Saturn's Lonely Suns

The world above is quiet. Stars near and far glitter like tears in a girl's eyes. You can't sleep most of the time, but when you do your dreams are slow and sad. They leave you waking with a strange hunger, the same way the pills you eat keep your body sated but your stomach empty. Like gnawing on dust.

Ten years of solitude and nearly a third of your life so far have passed in this space shuttle. Can you remember your training? Will you even survive the landing? The radio has long been silent and you can't shake the fear that everyone on Earth has forgotten you.

You open the drawer below the navigation screen. The white envelope is still there, unopened. Nothing has moved in ten years. The glue still binds the paper shut. Your instructions haven't changed. Once you leave the shuttle and open the envelope, you'll know what to do.

They're depending on you. They picked you for the mission because there was no one else cold enough. No one else who could stand the rigours of the training quite as well. Your mask is calm and practised. If they could only see the dark parade inside your head. There are no nights out here. No days. Just velvet ink, comets bright as burning butterflies, and your own mind playing tricks, glowing mice, spinning wheels, rainbows growing then bursting like stars--
You square your shoulders and close the drawer. Blink away thoughts. You're afraid of what's out there, but most of all you're afraid there's nothing out there. It's alright, you tell yourself. No one wants to be the only man on Saturn, just like no one wants to be the last man on Earth.

Saturn. Saturn. You're here.