Sowing Station 602
4 min read
The lights flickered to life as an orchestral melody filled the air of Sowing Station 602. Waking, Rory rubbed his eyes and listened to the calming music. As the song reached its crescendo he reached down, unbuckling the straps holding him in bed, and pushed into the air.
He floated up to a handrail lining the ceiling and gripped it. At one point the station was pristine, every surface gleaming from the sterile light, but that was long ago.
Rory pulled himself along the rail to the picture window that made up a sizable portion of the wall. He gazed out. He would never get over this view of stars shimmering against the expansive darkness. The station traveled at a high orbit around the planet, its solitary mesa near the asteroid belt. When Rory signed up for the task he hadn’t realized how isolating it would be, how the faces of his friends and family would slowly be forgotten and fade into frayed memories.
A dim light flashed to his left and he opened the mailbox, revealing a small package. “I wondered when you would get here,” he said as he unlocked the container and removed the capsule of seeds. “How far have you traveled?” he asked them as he placed them into his breast pocket.
Rory pushed from the window and moved to the large status monitor against opposing wall. At one point it would have greeted him, “Good morning, Rory!” as if time were an important concept way out here on the edge of existence. The screen sat in silence, the speakers had not worked for some time.
“Looks like another dust shower,” he said as he dragged his finger along the panel to the right and adjusted the shields to cover the highlighted area. “That should do it.”
Satisfied, Rory propelled himself through the hatch leading into the cultivation pod. He drifted past the wide beds of growing plants lining the walls and held onto an empty plot to match himself with the rotation of the room. He took the capsule from his pocket and gently shook it over the soil, sprinkling seeds across the dirt. “Welcome home,” he said as he pressed a button and distilled water misted onto the soil. This plot completed, he moved onto the next.
“Welcome to the party little guy,” Rory told one of the freshly sprouted seedlings. “We’re counting on you.” He marked their growth on the panel attached to the shelf and continued to the next. “Just forty-some to go,” he muttered as he looked down the room towards the hatch.
Having completed his task, Rory glided back into the living area. As he entered he saw a flashing warning displayed on the monitor. How long had it been there? If the speakers worked he would have heard the notification. Moving closer he read it: “Critical Warning - Particle shower projection adjusted, correct magnetic shields to prevent potential damage.”
Hearing a small ping behind him, he turned to investigate. He heard another, it sounded like it was coming from the cultivation pod. Floating closer he heard another ping, then one more. In between the noises he could hear the faint whistle of air being sucked into the vacuum.
All at once a cascade of sounds started from within the cultivation pod. Rory could see the particles flashing against the steel and sending soil into the air in fountains. He had to prevent any oxygen loss, so he grabbed the hatch frame and forcefully pulled it shut. The hiss of oxygen loss subsided with the slam of the door.
Rory watched through the hatch’s porthole, stomach sinking. The atomic munition bombarded his precious garden. The air clouded with a hectic combination of frozen mist and soil. The plants, now frozen from the sudden decrease in heat, shattered and joined the mixture. “How big is this storm,” Rory asked himself as he felt the station shudder around him.
The centripetal force was too much for the weakened structure. The planters floated off their shelves and the hull around it twisted apart, opening itself to the surrounding void. The pod was lost, the plants were destroyed. Rory’s heart raced and he reached up to his chest, as if to hold his heart in place.
He felt a lump. Looking down, he remembered that he hadn’t planted all the seeds yet. He would need a replacement cultivation pod, but for the time being he could continue raising his crop at a lesser capacity in his living quarters. He pulled the capsule out and turned, examining his environment for a fitting home for his future friends. Even if he had to restart, he would not give up.
Originally posted on /r/WritingPrompts SEUS thread