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Smythii Crossing

Smythii Crossing.  Well, there are worse places to be exiled.  The city sits on the edge of the mare of the same name, on the eastern limb of the moon.  It's intersected by both the equatorial and limb magrail lines and it serves as a ground relay for near Earth transmissions to the Farside grid, L2 and beyond.  There's also a couple of landing complexes, so its gets a fair share of travelers, and a Martian like me doesn't stand out. 

Itís a strange place in a strange location.  The towers reach up to a klick above the surface, and the Opera House looks out across the Mare, but more than half the city is underground.  And few people venture outside.  It's all canned air.  Pleasant enough, but I miss hiking on the slopes of Elysium and sailing on the Northern Ocean.  VR doesn't compare. 

The day is a month long - by definition, you know - two weeks of sunshine and two weeks of night.  The Earth stays near the horizon, weaving a bit and almost setting at one point - libration, they call it.  I can see the blue globe rotate around, changing phase so slowly, but in constant motion.  There are storms and lights that flash across the dark side, signs of life and five billion souls. 

At dawn the Earth is nearly full; at dusk it's a red ring of world-wide sunsets.  And our night grows lighter as it progresses, as Earth waxes brighter and illuminates the darkness.  In the darkest hour, just past dusk, I've been outside in a rover, and then the stars are as bright as I've ever seen them, on a Martian night camped far up the volcano's slope.  The Milky Way is a glorious stream of countless jewels - but they don't twinkle.  By day, barely a star survives the glare.  It's nothing but a featureless black, with only the Earth and the painfully bright sun to see. 

Oh, I got a job, escorting some rich Nobilis around.  Not much, but it pays for my apartment and utilities.  You know, they charge you for the air you breathe here.  Hope you are well. 

-- Jonathan Fram, former Major, Elysium Guard, in a letter to his sister Emma, June 2509

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