The man who looked like a young Nick Stahl sat relaxed on a rocky outcrop [not unlike a patio], surrounded by endless acres of nitrogen ice, staring up at the gigantic, bluer than blue warden Neptune looming above, thinking the words warden uncle, then warden aunty, then Stasi overseer thing, then infinite fucking blue uncle Stasi over aunty seeing nothing but same kid moon wasn’t even from there just crashed in one millennia and
blue uncle bobbed there and took it
blue aunty bob
blue Stasi overcount bob
He held up a fingertip, prodding impotently at the smallest gas giant.
Directly in front of him was a chessboard on a plastic table, a half-slouched human player on the other side, but he didn’t seem interested in either.
Neptune vs chess?
Only one of these had ever invited him to kill himself…even if it was a failed attempt. Cut. Wrong choice of words. A thwarted attempt, that was more accurate. Thwarted by his purple holo-babysitter.
Ah, those first hundred…the sunny years.
He stretched out a human hand, pushing it slowly towards the forcefield a metre beyond the table. Those almost imperceptible flecks of blue were the only things protecting him – and his chess opponent – from almost instant death. At first, when Assta had told him he was stuck on this moon, he would make a habit of wearing a helmet outside, even within the perimeter, and avoid the nitrogen ice on the surface at all costs. Didn’t want to do anything stupid like die before the rescue ship came. That was the idea. Now, he couldn’t even remember where the helmets were kept. Or what they looked like.
‘Grey patches…’ he muttered, fixing his eyes back on the table.
The player opposite didn’t respond.
A plume of nitrogen gas erupted nearby, the dust expelled clashing with the forcefield and turning the blue flecks frantic. Auxiliary dust trickled down at a sedate pace, wry if he felt like attaching personality to the thing, and settled on the rocky slope beyond the perimeter.
The man who looked like a young Nick Stahl shunned the spectacle and instead arched his neck towards the black ceiling above. ‘Up there, Keitho…that’s where the real madness is. Oort Cloud. Alpha Centauri. Helix Nebula. Da’ba Da’baka. The million other places she never bothers to tell me about.’Continue reading