The newly appointed Captain Dorus gazed at his new crew, each one interviewed and hand-picked by him. The not-so-hotshot pilot, Orson, who retired early after she was nearly killed flying into a star during a practice maneuver. The experienced engineer, Rekha, whose tendency to tinker a little too much got her booted off the first four ships she was assigned to. A doctor, Shade, who had no specialty because she kept getting distracted by new discoveries. And the actor, Kellu, whose purpose there no one—including himself—quite understood.
Waiting. We’ve been waiting for thirty minutes. A nuisance, maybe, if I were out in the world on an errand or anticipating someone’s arrival. But here, in the antechamber, poised on the threshold of the most important thing I will ever do with my life, or the grandest failure of my life, those thirty minutes have stretched into the last thirty years of my life. It must be worse for the person on the other side of the antechamber door, the patient waiting for us to save his life.
Does the flower remember who built it? Is it trying to tell me? Is that why I’ve kept having these dreams whenever I consumed the formula?
The dreams of the man who made the flower?
Ever since humanity has taken to the sky, there have been forces at play that seek to bring us back down to the earth. And forces at play that aim to keep us airborne.
The last Great Machine is dying. We don’t know how to fix it. We don’t even know what it does. We only know that when it dies, we too will die.