A Beautiful World, a Short Story

Personal Log: Jenkins, Riley.

OmegaCorp Geological & Meteorological Surveyor.

Last Known Communication.

 

DAY 1: The shuttle just dropped me off, and this satellite is supposed to be my home for the next year. OmegaCorp has provided an AI, called VERA. It isn’t great company, though. I am pretty sure they only installed it for diagnostic scans of the satellite. I’m supposed to be taking notes on the ecological suitability of this planet for colonization, but the corporation also provided an uncapped extranet feed. So I think I foresee quite a few vids in my future.

 

DAY 7: First week is over. Only 51.1429 weeks left. The planet below me is quite pretty. It’s all dark, rich looking land and shimmering green water. I think there might be some form of algae covering the oceans. I can almost see what look like orange forests but it is hard to tell from high orbit. This is a curiously beautiful world. I wonder if OmegaCorp will let me send these logs home to Sarah. I hope she’s doing okay without me.

 

DAY 14: We hit something yesterday. I didn’t see what it was, I had the shutters closed so I could sleep. I assume it was just a very small, slow moving asteroid, because if it were anything bigger I wouldn’t be around to write this. VERA said the damage to the hull was minor. It also did a scan for alien microbes that came up negative, so at least whatever we hit wasn’t contaminated.

 

DAY 21: I’ve started having really vivid dreams. Mid-way through the week I had a really crazy one, so I wrote it down:

I am watching myself sleep in the fold out bed of my little satellite. I can see my wiry frame, red hair, crooked nose. I feel like a fly on the wall. Then I watch myself wake up, open the shutters, and start staring out the porthole, seemingly transfixed. After a time I watch myself walk to the terminal and begin writing a log. Then the other me turns and we lock eyes. He seems to be whispering something again and again.

He walks over and reaches towards me with a single finger as I finally hear,

‘It will be beautiful’

As soon as we make contact…

It ends.

 

Weird, right? And this dream has just been repeating every night. Does it mean something?

As a side note, I’ve learned that OmegaCorp put a block on VERA’s programming. So I can’t even teach her a few jokes.

 

DAY 28: The dream has progressed. After I make contact with myself my perceptions twist and contort and we join to become one again. But it feels like we are far more than just a single mind. I see vague memories of a place I have never been to, but I wake up with an impression of marvelous beauty. No clear memories, or specific images, just the feeling of beauty. I think Sarah would really like it here.

 

DAY 56: Today I noticed a crack in the wall of my living pod. Right between the molecular fabricator and the pullout treadmill. It’s not very big, maybe just big enough to fit my pinky into. It’s clearly not open to the vacuum, and I asked VERA to do more scans and everything came up negative. I am beginning to wonder if Omegacorp were actually following their safety procedures when building this pod.

 

DAY 70: Now there is something seeping through that crack. It’s black and shiny and reminds me of expired oil only much thicker, more like a pudding. And there are these…hairs? Thick orange hairs, just long enough to sway in the sim-wind of my pod. It’s been growing slowly, but doesn’t seem to like lights, it flinches and pulls away when I try to get a better look with my penlight. Is it a mold? All of VERA’s scans have shown nothing, she insists there is no sign of alien life aboard the satellite. At this point I’m pretty sure that the corporation didn’t spend very much on her scanners either.

I sleep with the lights on now, and don’t dare close the shutters.

 

DAY 91: The dream hasn’t stopped. It makes me want to go down there. I want to be away from this tiny pod with all its lights. I want to be away from this stupid AI. I want to be away from this damn fabricated food. I find myself spending a lot of time looking out the portholes and forgetting to take my notes. I feel like a fish in a bowl, staring stupidly out at the whole wide world but unable to join with it, wanting to smash through.

And now the lights have started to flicker.

 

DAY 104: The dream has progressed again. I can recall the memories of the planet now. I wrote one of them down:

The ground beneath me is so dark it is impossible to distinguish the color. Bizarre trees tower above me. Huge and orange, with no branches. They’re smooth all the way up and seem to taper to a point. Everything around me shimmers with color. Swirling rainbows cover every surface. I feel myself begin to sink into the warm ground and I am filled with a sense of…

Joy.

A bright, ringing, shouting joy.

I feel as if I am surrounded by a million-million people who all love me, and we are all one.

It ends with the ground closing above my head as I welcome its warm embrace.

 

I am starting to think that it really seems like Paradise.

 

DAY 113: The treadmill has stopped working, along with the extranet feeds and most of the holo-screens. VERA started speaking in nonsense half-words before shutting down entirely. The lights flicker quite often now, but the mold has not come out its crack. The hairs have gotten longer though, now they’re roughly a foot and a half, nearly long enough to reach the fabricator. However, I do not fear it. In fact, he has become my only friend up here. He seems to wave to me, beckoning me to come closer, to make contact.

I think I’ll call him Henry.

DAY 115: I was able to rip the treadmill off the wall before the lights went out for good yesterday. I think I may have scared Henry, but I think he’ll be okay, I saw him hiding behind the panel when I ripped it off. My, how he’s grown! The dream is so euphoric now that I dread waking up. I long to go down there, it seems so wonderful. I yearn for that planet beneath me. I started staring out the porthole as soon as I woke up today. The next time I glanced at the clock, five hours had gone by.

I think It’s time to leave.

Sarah will be waiting…

I think if I swing the treadmill hard enough…

I’d better not leave Henry here all alone though…

It will be beautiful…

 

End of Log

Video Surveillance Data Attached

Recommend Permanent Archival or Deletion

Disposal Teams Dispatched To Observation Habitat #1492

All Contents Property of OmegaCorp, PLLC, TM

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