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Home: The Toast

enterpriseStardate: I don’t fucking know. This isn’t the Captain’s Log, it isn’t an anybody’s log, so excuse me if I don’t situate myself in time by coordinating with the music of the goddamn spheres or the last time Betelgeuse fucked the Milky Way or whatever. Pardon the ever-loving cockshit out of me for marking time by carving Roman numerals — fucking yes Roman numerals, as in Rome, as in Earth, as in where human beings are supposed to fucking live — above my bunk. Thursday? It feels like a Thursday, so let’s call it Thursday. Christ, what a week.

You want to know how many days we worked this week? None. The job fell through, which means the Captain got drunk in his room and bolted the bay doors shut, which means that the doctor — who has a Christing medical degree, in actual medicine, not in drying out a chronic alcoholic — and I had to disable half the security systems in order to make sure he wasn’t drowning in his own vomit, because he’s the only one with the command codes. Which sounds fun, I know, like a real vacation, but every day I don’t work is another day my body falls apart a little more.

First of all, I’m a fucking contract worker, which means that I get to work twice as hard as a full-time employee and get shit-all for health insurance and benefits. It’s ridiculous to me that there are exactly two jobs in the entire cold vastness of space — government drone or non-unionized pirate. That’s it. I can work full-time for The Man and never leave the Core Planets without seventeen different authorized passes stamped sixteen inches up my ass, or I can be a goddamn gray-market shipping contractor (because that’s all a smuggler is, really) running guns to Cousin-Fucktonia outside the Horsehead Nebula.

My mother was a teacher. People used to have options. But that shit’s all gone now. Oh, we can go into space, better turn everyone into a bunch of deep-space miners because fuck algebra, fuck poetry, fuck all of humanity’s achievements on this pathetic rock that birthed us. Well, buddy, you need to know algebra if you want to have halfway-sentient engineers on hand in case your precious self-sustaining Alpha Mining Structure starts to biodegrade.

Well, that’s fine. I didn’t join this crew because I was looking for job satisfaction, you know? But I didn’t realize this Captain was working out his own personal demons and using this ship as his own personal suicide capsule as he tries to reach emotional escape velocity. You want to know the last time we docked on an actual planet for more than a couple of hours? Six months. Six assing, dickfucked, heartshitting months. 

Please excuse the language. I’ve been exposed to small but constant levels of solar radiation for the last fourteen years, and sometimes I swear to God I can feel parts of my skull liquefying, and I have to lie down before I get the shakes. I don’t even want to think about how bad my T-Cell count is going to be by the time I reach retirement age.

Not that I’ll get to retire at retirement age, obviously; we don’t have a pension plan. I’ll be working on this Christforsaken ship until some asshole forgets to shut the channel to the loading bay and I’m incapacitated by the vacuum of space.

Maybe I’ll be lucky. Maybe it’ll just be a little blood clot that gets me after my circulatory system starts to degrade after extensive fatigue brought on by an outer-space environment.

You know what happens to the human heart after spending prolonged periods of time in low gravity? It becomes spherical. I’m not kidding. The heart bulges and flattens into a goddamn sphere.

In case you were wondering, that’s not good for you. It’s not just the heart either; it’s all of the muscles. Bones too. The last time we disembarked, the cook shattered his pelvis with his first step outside the cabin door. We had to leave the poor son of a bitch on-planet for six months of physical therapy. And who’s gonna pay for that? Not the captain. Not the shipping company.

At least he gets to sleep in a bed, on the surface of some sort of earth, with actual gravity keeping him tethered to something. You know how fast low-gravity living starts to fuck with your sleep cycle? Right the fuck away, that’s how fast. You start snoring, too. Everyone on this goddamn ship snores like their sinus cavities are trying to carve their way out of the front of their ass-damned skulls, and it’s a nightmare.

We shower in the same water we piss into. You knew that, right? It’s called recycled graywater, and it’s fucking disgusting. I’m 37 and I sleep in a bag and I take showers in toilet water.

Life among the stars, man. Life among the fucking stars. Fuck this shit. Fuck this bullshit.

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