Rhea by Kavaeric


"Did I ever tell you about when I was working on Rhea? And we broke a table and foreman got so angry at us?"

It was over two centuries ago when he was manufactured; long before the Solstice War had concluded. Towards the end of it, The Terran Federation was already being set up, but the war had cost a lot. The government wanted to stabilise the economy of the outer Sol system first. They decided to pull the trigger on terraforming Rhea.

"It was the maddest idea", he'd say, cupping his head into his worn metallic palms. "Oh, god. I remember when they announced the idea. It was all a mix of, 'whoaahhh!' and 'whaaat?!' Sometimes at the same time from the same people! The maddest idea." I could hear something in his neck rattle. He didn't seem to mind much.

They were going to begin by carving huge trenches out of Rhea's surface out. The material would be sifted for elements to build the wards, but also water which would be useful for the terraform process.

"It was the strangest feeling. I was told about it up front, but you could not shake this feeling that somehow they were winding you up, making a fool of you. Even when standing in that spot. It was near a big crater, but they had already begun planning and carving out the terrain to make it Earth-like, so the crater rim had this huge square-cut hole in it. As if the meteorite made it originally forgot to finish its work. The ground had these great big rivers carved out of them like on Earth, just with no water. And they were all still grey, on the moon. It was like the most preposterous art piece.

"So, you have to understand, there was a lot of water from the excavation, but a lot of it was contaminated with ammonia, and getting it filtered was very, very difficult at the time. But then my colleagues - they could be so mean - they'd snatch some partially filtered water and fill the kitchen tank with it, and play this terrible prank on a colleague named Parker. He was good at cooking, but god he would always love to show off.

"So one night I was going to sleep, and then two of my flat-mates just came into my room and got me up and to go to the dining room, saying they had a surprise for me. But I felt something was off. And Parker was there, cooking up spaghetti or something, and my flat-mates told him that they got me up so I could see the cooking.

"And so Parker was all his usual smug self, smugger than ever before, I guess my other flat-mates were feeding his ego. And then Parker gives a taste of the spaghetti and it all goes to hell. His face just puckers up, like he had eaten a whole lemon, and we're on the floor." He begins to crack up in his seat, bobbing up and down with laughter.

"And then something happens, I guess the taste of the ammonia-water hits harder in the second wave, and Parker just writhes around and falls sideways off his chair onto the table, and manages to buckle one of the legs! So it was just this scene where Parker was on the floor next to a wrecked table with spaghetti all over him, cussing at my roommates while they were also on the floor, laughing." He kept giggling in his chair, his body casing reflecting the light off its scratched surface.

A synth that moved with their joints having almost been worn stiff, but still with life burning brightly in his body. He is turning 260 next week. He's asked me to take him to that spot near that crater. It's now a lake. I think we'll go fishing.



19 January 2019 at 12:57:23 MST

Companion story for Rhea. Written for a Reddit post.

Submission Information

Literary / Story


  • Link

    I love the story. Thank you for sharing.

  • Link

    I told you it was a crazy idea. :P
    I can only think of one other story with the outer solar system being developed this heavily, and that was a role-playing game.