Author : Jamison B. Medcalf
Technical officer Jones had had his first job at 12 during the 2127 crash following the Antarctic War. Those were simpler times when perma-jacks that fed the Internet into your brain were less common.
Nowadays only those aboard colony ships got sleep. Deep frozen sleep for years in the void of space while people on Earth had their brains awake 24-7 thanks to the new drug, Ap. Ten years off your life for only having to sleep once a week.
Colony ships like the Rosetta were needed to set up the seeds of a new city on some far off world so that great Transport vessels could come next with its thousands of comatose passengers. Earth couldn’t hold any more people and was low on breathable oxygen. The crew of a colony ship will sleep for years and awaken a few months away form the eventual destination to begin preparations for arrival. Timing was everything. Time meant money and lives with every second being worth more than the last.
Jones was currently going mad from boredom and loneliness and knowledge of his fate. His sleeping bath had malfunctioned and now he was going to die. He was mostly through his own food rations already and if he ate the other crewmembers then they would all starve in the last few months off the journey once everyone awoke. So instead he worked. He plotted courses and wrote notes and calibrated terraforming machines. He tried to fix the sleeping bath but it was no use, the thing was shot and no spare parts existed save those on his crewmates baths.
Two months into his awake period he gave up trying to ration food. He wasn’t working anymore. Instead he wrote. He wrote all of his goodbyes and an explanation of what had happened and what command could do in the future to make sure it never happened again.
He wrote out his memories and hopes and things he wished he had done. He felt like he had all the time in the world. In fact, he hadn’t been this bored for a long time, which was why he was going crazy.
Jones mapped the ship in his mind and walked it with his eyes closed just to pass the time. He made delicate zero-gee sculptures by lifting small objects into space and then he took digital images of them for his crewmates to see when they awoke.
When they awoke, he realized, he would be long dead. It was the third month and he was almost out of his food when he simply stopped. He sat and stared into the blackness of space out a window and wondered what they would say, what they would do, when they found his body. He hadn’t been so still for so long before in his life to his knowledge. Eventually he got out his personal computer and wrote one more thing before swallowing a handful of pills and strapping himself into the command chair to stair out the window into space.
Dear Earth and Whom It May Concern-
I think if we all took some time away from the Net and the Vehicles and the Noise we could all learn a thing or two about what it means to be alive.
Looking out the window he decided the stars, the same stars he saw every day and every night for hours on end, weren’t so boring as he had thought. In fact, they didn’t seem very far away either. All it took was time, and he had all the time in the world.