11 May 2009

short fiction (I)

All right. Work's slow, there are 45 minutes left in the day (47, I guess), and I feel a strong desire to do something I've not done for a long time: write some prose. Let's see what happens.

The halls of the Faustus, like the halls of a hospital, smell vaguely of cleaning chemicals, the kind deadly to bacteria and sensitive nasal passages. More like a hospital long-since closed, but still maintained by a manically dedicated cleaning staff. Spotless. White, in the sections lit brightly enough to see by. Flat, from the uniform overhead light that shines in those spaces. Sterile.

The workers that do not sleep, that have not slept since their ship left the other side of the galaxy for its return trip, float through its passages, the light following them, inch by inch. The monolithic constructs look perfectly at home among the passages; they share the same absent color palette, the same missing definition. From time to time, the workers stop. Air wooshes from their underbellies, clearing a buildup of dust before sucking it inside. They patrol in solitude; it is unlikely that one would recognize a mate if they crossed paths.

The walls of these long hallways find themselves only broken up by sealed doors so flush with those walls that it would be all but impossible to differentiate one from the other, were it not for the labels adorning them. Here, too, spartan is the order of the day. MEDICAL. SERVER STORAGE. MAINTENANCE. RECREATION.

To see the Faustus only from the inside would be to miss much of what makes her special. Examining the exterior reveals a design of extraordinary grace, one that swims through the vacuum. For every harsh angle on display inside of her, a curve softly makes its presence known on the outside. The running lights that cross her long axis reveal a scheme of blended colors that would not look out of place on an earthbound marine mammal; the same for the lighting on her short. The lights form a pattern on Faustus' skin, drawing the eye to it rather than ushering attention away.

Beauty has been taken from the people inside the ship, and put on display for a lifeless void. Why shouldn't it? They have, after all, been locked inside their offices for centuries, alive now only because of the ship's twin triumphs: the cloning pond, and the memory transference tubules.

(God, can already you tell I've been writing screenplays, and haven't touched prose for years? Yeesh.)

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