Every morning, at planetary sunrise, Shaltek boards the Republic Colony Ship Novus Spero. The artificial lighting throughout the ship has not been functional for the entirety of his tenure as Preservator. This is a necessary power-conservation measure since such is not a primary system. Understanding this does not make the daily trek any easier for one whose vision is no longer that acute.
His sense of relief is palpable when he enters the command center and primary systems power on. Ambient lighting is 50% of optimal. Environmental subroutines determine the temperature and ventilation.
He begins as always. He reads the texts and the prophecy. The texts are the ship’s operations manuals and have become increasingly moot as systems must be disabled or cannibalized to maintain the integrity of the whole. He reads them faithfully nonetheless.
The prophecy is the last ship’s log by Captain Terelefsky. It was recorded some 87 Republic Standard years prior. Shaltek has wondered before if it should be considered a prophecy or, more properly, a eulogy.
He flips to the final page and reads in a muted voice, “…unable to establish any contact with the Republic, the decision has been made to take all three maintenance shuttles out-system on different vectors. I am confident communications will be re-established in short order and relief ships will be dispatched. To those remaining behind, good luck and God bless.”
He weeps, knowing a Preservator should have more faith in The Return than he is any longer capable of feeling.