I was floating in a sea of white. Weightless, senseless, a helpless traveller drifting through infinity. I felt serene, even as inky blackness began to close around the corners of my vision. Just as I was about to fade away completely, something struck my shoulder. I jerked back to reality, still teetering on the precipice of sleep. After my momentary daze wore off, I glanced over to my right to see my friend still pulling back his fist. “What the Hell, man?” I mumbled in that half-sentient way only someone who is still more asleep than awake can manage. My friend, seemingly able to translate my groggy mumblings, grinned through chipped false teeth. “You know you have to stay awake for at least an hour after cryosleep.” He punched me again, more playfully this time, saying “You don’t have many IQ points left to lose anyway”. A crocodile grin was still wide on his wrinkled face. It was the one part of his body that betrayed his age. He was too fit for an old man, but his face was grizzled and chapped, and seemed like the one part of him that remembered everything he had been through. “Real funny, you son of a-“I caught myself, and instead asked how long I had been asleep. “Not long” my friend replied. I decided to end the conversation and looked around the inside of the Icarus. The Icarus was a spaceship, but only in form. It was something different to everyone. To some, it was a symbol of new hopes, or a second chance. To my friend, it and all the countless others like it were symbols of cowardice, of humanity preferring to abandon ship rather than face its mistakes. I was young, only twenty years old. I was born in a shelter, and this was the first time I had seen the Earth. My friend was from the old people, the ones who lived above ground, outside of the shelters. He was alive so many years ago when the Earth was big and blue and beautiful, or so he claimed. Looking out the window of the Icarus, I had a hard time believing that the big, ugly brown dust ball framed by that endless dark sky had ever been anything like what my friend described. Blue? Beautiful? The Earth was nothing but endless, deadly deserts now, or so I had been told. And blue? Blue? How could the water, the life-giving water that was so scarce and precious and carefully rationed now have ever been so plentiful? My friend was old, yes, certainly old enough to have been alive back then, and he was wise and kind and had that little twinkle in his eye that made me think he was always hinting at more than he said. But he was a joker at heart, a kid in an old man’s body, and I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him except when it really counted. He never gave me a real reason for the world becoming like this, either. He would always say something like “People are stupid” or “Humanity was greedy for what it had until it was all gone, gone and too late to get it back” and change the subject. I glanced at him and he met my gaze then looked away, and I considered asking him again. But, he never told me the truth on Earth, so I saw no reason for him to tell the truth above it. I let my gaze trail off and flow around the ship, or the parts of it I could see, anyway. I was sitting in a giant chair, like the one the Overseer sat in back in the shelter, except with half a dozen seat belts that all clipped into a big circular buckle that came up from between our legs when it was time to launch. There were two dozen rows of two chairs each going along either side of the ship, and each row had a window at the side. I won the coin toss, so I got the window seat. The insides of the ship were blinding white, and there was a bright red stripe going up the middle of the ship, between the two rows. There were dozens of little white lights scattered across the curved ceiling of the ship, lighting the inside. The light two rows in front of us was off, flickering occasionally like a dying star. There was a door in front of us that seemed to be solid metal. It had no windows, and I could only assume that the controls were behind it. There was another door like it behind it, only bigger and thicker, with big bolts of metal in it. My friend said that the door was to hold out space, and that if it opened space would suck me out and pop me like a balloon. I never learnt anything about space in the shelter school. My friend said that the inside of the ship looked like a “Plane”, but I didn't know what a “Plane” was. I craned my neck and looked out the window of the empty row beside us, the only empty one on the ship, through which I could see the space station my friend and I had spent a year in cryosleep on. My eyes wandered again, up to the countdown clock. It read 00:01:12. I turned to my friend. Before getting on the ship, he promised to tell me the story of the boy our ship was named after. He said that Icarus’ father made him wax wings, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and they melted. As I strapped in, I turned and asked if we were going to fly too close to the sun. He shoved my helmet on, called me an idiot for forgetting it, and looked into the distance, his face forlorn. Then he turned to me and told me that he was pretty sure we already had. The clock hit zero. Blast off.