The shuttles were much smaller and could enter the dome through a small runway and air locks that led to a disembarking platform. There were a few people waiting to return to Earth, not everyone was a student or a professor, some visited family.
Lanie gathered her things, and after notifying the baggage handlers where to send her luggage, she decided to have a look around. As she left the spaceport, her phone rang. Not bothering to see who it was, she was sure it was Cody.
"Hey you!" She answered her phone, smiling.
"Sweetie! Dad and I are so sorry we couldn't see you off. We'll come visit as soon as we can." Her Mother said.
"Oh hey, it's fine. Ya know, Cody was there, and yeah I'm fine!"
"All right then, kiss kiss, see you soon."
"Right, Mom. Bye." Lanie sighed and dropped her phone back into her purse, disappointed it wasn't Cody.
Although she had looked at the map many times, Lanie took it out and checked it again, intending to walk to the academy building where she would be living. It didn't seem far, and she started walking. Whether inside the building or outside, if you were under the dome, the air was filtered and climate controlled. The air was still and odorless, it reminded Lanie of the air in Azano's spaceship.
Clearly, walking was not a normal mode of transportation here. Many times during her walk, the hum of public vehicles broke the silence as they passed her. The buildings she passed were cold and stark in appearance. They all had the silver color of steel, with no windows, or architecture to please the eye, just straight lines. Seeing nothing to hold her interest, she looked up, the glow from the deflected lights on the street, and at the top of the buildings, reflected in the ceiling of the dome and glared down on her. Focusing on the road ahead of her, she saw the Academy coming into view. It was the only thing of real color she had seen. In large golden lettering in an arch above the entrance, were the words Space Academy.
Lanie was mounting the stairs to the entrance when a transportation vehicle stopped in front of the building and several students disembarked, running up the stairs ahead of her. They chattered and laughed as they entered the large doors into the academy. She quickened her steps to catch the doors before they closed, following the students.
Once through the doors she stopped, surprised by the onslaught to all her senses.
The noise struck her first, the atrium of the building was filled with students rushing passed her. There was a burst of color from the bleakness of the street; everything was bright and warm, from the orange carpet to the abstract paintings on the wall. Stepping into the large room, she wormed her way to a counter in the center; Lanie took her place in line and waited.
Even though the air was filtered, she could tell there was a dinning room near by. Her stomach began to growl with hunger the longer she stood in line as odors from the kitchen drifted to her.
It was finally her turn to register; she gave her name and received a room number, a code, a small information booklet, and a schedule. The man at the desk pointed to a diagram on the wall and suggested she view it to find her room. She thanked him, exiting the line, and approaching the diagram. Lanie got a general idea where she was, and then looked around the room to translate the map to reality.
Seeing the hall that would take her to her room, she started towards it. Her stomach had other plans and sidetracked her to the dinning room. She stood in the doorway and watched people going through a cafeteria line and then sitting at one of the tables. Even with everyone talking at once, the noise level was much quieter here.
Lanie looked at the booklet she had been given to see if there was anything about the cafeteria she needed to know. Just what she was afraid of, she needed a badge to get in line. Sighing, she decided find her room and then see about how to get a badge.
Down a long hall she walked, looking for the number of her room. Plaques on the walls with numbers and arrows helped her find her way. Arriving at her door, she used her code to open it. The room contained a bed, desk, and closet for each student. Each room had its own small bathroom with a shower. Lanie's room also contained a sleeping man.
Looking at her schedule, she could see she was in the right room. He must have the wrong room, she reasoned. She put down the small bag she was carrying and walked to the desk. Seeing a badge with her name on it, she smiled. Deciding her hunger took priority over the mystery man in her room, she headed for the dinning room, intending to speak to someone about it before she returned.
After sating her hunger, she approached the desk and stood in line again, waiting to speak to someone about the person in her room. When it was her turn, she smiled sweetly and said, "There is a man sleeping in my room, and I need someone to wake him and get him to the correct room."
"What makes you think he has the wrong room?" Said the woman at the desk.
"W-Well...it's a man; I share a room with a man?"
"It's possible. Do you think on a Star ship there is room to give everyone personal quarters?"
"Um, I don't know, but I will be the captain so I won't have to worry about that."
The woman laughed, "Really. Well when the guy wakes up, check his room number, but you're probably stuck with him." She then looked at the person behind Lanie, "Next!"