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The Villain

Chapter Three

‘23 July 2991

Sandra and I fought again today. I feel like I am the enemy, it’s bad if I go, worse if I stay. She cannot be near me after Sella’s death. I cannot talk to her, I cannot help her, she is inconsolable, and I am running out of options. She doesn’t sleep at night, but watch over an empty crib, and if I try to speak reason to her, she’ll shout at me.

It’s been almost a year, we can try and have another baby, we are both young and healthy. She thinks I am frivolous and have forgotten our first born. She doesn’t want to look at me. It’s killing me; not to be able to help her, not to be allowed to hold her through her suffering. But I am hurting too.

I don’t know what to do anymore. She doesn’t sleep so I don’t sleep either. I don’t know what to do anymore.’


30 July 2991

General Todheim asked me to lead the next mission to Generon 72X. He said that my pristine record as a test pilot put me at the very top of his otherwise short list.

I accepted it straight away. Sandra seems to have no opinion on it, and frankly I feel like she would rather see me gone. So, I’ll do it, I’ll just go and maybe when I come back, after all the space between us, she will look at me with different eyes.

I will be gone for sixteen months. Todheim wants me to start training with the team in September, which I thought is quite a rush, considering I have not met them before. I will lead a team of six, apparently all the best in their field. Todheim has sent me their files, to familiarise myself with their particularities, their service and their skills. I argued that I need to know their characters, that I am working with human beings, not with sterile reports written about them by people whom I also don't know anything about What I need is to see how they work together as a team, how well their characters blend when they come together and what makes them come apart. Todheim agreed that I could have a month with them and so I will be travelling to Earth in order to conduct my own analysis. I could go see some friends as well, try and gain some mental balance.

I am excited about this, although I do have now a plethora of official papers to go through about the geoclimatic characteristics of Generon 72X, as well as technical and mechanical schematics of the shuttle that is going to take us there. But I feel alive again, it makes me feel like there is one thing out there that I could contribute to, some place that wants me.'


‘12 August 2991

All my luggage has been sent over to the UN headquarters on Earth. They will be picking me up tomorrow morning, at seven hundred hours. I’ve not been to Earth ever since me and Sandra got married and we honeymooned in Japan. How remote and almost unbelievable those days seem now. Sandra told me this evening that I am a coward for leaving, that I find it easier to be on another planet, than in silence with her in the same bed. I did not know what to say to that, although a lot went through my mind. Firstly, it had been the only thing she said to me all day. Secondly, I felt hurt. Deeply hurt. I felt physically sick, so I had to get out of there and get some water. Obviously, she thought I’d abandon her in the middle of the so-called conversation, so she went to sleep, too little bothered to know how I felt. I thought it’s best to sit and write these thoughts and try to clear my mind. We are two strangers in the same bed now, and I cannot accept it. That is why I cannot stand the silence. It makes everything harder to carry, it’s too heavy. I guess she is right, and I do need to coward away from her and be on another planet. I am a poor bastard who doesn’t know how to make it right by anyone.’


‘23rd August 2991

I am ready for this project to begin. I have not heard from Sandra since I left. She has received my messages, so I know she is safe. I don’t expect her to reply anytime soon, but I will keep contacting her. She needs to know I am still thinking about her, she will always be with me.

My six teammates are indeed quite brilliant. Diverse sources of intelligence and power, young and resourceful, it will be an absolute joy to work with them.

I visited Haruki yesterday. His home is beautiful, he has two gorgeous little girls that I had no idea about. It has been so long since we last spoke. Their mother died on Mars, a banal mining project that resulted in an explosion a year ago. Haruki seems ok, but there is this shadow in his eyes every time he puts the kettle on. He says he can never make his tea taste like his wife's, he can never make it like she used to. ‘’It’s the way she poured it, she had a way about her, magic, who knows? It’s not the same without her’’.

I understand what he is saying better than he thinks. My wife is still alive, but I miss the way she folds my clothes and makes coffee in the morning. Nothing compares to it.’


‘15th September 2991

We are two weeks into the gruesome trainings that the UN has prepared for us. I don’t think I have ever spent this much time training under water and the emergency scenarios that the science team are putting us through daily make me wonder, at times, what the hell kind of psycho experiment I have signed up to. But, at the end of the day, when everyone is exhausted and we meet in the lounge for casual chats and dinner, everything seems to fall into place. We all see it and understand it, the importance of this mission, the great contribution we are bringing to the ever innovative and developing human race. It is a noble task indeed.

I am dead tired. Early start again tomorrow, I better get some rest.’

Diana stopped reading. She closed her father’s journal and placed it carefully on her lap. She looked around the room again; she was now fully sobber and more aware of her surroundings. She felt like a fog had lifted and she could see everything more clearly.  A stillness overtook her and she realised that she felt so much closer to her father, closer than she had ever been, more connected, more alike. The day was coming into its fullness, but she knew she was not yet ready to leave. However, her mother could not find her there, in the one room that was forbidden to her for eternity. And so, she got up from the chair, gave everything another estimative look to make sure nothing had been disturbed from its place, took her shoes off so that her moving about the house would not make any noise, and left the room quietly. But not before she took her father’s journal with her.

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