It’s shaped like a flower, but hangs derelict in the dark, larger than the Home Planet.
As a moon swings in place, a small sliver of silver light grows upon the station, giving it shape and texture. A form, substance. Existence.
This station, that once, several billion people called home, now just a lotus in space.My Honda glides through space, flying at a pace a terrestrial would call incredible.
And yet here, above the lotus, it feels like being an insect inching across.
The Honda is a fast ship, named after an ancient car god, but it feels just slow enough to give me a good look at the lotus.It’s dark, even with the moonlight.
Even if the moonlight has given it form, it feels like a borrowed luxury. The darkness is all-consuming and the darkness will always be back.
The darkness is in every pore, behind every window, through every corridor and field and room and restaurant and hall and barracks and home. An artificial planet, floating in the dark.
An artificial planet, turned off and left to rot.The Honda plunges, and it takes forever for me to get to the lotus’ surface.
A tiny, tiny docking bay is waiting for me, with no welcome whatsoever. The Honda slips into it and rolls into position.
The gravity generators haven’t worn off, even after centuries without power. I step out and turn on my torch.There’s an ugliness to a place lit by a portable source of light.
It just doesn’t feel right, in some way. It’s as if you’re automatically a burglar.
And here I was, in the lotus, a burglar exploring a ruin that had already been picked clean by more tomb robbers than can be counted.
Of course, there’s probably still much to find—somewhere in the depths of the flower.
I stroll in a concourse, and even with the bright head-mounted light, I feel like the darkness behind my head is waiting to knock me out cold and add me to the pile of the dead.
There aren’t even any bodies here anymore, of course. They all got evacuated or stolen. Thankfully, the majority of the residents here abandoned it instead of falling to some calamity.
I feel something stirring in the concourse, but I’m confident that it’s only my imagination.
There’s a very, very, very slim chance of another person or creature being in the exact portion of the lotus as me, but it would be silly to entertain such a thought.
I touch the panels, the doors, the many screens of interfaces—technologies from a time that seemed to know both so little and so much more about things.
We don’t have anything like the lotus in our world today. We don’t need to have such grandiose space stations anymore, of course.
But there’s something about its existence that makes me think that the people who built it were trying to accomplish something.
To make something not just greater than themselves, but greater than the planet that birthed them.Not greater than the dark, though.