The ocean of speckled white was laid out like a platter; looking at it from the other side of the plexiglass should have given me a sense of warmth or loss or loneliness—it didn’t matter. When you’re looking down the bottom of the barrel, it never mattered what the black void looked like. The mechanical whirring of this place was around me, surrounded me like water—I was drinking in and choking on the atmosphere of white curves, greyscale turns, metallic windings, and the repetitive clicking of a wooden dodo that bobbed up and down on the desk of a whirring, green-screened computer. The computer let out a dull, choking crunch like a fax machine and I found myself staring at it. Words spread on the screen, each letter bringing its own family of noise with it.
SEVASTOPOL. SPECAMIN UNKNOWN.
I was alone here in the control room of some far-off world—one of mechanical birth. Funny as it was that I was in here was the idea that something else was too. Maybe we were just too broken things that could click together. Whatever dormant beast had awoken from the slumber, maybe it liked Kong scotch. Maybe not, I thought as I shook my jacket and realized leather didn’t stop the cold, dead embrace of space from cracking the skin, clawing its way down into the core of where warmth once resided. Outside the hallways were scaled with metal tubes; steam pouring from each one like dragons themselves were poking their heads through to rest. The floors looked like cheese-graters and as I walked across it I felt confined. Before me a room was coated in darkness until an echoing elastic ping went off and dust blew as if I’d suddenly set off all the motion lights at the local prison yard. In front of me was a white ladder, and I imagined I’d have to go down somewhere.
I was always finding ways to go lower down. Even though I floated high above the sky, I was still managing to find a way to climb lower down into a proverbial pit. Ironic that once you move up you move down—I wasn’t so lucky I guess, in trying to put one foot before the other, I had no idea if I’d just fall off and float across the chasm of the void. I’d been doing that for years with painkillers and alcohol but somehow oxygen still crawled through my lungs, running me off the fumes of every half-eaten donut and cold coffee. Cigarette smoke almost put my lungs down to 1% functionality or so I’d thought.
When I’d climbed lower, I was shown another metal intestine of whatever I was on. The place was like a computer on steroids—winding hallways and doors that seemed to be confining and curved—yet always there was the noises that made out that everything was hollow. I found it poetic justice, to be so confined but at the same time the emptiness is all around. What was I doing? Spouting nonsense while something lurked for me in the hallways. The sign on the wall said HUMAN RECREATIONAL LOUNGE. I couldn’t imagine any kind of recreational fun outside of alcoholism and sheer technophobia of a failing space-station were available.
The door ahead of me had a little green light that beeped on and off. I imagined it was like looking at an eye which had suddenly caught on. With a rush of air the door shot up and I stepped into a circular area—a white table covered with all sorts of things; books, cereal in plastic containers, a stereo, ashtrays, and a lone woman who was sat leaning back, cradling her torso as crimson poured out and stained the white jumpsuit. Her green eyes flickered like the doorway and there she sat, not shocked by me; who’d be shocked by a drunk, ex-cop with too much time on his hands and a predilection of hammy noir dialogue?
She squeezed out half a smile and looked down again. I walked around the table and nudged a few books out my way, only to notice a few tumblers of scotch on the table. Airlessly she spoke. “Take one—nobody else needs them now anyway,” she said, saddened; her eyes glazing over to some far-off distant memory—as far as the last planet she’d been on, or maybe something more. I didn’t know. All I’d known was earth and the further away I was from the hustle and bustle of guns, stale buns, and dead huns, the better I felt.
“You’re hurt,” I mustered.
Any more to the point and she might as well have pulled a blade on me. I sat down and span the scotch in the glass. The constant law was that even out here, gravity worked. Things never floated to the ceiling and I had to put that down to good engineering—wonderfully constructed deathtraps that were perfect for murderers it seemed.
“What killed you?” I asked, smelling the scotch—space aged.
“A thing. Black and tall, it got me good—killed six of my friends. I’m dying here. I’m dying,” she whispered.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a tub of aspirins; shaking them, I slid them over and she popped open the container. She nodded and swallowed a lot of them back. I wasn’t a doctor, and I’d consumed more of them than Madonna had children’s souls to absorb their powers. It wasn’t the best place to be sitting, watching another woman die but then again, all good fables of my life started and ended with the death of a woman. I found it bitter irony to be six trillion miles away from earth and yet somehow a mystical, cosmic **** you had managed to traverse the stars to still follow me to a place where nothing should survive. Bitter as the whiskey was going down, it wasn’t nearly as aged as me. ********, I thought as the girl slid down the chair. What could I do? I couldn’t save her—I wasn’t a doctor, I wasn’t good for anything unless you put a gun in my hand, and here on Sevastopol Station, I was about as useful as the aspirins the girl had taken mere seconds before I realized she’d died while I was thinking about myself. Ironic.
Just a short thing I wrote out of boredom after playing Alien Isolation and wondering what Max would be like if he was there. Hope you liked it.