but once he got back from his 20 year space expedition to a planet called Zona, he was acting strange around me. He went out to the road and got himself injured on purpose. I don’t know if it was Zona that hurt him or the current state of Earth, but something hurt him. He was dying not because of the crash, but because of Prostate Cancer. Life is not fair.


    The viewing was at the US State Capitol then was moved to the Pennsylvania State Capitol. His funeral was beautiful, a full-scale military funeral. The twenty-one gun salute, the flag folding, everything. There was over two-thousand people at his funeral. I kept on thinking to myself, I wish that Adam could see this, she thought. The next day, everything was going fine. I was still mourning but didn’t feel sorry for myself. I got up and ate breakfast at the large, wooden table. The next thing I remember feeling something hurting in my chest. Everything became hazy. Then I blacked out. I never woke up again.


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