Platinum, a hardy blue flower found on many varieties of planets, is one of the staple resources for any serious Traveler. Small and feathered, it is unexpectedly delicate in this universe of terrors. On the flat white snow fields of the planet I called Walken Wonderland, the plants seem small and insignificant against the massive, empty sky overhead. Here, the still, small pinpricks of light press low.
I find myself in need of a companion.
Without thinking, I press my comm button and start talking.
Another day of exploration on another empty planet. Our search for life and connection continues, unhindered for the most part. What gives me pause? The eternal question of why. Why do I move onward every day? Why do I gather resources? Why do I explore?
I pause, bend down, pluck more organic platinum from a small bunch of flowers, and move on. Beneath my feet, the snow crunches quietly. There is a bare powder of brand new flakes, but beneath lie thick layers of ancient material. Ancient snow.
Was there snow on Earth? I muse. Grandfather told me his ancestors played in the snow during winters. Winters. It must be an old seasonal expression. An amazing planet. Our old home.
Maybe one day, I would return there as well. Until that time, it was my duty as a Traveler to push the boundaries of space and add to the knowledge of Humanity. Part of that included supporting myself as best as I could independently â€" which meant long hours of back breaking work mining and harvesting.
Checking my exosuit, I realize I will need more zinc as well if I am to return to my ship safely. Scanning the surrounding fields, I keep an eye out for the bright yellow flower. Several come up on my viewfinder. I breathe a sigh of relief and make my careful way to the nearest ones.
I know that in a literal sense I do what I do because I chose to do so. Following in the footsteps of my Grandfather, who was himself a Traveler, I too carry the mantle of explorer and scientist. With each species I meet, with each trader I encounter, with each planet I explore, I am an ambassador for my people and a little piece of Earth. A little voice for Humanity.
Walken Wonderland. Heh. Grandfather, I think, will be proud.
I harvest the nearest zinc, check my resource stock, and turn about. My ship is waiting, as is the horizon.