There must be a moment, even in the most anti-social and curmudgeonly of explorer’s life, where the urge to be at least nearer your own kind becomes strong enough to do something about it.
The last twenty thousand light years to Colonia took me a little over three days to fly; I sped like a racing dog, finally unfettered and free to run.
And since I’ve arrived I’ve felt, finally, actually belonging. Being somewhere, after months being both everywhere and nowhere much at all. Racing through canyons in an Eagle, crashing an SRV onto others, just hanging out and shooting the breeze with other pilots who for whatever reason have made the trip out here.
Yet still it’s in there, tapping almost imperceptibly somewhere in the hold – the urge to go. I still have miles to go before I sleep, and promises I made to myself to keep. It’s a new and exciting feeling – the perverse pride in the ascetic life of the lone traveller clashing with a million years of evolution that engineered a social animal.
I believe I’ll go exploring again. I’ll wake up one morning and jump once, twice, eleven times and simply keep going. I’ll sigh into the solitary sensory tank that is my Asp’s cockpit, and leave everything behind without a look back. But I know there’s a home waiting for me when I’m done, and family waiting.
And that makes the Black less lonely.
~ Zil Zalo