Entry 1.0 "The Wanderment"
“People think it’s dark in space – not in this thing.” – Kanton Ellis (Painter: Rocketing Past crewmember)
“Even weary starlight plays on her like a grand finale.” – Marley Walker (Musician: Rocketing Past crewmember)
“Everyone can see us coming – and we like it that way.” -Lynlee McKenna (Designer: Rocketing Past Wanderment pilot)
“No rational person had a hand in the design of our ship the Wanderment, but humans are famously irrational. Many of us believe wholeheartedly in things that we can’t see, would sacrifice the many for few, or would willfully abandon self-preservation for a cause we deeply regard. But without irrationality, there would be no art. Color would be reduced to things like information-categorization, and camouflage. The extent of design would be limited to pure function and would result in lines only existing to provide the shortest distance between two points. I would trade every rational line for one red racing stripe on the U.S. Wandermant.” – Rob Taylor (Artist, Rocketing Past Lead Developer)
An 18-story kaleidoscopic monolith standing on end, the Wanderment’s fins set down and stabilized on the amethyst colored plated rocks of a moon still designated only by a number. Part rocket, part fighter jet, part shark lit on fire, our ship was bizarre – exactly the way we wanted it. Really, it made sense -- our mission was to paint our way through an entirely foreign galaxy. How could 12 of among the most creative Earthlings not want to do it with some flare?
In case it isn’t obvious, space vessels don’t look anything like this in my time. The Wanderment is old, ironically dated, and nothing but perfect. My fascination with antique tech started years before this mission -- the day that my Grandfather died. A wealthy curator of a renowned private museum, he spent his life collecting and exhibiting late 20th century artifacts. I remember him as a gentle soft-spoken man, except when moved by discussion of his passion – and I listened to him. Towards the end, I was one of the only ones who did. I would sit with him for hours and listen to his musings about what it would be like to see the Throughworlds from the portholes of a vintage rocket, or to be able to drive his old cars on other worlds where speed was only dictated by the limitations of your ride and innate instinct for survival.
I loved that man.
When he died, he willed me his entire collection of ancient toys – many of them he restored himself and still worked like new. I can trace the conception of Rocketing Past back to June 12, 2280, the day I sat alone for the first time in his home, propped up by the wall, head down, grieving. Like he had placed it carefully into my mind himself, there it was – a way for me to keep him alive.
I remember my first steps on the jagged alien ground. It was nothing like the simulation. Gravity was slightly less than Earth, and I felt elation at the thought of leaping stone to stone, but remained composed. We had crossed the Link into the Throughworlds just days before, and this moon, with its resplendent view, proved to be the perfect establishing shot for our journey. When I was taking the reference photo for this piece, I remember thinking how proud I was to see her like that, tall and bright – high above hills of crystal slate.
The Wanderment had come a long way. I salvaged her bones and guts from a shipyard auction the day after I secured my funding for the project. I then partnered with a private restoration firm to make the modifications I wanted – and I wanted extra wings! Truth be told, the shape of a ship means very little in my time. It’s convenient not having to deal with the pesky problems of aerodynamics, since our contoured shields negate the need.
After the Wanderment’s restoration was complete and the crew was carefully selected, the fun began. We spent our days training for our mission, and our evenings prepping the ship. We had a vision to paint her like the rockets that hailed back to the era when space-travel was just the stuff of fantasy. Because the Wanderment was not by any means a new ship, we ran into some problems making the paint job look perfect. Her imperfections were becoming strangely more apparent even with a fresh coat. That’s when we came up with the idea to deliberately relic the paint to make it appear even more distressed than it was. We gave her the character of a veteran space-worn rocket ship, while keeping the soul and scars of her mysterious past life.
The light moved quickly over the shimmering valley and scaled the high horizon, leaving long shadows on my steps. Even the rings of Elena V noticeably dimmed. I didn’t care. I had captured a moment that would start the most exciting adventure of my life.
With the people that would become my greatest friends, loved ones, and enemies, the beautiful ship we brought back to life, and my Grandfather’s strange collection of ancient vehicles and low-tech oddities packed safely in the hold, we lifted off. I remember wishing he could see us leave – we left a glorious shower of crystal dust hovering in the air below; it found the last light of the moon’s short day.
Thanks for the dream. This one’s for you.