Skydiver

Photograph: Karen Nyberg/NASA
As I ran through the streets I came to a place, a place far, far away from here, where the animals deferred from their nature to such an extent it nearly broke my mind. The fish swam through fields of grain. Elk and buffalo grazed at white, fluffy clouds.

And then I woke.

But waking was just stepping into a new dream. Everything I knew was wrong.

Life didn’t exist on the surface anymore. For a full generation humanity has only existed as farmers under the seas; or as military in orbit or based on the moon. The there are folk like me. Skydivers.

I suppose we would be something like the truck drivers I knew in my youth, but our job was too dangerous for anyone important. Our trucks had to be able to survive the depths of the ocean as well as the vacuum of space… not to mention I’m sitting on twin tanks of hydrogen and O2.

A diver would turn into a second sun about once a week. Their tanks would rupture during reentry, and that’d be it. At least it was a quick death. My brothers both bit it when their hydro-tanker imploded on splashdown. Long. Cold. Painful.

That was fifteen years ago. As far as these things go, I’m a freak. If you made it 10 years, you could earn an enlistment or go be a hand on a farm.

If you lived that long.

I’ve been going for 20 years. This is who I am. This is what I know.

[Photograph: Karen Nyberg/NASA]

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