Amel's Letter

A handwritten letter left in Vasquez' bedroom.

I met your father in 2149. The Mars Archives had only just been discovered the previous year, and all of humanity was abuzz with both excitement and fear over the discovery that we are not alone. Everything was happening so fast back then. I was still a doctor, and spent most of my time at the dig site. But while in Lowell City on a day off I ended up in the same bar as your father, watching the live broadcasts of Jon Grissom’s departure.

We started seeing each other in those tumultuous times, as we all learned to adjust to the new reality. As the Alliance formed and grew around us. Your father was very much unlike the people I worked with. He was first-generation Marsborn, as you know. A hard worker, and a kind man. His humor and spirit was something truly special, and I feel I would have lost myself completely to my research without his presence.

We married two years after Markus’ birth, a small cermony, with few relatives attending. Interplanetary travel was not so trivial in those days. I often regretted that my parents were unable to attend the wedding. Regardless, we were happy. Indeed, I will always look back on those years as the happiest in my life. You joined us the very next year, the fiercest baby girl that planet had ever known. You were so determined when you were little. I am glad that is a trait you have kept.

I treasure the years your father and I spent raising the two of you. I know my work called me away often, but I can only hope my love for you and Markus was not lost on you back then. I have never been so proud as I was when you enlisted.

I tell you all of this so that you can understand what I say next. What I did, leaving and deceiving you, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I fully realize that I have no right to ask forgiveness. But what I did back then, everything that I have done since, has been to protect humanity, to protect you. Watching you grieve, watching you move on, it was impossibly hard, but I knew I had a vital duty to fulfill.

There were so many times I wanted to break the silence, let you know that you are not alone. Be a mother again. None more than when your father died. I do not think that the reality of my situation ever fully sank in until then. Until the realization that he would never know. I wanted to be there. You must believe that. But revealing myself then would have only caused more pain. Or, so I reasoned. I thought it better that I stay in the shadows, for your safety and mine. Perhaps I was simply a coward.

I will respect your wishes. You will not hear from me again, although it pains me greatly not to be there for your wedding. I wish you and Jason the happiest of futures. He is a good man, like your father. I also want you to know that I am certain you will be a wonderful mother. It will be the hardest undertaking of your life, but I know you have the strength to do it. Indeed, you will do far better than I.

I return now to my work, to ensure that you, Markus, and all of humanity is not left without a future.