Heaven Destined (March Contest)

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Heaven Destined

 

Grade 12, a year of remorse and self exertion. This is the year you start an adventure called life. Xander Glenn and Jett Rippler, were standing at the footsteps of Baulkham Hills High School — one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Sydney, Australia. Xander and Jett had been best friends since the second grade and were straight A students. Jett never had a clue of what he wanted to do in life and constantly repeated “Just keeping my options open,” with a smile on his face. Also he had anxiety, but combated his emotions with his joyful personality.  Xander on the other hand seemed to have planned his life up to his meeting with God at the table of Judgment. He is a wise and respectful person, always aware of what is around him. School was just his playground.

Six months later, it was Friday, February 17, 2017. A boy by the name of Stewie Shepard was running down the halls, screaming “They are going!, They are going!, Falcon 9 to the Space Station,” trying to catch up with Xander and Jett. The three had known each other since grade school and always stuck around together. Xander had always been the smartest in the group, Jett had no clue what he wanted to do in life, but still was a great help to others, and Stewie was knowledgeable in space and science; together they had been a team. Stewie took up an interest in space since he was only 4 years old, just like his father, Alan Shepard — who was able to become an astronaut on the Apollo 14 mission. The one bad thing about Stewie was he could be a real buzz kill. Sometimes he would never stop talking and could be extremely annoying. Beyond that, he was their friend.

When Stewie caught up to them, he talked about Falcon 9, which was scheduled to leave Earth on Sunday, the 19th, to go to the International Space Station to restock and deliver SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Everyone was starting to stare and a sudden murmur started to flood the hallways, presumably pointed towards Xander, Stewie and Jett. Jett was shuffling from side to side, sweating and cracking his knuckles out of some sort of embarrassment. Xander picked up on this and directed Stewie, as he continuously rambled, into the bathroom. He told Stewie to hold on a second and asked, “Jett what’s the matter?” Jett replied saying, “All those people…looking at me, I did not like it.” “Don’t worry about it,” Xander said trying to cheer him up. Jett was almost about to cry. Then Stewie interjected, in an attempt to comfort him, “By the way, they were all looking at me.” Stewie felt sympathy for Jett. He too had been talked about behind his back since he was young. “What I try to do is ignore them, after all it’s the 12th grade. In a few months we are going to University!”  Xander looked at his watch then said, “Let’s get to class before Mrs. Margaret hands out the tests and thinks we have gone missing again. Why don’t we meet in front of the school after classes are over” Stewie agreed and Jett followed giving him a smile, then the three boys headed off to class.

After school, Xander, Stewie and Jett met up at the footsteps of the school. Xander looked at Jett to examine how he was doing and to confirm his finding he asked him, “So..Jett how are you?” Jett responded in a melancholy tone. He first sighed, “Huhhh” then looked at Xander, “I’m pretty sure I bombed the test, plus I just feel like going home.” Stewie smirked and said, “Ya I failed too ha. Maybe next time.” Jett always wondered how Stewie was incredibly optimistic. He had been through situations that others would not want to be in. Xander knew that there is not only one thing that makes people uncomfortable and stressed, there are usually multiple conditions. He also thought some time away from the city and school would help Jett. Likewise, he had been there for Jett whenever he felt blue and knew what would cheer him up.  “How’s about a camping trip? I hear The Basin Campground is not bad. It’s only an hour and a half drive away from here.” They all agreed and when home to pack. Mrs. Margaret also had told her class there was a Spring Break project about making a difference in life. This just added on to all the problems they were facing at the time.

It was the next day, Xander had packed and was ready to leave. Jett was sitting at his table having lunch at 3pm, and Stewie was still in bed sleeping, clothes all over the floor, not ready at all. Xander pulled up in his 2012 Honda Civic at Jett’s house and picked him up.  “We have been in the city for at least 2 years,” said Xander, “I think a little fresh air may help.” Jett noded. Next was Stewie’ house. They reach his home and saw Stewie standing on his porch half-awake, struggling to keep his eyes open. With baffled expressions, they signal him to come to the car. After 15 seconds of watching a zombie walk to the car, the boys were finally ready to begin their mini vacation.

Two hours later, they arrived at their destination — The Basin Campground. It was around 5pm at the time and the boys decided to set up all their gear. Thirty minutes later everything was set up; The tents, fire, etc… Since they had a fews hours to kill until it was time to call it a night, they agreed to go on a hike to check out the area and to explore the wilderness. Thus forgetting about all their worldly struggles. After endless encounters with bats and mosquitos it was getting dark. They began to hear strange noises, making Jett scared out of his mind. Suddenly he stopped, with his jaw dropped, he looked up. He instantly forgot about how frightened he was, as he saw a magnificent array of stars and unexpectedly, the milky way. No words could describe the spectacular view they stood beneath. Xander was following Jett and saw his face. He looked up, copying all his expressions. Stewie was behind them and was having trouble seeing because of how dark it was. No one thought to bring a flashlight and as a result of this he walked right into Jett and Xander. “What is going on?” he said. Xander, still in disbelief of what he was seeing, repositioned Stewie’s head to face the sky. All three boys were staring at the beautiful night sky, then out of the blue a mysterious object zoomed past in a brisk fashion. Jett said,”Ahh a shooting star, make a wish.  Xander said,”No, I don’t think that’s a shooting star, it’s not disappearing.” Puzzled, he paused and stared at the object racing by again. Jett, added, “Maybe it’s a plane.” Stewie chimes in “How could it be a plane? Look how fast it is going. Look at that! it’s almost past the horizon.” They all paused in uncertainty. Then Stewie realized something., “No way guys!!!” “What?” said Jett. “I think that’s the International Space Station. Remember guys, like I told you at school?” “Oh ya, we all remember!” said Xander with a smirk on his face.  “Did you see how fast it was going! If we were in the city, we wouldn’t be able to see anything.”  Xander and Jett stood there, admiring the ISS flashing by while Stewie started to do a hop, skip and a jump in what seemed to be an excitement overload.

The next day felt like a matter of minutes as the boys were excited to continue their last day of camping. They organized various activities to do, as usual campers would. They went fishing in the nearby river, swam, had lunch, made a campfire while roasting marshmallows.

It felt like an eternity of listening to Stewie tell a complex spiel of what they had seen a couple nights before during the car ride back home. Jett felt a lot better and Xander could tell because he saw a face filled with joy. They dropped Stewie home first and as Xander was pulling into Jett’s driveway they heard the radio, “Falcon 9 has reached the ISS and has now delivered the DragonX spacecraft. Who knows what SpaceX and Nasa will do next.” Another announcer came with a sarcastic voice, “Haha Frank, maybe they will go to Mars.” Haha” the announcer Frank said, “Oh by the way Henry, did you know Nasa was hiring again.” Jett opened his eyes wider. “Oh ya, I heard about that, I think they were having a competition about Making the best Invention.” replied Henry. Right then and there Jett had an idea. “Let’s go to Space.” he said blatantly. Xander swore he had seen a bright light bulb floating on top of Jett’s head at that moment. “I have an uncle who lives in Houston, Texas. He is a janitor for Nasa.” “Hmm” Xander said, “What does that have to do with anything?” Jett responded, “Dude this is it. Now we have a chance to do something in life. We can go to the USA and win that competition!” Xander was buying into Jett’s plan, “Actually that’s not a bad idea. Hey! I think we do this for the Spring Break project, maybe we can ask the school to give us extra credit too!” The two boys were ecstatic towards their plan, except for the fact Stewie was not in it. Xander and Jett were not planning on telling Stewie. Sometimes he could be very annoying and they did not want a radio that would not shut off on the trip.

Finally, after a year of saving, they had enough money to go to the USA with an approval given by the school.

Xander and Jett are on the airplane to Houston, Texas. During the flight Xander invariably retained thoughts in his head saying, “Stewie.” Xander was feeling ever so guilty because of what they had done to their friend. As a result of this, Xander promised himself that when they landed he would call Stewie right away. Jett’s mind was also racing throughout the flight. His anxiety was kicking in, as he thought of all the things that could go wrong on this trip. Everything they were leaving behind, including their friend and family, along with the competition, were at risk of being lost.

They were welcomed at Houston International by Jett’s uncle Tom around midday. Uncle Tom was a friendly person and had granted the boys a humble home to stay in while they were in America. Xander remembered his promise to call Stewie so he did. In the first seconds of their conversation, Stewie seemed to be busy as he sounded like he was running around. Xander explained to him what Jett and himself planned to do and he did not seem to mind. He said he had some important business of his own to attend to, to which he never said what? Xander continued to be nice and offered Stewie a spot in their mission by suggesting he work from home.  Stewie was pleased with that idea. It was like Stewie was a controller at headquarters while Zander and Jett were too explorers. A team all together, similarly to their days in grade school.

The competition was scheduled two days after they arrived. Xander, Jett and Stewie’s invention was almost complete. They came up with an idea called the Climatron, which was about the size of a large shoe box. It was designed to change the temperate and Climate in a push of a button. If you wanted rain, it would rain, and expectedly, if you wanted snow, it would snow.

It was the next day and the boys’ creation was ready. Tremendous amounts of people were flooding into the competition arena with their inventions. A few minutes after everyone had settled at their assigned booths, the three judges commenced their judging. Everyone would walk by Xander, Jett and Stewie’s table at the competition were left speechless, except for the most important ones — the three judges. They did not like what they saw. Xander’s phone started to ring, it was Stewie. Sadly, today was the day Xander decided to keep it on silent, so he missed the call. Stewie called again and again, until he gave up. The judges threw questions left and right at Jett and Xander. They could not answer any. Besides the first one, What was it called?  They ended up not even close to top 100 at the competition. They went home frustrated and sad. They were just about to call their whole trip off and all of a sudden Jett’s phone rang. It was his mother calling. “ You have come this far, don’t give up now my son…something will come your way.” He replied saying, “Mom why are you randomly calling me?” “I really do not know why,” She said, “I felt something in my heart telling me to call you, so I did. Also I just wanted to check in on how things are going over there.” Jett answered, “Well…we did not win as you somehow already know, but I honestly do not know what to do. I think I will just come home.” She replied, “Son, do not give up hope now, something will come your way.” While Jett was speaking on the phone, Xander was wandering around the house and came across a Bible that was open. It read in highlighted text, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will; never leave you nor forsake you” ~ Joshua 1:5.  After Jett had ended the call with his mom, he and Xander look at each other, as if speaking telepathically, “What is happening?”

They walk outside in somewhat of a haze, confused and ready to discuss the phone calls. Then, out of nowhere a man in an astronaut suit yelled, “Competition from Nasa, whoever is up for it, make something amazing.” They were curious and yelled back at the man in the astronaut suit. He did not respond. They tried once more and to their suspense, the man flickered. It was a hologram. They looked at each other and Jett’s uncle walked in. They ask him what that was all about and he said Nasa was trying to get the work out as fast as possible. He remembered one of the employees at work saying, “The world is becoming very elaborate, why not help it move along with a competition to put the world’s greatest minds at work.”  Xander started to have a flashback of when they went camping with Stewie and saw the mysterious object in the sky. “Stewie!” he shouted, “We forgot about Stewie” He promptly picked up the phone to call him. A voice filled with loathe answered, “Oh, so now you remember me.” Xander put it on speakerphone, “We are so sorry Stewie” Jett said. “So what! First you do not even think to tell me to come with you, and then what…you forget about someone who has loved space since they were 4 years old. I can’t believe you two.” He was about to hang up, but to Xander and Jett’s liking, Uncle Tom walked in and took the phone and he signaled them to exit the room. To this day, Xander and Jett still wonder what Uncle Tom had told Stewie because the next day the doorbell rang…it was Stewie!

Stewie was there ready to contribute for the upcoming event. Also he was acting particularly friendly. Xander and Jett were still clueless, although they had bigger problems to attend to. They were stressed about getting the next invention geared up, as they thought the competition was on the approaching weekend. Stewie figured out why they were acting strange and laughed, “Haha, guys the competition is not for another 2 weeks. I don’t know where you got that idea from.”

Two weeks later they created the climatron 3000. This time it was 15 times bigger than the previous one and included a simulation of the 4 seasons which could be changed at anytime, as well as a biome simulator. This machine was massive, almost the size of 4 king sized beds. Also it could be used anywhere; on Earth, in space, and even on Mars.

It was time for the competition and unfortunately the three same judges that rejected their first entry, were there. Xander thought, “We have no chance to win,” however this time Stewie accompanied them. Amazingly he answered all the questioned asked by the judges and they appeared to like the invention. They were left speechless. Many other groups and companies such as SpaceX were amazed with their creation as well. Subsequently, it was time to announce the winners of the competition. They started with the third place winner. It was a team of second year college students from the state of Florida. One of the judges came to the microphone, “This year we have seen many extraordinary pieces or art, however two stood out the most. It was hard to choose the winner from these marvelous creations, but now we have our decision.  Second place goes to the University of British Columbia.” These people were fourth year engineering students at UBC. Distinguished schools had been at these event. “Finally, could we get a drum-roll please!” another judge spoke into the microphone, “Our first prize winners of the Innovation Expo here at Nasa is…Baulkham Hills High School. Congratulations!” A silent whisper started to fill the building. Not everyday do we see high school students winning a competition to test the greatest minds in the world. It was truly spectacular how three grade 12s could make an invention at this complexity. Jett, Stewie and Xander were astounded. They had just won the contest, beating 1000’s of exceptionally smart people.

Various people and companies began visiting their booth. Some even offered jobs, that is, after they finished high school. Surprisingly, they turned down every single one. Their whole idea of coming to the US was to go space. Most of the job offers were technical, meaning they would have to help by creating and fixing things, and others were to go to space academies, to become aerospace engineers, and to teach. They would have to work on Earth, rather than in space, the place they wanted to go the most. A team of Nasa’s employees heard of their strange doings and immediately came to see what was going on. Not everyday did people turn down invitations to prestigious schools and companies. The Nasa team knew that these impressive kids were too valuable to just leave stranded, so they presented Xander, Jett and Stewie a spot on the Nasa team. Jett was excited the most because of the proposal. Before he never had a clue of what he wanted to do in life, and now he did. He wanted to work with space — literally — and he now had the chance. They took a few seconds to think and took the offer — after all, it was Nasa.

One month later, Jett, Stewie and Xander were apart of Nasa’s astronaut training program. They first were overwhelmed by their achievement and training that they almost don’t want to continue, but snapped out of it after the realization of their accomplishments. They learn that they could work through their fears and adversity together. They were great friends and on top of that, an amazing team that could do anything. Xander found that out when he forgot all about Stewie.

The following week March Break had come to an end and the boys had to return to school. Apparently their victory at the competition was on the news or something. Everybody was looking at them as they entered the school, comparable to seeing Justin Bieber at a supermarket.

After their notorious victory at the competition, the boys had been working together, preparing for their time working at Nasa. Also they had graduated with prestigious honours from their school and did not need University. The Spring project they were supposed to do as a way to get off your butt, turned into a journey no one should forget.

Seven years later it was April 2nd, of the year 2024. Nasa and SpaceX join together to begin a new era in space travel. After many years of studying and preparation, it was time to send humans to the red planet, Mars. Of course, history could not be made without two lucky people, chosen to go to the planet. Jett and Stewie were the lucky citizens. Xander was left high and dry in the dust, forgotten by the Nasa officials. Stewie could not stand the thought of leaving him behind. Xander was his best friend even though he hand forgotten him during the competition. Stewie knew they were a team and did not want to lose that, so he gave in a word and Xander was allowed to join the mission. Their mission was called Exploration 1 and was to take the Climatron 3000 to Mars and start to colonize it in the name of Earth.

The scheduled date for this historic event was April 25th, 2024 in Cape Canaveral at 7pm Eastern Pacific time. Launch was a go and Exploration 1 to planet Mars was only a matter of days away!  

The End 

 

Marcus Saldanha

Grade 10 student at Vancouver College

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1 Response

  1. Marcus Saldanha says:

    hmm :)

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