Monday, May 18, 2009

Daily Story 33: The Final Frontier

My tiny island of warmth is filled with the glorious smell of meat cooking. I've been storing the meat just outside my door so that I don't have to go far... the hallway outside is freezing cold - well below freezing, actually - and the meat keeps just fine sitting there. There is nothing wrong with the support systems, they're running even now to keep the temperature just high enough that nothing delicate becomes brittle or crystallizes, but the majority of the ship is allowed to hibernate so that I can conserve energy. My room is actually a few degrees warmer than normal, though I don't know why I set it that way. That was true back on Earth as well - I would turn the heat up in the winter past what I wanted it at in the summer, due to some trick of psychology. Because I know it's so cold outside the warmth is comforting, I guess.

I flip each strip of meat and listen to them sizzle, sprinkling on a little garlic salt and some pepper. I'm trying not to think about how little is left, how soon I'll be back to eating nutrient paste. I had survived on the disgusting tubes for two months, saving the last of the real food for when I couldn't stand it any longer. I find myself once again thinking about walking through the frozen hallways in search of something I might have missed, though I know it's a waste of time. It isn't as if I hid vegetables throughout the ship like Easter eggs, they were all in one place - they're still there - in the garden. At least I assume they are, wherever the garden is now. We parted ways a month ago when I corrected my course, the detached section getting smaller and smaller through the viewport. I had imagined that I would put on the EVA and fly over to it, retrieve something that wasn't paste. My tomatoes had been just about ripe when the garden was torn free, it's really not fair.

Even with the garden and the solar panels being sheared off, I think the old ship is okay. The damage control computer seems to agree, to the best of it's ability. Power is enough to keep my room warm, paste is enough to keep my body healthy after the meat is gone. I'll be arriving home late, but I'll get there. It should be winter by then, so the transition won't be hard because I'm already in winter mode, huddling in one room away from the cold. They'll ask me to do interviews, probably, but I don't even know what happened and I certainly can't make sitting in a room sucking down paste seem exciting. Better to avoid the press. Less people to talk to about my partner, too. I'll explain how he was going to pick tomatoes when it happened. Nothing I could do, he was sucked out and frozen solid. They won't press me on such an emotional issue, will they? Either way, I need to get rid of the bones before I get home.