Author : Gabriel E. Zentner
I first saw the ocean many, many years ago – of that much I’m certain. Still, at my age, memory has a way of slipping away in the night, unbidden, to return again but never be the same. If I were younger, I’m sure I’d be able to recount every detail of that seminal day with vivid clarity. No matter, though; what is important is this.
I came to Titan with my parents when I was a child, back at a time when the outer Sol system was a chest of wonders to be unlocked by the most brilliant and intrepid minds humanity had to offer. I believe it was something called the Solar Command that really began the exploration of the Sol system in earnest, but those details really do tend to get away from me these days. Can you imagine? Humanity confined to a single system? It boggles the mind. How many systems has humanity colonized now, anyway?
Three hundred ninety-six? My word, how times have changed.
Where was I? Oh, yes, of course – Titan.
We hadn’t been on Titan long before I saw the ocean, I recall that much. I recall staring out a window, seeing the bruised, slushy landscape, perpetually wreathed in twilight, and thinking it was oddly beautiful. And then, I caught sight of it. The ocean.
It wasn’t like any ocean I’d ever seen before, having newly arrived from Earth, with its rich expanses of cool blues and greens, teeming with a mind-shattering array of life from the beautiful to the bizarre. This was… different. What other word can I use? I was transfixed.
I remember asking my mother if I could go for a swim. Apparently, I was too young at the time to understand that I would have died, had I attempted that.
Forty years later, I still wanted to swim in that ocean, that frigid, hydrocarbon ocean.
The geneticists, the bioengineers said it couldn’t be done. There were limits to human physiology that couldn’t be overcome, no matter how far our science had come.
I’d like to think that I’ve matured enough not to gloat, but damn if I wouldn’t love to say I told them so. Thing is, they’re probably all millennia dead by now.
That’s all right.
I am one with Titan.
I am one with the ocean.
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