The Nature of Man

It’s still odd waking up staring at the earth. Still the first thing I do after opening my eyes is look out the porthole to check and make sure it’s still there. Of course it’s still there, where would it go? I guess my mind is escaping me the longer I spend away from my home. ‘Home’ takes on a different meaning when you’re surrounded my nothingness, nothing living, nothing breathing. Ironically enough it took me leaving Earth to realize how much I loved and needed nature. I have some semblances of nature with me now, mostly just vegetables, I say that like they’re meaningless even though I cry every time I have to harvest them. I know they’re not dying and the food will return but it evokes strong emotions in me nonetheless. This is day 700, my name is June after the month, I will be returning to Earth in two days.

I haven’t kept a journal since I arrived, I didn’t see the point, not much goes on here. I also try not to follow the news updates I get from the ‘real world’, as they seem even more depressing out here than when I was on the planet. I have one mission while I’m here, don’t lose your mind. That’s right, it’s my only purpose, well at least that’s what I think. For years people have been planning to colonize Mars, the only problem is, loneliness. They tried sending people in groups but today’s technology doesn’t allow for much space so tempers flare easily on the six month journey. The first trip to Mars ended horrifically, six people launched, one returned. We never got the full story as the man was so mad with terror and confusion. He was locked away somewhere I suppose, as I never heard of him again, that was twenty years ago.

So the powers that be decided that it would be best to have a solo mission first, with computers being as advanced you really just need a human to make sure everything is plugged in correctly. Thus I am here. I am scheduled to leave soon as my mission of just over two years is coming to an end. I have made it out alive, self sufficient and for the most part perfectly healthy. I exercise three times a day on the gravity escalator, which is exactly what it sounds like, you basically walk up fake stairs while fighting the artificial gravity that the ship creates. The physical difficulties of space have been mostly overcome by science, the weakening of bones and muscles, low blood pressure, all have been solved by new inventions. Mostly what the scientists are concerned with now is how the mind will function without direct interpersonal communication. I have a TV, I have video games, but I cannot speak with anyone in real time. That’s why I haven’t kept a journal, to do so is frowned upon as it makes one become lost in his/her own thoughts.

The Mission that I am is called “Home Away From Home” because that’s exactly what we’re trying to create. Our wonderful planet Earth is coming closer and closer to destruction, there is little to no water left and even less food. Odd to think that only one hundred years before you could get water from a fountain, though I’ve never seen such a thing. Now water is more precious than gold has ever been, women trading in diamonds for just a few gallons, men trading their wives for even less. Water…the most abundant resource on Earth…or at least it once was. We don’t know exactly why or how they did it, or where they came from. Some speculate that they’ve always been there, under the ice that we melted, I don’t really know or care, what’s done is done.

You may be wondering why we would go to a planet with no liquid water when that’s exactly what Earth is missing. Well the answer lies underground, Mars has endless rivers of fresh flowing water that only need to be cleansed before use. There are divergent thoughts on what is we should do when an operation is set up on Mars, should we extract the water and return it to Earth, hoping that THEY are truly gone? Or should we settle on Mars and create a new civilization? I’m with the middle, I believe that we should do both. There’s not guarantee that they are not already on Mars and there is no guarantee they are gone from Earth. In terms of survival the more adaptations the better. I’m going to start my sleep cycle now (which is 36 hours, a good way to pass time and stay healthy), when I wake, I wake to cheery faces ready to bring me home.

I wake to the cheery faces I expected to see, though my hands and feet are bound. I am on some kind of gurney, all I see are smiles. I yell to them, asking where I am and where are they taking me?? They don’t respond, they only smile. I am released, in front of me sits a man, who is not smiling. He asks if I have learned anything from my journey. I respond that I have, I have grown to appreciate the Earth and nature. He does not smile. He asks if I would make the journey again. I get irritated I say no of course not, what man would want to be alone for so long without anyone to speak with? He tells me that I was not alone at all, I had five crew mates with me on the journey. I’m taken aback. I do not know what to think or say. I desperately try to recreate my memory to make sense of what he’s just told me. I hear flashes of screams and faint cries of despair. He goes on to tell me that the Earth is fine and always has been, the crisis of water was real but through science Humanity overcame their obstacles. I ask him what happened to them that came from the sea. He smiles. He tells me there were no such things, for I have imagined a history that never was.

I’ve found that for twenty years I have been alone. Isolated from the world so that they would never know what had happened on my journey, so that mans conquest of other worlds could continue unabated. I am now reaching the end of my time, not on Earth but on a planet that I’ve never seen or heard of before. I arrived alone on a new world, ambassador to people whom I’ve never met, light years away from the planet where I was born. This was not the first mission to go wrong I believe, how else would they have the protocol. He tells me that this happens sometimes, human minds are one of the few things that science has not yet been able to grasp. Sometimes people just can’t handle being apart from nature, sometimes they can. I smile as they tie me back down to the gurney, knowing that I will die alone, but happy that I will not remember why.

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