She had arrived hours early; four hours, to be precise. She hadn’t been able to sleep. She never could when she had an adventure in the morning – sleep seemed tedious and it did not come easy. She sat in a plush reclining seat in the boarding lobby. A few ship employees milled about, carrying on luggage and various tools, but otherwise the lobby was empty. She had chosen a seat by the small, electric fireplace, and curled up with her digital reader, flipping through the pages of a psychology textbook with the tip of her index finger every few seconds. She sipped a frozen mocha by herself, her golden curls falling to cover her face as she read.
She propped the touchscreen reader on the arm of the chair and her knee, fishing a pristine silver cigarette tin from her jacket pocket. Instinctively, the pad of her thumb grazed the delicate emblem on the front. She slid a cigarette out without ever taking her eyes from the reader. She held it between her mauve lips as she returned the tin to its rightful pocket and pulled out a matching zippo lighter; the reflection of the flame danced in her unearthly eyes – the onyx irises capturing the colors and contorting them with shadows.
In time, others made their ways into the lobby. Some lingered at the drink bar, others at the windows. Fern rose, slipping her reader into the safety of her leather carry-on case. She took off her jacket, laying it over the back of her seat and shaking her hair out. Her muscles groaned with the slow release of tension; she’d been sitting idle too long.
She rolled her body down to press her palms to the floor, cigarette still burning between her lips, swinging her legs up and over in a simple somersault; her back cracked and immediately her muscles loosened. Her heels springing her back up into the air a few inches as she settled back onto her feet in the low gravity atmosphere. She stretched her arms behind her back as she made her way to one of the wider windows, looking up into the blackened sky. A few stars gleamed from a great distance, breaking up the thick blanket of nothingness, but they weren’t very bright. It was a dark night.
She finished her cigarette and stubbed it out in a glass ashtray. Might as well board, she figured, she could continue reading on the ship.