Dragan shrugged into his suit with a sigh. The weight of it rested on his neck and shoulders till he had the seals closed and the clasps connected then the armature started up and took over. Movement immediately became easier, and as required Dragan flexed and tested each limb. The dexterity was there but his right knee was sticking a little. Either that or he was getting old and tired.
He trudged from his truck to the lift. His helmet was under his arm and his tool belt over his shoulder. Dragan spat out his gum into the little pile he’d been forming over the weeks he’d spent refitting the processor before him. He tapped on the lift call button and waited.
Behind him and stretched out before the line of processors lay the desert. On the other side of the massive totem to humanity lay the green. Beyond that the stretch of civilization where Dragan resided. It was the desert that Dragan always looked too. It was why he took on these jobs. They gave him an opportunity to take in the beauty of the rolling dunes and jagged rocks juxtaposed against the stark atmosphere of the planet.
Ding went the lift. The doors opened with a slight hiss which told Dragan he’d soon have to take a look at them as he did every other aspect of the processor. He stepped in and turned to face the desert. Many of his colleagues didn’t like looking out as the lift ascended, they claimed the height made them dizzy. But Dragan suspected otherwise.
Dragan set his helmet down and took his tool belt off his shoulder. He busied himself with strapping it on. The only sound that of the lift in motion. As they rose the air gradually became more stale as the recyclers kicked in. It was another item on his list he’d have to see to. Dragan slipped another piece of gum into his mouth before he put on his helmet, which sealed with a satisfying hiss and a click.
The lift rose the height of the processor, a building on a scale unlike little else on the planet but still enabling human life on it. Most of it was taken up with vast tanks for the conversion of the atmosphere. There weren’t that many moving parts or other elements that needed Dragan to perform maintenance. But for life to continue the processors had to be maintained.
Dragan’s helmet chimed in place of the lift when it reached the top. At some point on the journey up he had rested his arm and head on the glass, looking out over the panorama of the planet beyond. With the weariness of one just waking Dragan pushed off and turned to the door. Only to be confronted by the flashing emergency lights of the maintenance tunnel. And a body in a suit like his laying sprawled on the floor.
Today’s art is courtesy of Christopher Balaskas from Jamestown, New York.