It had been one hundred and thirty-two years since Herman had chosen a self-imposed exile for his life, this did not mean that he never had contact with anyone, he occasionally traveled to Amphitrite, for provisions or for some medical need, his last trip, had been thirty-three years ago, when he precisely required an upgrade of his nanomachines, an annoying procedure that kept him eight weeks away from his lonely Eden, the longest time he had been away from it; fortunately he would not require another upgrade until another two hundred years had passed.
His last guest was Siegfried, one of his former colleagues in the environmental engineering division, who occasionally visited him, just to learn about his life. It was he and Leopold, who had been most astonished by his decision to withdraw from everything after retiring from his work.
He did not know at what point in his life, he realized that loneliness was more than an obligation, a life choice. He was never a man particularly attached to joining groups, since his years in the academy, he did not socialize with more than two or three people, whom he used to call friends, even if his relationship with them did not go much beyond the academic.
When he joined the environmental engineering division, his fascination with solitude began to take shape, it was nine hundred and twenty years of service, only three people stayed longer than him in the division, and for them, it was more of an obligation, than an election, they were all military, from the first centuries of parliament and in great part their bodies were modified as part of the program, they were more machines than men. Proof of just how ruthless division work can be.
During his constant travels, he met this small but beautiful world, with its pleasant temperature, clean blue sky, and clear and translucent waters. Its atmosphere, while not entirely safe for humans or animals, could be safely breathed for periods of time not exceeding twenty or thirty minutes, after which the low levels of oxygen would begin to affect anyone who inhaled it.
However, in spite of this, many plants and fungi developed by the division could live and develop safely in this environment, which made it easily terraformable. However, its mother star had a companion, which would eventually cause the decay of the planet's orbit, which ruled it out as a usable world.
However, he felt an intense love for this discovery, perhaps he could spend his life in it, he thought at some point, discarding the idea later as a rant; but every time he could and his route allowed him, he visited that small and forgotten jewel, condemned to death.
After a time, not only did he begin to frequent it when his route permitted, he began first to make detours and then to plan visits, when he was not on duty, which became longer and longer.
So much time in solitude, had driven him mad, I come to think, his visits to Heracles and Palas, were less and less pleasant to him, even to the point of appearing abhorrent to him, the hustle and bustle of his cities overwhelmed him, leading him to renounce visiting these worlds, and to deal with all his affairs by telepresence or in the nearby space stations. Desperately wanting to escape from the human presence.
It was then that he made the decision that would bring him to where he was now. As time went by, he built a small place of escape, on the shores of one of the many lakes of incredibly pure waters, of that world, when his little paradise of solitude was finished, he withdrew from the division, to the surprise of his companions, who would later end up being alarmed by his decision to live as a hermit on that world, which he had discovered hundreds of years before. In spite of the complaints and calls for attention, nothing made him change what had already been decided.
Now, more than a hundred years later, sitting in front of the lake, watching several of the satellites of his world come out of the horizon, while the only sound that could be heard was the wind spinning its four wind generators and with nothing else to worry about but feeding his animals and fertilizing his plants, it seemed to him that his decision had been the greatest success of his life. He had the only thing he wanted, solitude.
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