I am writing you on my last day aboard the train and the final moments of my long journey here. It has been a wonderful experience and a small part of me regrets that it is coming to an end. The landscape surrounding this leg of the journey is stark desert as far as the eye can see and I am struggling to find beauty as I watch the world pass outside. I have never observed such an absence of life in all my travels and it does not comfort me knowing I will be surrounded by this environment for the next few years. I know from our surveys that this part of New London was desert terrain but until this point the full extent of what that meant was not evident to me. I hope as we near the end of the journey that some signs of life will appear. In the last hour I have not seen one glimpse of a tree or shrub, only the occasional succulent. What is visible is some type of cacti vaguely similar to the inhabitants of the North American desert but nothing I can put a name to. My cabin mate has told me they are called ground huggers as they grow so closely to the soil. On the edge of the desert when we first exited the mountain range there was a multitude of these denizens. They came in many different shades of green and ranged in size from a few centimeters to well over four meters across, spreading their tentacle like appendages to take full advantage of the limited moisture here. As we traveled further into the desert they became fewer in number and variety. At this point I only see the smaller variety and most of these are so pale green that they are almost invisible on the desert floor.
There have been a variety of travelers sharing my cabin over the last four days. Most of them were traveling to Newton and are now gone, but one young woman has been with me the entire journey. Her final destination is the village of Medici located two hours south of my studio site and I have learned many interesting things about the area from her. Katryna is a native of New London and has lived in the village for the last two years. Her great grandparents came here as farmers almost a hundred years ago and her family has made the planet their home ever since. I asked her what a farmer was doing in this environment and she laughed as she explained that most of her family was settled near the green belt area three hundred kilometers from Delphi. She relocated to the desert area of the planet as the conditions were ideal for her work with the Equine. She was now traveling home after her annual visit to see her family and was excited to resume her work after being absent for several weeks. I sometimes forget the obscure reports we studied while on Earth during our research phase of the project and my conversation with Katryna has brought back clarity to these studies.
Katryna explained that she is able to interact with the Equine by interpreting the waves emanating from the creature. She is one of the Neo-Brittanians as the natives call themselves and Katryna is the embodiment of what that name infers. Since the original scientific designation of the planet was Nova Brittania, they use the root of this designation to distinguish themselves from the rest of the population here. As a fourth generation New Londoner her genetic makeup has been exposed to the Equine for almost a century and from what she explained the resulting mutation manifests itself in different ways. Strangely she has none of the cybernetic enhancements that adorn most of her contemporaries here and I am curious how she is able to process the Equine information. I was not brave enough to probe for further information as she was very reluctant to speak of the mechanics of her abilities and changed the subject quickly. She did relate several of her Equine experiences in detail and I have made notes of what she related in my journal for future reference. It is worth further investigation and it might prove useful to our projects outcome as within her words I glimpsed a hint of the neurological evolution we suspect is occurring here due to the Equines presence.
I have been so intensely focused on the abilities of the natural products on the planet that I had completely neglected the human factor. I am going to revisit this line of study when I am settled and I hope to convince Katryna to be involved. I explained to her that I was very skeptical of this type of ability as during my research I found no scientific proof or basis for this type of manifestation. She only shrugged her shoulders and smiled indulgently. I could see from her reaction that my response was not a new one for her but that she is completely secure in her worth. I am not converted yet but it is one thing to read about something in a report, and yet another to have it speaking to you from across a train berth. I was fascinated by her many Equine encounters and in spite of our very different beliefs we have quickly become friends. I have learned much from her about what to expect once we arrive in Medici, but she has told me nothing to relieve my concerns about the desert conditions. She assured me that I would quickly adjust to this type of living, and although the surrounding desert is as stark as our current surroundings, the village itself and the area around my studio site are prolific with desert life. She is a bit younger than you and I, having just celebrated her twenty-sixth birthday, but I felt somehow that she was older and she was speaking to me as if to an older sibling. I find that although we grew up on different planets and come from opposite walks of life we still share a connection.
I was disappointed last night that you did not revisit me in my dreams. I am still dwelling on the previous night and I have tried to push these thoughts to the back of my consciousness in order to think about the more pressing plans for the next few months. There is so much to arrange and this will be my last chance to relax and contemplate the core of my art before my life takes a dramatic leap into activity. Meditation is near impossible on the train with the many distractions and I have given up in frustration. I will hopefully have a chance to steal a few minutes each evening during the next few hectic months to continue the practice so I can allow at least a portion of my brain to stay focused on my art. I also hope you will continue to visit my dreams and guide my work.
You are forever in my thoughts.