previous chapter is at https://secret-lifeof.com/2019/02/14/neverland/
In my twenty five years of life, all of it aboard the great ship Neverland, I have known naught but the constructs of humankind and the black robe of space.
For the last two years, our excitement has been building here. Through the luck of the genetic draw, we are the people, the gleanings who will complete this pilgrimage of 111 centuries, born in Earth’s orbit in times that are ancient to us. As I write, we are still many millions of terran miles from the Arcturian disk, yet its glow of deep orange paints moving murals upon our living rooms, filling a great swath of our vision. We are in escape velocity, on a trajectory to stay clear of his magnetic influence.
The constellation in which our new sun holds sway was known to ancient Earth as Boötes. Funny, but constellations now are moot to us, shape-shifting as they do, with space and time. I sometimes think that our early voyagers must have wished that the secrets of new dimensions could have been unlocked, permitting space to be folded upon itself, granting them new worlds within their lifetimes. These were the bravest of people, spending all of their lives to a purpose, but knowing they would never see its fulfillment. And now, as was said, we stand upon the shoulders of these giants.
It is time! It is THE time! With Tormance in aphelion from its great sun, our rendezvous has been plotted. We are but days from history, close enough to see our World. I feel the adrenalin rising within me as this day of fate comes near. Sleep is becoming difficult but imperative, and I must medicate at times. As one of the Science Officers aboard, I will have the privilege of being in the first landing party.
Here. Now. Be mindful of your training. Let not your emotions rule you. We are twenty, in the first shuttle. All with at least some piloting experience, gained from trysts with unnumbered asteroids in the cascading years. Our instrument readings show a mean gravity 1.3 of our normal. An average surface temperature of 290° Kelvin. An atmosphere slightly higher in nitrogen than our standard.
And now, we get our first head-on view of the world. A peculiar thing to say. A foreign feeling, after a lifetime of steel and glass. Tormance explodes into our field of vision. Its dun tarnished silver is like a new color. The enormity. The buffeting as we achieve entry into its atmosphere, bathed in copper light. Will I ever wake from this? In our fellowship of the shuttle, I see that many of us are overcome with awe. Someone, in an ancient history book, said “They should have sent a poet”. As for me, this religion has captured my very soul.
Our touchdown is made on a terraced flat, minutes before the blood sundown, and, still wearing our slicksuits, we crowd the open hatch doors to drink our fill of this miracle. Our First Officer sets his foot upon the gray mica-like rock that glints in the crimson dusk. And we follow. We follow. We hug. We cry. A crosswind blows, and the airs smell like brimstone, but we breathe.
Upon Tormance we stand.