Gideon’s father had been driving towards the big black tower for a long time, he had never been there before but he had always looked at it and wondered what it was. His dad once told him that it went all the way up into space, and the he climbed the tower everyday to get to work. He did not really think his dad climbed the tower like a ladder, space was really far away and that would take too long.
He had heard his dad call it an elevator before and Gideon had decided that there was an elevator inside the big black tower, but Gideon still was not sure he believed it went all the way into space. He was pretty sure you had to use rocket and space ships to go up into space. When he had asked his dad about it his father had said that normally that would be the case, but in this instance a elevator made more logistical sense. Gideon had no idea what that meant, but his dad was pretty smart, so he thought he knew what he was talking about.
Gideon squirmed excitedly in the back seat of the car, he was going to space! Not only was he going to space, he was going to ride his dad’s spaceship to a brand new planet! This was like an episode of Captain Lonestar and the Space Rangers! His dad had even said that his friends would be there! He tried to calm himself down, his mom had told him that he needed be on his best behavior until they had entered their pods. No matter how he tried though the excitement just kept growing inside of him.
The big black tower was taking up half of the skyline in front of the car, all Gideon could see was just a wall of black that seemed to go on forever. If he looked at the sides of the massive wall he could now make out grooves in the edges of it, they seemed to encircle the wall, spiraling their way up, working higher and higher until he could see them no more. He wanted to ask his dad about the elevator again, but listening to his parent talk in the front seat suggested to him that they were nervous about something. He decided to ask anyways “You said that things an elevator right dad?”.
Gideon Sr. looked back at his son, he smiled but his eyes spoke of an underlying tension, “Thats right buddy, an elevator right into space. And we’re going to take a ride on it.”
Gideon Jr.’s eyes widened as his dad said that, grand adventures and fantastic discoveries played through his head. “This is going to be so cool dad!”
His father turned around, focusing on the road again, Gideon Jr. had not noticed but they were nearing a military stop point. His mother turned back to him, she too smiled but failed to hide her anxious worry nearly as well as her husband. “You remember to be on your best behavior young man.”
“I promise I’ll be good!”
A chain gate rattled back in front of them, allowing his father’s car to roll forward until it was stopped by another gate. The gate behind them began slowly rattling shut, Gideon did not like this. It felt like they were being trapped. A man dressed in Camoflauge walked up to his dads car door and leaned down, sticking his face in the window.
“Evening Dr. Plock, you and your wife here to ride the lift up?”
“Heya Ernie, thats right we’re packed up and ready to go start settling in on the Seraphim.”
“This evenings lift is scheduled as a cargo float, any particular reason you’re riding up with farm equipment and not the other scientists like usual?”
“It’s not really something I should talk about Ernie.”
“Oh ok, need to know stuff, got it. Sorry for asking. Well I don’t suppose I’ll be seeing you around much anymore after you ride the lift up tonight. You and your wife have a nice trip.” Ernie nodded and stepped out of the way, allowing the car to pass. As the car rolled by Gideon Jr. and Ernie’s eyes met, Gideon Jr. smiled and waved but Ernie only looked confused. Ernie looked like he was going to say something, but then shook his head and stepped walked back into the small house he first came out of.
The car rolled past the second gate and even closer to the giant black tower. Gideon’s father was talking to his mother again, something about minimal contact. Gideon was too busy staring up at huge black obelisk that seemed to spiral up into the sky higher than he could see. His attention was so completely absorbed by pillar that he did not notice his father had parked the car and was now pulling their personal boxes out of the trunk. They were still a good distance away from the dark shaft.
“Come on darling, we’ve got a bit of a walk ahead of us and the elevator works on a schedule.” His mother said she prompted him to get out of the car. She held onto his hand tightly with her box of personal things held against her body under her other arm. Gideon’s father carried his personal box as well as his sons and stood next to his wife. Together the three of them set off through the huge and mostly empty parking lot. Gideon looked up at his mother as they walked,
“Mommy, why are we parked so far away?, and why is this parking lot so big. There aren’t any stores around here.”
“You’ll see why part of it is empty when we start riding it. The rest is empty because not many people have gotten on the ship yet, just the last bits of the construction crew. We’re going to be the first real passengers to board the ship.” His father answered for his mother.
Gideon stayed quiet the rest of the walk, trying to figure out why part of the parking lot was so empty. As they got closer to the tower Gideon noticed large dark shapes organized in neat rows near the dark pillar, and the material they were walking on changed. Not very long after he noticed the shapes he was able to identify them as tractors, lots and lots of tractors and other machinery. Some he had seen before, others he had not.
“Ok we can stop right here!” His father announced, dropping both of the personal boxes that he carried. Gideon looked around, they were in a large empty section of the parking lot, he looked up at his mother but his mother had turned to his father.
“Dear we’re still in the parking lot, are you alright?”
“I’m just fine, and don’t you two worry, we’re right where we need to be.” He quickly checked the time, “Why don’t we just sit here and enjoy the view for a few minutes?”
“Gideon, we are standing in the middle of a wide open area,” his mother’s voice sounded very strained, “don’t you think we should get inside?”
Gideon did not like the way his mother’s voice sounded, that was the way she sounded when she was getting angry. But before his father could reply there was a loud hiss and the ground beneath their feet lurched to the side. After he caught his balance and steadied himself, Gideon noticed something strange. The world around him seemed to be moving, he was standing completely still, but he could see the car they rode in to get here moving very slowly. The car was not even moving the right way, it was moving like it was gliding across the pavement, not rolling forward on its tires.
“Wha-whats happening!?” his mother nearly shrieked, the panic evident in her voice.
His father was laughing quietly to himself as he watched both his wife and child. “Up up and away!” His dad said between laughs, “Welcome to the elevator.” When neither his wife nor child seemed to understand he continued his explanation. “The elevator is a giant circular platform with about a quarter mile radius. When it is completely descended it’s hundred feet of height rest completely underground…”
“So that means we’re standing on the elevators roof!” Gideon Jr interrupted.
“Very clever bud.” His father squeezed his shoulder.
“Still shouldn’t we be inside.” His mother looked around the mostly empty parking lot nervously. “Anyone could see us out here.”
“Not to worry honey,” his fathers voice no longer carried any hint of stress or anger, this caused one of Gideon’s mental barriers to fail and the level of his excitement began growing exponentially. He was riding an elevator into space! This was so cool. He could not wait to ask Harry and Sarah about it later, he hoped they had really cool trips up too. His father was still talking to his mother, explaining to her why everything would be ok. This happened a lot, his mom was good at worrying. But he was not listening, he was busy wondering about what kind of alien plants and animals he would encounter when they arrived on the planet.
After a while his father had calmed his mother down and the whole family was sitting together, on top of some of the farm equipment near the center of the lift. They had been watching the sun go down as the elevator slowly rose into the sky, but now the sun was gone, the moon having taken it’s place. His father said it would take the elevator almost 10 hours to make the trip all the way to the top.
Now they were looking up at the sky, as they had risen higher and higher into the atmosphere it had gotten colder and colder but none of them seemed to notice, because along with the cold came clarity. The distorting properties of our atmosphere grew weaker as they rose and the sea of light pollution caused by cities had been left behind, the sky looked amazing. There were so many points of light in the sky that it was almost overwhelming. His father pointed out the star where they were heading. A bright star with a yellowish tint to it, surrounded by a sea of deep purples that faded into the darkest blacks, all flecked with hundreds of other points of light. Gideon’s thoughts strayed to the coming space adventures again.
He was not sure how much time had passed but his father was ushering them all inside now, saying that soon there would not be enough oxygen for them to breath easily. The air was frigid now, it felt like the middle of winter and Gideon was a little light headed. His father opened a hatch and they all began walking down stairs into what his dad called an air lock. As the metal doors clanged around them Gideon asked his father a question, “Hey dad, if this thing is so slow, why haven’t i seen it going up or coming down before?”, Gideon jr. stumbled a little, sleep beginning to tug at him.
His father smiled down at him and picked him up. “Sharp as ever my boy,” his dad kissed him on the cheek. “The bottom and sides of the elevator are covered in a material that bends light and makes it invisible. We did that so we would not bother people as much with the elevator in constant operation.”
“Thats really cool dad. How much longer till we’re in space?” He asked his father, laying against his father’s chest as he lost ground in the battle of consciousness.
“We’re almost there buddy.” His father replied, Gideon felt his body being lowered down onto a soft surface. “When you wake up, we’ll be there” was the last thing he heard before he lost the battle and fell asleep.