I am from the City — that one, singular City that has no beginning, middle or end, but rather stretches across the planet like blighted corn. Yet, there is no corn, or any other open space, greenery, forests or lakes, pristine or otherwise. There is only cement and asphalt, buildings that soar into the gray sky, so tall their height is the stuff of fiction. And behind those skyscrapers are more of them, and behind those, still others. When I grow tired of the City, and can no longer handle its constant drum of traffic, soulless stretches of drab streets and downtrodden commuters, I take to the ship and travel into outer reaches of the universe.
Space is my refuge. Without it, I would have thrown myself off Section Four-Zed many ages ago. I would have not even left a note, for who cares about a man who lives in a 275 square foot apartment, alone and introverted, who allows piles of J-mail drives to gather dust on his kitchen countertop? No one.
Yet, when I take to space and find myself drawn to my ship once again, I am inspired. I don’t mean to say that the ship uplifts my otherwise glum mood. No. It’s the people — the engineers with their eager eyes, proud to be problem solvers. It’s the mechanics and their foul-mouthed, dirt-speak that makes the comers of my mouth turn up in spite of my rank. The cooks and the cleaners — so happy to have a job, so eager to please. The scientists, so lost in their own thoughts that they do not even notice when we have passed through the atmosphere and broken into the star-specked sky. And the navigational crew. My team. They are kind, good people who I believe feel the way I do about the City. They needed a break, just like me. A bit of adventure. To breathe without the tangle of pollution and the stink of the sewers.
I am shepherd to them all up here in the great, infinite blackness. We are explorers. Call me Ishmael.