Here in the Quiet Dark, a raygun can be your dearest friend. It warms to your touch, responds to your requests, and clears your way. It is the best partner one can expect to have in the Quiet Dark.

I’ve had Lizzette here for longer than most of my friends. Certainly longer than my living friends. It is not a weapon, it is not a tool. It is a partner, a friend. A lover.

That’s not queer, or nothing. But Lizzette’s saved my life far too often to be anything but a lover. And here in the Quiet Dark, love is a rare and flowered thing. You best find it where you can. Some of us up here, some claim to love their crate. But that’s a parasitic relationship, and any crate knows that, from the little cargo rockets to those faster-than-light frigates. They know who runs ’em to the scrap heap. No, me and Lizzette, here, we’re partners.

I tried giving her, up you know. Lizzette, the crate, the Quiet Dark, all of it. Settled down on a orb, found a woman who didn’t care when last I felt the sun and tried to live a life of noise and brightness.

I was warned. They all warned me, just like I’m warning you now. It never lasts. Not for us. Not after all the time in the Quiet Dark. I saw stars collide, you know? Watched a dark hole form and drag in the cosmos inside it. You think I could explain that to someone used to blue above? You think you’ll be able to?

The whole time, I wanted Lizzette there, at my hip. She’d been with me, she’d seen it all. But my girl didn’t want none of that. Proper men don’t carry guns, she said. But Lizzette wasn’t just a gun. She was my partner.

Don’t go thinking you’re any different. I can read a man’s scars as well as a veiwport. You’ve seen too much, same as me.

I suppose a fight between Lizzette and such a woman was destined to end only one way. I wish I had something to remember her by, like that necklace she always wore. But that went in the blast.

Probably just as well. I have Lizzette, after all. What more do I need, way out here?