by D.J. Sylvis
(Throughout this episode, Roger is recording at various locations around the Base on a portable recorder. His voice is ragged and a bit hoarse, and he doesn’t really expect anyone to hear his words. At the beginning, he is on the storage level. We may hear the slight hum of the stasis chambers in the background. There is a chime that signals the beginning of the personal log.)
I’m just saying you could have left a note. “Hey Roger, we were feeling a little dozy. Dinner’s in the fridge.” Which fridge, of course, that’s the game.
Personal log. I haven’t done one of these in a while, and it seems particularly absurd at this moment, but here we are. It’s been a week since I came back from the other side, and I think I’m done having conversations with this lot.
Okay, hands off, I get the message.
I’m done blaming them. What other choice did they have? When you know … what there is to know? You either lean into the nervous breakdown, or you … they’ve got no worries now. They can’t wake up unless someone else does the job of sorting shit out.
But I’m still here. My pod is waiting, there are automated systems, everything was set up for this ending, but … I feel like I need to keep watch. Someone has to walk the halls and remember.
I really am stuck on the Ancient Mariner thing. I guess I’ll go wander, keep my eye out for a wedding guest. More soon.
(When we cut back in, Roger’s voice is hollow, and we can hear all of his breathing. He is in a spacesuit out on the surface.)
One thing I did that’s always been on my ‘nice to have’ list was set up a portable rig, so I could record from wherever I happen to be. No more hiding away in the broadcast booth. I can talk to myself from the bare black surface of the moon and capture every syllable.
I’m coming up here less often, day by day. The stars aren’t … they don’t do it for me anymore. I’m sorry, Nessa. I’m sorry, Alexandre. There must be a poem in your book for this, but … that hasn’t been doing it for me either. Not since Coleridge. There’s a reason he never wrote a sequel. “The Mariner is back … and he’s not gonna take it anymore!” You could cast the albatross as my Disneyesque sidekick.
That’s the real reason, Alex, why I haven’t gone to the pod. But it’s getting harder to resist. If I let myself go … it’s the dumbest thing. I don’t even know where home is now. I don’t know if you made it out, if you heard my message. I don’t …
(Another chime. When we come back, Roger’s voice is normal again, but the background noise has changed – more empty, more of an echo. We are in the laboratory. There may be some very muted equipment noises. His voice is a bit sleepy, but the tone is normal.)
I’m in the labs now, finished my rounds. “Base operations remain …” – pretty decent on their own. I top off the hydroponics every once in a while, check the oxygen levels. Try to make myself eat. Chocolate supplies are finite, but I have the full crew’s allotment at this point.
There’s not much left on this level – a few experiments that wound up in cold storage, an active monitor or two, otherwise it’s dark. I stay down here, most nights. It feels less empty than the bunkroom, or … in with the stasis pods.
It’s hard to remember what it was like, sleeping in our bed, listening to you snore. Being twisted into shapes as one dog or the other wriggled in between. I can’t even imagine with all those puppies.
I forgot the puppies. You couldn’t possibly have … maybe he did, Roger. Maybe they’re living on a freehold in the country, with all the room to run and chase rabbits.
When I can’t sleep, I play back the notes the scientists left. That generally puts me right out.
(Another beep of some sort – not the personal log chime – and we hear a recording play.)
– experiment coded GRO-BEAR, exploring the growth potential for the phylum Tardigrada when exposed for extended periods of time to the increased solar and cosmic radiation reaching the far side of the moon. As has been established in prior research, there is an association between radiation tolerance and dehydration in the species, where the disordered proteins dessicate and the animal enters anhydrobiosis. Typical of this state is the synthesis of cell protectants …
(The recording of the scientist has faded out and there is a break in the recording. The personal log chime once again, and we come back to Roger’s voice, raspy from sleep but suddenly alert.)
Wait. Hold on. I want this copied to my personal folder.
(We hear a few muted beeps as before, and a new recording begins.)
Additional note. This is Wilder, Base Maintenance – it was my responsibility to, uh, terminate this experiment after th’ Grand Exodus. Instead, I let the little buggers – not so little now – keep on tumblin’ around for a while, like our own personal Hamsterdance. Nessa liked knowing they were there, gods rest her soul, and we all … liked her. So I decided, after, to set up a chamber where they could go into stasis like th’ rest of us. They do pretty well on their own, but I thought it can’t hurt.
(We hear the mechanism in their arm move, and a sudden unhappy tick.)
Got to rejig that later.
Anyhoo, it was a piece o’ work. I managed to sweet-talk a tech down below into sendin’ me some schematics for the pods – they blacked out pages at a time, but I was able to piece most of it together. I got to know the procedure pretty slick, front and back, upside, downside, inside out. I’m pretty sure at this point, I could even pull people out o’ stasis with the tools that I’ve got on hand.
Or in hand. I know they didn’t mean to set that knowledge loose. I made a few sketches – make sure you check ‘em out if you’re gonna carry on from what I started –
(Another beep, and her voice is cut off.)
Save full entry and all attached image files.
Well. That, umm … just happened.
That could be a thing.
(We hear the personal log chime, signing off. The episode ends.)