Trini slid the little package out from under her seat, same as she did every meal. She loved to look at the pictures inside, even though they weren’t very realistic.
Seemed like they had been made by hand somehow, transferred onto those thin sheets of a material she’d never seen anywhere else, bound all together on one edge. She had flipped through them so many times, some of them were beginning to crumble. Others had tears in them.
Trini didn’t know for sure, but she imagined the pictures were of Earth. They certainly didn’t look much like the Venus she knew, even though she recognized most of the items and beings depicted.
There were trees and grass on Venus, but only in special glass rooms in the city. In the pictures, the land was green with vegetation as far as the eye could see, and children ran to and fro in strange clothing that exposed the lower parts of their legs and arms.
You could never do that on Venus.
The pictures had to have come from Earth.
It had been so long since she saw her family, Trini forgot — was it her mother or her grandmother who voyaged from Earth to Venus? Or maybe it was her great grandmother.
Whoever it was, Trini was grateful to her. Not only had that woman helped build the moon that made Venus habitable, but she had also brought the sheets full of colorful pictures along with her.
Or, at least Trini assumed that’s where she got the pictures. From her mother, or grandmother, or great grandmother. She really couldn’t remember that either.
Trini took a bite of her allotment and gazed back toward the planet. She sighed.
It was wonderful to have a moon legacy, and to have the guaranteed job maintaining the satellite that came along with that legacy, but she longed to visit the planet. To see if she could help make things better down there.
On one monitor, she saw desolate expanses of the empty space that covered most of Venus.
On another, teeming cities crawled with angry, worn-out people.
On yet another, miles of crorlis stood bolt upright under the agriculture dome, ready to be harvested for next week’s allotments.
Surely, there must be a better way.
Trini took the last bite of her daily meal and gazed back at the pictures from her foremothers.
A woman smiled at a girl, and they walked hand-in-hand under a blue sky. The child held some sort of food in her other hand, licking at its swirled, cone-shaped top with her tongue.
The sun shone like a beacon of hope.
Trini wondered why anyone would ever leave such a paradise.