VOYAGE (Day 2)
Within the steel giant, in a cloudy pod, a greying man awakens slowly — his eyelashes crackling as they separate — and lifts from the floe that has become his bed and best friend.
Minutes pass before the thought to move even crosses his mind; his is a strong, patient psyche encased in a fragile body. With a shove he glides across the haze, through the door and into the adjacent hallway, where a weak gravitational field gently pulls his feet to the floor. In one slight motion he disconnects the red wire from his right arm and affixes a safety cord to the wall with his left.
His eyes are white; his grin spans to infinity. There is a peacefulness about him as he makes his way to the helm of his silver monolith, whiffing the artificially cleansed air as he goes — tasting the chemical tang.
Another has traversed this path, and recently. Scratching at his greying beard, he kneads the corners of his lips with his thumb and index finger, then reaches his hand out to feel the corner of the wall to his right. As his arm drifts away and upward his fingers playfully point in a multitude of directions, extending and retracting as if drawing calculations in the air.
His white eyes are silent, but he chuckles to himself as he advances through the opening portal to the control deck where a young, dark haired fellow floats, limp, ten to twelve feet above the floor.
Now unhooked, he pushes himself up, plants his feet on the dimly glowing monochromatic ceiling, then thrusts back down toward a pair of seats and panels, hoisting the young man with him as he goes. After placing him in the seat to the right he situates himself in the captain’s chair and pushes a new red cord into his right arm. He buckles himself across the torso, then reaches over and pulls down the slowly ascending, unconscious young man and does the same for him. He then slips his hand into the inner chest pocket of his grey jacket and reveals a capsule bearing the name KONSTANTIN, pops it open, catches two white patches in his palm, and places one on the young man’s tongue and the other onto his own.
His head droops lazily and a glob of saliva floats away from his lips. He ticks two boxes on a central panel, each lighting up in a soft blue as he guides his finger over them. The cockpit lights dim, and he and the young man are pulled taut into their seats as the debris about the room falls to the floor. Another white capsule clatters forward beneath the young man’s feet, knocking against the dashboard in front of him. Konstantin lets out a drowsy chuckle, and his head bobs again. A distant hum turns to a building rattle and the entire ship lurches lightly; as his eyelids grow heavy, he runs his finger over the panel again, lighting up a third box.
Within moments, he too is unconscious.
The rattle becomes a soft, burning crackle; the bluish sphere draws nearer even as its star creeps behind it, casting a rippling shadow across its back.
The air in the room is still and recycled.
A robotic female voice calls softly throughout the ship:
ARRIVAL TIME: TWENTY-SIX COMMON HOURS.