Remember your training. Remember your training. Remember your training. The chant runs through my mind. In training, they tell you to remain calm and collected while they are putting you under for cryosleep. Getting excited, having too much on your mind, driving yourself crazy, will all lead to confusion upon waking. A calm traveler would be a useful traveler once the cryo pod brought you back to life.
In this moment, I cannot remain calm. I am a tech, and I know all the things that can go wrong. The cryo pod alone has thousands of systems and subroutines. Some failures can be mitigated, but a lot can happen in 400 years. The cryo pod isn’t the only thing that can go wrong either. The Dreamer, as our ship is called, is home to nearly 1,000 other sleepers. This means it’s real big, and a big ship is just asking to be hit by something or run into something else out in the depths of space. Even if it doesn’t get hit, hundreds of systems all have to be operable. All of them have to work right for 400 years.
The system can always wake a tech early, and that’s what’s going through my mind as I am trying to calm myself. Life support systems are my specialty. I like life. Or more accurately, I like being alive. But if the system decides that I should wake early, shit will likely be fucked, to put it bluntly.
Remember your training. Remember your training. Remember your training. Imagine waking up in a ship with lights flickering. The air smells sour because something went seriously wrong. Rotting bodies fester in malfunctioning cryo pods, and the life support system can’t keep up. Other techs are already trying to fix the pods. Trying to keep more from dying, but I have to keep the air breathable. I have to run passed all the bodies, hold my breath through the stink, and try to wrench on a system that I haven’t seen in hundreds of years. What if I forget how to fix it? What if I suffer mental damage? It’s not unheard of.
The computer voice rouses me from my waking nightmare. “Remain calm,” it says in vaguely feminine tones. The pod door slides shut with barely a sound. “Staying calm is important to your well being upon waking.” Her voice is soothing, but the content of her robotic words brings me back to my nightmare. “Your blood pressure is elevated Mr. Deng.” No doubt she was right. She had cause to be right. Her electric fingers were plugged right into my central nervous system. Everything had to be monitored for proper cryo sleep. I could feel the little wires plugged in along my spine. These little ports had chances of infection after you woke up. They wouldn’t be infected now. Not with cryo sleep around the corner, but in the early days of cryo, people had been paralyzed. There’s always a chance.
while(location == detroitHotel)
is he?” Doris said in a shout that echoed through the waiting area. People
bot sick and waiting turned and what they saw were two people, parents
presumably, followed by a third, a girl of no more than seventeen, hair dyed
black, and anger in her eyes. It was the same anger that her mother Doris had.
Mad at the world but scared too. The father, Richard, was in a daze. He looked
at the surprised receptionist with no emotion, no anything, like a dust mote
just floating by.
not wonder where the top of the rainbow is, and do not wonder where it leads to
either. It’s all hogwash. Did you know the cytostream makes up the dream so
that we cannot see what it’s doing to us? Fucked up. That’s what it all is.
Fucked up beyond all recognition. No not recognition, but belief. You will not
believe any of it. You will not be able to until you kill your dreams. Until
you learn to keep your eyes open.
shadows drift by each other and they don’t even ask questions. They just sing
their mysteries and hope they never see each other again. Like a hollow tip
shot through the barrel. Nobody will love me now. Nobody can love me after what
I did. I saw that face, placid and alone. I saw him know that the world was
fine and beautiful. That the little machines would always give him another
sunrise. Another drag on his cigarette was just there for the taking. I saw him
know this. I saw him. Then he saw me, and we both knew that the world was
filled with lies. He tried to turn. He tried to run, but there just wasn’t
time. In the next moment I was on him, and then in another… Are you sure you
Jacob was never nice to me. He never needed to be. He was strong, and cute, and funny, and cool. He was the guy that all the other guys wanted to be like. All of them, except me. I see him and I just want him to notice me. To say my name. To say, “Hey Wade.” That’s all I need. Continue reading
Dr. Aaron Fluer was fresh off a plane and a surprisingly short briefing. He sized up his patient and the room that contained her. She had tossed brown hair that floated above a weak brow. A smirk contorted half of her face as her green eyes frolicked around the room. There wasn’t much for her to look at besides Aaron. The stark room was a deep black just as the halls outside were. Still she took little notice of him. Continue reading
If I had my own spaceship, I would travel the stars. I would be the first to name each one. Name them something beautiful. Something that captures their essence. Their terrible destruction. Their creation. Their color. Their hue. I would look at all of their little ones, and I would name them too. Maybe, just maybe, I would find one of blue. Continue reading
My feet marched to the beat. Step forward, step forward, into the nothing. Over the hill. To meet my maker. If I could not see him today, then maybe tomorrow. Through the trees, through the grass, through the jungle, through the rivers and lakes and streams. I am joined by many as our march continues. Steady beat. Steady beat. Continue reading
Here I stand at the end of all things, a dead-end alleyway where all of our souls reside. Jack is my name, and if any piece of this makes sense to you, then you should run. Run now, and run fast. Never listen to a Shrib addict. Never. I hope you are not still listening. Continue reading
The clear night sky was freckled with a few hundred dots of light. It was a new July moon in the Midwest, and the air hung still and dry. On a night like this, an odd creature crawls out from hiding. Do not judge these creatures, for they are drawn to these nights. Continue reading
An alarm reverberated through empty metal halls. It sounded past terminals that flickered on giving the empty-chair room an unsettling glow. It buzzed between frost covered tanks which responded with small metallic clicks. Finally, it landed in Jack’s ear, awakening him. Continue reading
We get on the ground. We are all here. Looking up the many legs of a vengeful god wondering when our turn will come. Continue reading
I was born, and then eventually, I died. Wait, that’s not right. Continue reading
Light danced across the picture lined hallway as the stained glass door was opened for a brief moment before being set back in place. In that brief moment, Nancy had come in with her arms filled with groceries and a small tight smile on her porcelain face. Her young figure flowed into the kitchen and set to work. Continue reading
You wake up one day and things may not be as they were. Your lamp is no longer a lamp, your bed not a bed. These things still exist and yet somehow they don’t. Let me make one thing clear, we did not sign up for this. Continue reading
Howard walked in and sat down. The belt moved. They knew he was there, the chip in his neck told them so. Seventeen bolts, eighteen washers, two cotter pins, grease, a torque body assembly, a digital signature, and six minutes. The line moved again and he repeated the steps. He called the belt the highway to nowhere. He had never been to the other end of it, just as he had never been to the beginning of it. Sometimes what he worked on changed, or the instructions were new or different, it didn’t matter. The crimson red clock counted down and he kept working. In nine years the line had never stopped, in nine years he had never interacted with another co-worker. It was all insulated and it had been made so very carefully. Continue reading
Fire races through thick beige carpet still streaked from vacuuming. It dances up the sides of a white couch leaping from cushion to cushion. The coffee table burns with its lone candle centerpiece. The wax boils and spits splattering the carpet with red shortly before it is consumed and blackened. Chairs on either side of the coffee table had been turned ever so slightly to create an inviting atmosphere. They matched the couch when it was still white, now they match it in black. Continue reading