Collected Letters of Francis St. James, Letter 12
The damned Magnetic Sea
My dearest Theodora,
I scarce know how to begin this missive. I am bereft of hope, unmoored in time, and going through mere repeated motions like some strangely melancholy automaton. As we drift idl’y through this cursed abyss, I plunge ever deeper into the blackest pits of despair. I believe myself to have been aboard this dreary vessel for nigh on a year, though I cannot say for sure. In that time, I have spent a total of three days ashore, and the rest drifting, drifting, drifting in this damned Magnetic Sea. It is quiet and dark and my only activity has been the continued effort to construct a machine that will, if I may be momentarily immodest, prove Zakharov’s theories and, in doing so, change the world as we know it.
But alas, my work on this machine has been a Sisyphean task - though I see my goal and the path seems to be ‘all clear’ I cannot reach it but that some minor disaster returns me to the start of my labors all over again. It is frustrating in the extreme and I confess that I am quite demoralized - how ‘twould shock you to see your cheery, optimistic Francis in such a low state! Were it not for my good friend Wendel (and, of course, my love for you: eternal and bright as a thousand suns), I fear I would have nothing at all.
I cannot keep my thoughts from flitting back to happier times, to moments where my feet trod actual earth, my skin soaked in the radiance of the blessed sun, my fingers intertwined with your own. This voyage, my love, is consuming me, in ev’ry way. It is said that to reach Heaven (but a metaphorical conception, my dear - no need to bristle at my seeming lapse into theism) one must first travel through the depths of Hell - but my Virgil is nowhere to be seen and you, my Beatrice, are so very far away.
My love for you is pure and undying and I remain, as always,
Francis St. James