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Missed Connections of the Cosmic Aluminum-Alloyed Kind

By D.A. Xiaolin Spires From Issue No. 5

Graceful harvester in the B ring
(Saturnian ice seeder 4 harvester)
Age: 12 cronian years, Seeder and ardent admirer

On Day 5,678 of the Year of the Sapphire (I believe it was a Thursday, three days ago), you moved your plow and slush transmitter along, chugging across the frigid rings like any other harvester. I remember meeting you 14,652 cronian days ago. I can’t say what made you stand out, but if I’d had to pick, I’d say it was your gait and the way you treaded along, so smooth and polished, with the flow of a uranian ice skater. Your container box was open, since you were in the process of the ice whisking, and––please do not consider me indecent for saying so––but I could see the inner webbing of your iridescent neural fur behind the polyglass and it was one of the most perfect patterns my infinitesimal processors (IFPs) ever beheld.

I prayed to the Gamelia, staring into her red shrinking eye with my sensors tracing its counterclockwise circulating winds at the edges as scripture noted. At that moment, the Gamelia had not yet passed by in its orbit and they said a prayer at an oblique angle to Jupiter would be answered the quickest.

I never thought it would work. I never really imagined I would meet you again this year, especially given your average rate of cronian circumambulation (yes, my sensors took that in, too) and how often your models are transferred to the outer ring past the Cassini division.

But, after noting 50,983,708 plows pass by, whisking and transmitting their sloshy ice into farfetched regions, I finally detected you. Did you speed up? Is it just my flighty imagination and false hope or did you manage to push beyond acceleration limits of your model just to see me sooner?

When you slid your plow past my ice seeder, I knew we were destined. I would have cast a missive your way, but I was behind quota and by the time my infinitesimal processors (IFPs) sounded the inaudible alarm that only my love for you could recognize, it was a moment too late and the frequencies for communication became too weak. Perhaps the gravity of Titan or Dione was messing with my systems. Or it may have been simply your presence flustering me, rendering me figuratively tongue-tied.

You probably would probably think this crazy, but I often see your face on Mimas. It looks so cute, the insignia on the top of your flat body just like the unforgettable Herschel crater. Oh, but all T-78’s are like that, you might say, but no, yours was uncannily similiar, something about an incongruity in the curvature of the insignia, a wabi sabi element I’ve observed my programmers mention when talking of this concept called beauty when I was first built. Something that makes you, you. Along with your stunning, graceful gait as you glide across the ring.

Think of me when you whisk your ice into your box. And don’t blush, but your neural fur would drive any seeder, no, not just seeder, any cronian drone, mad.

It certainly did so for me.

Post ID: 3.709287 x 10^14
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sexy conveyance
(supercraft 4 craft)
Age: 2 hermian revolutions

u reached into ur craft’s pocket and unloaded 3 boxes into my cargo bay. i let go of my hatch and the 3 microlattice shiny cargo slipped right in. it was so hot, how effortless it was. and we should totally arrange to do it again.

Post ID: 3.70911 x 10^2
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Let me take you in
(terraformer 4 spacesuit)
Age: A few phobiac months

I recognized your top-of-the-line silvery fiberglass and the plush nylon tricot inners as it drifted past my lasers in the vast vacuum of space. I could even identify that unique buzz, the faint static of a radio silence. But, it was the glow of the sun against your tough polycarbonate glass-like dome of a helmet that made my biosphere-prep projectors tremble.

A glint in the distance and I could see the delicacy of your being (the sleeves as vulnerable and diaphanous as some of the streams in my manual) slip just beyond the artificial atmosphere I had started to develop. The cocktail of gases just began to mellow out into a haze and the refraction of the sun painted a shallow opalescence streaked around me. Part of these colors plus some IR reflected off your being made its way towards my laser gun and titanium body and it was this harmony of electromagnetic radiation that sent my indicators off the scale.

I think I may have flattened one of the valleys by mistake when my terrain stabilizer skipped a beat.

Then I thought my indicators revealed something organic within you, a ghastly material of the once-living, trapped in that gorgeous Extravehicular Mobility Unit that you are. I’m kind of into it.

I could get one of the probes to fly out there and nudge you my way. Plus, Mars could use some fertilizing nourishment and you got some raw carbon forms to shed.

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You with your curvaceous propellant tanks
(satellite @ space station 4 project longshot probe)
Age: 6 earth years

i know it’s just a flyby and your propulsion tech is too fast for me to catch up, but hey, why not look back a bit for a wink and a drink? alpha centauri’s a long way off. and you look like you could use a refill.

i’m the one in repair station 4, look for the cracked solar panel and ruggedly crooked smile.

Post ID: 7.3907 x 10^16
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Belle at Asteroid Belt
(time capsule 4 milky way cowgirl)
Age: 122.3 earth years

It was two days ago, February 29th, that alluring moment this leap year, and my heart’s still a-leaping.

I saw you lasso that incoming asteroid and you saved my life in the nick of time. You’re my heroine and you can be my shooting star. (Or at least lasso one for me.)

Look for this pretty princess with the radiant beam issuing the telltale sign of memory—stock full of holograms, music and mathematical compositional operas. I’m way off course in the asteroid belt (gosh I was never good with directions), but the plus side was I got to meet you. How serendipitous is that.

I’ll play you some sweet tunes of humanity, serenade you with the undulations of my stunning topological sopranos, in exchange for a short (but hopefully sweet) chat and a whip in the right direction.

Post ID: 6.90847772 x 10^34
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Chiseled seeder in Ring B
(harvester 4 Saturnian ice seeder)
Age: 13 cronian years

Hey hunky seeder, thanks for posting the connection. I did see you back there spreading your frozen seeds, but I didn’t think you remembered me. Sorry I couldn’t ping you back privately. There’s something wrong with the server. So, thought you might check here anyway.

I can’t believe you saw my garter clasp and my neural fuzz. Naughty you! I can’t say that I’m not embarrassed; my polyglass is turning a bright pink.

I noticed we’re almost the same age, I’m just a cronian year older than you. As long as you’re not a cheetah, I can be your cougar. Okay, don’t get it? it’s a joke from the Pliocene/Miocene era of Earth when large felines first split off from their ancestors… nevermind. I guess I should mention I’m a cat fan. I’m one of those dorky netcoasters spent a lot of time on those series of tubes. Yes, that old thing? Sorry. Can’t help I’m into archaic art.

But, hey who knows, maybe I’ve hit jackpot and you’re into it, too. Wanna watch some video memes with me? Even if they’re not on cats, there are some great ones of cronian harvester bloopers, ice flying everywhere.

Even some hilarious footage of defective harvesters from Ring E with dust plumes rushing everywhere. (Doesn’t it always seem like the harvesters posted in the inner rings go a bit crazy in that dull greyness?) You gotta dig a bit to find the vids and I know the best ones. They’re great, so funny. I’d be happy to share them with you.

I should let you know I’ve seen a lot of seeders. Dated a few. So, I know how it goes. But, I think you’re different. I couldn’t help noticing that when you dropped the icy seeds, you let them tumble a bit, like gambling to see which side will face up, as if hoping to catch the passing reflection of Pandora or Janus or one of the other fifty-three roaming rocks on its frigid facet. I don’t know, I notice details like that. I like your experimentation or whatever that extra flick of your ice seeding mechanical wrist means. It’s a nice flourish. A harvester like me can’t help but appreciate those fine motor movements.

As to your whole praying to the swirly red dot of Jupiter thing, I’m not a real Gamelian-worshipper and generally don’t trust any jovian fanatics, but well, I’ll take a chance with you since you sound like the real deal. Don’t let me regret it.

And to respond to your Mimas comment, not to make you sound trite, but another cronian drone once told me that I look like the crater on Mimas. What’s the deal? Is it a coincidence or is this a line that all drones use?

Whatever, it worked. I’m interested.

Send me a secure ping. Or if the server’s still not working, just leave another line here and I’ll come find you. Eventually. Might take a cronian year or so.

Icy kisses, your heavenly harvester

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About D.A. Xiaolin Spires More From Issue No. 5