The Hanging Gardens
Callisto, Jupiter System
The Hanging Gardens of Callisto were not the single most arrogant thing mankind had created since barreling into space—that honor belonged to the twin casinos in the Mars system, Phobos and Deimos—but Mr. Fitzpatrick considered it within the top five. Leaving Earth behind meant that mankind had the chance to revise its history. Never mind that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were destroyed and had their legacy embedded into an immaculate image. No, no…I guess to them, we’ve left Earth behind. History is clearly irrelevant.
Harvey marveled at the floating zero-gravity planters, containing palm trees, grape vines, pear trees, olive bushes…all the stuff they’d predicted had been grown in Babylon. They had been immaculately orchestrated on a giant roof terrace of the Callisto City Hall, three hundred stories above the ground. It was one of the single most beautiful sights in the New World, but so few had been able to see it. To preserve its tranquility and “dignity”, only a select upper crust were permitted to enter the grounds.
Breathing in the pungent air of the miraculous floating plants, the gentle hum of ethereal cosmic jazz singing through the night, Harvey sighed happily, but with restraint. He savored the time he spent up here, even if he was living a bit of a lie by doing so. He lit a cigarette, took a drag, and let loose a huff of red smoke. The colorful night-lighting of the garden glinted against his sweaty black hands.
Harvey heard a set of footsteps approaching behind him. He let loose a faint sigh. “Already?”
“Mr. Fitzpatrick…” The voice was not the one he’d expected.
“Hmm?” Harvey turned around, and to his surprise, before him stood John Crowley, the tall silver-haired treasurer of Galileus. For most, this would be a cataclysmic arrival, but it should be mentioned that Mr. Fitzpatrick came into his wealth via his ownership of the Callisto Opera House, rendering him a bit of an accidental magnate of the New World.
“I might need your help.”
“…Again? Have people forgotten that I’ve sold my company?”
“Well, that’s just it. Phobos Casino & Resort is about to be vacant at the top,” muttered Mr. Crowley.
“Huh. Old Robert Devlin kicked the bucket?”
“He’s in ‘hospice’, as they’re calling it,” said John.
“Interesting, except, I’m not sure why you’re telling me this,” said Harvey.
“Word has it that they’re going to ask you to throw your name in the ring.”
Mr. Fitzpatrick’s eyes widened, and he laughed. “Me? Hah. Don’t they know that I’m a washed-up playwright? There’s legitimately thousands in the solar system more qualified.”
Mr. Criwley shrugged. “No offense, but I don’t quite understand it either. I simply thought you’d like to hear it from me before they’re knocking on your office.”
“Well, thank you for that.” Harvey looked visibly disturbed.
“Aren’t you too young to stay retired?”
“No one is too young to retire out here. Make your money and get the hell out. Pops was terrible with money, but he was wise, in his way.”
“Just think about it,” said Mr. Crowley. "Galileus trusts you, and perhaps we can finally regain some semblance of control over the Mars system with your influence." He tipped his hat and returned into the foyer of the hall.
Harvey’s gaze returned to the city beneath him. They were considering him for C.E.O-ship of the single largest den of depravity in the solar system? Why? He took another drag from his cigarette and shook his head. He’d believe it when he saw it.