After all these years she has every right to consider herself equal to them. She has ventured into the unknown far too many times, she has faced numerous dangers and life threating situations to not be considered one of the greats, one of the immortal heroes of humanity whose names will forever be passed down to new generations. In a perfect world that would have been true.
The world is far from perfect and that is where she comes in. An employee of the United Planet government, Mrs Gea Mishko. Gea will never take her deserved place at the explorers' Pantheon simply because little people are even familiar with her work. Her job is of most sensitive nature - procuring information from very sensitive sources using highly restricted technology. For the lack of a better word, someone might call her a spy.
Her mission this time should be quite simple. To get more familiar with a social structure called democracy. Very little data now days exist about that social experiment. People governing themselves, truly a strange concept but Gea has been on too many missions so far to have prejudice. She has been proven wrong quite often. Her open-minded character in combination with unvawering loyalty and brilliant mind is the reason why Shenzo Company has promoted her to the United Planet government.
After a week of receiving various cocktails of drugs, her body is ready for the trip. Gea never really liked the prepping part, she always felt constantly dizzy and hungry during the process but in the end, it was a small price to pay. As she walks totally naked into a tubular glass chamber her palms are sweating uncontrollably, like always.
"You coward, get yourself together, you're no greenhorn anymore. You are Gea Mishko, the most experienced Traveller, act like one" - Gea was encouraging herself. She has been preparing for this mission for two months now. She has learned all there is to learn about her destination, her body is full of chemicals necessary for the journey and she is the best at her job. Yet still, every time she feels like this is going to be her last journey and she has still so much to accomplish.
"Your vitals seem to be in order Mrs Mishko, we are about to start, brace yourself and remember follow the thread which is labeled. Good luck Mrs Mishko" - very formal voice from the speakers was signalling her the beginning of the journey.
As greenish liquid was filling up the tank Gea took one last big breath. She knew this is the uncomfortable part. She was fully concentrated on the writing on the wall opposite of the chamber that said "Historia est magistra vitae" when liquid started entering her system. Her natural response was to fight for air but in vain. There was just this green liquid all around her, aggressively entering her body through every pore of her skin. Her large brown eyes widened as even the whites of her eyes turned green. Last to turn green was her black hair. When it was all over it was impossible to distinguish her body from the liquid, she vanished as if she dissolved.
This was the beginning of the journey for Gea. Bodyless, shapeless she found herself riding a current. It was a sensation similar to canoeing with speeds of 100 knots, but without oars, and the river was forking every twenty metres. In those conditions, she was still able to navigate. She followed the green thread that was propelling her to her destination. She couldn't determine the passage of time in this state.
It could have been minutes or centuries, she had no way of telling, but the destination was near. Waters were calming, navigation became easier. Around her conscience body started to shape. She was being reborn again. As her heart started to beat once again she opened her eyes and found herself floating on a surface of the lake. She always ends up in some body of water. It has something to do with high concentrations of some compound or something like that, Gea never really cared. She just knew this lake will also be her re-entry point for the journey back. And what a beautiful lake it was. Waters were so clear, no traces of pollution, fishes everywhere. Back home fishes died out a long time ago, it was so special to see them again. And the air, it was truly a pleasure to breath it in. The smell of pines and perhaps salt or something similar made this air feel like a medicine for all the diseases in her world. She just got here and it already felt magical.
Too bad clothes cannot make the journey, it is a hassle always at first to be soaking wet and naked in some strange place. Even with a neuro-translator, it is hard to explain to people what happened. As she was swimming to the shoreline she noticed a couple of fishermen fishing from the beach, looking at her with their jaws literally opened at an unnatural angle. Their age difference suggested they were father and son.
"I am sorry to startle you, but may ask for a favour, I really do need a dry set of clothes, I would be more than grateful if you could help me out." - Gea stood on the beach, totally naked and without any shame. Her voice was seductive and pleading at the same time. On all of her journeys, she was lucky enough that the first contact was with men, and Gea knows how to handle men.
Older of the two men managed to close the jaw and kneeled down in front of her "Beautifull Aphrodite, we are honoured to be of service to you. Will you be so kind to accompany me to my humble home? My wife's clothes are yours for taking although we are poor, we don't have any clothes worthy of your beauty "
Gea felt ashamed. From her studying, she knew with whom the fisherman had mistaken her for but it would be bad for the mission if she were to assume the identity of the Aphrodite. "You are too kind good sir, but I am not her, my name is Theophila and I am just a tired traveller who had a bad experience with some dishonest men" - playing the role of the damsel in distress always worked, Gea knew men.
For the next two days, she stayed with the fisherman's family. She used their hospitality to get her bearings. Books are often different from reality and she needed a nudge in the right direction. Akakios, head of the family was more than forthcoming to Gea and Metrodora, his wife, noticed that also. Opposite of his father was Sophus who looked at Gea with curiosity but also fear. He was old enough to be considered a man but he still kept the interrogative mind of a child. He sensed something was off with her.
Akakios told her everything she wanted to know about democracy. It seemed like a dream. People gathering at the town's square, talking about the affairs of the state. Imagine that she could talk so openly back home, she would have been sent to the mining colonies in a second's notice. Not just that, how wonderful it must be that you have a saying in a bigger picture, to be entrusted power, even a fraction of it. But then she began to wonder, what interest would the Shenzo company or United Planet government have in the democracy. It was so strange and different than everything back home. Actually it was a threat to the current system. "Well like they always say Historia est magistra vitae, it is probably better to know your enemy "
On the third day, Gea headed to the city to experience first hand this democracy, that Akakios told her about. Today was a gathering of citizens at the square. Although she is not considered a citizen it is a great opportunity for data gathering. She was accompanied by Akakios and Sophus who were also going to the square to cast their vote.
At the square, orators were exchanging, debates were long and fiery, sometimes speeches were argumented, sometimes not but it was an experience to enjoy. This was freedom and power at the same time. She was a bit surprised when Sophos climbed the stairs to claim the orator's position. Although two of them did not create much of a relationship she grew fond of him and felt proud when he climbed those stairs as if he was her own child.
Sophos looked at the gathered crowd and started talking with such confidence, that she was not accustomed from him "Fellow citizens, I stand before you here to say we have an infiltrator among our ranks." He pointed his finger at Gea and continued "She has stayed in my home for the past three days after my father and I have found her naked at the lake. She introduced herself as Theophila but at her sleep, I clearly heard her speaking some foreign language mixed with our own. I managed to understand just one thing - You are Gea Mishko, the most experienced Traveller, act like one " he paused a bit to catch some air and then he continued "My father blinded by lust, and my mother blinded by jealousy didn't notice that she was asking all sorts of question considering our social structure. This all has guided me to the conclusion that she is a spy of our enemies"
The crowd was gasping at the accusations made by their fellow citizen and staring at Gea at the same time. Gea didn't even flinch, she just listened to his accusation, marvelling how he has all figured it out. Such a smart young man. Normally now would have been the time to bail out but then she heard Sophos speaking again "I propose organizing a jury court, and holding a trial to determine if she is guilty or not under our city laws"
"Court, trial, laws - They will not kill me right here, right now. I cannot believe how complex and fair this democracy is. I really should stay a bit longer. If I can understand this concept in full I can maybe make a difference back home."
Gea Mishko was again in a canoe and river was forking - to escape the crowd and continue to be an employee of the government or improve mankind in spite of the possibility of death like Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus.