It was a cold embrace. I am not talking about the kind of cold you can dress for. This was beyond the bodily protection of a woolen undershirt, two sweaters, one thick, and an extra warm coat. Clothes I would wear wintertime back on earth.
As regulated I wore nano-coated synthetic polymers to keep body-temperature within range. And still, this cold felt like a bloodless hand reached through the sternum to gently and slowly squeeze my heart until it would freeze solid and shoot bursts of ice through my veins. A cold beating in every life-giving beat. Inescapable. Like this shiny metal cylinder piercing through space.
The escape pods were for senior staff and programmed to return to corporate HQ on earth for decontamination in case we didn’t make it. I was certainly not senior. I guess I could technically be called staff, but one would be hard-pressed, I thought, to find many people on this delivery run with a less mission-critical task than me. I would later find that I was wrong in that assumption.
I loved winters back home. The white carpet pulled over former green now yellow summer dance floors. The dance was over, and now it was time to go home and rest your feet until the carpet was to be pulled back again. I preferred that period in-between. I was better at preparing for the dance than the dance and I would linger in those moments of excitement and experiments. Where I could be anyone. Achieve anything.
I always found the real thing to be less than the reality I yearned for. Like space. The frontier of humankind. And I am monitoring the temperature of section 4-22-9-2 of the cryogenically frozen cargo. Sure, it is valuable cargo. So valuable it makes sense to have tens of thousands of people in a shiny metal cylinder in space with no other job than making sure it will be delivered in full before Creation Day. So valuable I was finally forced to face my worthlessness.
I knew I would never experience winters again. I knew I would never feel warm again.