March 30, 2011
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As I lay awake in my sterile room, the crisp sheets gave me little comfort. I left the bed, walking towards the large window, I saw the stars. Light years away, their light just reaching us, pictures of their former selves. The cold floor began to chill me, as I moved to the closet for my shoes, I looked out once more. The black endless abyss that presented itself to me was the only comfort I had, this thought that their was more than just this ship, than the planet I grew up on, I understood.

The shoes were made up of a new material, Evidion, they can last for hundreds of years before wearing down, they never mark, they change color to fit your personal tastes. They were marketed as the one pair you’d ever need, that didn’t stop others from making their own versions, however. At this point the shoes were a dark blue, matching my jeans and retro styled shirt, a light blue heavy cardigan that I threw on. I always found it humorous how jeans never really stopped being useful, years would past and the only difference between the jeans were the style. Skinny, baggy, Capri, bellbottom, all jeans. The material stayed the same though, and this accomplishment always made me chuckle.

I exited my room, out in the hall was a starch white, the air, heavily circulated. I began to stroll around, not quite sure where I was heading. The café was open, but coffee would not help me sleep. I checked my watch, shaking my head as I did so. Time seemed to be even less relevant up here, above the clouds, the sky. It never got dark, unless the captain turned the Hall lights off at two in the morning. Again I was reminded by the stupidity of our time system, but I sighed it away.

Observation deck C was open, as I walked in a pair of young men stood, watching the stars, together. They were close, standing near each other, speaking softly, they seemed to be lovers, they were holding hands. When the vents would push out a new batch of cold air the two would move even closer, warming the other. One boy stared back into the other’s eyes, their faces were closer now, their lips met, softly consoling the other, and then they rested their foreheads together. Staring into each other’s eyes once more, they hugged then began to walk off the observation deck.

They walked past me, minding me little as they walked hand in hand. I smiled and walked out to where they stood. I rested my hands on the cold steel railing, letting my body heat warm the steel alloy. I gazed off into the deep expanse of space, the planet below us was unfamiliar, barren, contained no signs of life, and was completely uninhabitable. I faced the planet, in all its former glory, and soon found solitude in seeing it this far gone. Like passing reverence at a funeral, where one would reminisce of the fallen. I looked down at Earth.

The small watch around my wrist beeped suddenly, I looked down, a message had appeared, I hit the small button closest to me on the right side. A small tablet formed out of the watch, a small amount of text scrolled from the top to bottom. I had been summoned by a colleague to my office near the Botany lab. I was off, a small ambient track began playing over the loudspeaker, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, it’s somber orchestral beauty was a pleasant divergent from the usual tracks. If I hear Fur Elise one more time, I might scream.

The elevator was near, I approached, pressing the call button. The pneumatic tubes used to transport the elevators made a small hiss as it started up. The elevator was here within seconds, stepping into the elevator, I felt my weight give. I was now in a lower gravity, a design choice by the engineers, which helps fit more equipment onto the elevators. I typed in the code for the off limits section near my office.

The door shut slowly, the air inside compressed, and I was gone. Within moments my destination was reached, this side of the ship was much greener, a welcome contrast to the whites and grays of the rest. Immediately a large tree presented itself to me, its leaves green and fresh, fruit hung from its branches. Around it was hundreds of separate plants from around earth, a soft haze was visible inside the chamber.

My office was in sight, a man was visible from the outside, he wore a light blue, one piece engineer suit. As I entered the office the man looked up to me from the small document that he read, his eyes were glaring at me, small imperfections were clearly visible, bright red streaks were most prominent, however. From his point of view he probably saw hundreds of calculations per second near the top left corner of his sight. Statistics, logistics and current information was being displayed to him every hour of the day, even as he slept. His eye color turned a light blue and seemed to turn and unfocused on the sight of me, he spoke.

“I had a question for you sir,” asked the man bluntly.

“Well? What is it?”

“I needed information on splicing lemon genetics, all tries have come up fruitless I’m afraid,” He said looking ashamed of himself. I approached, looking over to the documents he held, which were a set of plastic paper outlining genetic override protocols. I grabbed the papers and threw them to the desk in front of us, I pressed a button on my desk which revealed a large tablet that covered the length of the table. I brought up a document relating to his search, pictures of lemons were superimposed onto the tablet. I took my fore finger and thumb and slid both edges apart, enlarging the image.

“You have to be very careful with citrus, its acidic properties make it dangerous to modify on a genetic level. Get a wrong value and you’ll burn a hole through the ship, but you’ll more likely burn yourself if anything, that kind of screw up is near impossible. Note how I said ‘near’ impossible.”

We spent several minutes discussing the dos and don’ts, before long the man went back to his own office to work on the problematic lemons. I walked out of my office, locking it behind me with a wave of my hand, the sub dermal chip in my wrist helps with that. As I turned, the greenhouse seemed imposing against the dark sky behind it, almost a beacon. I stood, alone, thinking for just a moment. I thought of how, at one point, everything looked like that greenhouse. Lush and green and alive, I always wanted to go back to that, to a more natural environment. A batch of cold air struck me as I pondered this, I decided finally to enter the greenhouse.

Inside, it was heavy with damp air, plants looked wet to the touch as water slid from their waxy leaves. I crouched near a shrub, blueberries grew on its branches, just above a carrot patch. When I choose botany years ago as a profession, I never thought this is where it’d take me, beyond the stars on a station of steels and glass. I was the leading figure on plant life aboard the ship, I had grown every square inch of plant in the greenhouse.

A soft, artificial breeze grazed across my hair and swayed the chestnut next to me. I enjoyed this time as much as possible, I had so little of it left. Soon we would be leaving, on our way to a new frontier, the plants in the green house would be exhaled into the black abyss above me, making room for new subjects to study. I revered the times I had aboard this ship, every moment I ever enjoyed were within the confines of this glass ball I sat in. This was the only time I ever felt something, when I ever felt human. When the committee approached me and told me of their decision to disperse the plants into space, I felt a needle in my heart for every one they planned to remove. I argued, sure, but it was futile, I was just a botanist after all, what could I do?

I planned to show them, I pressed the top right button on my watch, the tablet formed, I keyed in several digits, H, 3, R, M, E, S. A loud rasping noise came from the roof of the greenhouse, decompressing valves started, alarms went off. At least twenty armed men came down towards the door, it was locked however. An aged man walked through them, moving them like Moses moved the Red sea. The man stared at me through the glass, He saw the trees ripping up behind me, grape vines whipping against the glass, and me, staring back to him. He shook his head, knowing that it was settled.

And as I shot up through the open ceiling, surrounded by my plants, I thought of what I said when they declared my plants void from need.

“Only when I die, shall I let my plants be free, out into the dark drift of space, where they will never produce oxygen through photosynthesis, nor give us wonder or delight. Only then shall I trade my only connection with humanity, with Earth. Only when I‘m dead shall these plants be dead with me.”

We started drifting around the ships, as the air left my lungs and color faded from my face, I felt a strong pull. In my last moment of sight, I saw Earth, returning itself to me, inching closer and closer. Soon, my plants and I shall be reunited with our mother planet.

Soon, I shall reach Earth.

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