…the following is an excerpt from a science fiction novel I’m writing
• • •
“I have watched
golden fire clouds,
hanging in pale green skies,
over the azure seas of Toluras”
“I have seen the copper leaves
of the parmus fronds
flashing from indigo mountains
in the crystal mists of Gemin.”
“I have beheld exquisite beauty
in my rich, full life
but none so beautiful
as your eyes tonight”
Artheo whispers these bewitching words, his breath warm on the tender lobe of my ear. Searching the depth of my eyes, plumbing my very soul, he presses his lips softly to mine, and with gentle passion — bids me farewell with a kiss.
The exchange of poetry, at times of high emotion, is a longstanding tradition on our planet – and my lover’s words were especially moving as we parted tonight.
This intimate moment now three hours past; I linger in the bittersweetness, still tasting his lips, smelling his hair, feeling the heat of his body – I ache for him.
But here I stand on the aft deck of the Thadius, hurtling through space, gazing into star-clustered blackness, cherishing the pleasures of our parting embrace.
A sudden chill shocks me sober. I’ve been here, done this, precisely this in every detail. But I know that is not possible. It is my first time aboard this particular ship.
I am gripped by foreboding. I shiver as I watch the sapphire-jade orb that holds my fascination, grow smaller, being slowly swallowed by the eternal night of space. It continues to recede, its form becoming softer, less clearly defined in the carbon-composite observation bubble, as zero-g frost clouds and obscures this breathtaking view of this lush planet, our home planet – Gemin.
Some now on board will not again see this precious sight for fifteen years, if they are counted among the fortunate who do return.
We race, exceeding light-squared, toward a distant call for help, an unknown destiny, in the far reaches of uncharted space — with no idea what we will encounter. The call made it certain that no good lay ahead for those aboard who now rush to respond to the enigmatic distress signal.
I am Sephias, on an ecological research mission, to return home in a year’s time. My team, and I disembark at Topiarus, the first stop on this voyage.
Although I am off-ship before we reach the origin of the urgent summons — I am nonetheless distraught. It is the anxiety of separation. It is also the result of the intense stress that permeates the crew who are going the distance, to the edge of space, to answer the cry for help. The pressure is palpable, contagious — I feel it to my core. It terrifies me.
• • •
rob kistner © 2008
artwork entitled: “Looking Towards Home” by Inga Nielsen