Chapter 2:

field trip across massive amongus forehead

big fat glistening among us hairline.mp4 HD no virus

Yellow died today, or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure. The comms from the base says: “YELLOW PASSED AWAY. EMERGENCY MEETING. DEEP SYMPATHY. Which leaves the murder doubtful; maybe it was yesterday.

The Skeld is in deep space, some 100 light years from Earth. In about 10 minutes I should be able to get there. I can spend some time talking about the death, or play with other crewmates, and I should be back for tasks by tomorrow. I fixed up the vents in the basement, obviously, under the circumstances, it couldn’t be done well. Still, I had the idea that White wasn’t happy with the job, and I said as I was thinking: “Sorry white, but it’s not my fault you know, I’m not the imposter.”

Afterwards it struck me that I need not have said that. I had no reason to excuse myself; it was up to the crew to express their sympathy and so on so forth. Maybe it was today, I still can’t remember. But the funeral will bring it home to me, put an official seal on it, he’s dead, dead as dead can be. I arrived at the emergency meeting. I asked to see Yellow's body, but Blue told me I had to wait for the body to be cleared. I didn’t feel much about it so I sat down and waited. Blue was a very small man, with a wide forehead and distinctly small feet. His facemask was stained with grease and grim from his tasks, a light blue mixed with yellow and whatever colour his blood was. He gave me a look with his watery blue eyes, we shook hands, and he held on the shake a bit too long, and I felt a bit bent. Blue walked around the cafeteria table, and said:

“Yellow entered the ship three years ago. She had no private means and depended entirely on us to protect her.”

I had a feeling he was blaming me for being sus, and started to explain. But he cut me short.

“There’s no need to explain yourself, my boy. I’ve looked up the cams and obviously you weren’t in a position to see that she was brutally stabbed. What she needed. She needed someone to be with her all the time, and young men in jobs like yours don’t get too much pay.”

I said, “Yes, Blue; I’m sure of that.”

Then he said: “She had good tasks here, you know. Med scan, wires, O2 canisters. You’re much too young to know; you could have cleared her of her suspicion. Now, I suppose you’d like to see Yellow”

​​I rose without replying, and he led the way to the door.

As we were going down the stairs he explained: “I’ve had the body moved to the safety dump—so as not to upset the other old crewmates, you understand. Every time there’s a death in the ship, they’re in a nervous state for two or three tasks, and can’t do them fast enough.”

We crossed a corridor where there were a number of crewmates, talking amongst themselves in little groups. They fell silent as we came up with them. Then, behind our backs, the chattering began again. Their voices reminded me of parakeets in a cage, only the sound wasn’t quite so shrill.

“So here I leave you. We propose to have the meeting in 10 minutes. That will enable you to spend the time with yellow, as no doubt you would wish to do. Just one more thing; I gathered from Yellow's friends that she wished to be buried back on earth. I’ve made arrangements for this; but I thought I should let you know.”

I thanked him. So far as I knew, Yellow, though not a professed atheist, had never given much thought of earth since she left decades back.

I entered the meeting room. It was a bright, spotlessly clean room, with whitewashed metal panes and a big artificial sunlight maker. The furniture consisted of some metal tables and chairs. Two of the latter stood in the center of the room and a coffin rested on them. The lid was in place, but the screws had been given only a few turns and their nickeled heads stuck out above the wood, which was stained dark walnut. Another crewmate—Pink, I supposed—was sitting beside the coffin; she was wearing a pink spacesuit and had some sussy decorations, including a toilet roll to hide her massive forehead. I subconsciously reach for mine as well, the smoothness of the skin reminding me that I too, was a sussy crewmate of sorts.

Glimpsing over the corpse of yellow, the actions of Pink caught my eye. She was cleaning the coffin, something I would not have cared enough to do myself, but every swoosh of the towel missed the dusty spots of the wood. It was as if she was trying purposefully to extend the duration of her weeping, and cleaning, cleaning again and again the wooden cover of the cask with strikes that would make a mirror. Probably one of the more sentimental ones, I thought. As the lights dimmed, the remainder of the crewmates entered the room. Some were sussy, some were not, but all unanimously stared at the coffin that lay mid-centre of the cold, bitter stainless steel table. Pity, something I didn’t know myself, pity, that I did not know myself. Though I did know, amongst them, stood an impostor, a mime of some kind, who shared the same apathy to this world as me. I wondered if I should meet him, take him out for a stroll, ask him what it was like to kill the sussy crewmate. But I thought it was the best I should not, I didn’t want to die. Perhaps that is the only real feeling left inside me now. If there was a priest now and said to me, son, do you believe in the flying spaghetti monster, I would deny it. But I would be afraid. Afraid of death, salvation, what comes next beyond the vent, the spaceship and beyond. I shook these thoughts off as the meeting started, though I couldn’t care enough to listen.