847 days.  

847 fucking days.  

847 fucking days alone on this fucking spaceship with no one to talk to except the fucking computer.  With nothing to do and the rest of the crew in stasis, Shinji swayed wildly between mania and depression.  Most of the tasks that a mere human could perform on this motherfucking fancy boat flying through fucking space going God knows where were automated so that the scientists aboard could spend their valuable time performing research and testing shit and jacking it to net porn.  Fucking fuckers.  But, at this seemingly interminable part of the voyage into what the fucking politicians called “the great unknown”.  Bullshit.  We knew what was out there: fucking stars and dark matter and planets and giant gas clouds and about 100 gazillion other things that would kill you if you so much as got slightly too close.  Those assholes and their fucking ties and perfect teeth and lying.  Shinji never had understood what draws a man or woman to public office.  They all seemed like patently false charlatans to him.  But that was nothing worth worrying about since 847 days ago they had stuck him and 12 other of the finest minds of their human generation into this glorified metal tube and shot them deep into space to “broaden the scope of human knowledge of the deepest reaches of our universe”.  In other, less stupid words, they were picking up space rocks and space dust.


Didn’t they have perfectly serviceable rocks and dust back on Earth or the Moon or one of the colonies somewhere?  Why was he on this ship heading at a mindbogglingly fast speed to the edge of the Milky Way to collect the lifeless detritus of the universe, floating free and undisturbed since the Big Bang, billions of years ago?  Can’t we just leave the poor rocks and dust and crap alone?  

Every day he woke and longed for something to do besides exercise to battle the longterm effects of low gravity on his designed-for-Earth’s-gravity bones.  All the books had been read.  All the films had been watched.  All the music was boring.  All the games were mastered.  It would be weeks before they had another data-laden communiqué from good Ol’ Mother Earth came through bearing the fruits of the planet’s various commercial-artists factories, mostly drivel so insulting to his intelligence that he could barely stand to waste the plentiful moments he had to waste on the spaceship on them.  Often he’d rather be doing nothing than listening to the newest tracks from whatever pop starlet was hot this femtosecond.  The films were worse.  He loved the classics, but how many times could he watch Blade Runner?  A lot of times, truthfully, but enough was enough.  And the games?  Lame.  Nothing like they were when he was a kid.  

Some days, when he was feeling frisky, he would lay plastic over the face port of the stasis chambers and draw on them, giving his colleagues mustaches or eye patches or scars or whatever.  He would skip around and sing songs and, if he was sick of those, make some up.  He wished he knew how to play an instrument, and, if he knew he was going to be awake for this trip, he would have made sure to bring one with him.  He had already smoked all the cigars they had packed for their celebration when they reached their destination.  He had drunk half the liquor.  That helped, but, fuck, a low-g hangover and subsequent vomit was fucking nasty.  Experiencing that a few times had turned him off that particular excess quickly.  

847 fucking fuck ass fucking days of a 2258 day one-way trip, and not a thing to do.  This was going to be a problem.