Friday, September 04, 2015

Morning Ritual

Morning RitualHe awakens. As always, his eyes open to a view of the small round portal in the gray ceiling overhead, the room's only source of light. Once again he stares mesmerized at the fantastic towers of green cloud, climbing skyward in a dozen different shades. For the hundredth time his mind compares them to the giant trees that loomed just outside his bedroom window when he was a child.

He blinks a few times, rubs the sleep from his eyes, and promptly forces himself to leave the warm oblivion of the blankets. Swinging his feet down to the hard metal floor, he stands and dresses quickly.

A gust of wind batters the outpost so hard that for a moment it feels as though it will be torn from the rocks and hurled down the cliff face to tumble into the volcanic crater below. sing the familiar panic, he limps over to his makeshift sink: A plastic basin gel-taped to a gravity filter recycle bucket.

After brushing his teeth and washing his face, he heats up a cup of coffee-flavored water and settles down to go over a summary of the night's readings. According to the data, nothing out of the ordinary has happened since he checked it the night before; there are no chemical spikes or other burps that might suggest molecular life. Of course not. After nearly a year, why would anything change?

For the thousandth time, he thought about how ironic it was that he was stuck on this godawful hellhole of a planet, completely alone and too far out of the way for anyone to visit even by accident. He, who had championed the right of free scientific assembly for so many years.

Shaking the self-pity from his head, Dr. Saul Togdee resumed his morning ritual -- a routine that mainly consisted of clinging to discipline; of using repetition and habit to form a shield wall against the creeping tendrils of insanity. Imagination might be the mother of discovery, but out here it was a deadly, deceptive bitch that forever lurked behind every waking hour and threatened to rend his soul in two.

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