Settlers of the Void


Back on the Inside

I had to give Martinez the details of my conversation with Harris about a dozen times before she finally dismissed me back to my dorm. I’m the only one who’s seen him face to face since he walked away from the ship and she had a lot of questions, mostly about if I thought he was dangerous. I told her the truth: that I’m not sure. Anybody could be dangerous here, given the circumstances.

She looked tired. She’s been consulting Oversight’s transcriptions trying to figure out what’s best for us. Harris worries her. The thing about our coming here is that we had a pretty slim probability for survival even if we all worked together, but fractured we won’t stand a chance. If there’s one crack in the foundation, others will follow.

#

Hiroshi still hasn’t left his dorm. He says he never will.

When I went to see him this afternoon he looked healthier than I expected. They still bring him his food and apparently he spends four hours a day doing exercises: stretches, pushups, crunches, that kind of thing. Martinez tolerates him because he’s agreed to handle the late shift for the radio dispatch.

“Some of the systems onboard the Hierophant are starting to fail,” he told me, bringing his voice to a whisper even though the dorms are soundproof.

“Well,” I said. “That’s what we all sort of expected when Oversight died, right?”

“I guess so,” he said.

“We won’t need them for much longer,” I said. “They’re building long-term shelters and everything. We’ll be fine.”

“When you didn’t respond on the radio for a few days I thought you had died,” he said. “Dawn did too.”

“Nah,” I said. “Not yet anyway.”

I tried to convince him that things weren’t so bad. He says it doesn’t matter. He’s not afraid of what’s outside anymore, he just doesn’t see the point in leaving. He says he’s useful where he is.

It’s true, I guess. He’s good at his job. They even let him pick the music on Channel 3. He likes to play the blues but says he doesn’t put it on too often because he doesn’t want us to get depressed out there.

#

Hiroshi’s right. Things are starting to break. Spaceships work a lot better in space than they do sitting on the ground exposed to rain and dust, especially spaceships over 200 years old.

The rebreather system is busted and the only way to keep the Hierophant’s interior from slowly filling up with carbon dioxide was to open up the vents. They get clogged from dust and ash from time to time, so the air in the lower tunnels has gone stale (the rats are finally gone, though – I guess they found their way outside). Sometimes the power goes out. The heating and cooling systems are on the fritz. None of the computers are still working.

Anyway, it’s not all bad. A new goat was born yesterday.

I fed it in the terrarium. Unlike us, it’s completely unaware that the place where it’s living isn’t the place where it was adapted to survive in. I suppose the first children of the crew, assuming we survive to have any, will be the same. Biology takes what it’s given and makes do.