Murphy’s Traverse

This piece is about a Chief Engineer, Murphy, on a slow-boat colony starship. It begins:

“Murphy, wake up.”

The soft female voice seemed distant.

-Beep-

-Ch-click-

-Hsssssst-

“Murphy …”

He tried to roll and found himself restrained.

“Let us disconnect those,” she said.

He cracked an eyelid. The gray, curved interior of his hibernation chamber crowded him.

Awareness returned.

“What?” he croaked.

“There is a problem,” responded the voice. It represented the collective colony-ship Caretaker Programs.

“Why did I take this job?” he muttered.

“You are the Chief Mechanic,” she said.

He groaned. That wasn’t it. He’d wanted to prove himself. But to whom? His idiot engineer stepfather? His snooty, middle-management-drone ex? “It’s a long-term commitment,” they’d both warned with identical mock concern. As if he couldn’t think for himself. As if this was just another big mistake. Well to hell with them and everyone else that made it possible to feel lonely in the midst of twenty-billion people. He didn’t need them.

Here, he had purpose.He was Chief Mechanic. On Aberdeen Ceti Four he would be needed. He could start over without the muddle of uncertainties. He knew his job. No more mistakes. No more regrets…

It goes on from there. Of course, that bit about regrets doesn’t work out quite they way Murphy hopes.

Copyright (c) 2014 J.C. Conway

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