Trials of a Cosmic Rose

By Charlie-Anne Butterworth

Dawn Hanson <hansond@versemail.sol>

2180 CE

to <doree@occatoroutpost.so.cer>

El,

I know we only spoke yesterday, but I can’t sleep.

Kuraokami is bloody freezing. Our thermal control system is on the fritz (Onishi and his boys are working on it, so don’t start worrying) so at the time of writing this I’m up to my ears in foil blankets in the bed of my pod. I’ve got half a mind to go jump in a geyser. Chief Saitō issued a warning that none of us should venture out to ELF until everything is up and running again. He said if anyone has an accident out there, there’s no guarantee that we will be able to warm them back up again.

And Passage Getaways want to build an ice-skating arena here?? With a view of Furīzu Jaianto no less. Because building a holiday resort next to an active cryovolcano isn’t asking for nature’s wrath– future archeologists will be discovering the remains of billionaire tourists and naming it Pompeii II. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound so bitter. Their representatives keep sending me emails pretending to be planetary geologists or from up-and-coming architectural agencies. Plus, it took me twice as long to cook my dinner (tonjiru and a baked sweet potato) because my hotplate couldn’t get hot enough. Even the convection oven was struggling.

Honestly, it’s not even the cold that’s getting to me. Being shut in is making me realise how much I miss you. Saturn is close tonight.Half the sky turned sandy. It reminds me of you — the centre of my universe, keeping me in your sane orbit. I’m Enceladus, blasting icy fragments at you. Ugh, sorry (again)— you know I’m no good at poetry. Please tell me about every detail of your day to distract me from the cold.

I love you so much.

Dawnie

 

Electra Dore <doree@occatoroutpost.so.cer>

2180 CE

to <hansond@versemail.sol>

Hey Honey,

I had a great sleep last night. In fact, I had a dream! Not a nightmare, Dawnie—a dream. I was standing in Hanami Planum with cherry blossom petals falling all around me. Picture it—pink snow in a barren grey field! The mild weather has my body subconsciously preparing for spring. It reminded me of you in Kuraokami.

How is work going at the ELF site? (Minus the forbidden entry.) Discover any mermaids in the icy depths? And has Culpin convinced you and the others to name it Lake Galadriel yet? I saw an article that there was a proposal to introduce fortified whitefish in isolated areas as an emergency food source for future Enceladans. That would sure as hell put my mind at ease, knowing that you weren’t completely reliant on deliveries from Ukemochi Corp in the weather you’re having.

Let’s see, my day has been…typical. I woke up and Occator is still standing—that’s pretty much my job done. I greenlighted a project to extend the depot, but I’ll be off this rock by the time it’s completed (lucky for you). We got a large shipment of veg from Mars, so we have been taking stock of that all day. I made rabadi and peas pulav for dinner and ate with Fatima on the observation deck. She told me that the falling petals in my dream could symbolize a fear of something beautiful drifting away. I won’t be asking her to interpret my dreams again.

I did get a good view of Hanami Planum up in the dome. It was strange though—I couldn’t for the life of me imagine cherry trees down there.

Remember when we were in Japan for the snow festival? We had that hotel in the red light district (which turned out to be more sad than fun) and the middle of Susukino was swirling with roosters, dragons, and Japanese fighting fish, lit up with the entire colour spectrum. That’s the night you decided to take the offer to join the ELF project. Do you remember what you said to me in bed that night? We were watching Hoshi no Koe and eating mochi ice cream. You said “If you’re going to be away from me anyway, you might as well be a million miles away. If you’re going to struggle, I want to share that too.” I’d had some doubt before that, I won’t lie, that we wouldn’t survive my trip to Ceres.

But with all that sweetness in the room, it was hard not to believe that we would work it out.

As for poetry, I can link you some Sappho. You know just as well as I do that the ice volcanoes of Enceladus maintain Saturn’s outer ring. Like how you maintain me. I like the metaphor—you should definitely tease a poem out of it. It’ll give you something to fill the time. It will also give me something to look forward too.

I know we are very far away, but remember: we could always be further.

Love you to Saturn and back,

Your Wife