Letters from Selva, Part Three

Episode 3

Sure is Pretty Here

18 August 163 GA

Hi Mom & Dad,

Can you read this? Because I’m sending this from SELVA!

Yes, you read that right. Your son is sending you a letter not from Pacifica, or Ares, or Sota, or even Phoenix. Selva. Not a moon, but a whole planet.

I can’t describe the feeling. It’s transcendent.

We’ve only just landed.

The planet itself is warmer than Pacifica but a little drier. It doesn’t rain in the afternoon here as it does at home. The sun is scorching, and the grasses in the endless fields inland are bleached yellow. On the peninsula we landed near there is a jungle denser than anything you can imagine. The expeditionary marines will be going into it daily to collect samples for us. We would do it ourselves, but it’s still too unknown and thus too dangerous. Not to mention sealed exosuits are limited in supply, and if we ruin any it’s a big loss.

Makes me think about the terrorists, and how they said there aren’t enough supplies to go around. I mean, if we don’t have enough spare suits… should we even be here?

Don’t worry though. I know that sounds frightening, but I’m safe. The air is breathable here. The suits are to protect us from microbes and bacterias, and all the little microorganisms here. We don’t know how they’ll affect us. We have scientists working around the clock in habitats that were dropped to the surface trying to rule out deadly infectious agents, and I’m confident we’ll be okay. We took what felt like a thousand inoculations on Ares before leaving, and that should’ve provided us with a safety barrier against almost anything.

Provided there isn’t anything TOO alien and strange here.

There are massive insects that roam the inland fields. They are the size of freight cars, and are reminiscent of grasshoppers. I guess that’s the most alien thing we have here. So far.

I have been given a tremendous gift, being here. To be among the first people to set foot on a new world, and brave its unknowns? To explore it, and define it, and make it safe for the future? Truly blessed.

Of course I need to get back to work. Right now my habitat is being set up so I’m providing labor with the marines. We’re unloading the two freighters and getting everything triaged, so to speak. There’ll be a town here, with a landing field, and phone service, and solar power eventually. Could be years, but it’ll come.

Once we figure out how to manage the strange magnetic interference here, and how to transport things long distances without flying. (magnetic field messes with aviation electronics, I’m told) Nothing flies here. No bugs, no birds, nothing.

Trains could do it maybe. Or cars. We’ll be able to build more cars.

The world is open for us to explore, and the more we explore, the better it will be. We’ll dig mines for metals we haven’t had since Earth, we’ll build farms that grow food enough for all four moons, we’ll harvest, and we’ll have families, and build homes, and keep living the human dream.

And I get to be a part of the very beginning of it, just like the first explorers who set foot on Phoenix, 163 years ago.

Of course, you’re likely to be more excited about the fact that I’ve been talking with one of my colleagues. Her name is Sarah, and we get along very well. She reminds me of you, mother, and in the best ways. I don’t know if she can make borscht, but I’m willing to make sacrifices.

Well, I gotta go. The marine lieutenant I’m working under for the afternoon will probably kill me if I don’t get my suit back on and get outside to help. Or worse yet, he’ll draft me into his unit permanently.

Tell Charlotte I love her, and that one day, I’ll invite her to visit me at my mansion here on Selva.

Love and miss you all,

-Anatoly

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