A few Earth hours later, they were all sitting in the control module of Patrick and Leroy’s spaceship. Patrick had gone out to attach a tow line to Lee’s ship, so that Lee could easily contact earth after they had the King’s permission. Leroy pulled a lever, and the room started to shake – they were taking off! All of a sudden, they were in the air, whizzing through space at over ten times the speed of sound, and getting faster all the time. Planets, stars, and asteroids whizzed past – they were on their way to Spazionazione!

 

After a while, Lee began to see things that had been created by humans, such as other spaceships, and sattelites orbiting planets. Lee noticed that there was a bright dot in the distance, and he pointed at it, and asked Patrick what it was.

“Ah, that!” replied Patrick dramatically, “That is the great Spazionazione!”

“Really? It’s massive!” Lee said, amazed.

“I know – da Vinci chose it because of its size – he wanted there to be room for growth.”

 

Soon, they were close enough to orbit the planet,  so Leroy steered the spaceship into a trajectory that would take them round to the other side of Spazionazione, where the main spaceport was. As they moved into range of the spaceport radio, Patrick spoke into a microphone, saying something in Italian that Lee assumed was asking if they were allowed to land, and got something in reply. “We’re good to go!” he grinned.

 

As they landed, Lee was surprised to see scores of photographers and journalists waiting by the landing bay. “What are they doing there?” he asked “Is there some kind of event on?”

Patrick laughed. “Well, actually, it’s us they’re waiting for. You see, Leroy and I, we’re quite famous around here – and, of course, the news that we’d found you – an actual human from Earth – was amazing! So they came to check it out.”

“You’re famous? Why?” Lee was stunned.

“Did we not tell you? We’re Cosmic Surveillance Operatives, or CSOs for short. We go out into space and collect information. In fact, I met Leroy at training school.”

“So you’re spies?”

“In a way, but we don’t have the same intentions as spies – we’re just there to collect information about our planetary neighbours, not to watch people in case they decide to declare war on us, or something silly like that, because Spazionazione is a peaceful nation.”

 

Lee felt very nervous as he stepped out of their spaceship, but was astounded at how alike the people of Spazionazione were to him…

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