…What are you?
We are the forgotten, the discarded. The trash thrown away to waste in silence. We are the failed experiments. I don’t remember my past, only the faint memories of abandonment. Whoever left us here to rot didn’t want our return. We made our home in this desolate carcass of a colony drifting in space. I sometimes stare from one of the viewpoints to look at the stars. I can see the tiny blue marble in the distancing horizon. I heard from my family here that the blue sphere is called “Earth” and that it is the birthplace of our species.
…What are your days like?
Days at home are simple but always full, there’s only about sixty of us here but we keep a good portion of the colony running to our best abilities. Keeping the power on is our primary objective as well as keeping food and water rationed. Most of our work beyond that is tending to the space colony and using what we can to repair any damages. It’s a busy life but we’ve barely made do with what little numbers we have. I am designated as one of our repairmen. We use a Ball modified with parts we have lying around to be our repair vehicle. I often fly outside the colony staying within maximum safety distance to survey any damage. Once the damage or cause of damage is found I fly the Ball to the area and repair it using the manipulators. We have a jerry-rigged crane on top with a special type of welding device. I take the new plate and cover the hole, fixing it to the colony. I’ve grown quite accustomed to flying it. I remember the Ball being quite a bronco at first, very difficult to fly. After my task is complete, our other repairmen work on any needed internal repairs if needed. Sometimes we’re lucky and the damage is only external and any internal damage is to a system we have disengaged to save power. Of course that’s assuming we get lucky, in the drifting colony we call a home, luck isn’t something we can rely on.
Mealtimes are an essential part of our days, it’s scheduled four times a day. We all have different sleep hours so we can’t all share the same meal times. Each meal time is separated by four hours, my first meal time begins at 0900. My alarm wakes me around 0730. I get up from my cabin and take a quarter hour wash using my rationed portion of water. After I am bathed I dress in fress work clothes sturdy enough to last through the wear and tear of my tasks. Around 0800 I got to one of the viewports where I stare into space for a while. I love the dancing lights of the stars, they help me clear my mind. At 0845, Lisha, one of the crewmembers of our drifting colony often finds me at the viewports and drags me to the cafeteria where at 0900 I eat my breakfast meal. We try to make the meals interesting each time so there’s something new for our brains to experience. It helps with the monotony of our life about the drift. Everyone cooks here, we all rotate shifts, and there are days where I leave the viewports around 0830 to cook meals for those at the cafeteria. The meals I make are varied nutritionally as for some of my crewmembers it is their lunch or even their dinner meals. If I make lunch meal that is heavy and slow to digest their will be tired halfway through their designated job. I find that I like a light meal, or rather something closer to sugary snack, for my lunch
as it gives me a light rush of energy to finish my task at hand.
…How is life on the station?
Currently there are many parts of the ship that are simply inaccessible without a spacesuit. Our own mirrors were damaged in a way that we can’t produce enough energy to run the entire station. We’ve done what we can with what we have, just one operational mirror in this quiet cylinder. Due to this and other damaged we are only able to produce a measly fraction of what the colony could have produced, even if we wanted to change this we really couldn’t. We fixed the mirror in order to salvage it and prevent any further damage from loose and inaccurate movement. It leads to dark periods on the colony, sometimes days without the mirror reflecting sunlight into our home. We use a backup source of energy to run the the vital systems in these dark periods, it’s a jerry-rigged reactor from some old war machine. The technicians don’t let many people close to it or even see it, they don’t want someone to get the temptation to free the mobile suit and escape, it would statistically be suicide. We’re too far out to fly to any other colony in that mobile suit and if we lost its reactor we lose our supply of energy in those dark periods. Mathematically speaking such a reckless, careless action would kill us all. Our communications are also fragged, there’s no way to send a call for help or to know if help is coming. All we can do is look to the stars as our orbit leads us forward, drifting in space.
…How are you?
I guess I can’t help but feel more detached towards earth than my other crewmembers. I’ve grown up on the colony. I’ve only known the colony. Fotos is and has always been my home. I don’t know anywhere else and I’m not sure I want to. I have a life here, it may be forgotten to the rest of humanity, but I’m known by my family here. I may not have any biological family left, but I have those who lean on me and care for me. I have what I want here. I’m not-wanting, spare the desire to see my friends and family smile and… live without fearing tomorrow. I could be happy anywhere, although some hesitate to call it happiness. Some of the crewmembers say I’m satisfied not happy, perhaps there is something to what they say, but I do not know for certain.
…Who are you?
Lisha calls me Lenn. I heard it’s short for Lennard and since I have no recollection of my biological family or name, I have chosen Fotos as my surname. I am Lennard Fotos of the Fotos Colony.
After a brief silence as he looks over his paper, he glances back up at Mrs. Dale. The young adult places his form on the desk of a middle-aged woman, “I’ve completed the task you’ve given me.”
She glances at him, and at the paper, “It took you a while. Lennard, I understand why you’re reluctant about doing this, but this is for the good of Fotos. If… if comms are repaired I will be sending these files along with our distress beacon, people need to hear our stories and writing what your life is, it’s helpful to organize your thoughts. It’s healthy for your mind.”
Lennard nods, “I’ve been staying within the parameters for health, I don’t understand why you’re so worried Mrs. Dale.”
“I’m more worried about what’s in your cranium. The medical physicians can worry about your health.” Mrs. Dale says as she stands from her desk. She brushes her greying hair over her shoulder and looks at Lennard, “You worry because there is so much weight on you shoulders, too much responsibility for your age.”
Lennard responds distantly, “With all due respect, I am within all functional parameters and we are within an unordinary status. A colony is not meant to be run by sixty crewmates. I am fine.”
He walks out of the office and takes a sharp left into the hallway. Lisha sees him and runs over to him.
“Sooo how did it go?” She asks with a child’s curiosity. Lisha is Lenn’s senior, even if it is by one year, due to this he treats her more so as one of the middle-age adults instead as his someone in his age group.
“Miss Lisha! It went well, although Mrs. Dale seems more cautious of my mental health; even though I am within all acceptable paraments health-wise.” Lennard explains.
She grabs his arm, “Come on! Let’s get to the cafeteria! It’s our job to make some delicious meals!”
Lenn widens his eyes, “It’s 1700 already?”
Lisha nods, “You’ve been with that paperwork for five hours now! You need to eat. You forgot to eat your lunch.”
Lennard nods, “Do you have enough ingredients for a hot pot?”
“I made sure. You’ve been wanting to make one for some time.” She smirks.
“Forgive me but I’m not sure what you mean Miss Lisha. Some time implies that I am mentally healthy, which Mrs. Dale seems to disagree with.” Lennard says as he enters the kitchen. It is a wide hall full of various cooking instruments and devices, built for a large team to cook in professionally, although now it is inhabited by the survivors of Fotos, making meals to the best of their ability, even if there are mistakes made at some meals. Lennard feels more alive in the kitchen as he found the work to be much more relaxing in the past, even if he made many cooking errors during his first go at it.
Lennard goes straight for the grill preparing ingredients for a hot pot. He dices the potatoes into small, thin slices. He then prepares them with various spices they grow on the colony. He dices a few shallots into tiny fine pieces. Lennard prepares his meat substitute, cutting it into thin slices. At the colony various meat equivalents are produced by our machines, although it is a different case with their eggs, which are not substituted.
After the preparation of ingredients is complete he sets them aside and quickly begins work on his broth. Lennard uses the finely diced shallots from earlier as well as a dash of vinegar. He works other various spices into the stock. After mixing it in a large pot he brings it to temperature. Everything for his meal is ready.
He goes over and prepares a table, setting up several bowls and readying the raw ingredients. He gathers the utensils and finishes setting the table up. He calls Lisha and the crewmembers scheduled to eat with him.
One of the crewmates arrives it is man in his mid thirties, one of Lennard’s fellow repairmen, Joseph Azario. Joseph sits down at the table across from Lennard with a warm smile. He loves to carry a friendly face and better another’s day.
Lennard smiles, “Joseph! It’s good to see you. Glad to have you this fine cycle. I’ve made us a hotpot, been wanting to make one for a while now. Can’t wait to eat it!”
The elder crewmember cracks a smile, “Well, let’s not wait and by the time the others arrive, we’ll be full.”
Lisha side-eyes him for a brief second, “We’re going to wait for our friends, Joseph.”
Lennard nods, “Anabel and Mami should be here soon, It’s Indy and Val that I worry will be here when it’s cold.”
Joseph chuckles, “It would be them.” The crewmember leans back in his chair and crossing his arms, “If anything they probably were slow on their jobs and are taking their time to chat on the way here. That was their excuse last week.”
Lennard asks, “And you think there is more to this?”
Lisha states, “If they want to tell us they can, but until then it’s none of our business of what they do in their free time.”
Joseph smiles, raising his hands parallel with his shoulders, “I know. I know… but a little curiosity never hurts. It’s good to know how our friends are doing so we can help them.”
Lisha retorts, “Don’t twist my words, you know what I meant.”
Footsteps broke the two’s chatter and Lenn turns his head to the source of the noise. As expected it was Anabel and Mami. The two girls smile, waving at their friends.
Mami greets them, “Is that Lenny’s cooking? Smell delicious!”
“Thank you.” Lennard says, “I’ve been wanting to make it for a while now.”
Mami nods and finds a seat next to Joseph, her round face staring intently at the food. Anyone could tell what she was thinking from her beaming smile and big eyes. She pulls her red hair behind her shoulders and loosely with a hair tie makes a ponytail, “So are we just going to sit here or are we going to eat?”
Lisha comments, “We’re just waiting for Indy and Val.”
“Those two might be a while.” Anabel says sitting next to Lisha, “After all they’re basically brothers… if not more.”
Joseph interjects, “We’ll never know unless we ask.”
Mami grins, “So we’re going to eat now?”
Lennard chuckles, “Give it a bit more, they’re probably just talking about diagnostics.”
Mami says apathetically. “Ah… yes… the diagnostics.” She pouts and crosses her arms, leaning back in her chair.
Joseph leans forwards placing his elbows on the table, “So how long do you think they’ll take? Five minutes? My bet is ten.”
Lisha grabs one of the utensils and twirls it around her fingers, “Six.”
Anabel places her index finger against her chin and comments, “I don’t know, maybe twelve?”
Lennard smiles and raises three fingers. He lowers one in a second then another the next second. By the last finger, rushed footsteps could be heard making their way into the cafeteria. The two hurried bodies of Indy and Val break the current conversation with their tensed faces. Val sat down next to Lennard slouching in his chair looking away from Indy, while Indy sat far from Val, next to Mami. Something happened.
The meal was served and due to the awkward tension remained silent for the rest of the allotted time. Once they eaten their fill, they said their goodbyes and left in different directions, heading towards their scheduled tasks.