There was much excitement in the Donnell Family. Finally after so many years of scrimping and saving, Mr. and Mrs. Donnell had saved enough money to take all of the family, all 8 of them, on vacation Previously only the child closest to their 16th had been sent on vacation. Mr. and Mrs. Donnell thought that since the oldest would be soon be in service to the planet and less likely to ever have another vacation, it was only fair. The Donnell siblings would watch as the oldest went off, the next in line with jealousy, the younger ones with wide eye suspicion. The lucky recipient always came back with tales of wonder and splendor. Some of the stories were quite unbelievable really, but all of the stories were eagerly received. Often the vacationer would be begged to repeat them.
This year, however, with Mr. Donnell lucky enough to have his transfer request granted and Mrs. Donnell receiving a large bonus due to her outstanding work on a molecular food source project, they were all going on vacation. It was to be the last vacation for any of them. Well, at least for the older Donnells. Mr. Donnell’s transfer required him to be gone for months at a time and the mines typically lessened one’s life span, but the money was excellent. Mrs. Donnell having made a name for herself and being brought to the attention of the Chancellor would be working in a nicer lab. They also required longer hours. Because of her work, however, the children would be going to school. The kids were not excited, but Mrs. Donnell was. They now had a chance at a better future even if they would only see each other once or twice a year. Secretly Mrs. Donnell was also relieved as feeding and taking care of 8 children was more than enough stress for anyone. About time someone else took care of them.
It was time. The family rushed off to put on their vacation outfits. When they reassembled, it turned out that they had all opted for the grey loose clothing housekeepers typically wore. The family laughed at their attire. They waited, Mr. Donnell looking frequently at the time. He hoped it wouldn’t be late; he didn’t want to waste a single second. Finally, the noise of the transport was heard. They ran to the window to watch it land. Laughing and chatting loudly the family made their way down the hall to the transport.
The driver leaned out of the window, “Donnells? 167890-3e Asimov way?” he asked.
The family all assured him they were, indeed, the Donnells on Asimov way. The excitement was palpable. The driver was unfazed.
“Well here ya go happy vacation” The transport lifted off leaving a cube the size of a small cooling unit.
It took four of the Donnells to bring it into the common area of the house. Gently they set it down.
“Ok” said Mr. Donnell. “Kids gather around. You all have had nutrition and hydration right?”
The children all nodded.
“Good!” Mr. Donnell smiled, “Let’s go on a vacation!”
He opened the cube and pulled out some masks that he handed each person. The kids squealed with excitement as they donned the masks concealing their faces. Mrs. Donnell checked the seal on the younger kid’s masks and Mr. Donnell checked the older kids before they checked each other’s masks.
“OK kids here we go!!!”
He flipped a switch and a small click was heard.
“OOOOH” said the smallest Donnelly as the program called 20th Century Earth began to play.