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Nostalgia

Authors: John Pasiakos
Show Year: Y1
Rating: PG-13
Date: 2003
John deals with a new way to satiate the restlessness of the Alphans for a new world.
Average Rating: No reviews.

Commander John Koenig opened the door to his quarters with his commlock and walked slowly to his desk. He sat on the chair looking through the view ports at the unknown constellations far beyond the comfortable protection of Moon base Alpha. It had been a long arduous day what with his responsibilities of running the base and seeing to the well being of the three hundred and eleven men and women who inhabited it. He pressed the button of the Alpha log computer and spoke wearily.

"...Computer, resume recording. Commander Koenig's personal log, fifty-two days since leaving Earth's orbit ... Ever since the circumstances on the planet Terra Nova we have been under great stress. The restlessness of the crew of Moon base Alpha grows every hour in anticipation of a new home. I can see it in the tone of Paul's voice, in the inquisitive eyes of Sandra and in the impassive character of Alan Carter. I have not seen green fields and pastures since then, if you don't count my recent experience. I feel drained from trying to persuade my fellow Alphans not to adopt it ...

Anyway, Victor and Helena were right and we had to discontinue its use. It could become dangerous in the hands of desperate human beings such as the Alphans are right now. It wasn't that easy though. It had got to me! I almost became hooked! If I must describe the experience, then I'll do so if not for posterity's sake, then for the sake of human ingenuity along with the great irony accompanying it.

It started as soon as I gave the word. Oh God! I swear my wife's call was so vivid again! I was there! I could see, hear, smell, feel and touch! She calls me by my name as she comes to take me by the hand and together we walk for hours along the banks of the river surrendering our hearts away to the rhythms of spring. Her beautiful golden hair dances in the wind and her blue eyes sparkle like wet pearls in the sun.

She caresses my hair and pries deep into my eyes as if to drown me in her love. In the distance the sparsely populated village houses, buried in vegetation, bleed polarized light.

Next to the old windmill, with its propeller-like sails and small time-worn fence, uncoils the snaky river whose name is lost in the Nordic mists of time, twisting and turning like a huge dying serpent through countless orchards. It is here, on its muddy banks, which hide behind weeds, daisies and bashful poppies, where we spend our free time, protected in the warm womb of nature. All our obligations and worries seem so far away ...

The forest of plane trees with their long spidery leaves rustling in the soft air breeze spreads all around. A strong aroma of wild roses wafts through the air coming from somewhere beyond. The buzzing sound of the workaholic bee, paying its tribute from flower to flower, falls into place with the sunrays that penetrate the crystal clear atmosphere, dancing with the birds that chirp spring tunes.

At dawn we get out of bed and rush up to the water falls by the outskirts of the forest and observe the fastidious awakening of nature as the life-giving sun rides its chariot once again. We watch the flowers unfold from their slumberous cocoons and taste the dew that covers everything like a transparent blanket.

As the day progresses, we chase the shadows through the maze of trees in endless games of hide and seek. In the evenings we gather round the fireplace and tell stories about far away places. My wife is always wearing that beautiful smile which captivates me and leaves a warm feeling in my heart. She sings my favorite song with her sweet dreamy voice ...

Little weary golden ship
From the land of memory dim
Take me on a faraway trip
And show me the valleys of the dream.

Little weary golden awe
Sailing to the starry east
Carry my fantasy along that saw
The fabrics of the hazy mist.

My fantasy that always lurches
For places afar, mysterious, unknown
To the shores of idle searches
Where azure suns hail the dawn.

And if it happens and you run aground
And foreign rocks should start to tease
Cast the veils of forgetfulness around
The waves of reminisce will cease.

There, in other shadowy places
I shall remain an outcast for long
No longer prisoner of plans and races
But free to sing a happy song!

Everything is so magnificent here that it was a blow to my soul it had to end so abruptly! As reality set in, and the dreamy memory faded away, the coldness and sterility of the Technical Section of Moon base Alpha, overlooking the gray landscape of the crater Plato, left me with a devastating feeling of loss. It took me days afterwards to heal emotionally.

The "Memory Enhancer" was a great idea of Victor's. This great machine - the latest in virtual reality - picked up my thoughts directly and with the aid of Hydrazine, a chemical halogen, brought to "reality" a cherished memory from my past!

He thought that this way we could satiate the restlessness of the Alphans by providing them with an easy solution to their needs even if that solution rested on a kind of slight of hand, an illusion of the real thing. Human nature though is not ready for something as innovative and captivating as this. It was after the third time I had subjected myself to this experiment that much to my great consternation I was forced to order its disuse. I became hooked to the point where I started to forget my innumerable obligations as the Commander of Alpha and look forward to the next session when I could relieve past memories of another time, another place.

Victor, Helena and I, soon realized the danger lurking into such a scheme. Imagine the Alphans hooked into such machines, dreaming away their lives, forgetting our perilous situation and giving in to the temptation of creating their own virtual worlds! We would all suffer the consequences. There would be no one to run the base, no one to take care of its functions. The crops in the hydroponics sections would die, our life support systems would crumble, our computer would cease to operate and our fleet of Eagles would become inoperable. In other words, our very existence would be compromised due to man's affinity with reliving the past of a life and a world no longer attainable.

Our purpose and hard drive would be lost on a destructive path of a dreamy existence. We should not get lost in the annals and labyrinths of hazy memories, even long-cherished ones. We must look forward to the future and all its challenges and hold on to the past in the back of our minds as a sweet remembrance of times and events that can teach us and prepare us for a new world out there that awaits us in the void of the universe.

I know it is not that easy to escape the past. Plenty a time I find myself looking through the portholes of my quarters towards where I think Earth might be, far beyond the unknown stars and nebulae we are traversing. I cannot help but reminisce its blue and white contours. I still think I can see its azure oceans and snow-capped poles, which from space looked like a wedding gown worn by a beautiful maiden. I can still picture our moon still in orbit as I looked at it with my childhood imagination and thought that it had eyes that looked at me with sadness and a mouth that broke a smile at my nave whims.

The mare Imbrium, west of the Apennines and the mares Tranquillitatis and Serenitatis to the east, were the audience of my childhood adventures and I always viewed them with awe during sleepless nights. I miss the romanticism attributed to them by lovers under the moonlight!

Now the moon, after the terrible accident that sent it hurtling into space, is the home of a vestige of humanity, my home, and perhaps until the dangerous fumes of uncertainty start dissipating and the gorgeous blue and white color of another "Earth" returns to adorn our universe once more, man will be exiled from paradise, humble and full of awe at the mysteries and challenges a foreign and sometimes hostile universe throws at him.

The last time I looked at the place of my dearest memories with the aid of the "Memory enhancer", the flow of time and man's destructive urges had not touched it. But who knows what reality has in store? Perhaps after the moon's departure man's great cities have crumbled and fallen, leaving only a stone here and there to remind of the past. The once rich forests may have turned now into heaps of dust.

I still hope though that somewhere out there, there still exists a river dear to me, flowing by quietly, carrying the water from the melted mountain snows as well as dreams and memories of a couple who were happy listening to its murmurs. Even though I will not be able to visit it with the vivid aid of the machine, I will settle for the vagueness of the heart where it will always remain untouched by time. It is better this way.

Computer, end recording of personal log".

Commander Koenig dimmed the lights before he got up to go to bed. He took one last look at the dark infinity through the view ports. A few stars adorned the void ahead like shiny fireflies.

"Who knows", he whispered. "Perhaps in some other shadowy place, as my wife's song suggests, we shall find our new home to settle and start a new life, no longer prisoners of plans and the race against time. There to remain outcasts, forlorn inquisitors where the waves of reminisce will finally cease to break on our fragile hearts and finally we will be able to sing new happy songs, celebrating the mystery of life on the shores where azure suns dawn".


Copyright (c) 2003. Reprinted with permission.
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