A Home From Home
I sat on a bench in the temperate gardens I’d created, listening to the gentle hum of insects and catching the odd snippets of conversation as people passed by. The gardens were in the style of an English cottage garden, interspersed with areas of lawn where families could picnic and play.
The landscape was ever changing, the idea being that it would prevent boredom amongst the colonists. Today’s landscape was open fields with grazing sheep and cattle, rolling hills in a background that could never be reached.
Every plant had been carefully chosen to encourage pollinators—bees, butterflies, moths and beetles. There were hundreds of different species out there for those who cared to look. The bees in particular were essential to our colony; the hive providing honey and wax that went into different areas of production.
It was early summer, the garden ablaze with colour. Rosebuds were opening, showing petals of deepest red, dusky pink and palest purple. Peonies were in bloom, inviting the bees to their bright yellow stamens as they disappeared amongst the petals and emerged with legs coated in sticky pollen. Beds of meadow-flowers, pansies, dahlia, lobelia and oxalis. The bell-like flowers of fuchsia nodded in the artificial breeze. The entire ensemble was a little patch of paradise in an otherwise stark and monochromatic world.
The shadows lengthened in the simulated sunlight. “Rain mode in sixty seconds,” came the tinny female voice over the tannoy system. Families quickly moved to the pathways. The sprinkler system lifted up through the flowerbeds and lawns, engaging with a gentle hiss of water, followed by the delighted squeals of children running through the rain on a dare.
Eventually the gardens fell into silence—even the insects had gone quiet—and I sat in peaceful repose, waiting for my favourite time of day.
“Night mode initiated.” The light in the gardens dimmed. I leaned back staring upwards as the panels in the roof opened, giving me a perfect view of the stars through the dome as our ship cruised across the galaxy in search of a new planet to call home.