Author : Jason Frank
“Space is… so vast, so empty, so cold… anyone who has experienced it must desire confinement, fullness, warmth…”
The Greatest Lover of Space (TGLoS) speaks but the words, filtered through the protective arrays of my specially constructed spacesuit, become little more than a series of data points.
“Early on, I became a starship captain. Some fiction I had enjoyed as a child convinced me, incorrectly as it turned out, that this was the quickest route to love in space. A captain’s life, alas, is not a lover’s life. The responsibility of command proved oppressive (pressing concerns are the enemy of love). There were also the difficulties of managing an entire crew in love with their single captain (chronic in-fighting, zero esprit-de-corps). I gave it all up, I had to. I became more of… a drifter.”
My suit, I realize, does not offer complete protection from the allure of romanticized narrative. Mere content seems unlikely to overpower me, however. I press on. Boldly, I ask TGLoS about one of the more inevitable consequences of love in space: offspring.
“Oh, there have been some, perhaps many. The first that come to mind were the Albuntians. Those I birthed myself, not realizing that the rather invasive love of their species would leave me with a crop of youngsters growing just below the skin of my forearms. While the birthing was an incredibly painful process, it endeared me to the little ones all the more. The Albuntians love only in season and my little ones were born out of season. They left on the first cargo ship out of port. They don’t write but I often wish they would. There are rumors of other children which I cannot be completely sure of, owing to the distortions of space/time. If they do exist, it is likely that one of them will one day take my place as The Greatest Lover of Space.”
Noting these facts, alongside reminders to follow up on some of the rumors mentioned, I ask about any specific experiences, events, or happenings that stand out in the mind of TGLoS.
“Once, for what I was later told was a period of three months (time did not pass for me) I was taken into the living body of an Ilgesian firque. By turns I was partially digested and then rejuvenated. There was something mythical about it all. I imagine that I would still be there had a scruffy group of space poachers not intervened. I didn’t hold their interruption against them and even managed to love two of them before hot-blooded in-fighting claimed them both. I rode back to civilization with their robotic accompaniment, a poacher-bot all but immune to love. Our eventual parting was so poignant that the poor droid’s circuits were entirely blown. It stands at our place of parting even now, a somewhat eternal monument to love.
Having enough data to file my report (and a rapidly depleting suit battery), I thank TGLoS and rise to leave. In doing so, my suit catches on the rough corner of my chair, tearing a small hole. TGLoS is at my side immediately, asking me if I am injured (I had let out a bit of a squeal as the tearing was taking place). I make assurances that I am fine but somehow a lone finger finds its way into the tear, probing gently. My suit compromised, my head already swimming, I cannot help but be loved by The Greatest Lover of Space.