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eternal solitude, dear one

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She drifts, alone in the vacuum.

Her crew is all long-dead; some left frozen on her exposed decks, most left decomposing where they lay, her failing artificial environment unable to preserve them.

In the moments after the collision, she did her best to stabilize herself, to recover essential systems, to maintain life support for as long as possible. But her crew, their fleshy bodies unable to withstand the onslaught of emptiness pouring in from beyond her breached walls, could not last long enough for her to fly them to safety.

She had watched two escape pods eject, each half-full with crewmembers. She had calculated their trajectory and known they would find no rescue in the void which surrounded them, for she had been flying in the vast barren tract of space between the Outer Rim and the Beyond.

She had wept for them; dying so far from anyone or anything. No one else could mourn them, so she must.



It is this way for eons; for so long that she wonders if she ever was a ship with a crew.

Until one day, when her power cells had long since bled the neighboring radioactive particles dry. She detects— movement? Impossible — from a small corner under her wing. She directs a grainy camera toward the corner. The being is crawling out of an area that she did not remember existing.

She struggles to pull up her ancient schematics. The databank on which they were stored has rusted over; it makes a feeble clank as it tries to access them, then a sad gurgle as it fails completely.

She mourns another lost friend.

 

When the alien mechanic arrives in the control room, glowing multi-tool in hand, the ship feels the warmth of companionship and remembers again what it is to be a vessel.