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Lunacy: Alone


  06:30:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 709 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Alone

He remembered Laura's last words to him: ?You don't have to go alone.? Ken finally understood what Paul saw in her- besides the youthful perky parts. But he'd always believed that people went out alone into the world, that community was an illusion, a social nicety discussing the just beneath the surface urge to murder your neighbor to take his wife and his garden and claim it for your own. ?Though in my defense,? Ken said aloud, ?Kayleen gardens without a bra on; it's enough to make every man feel a little paleolithic.? But he was also man enough to admit the gulf between what a man tells himself is the difference between polite society and instinct, and staring into that empty blackness from the ledge overlooking it. So why did he love space, an equally empty blackness? He knew the answer the moment his mind formed the question. Because space was the antithesis of the human void. The void was all the lizard brain reactions that held man back from his potential; space was endless possibility, spread out across the sky to inspire the whole species. And that was what was waiting for him on that station: raw, powerful instinct, all fur and fangs and claws. In a away, what had happened to his astronauts felt honest; human beings were predatory, self-involved monsters. The crew of the Lunar Station were just wearing their monster on their sleeves. Ken also knew that there was something fitting to his likely demise. It was his hubris, his desire to see the stars, played out however vicariously through Paul and the Perseus, that led to this. He couldn't help but feel compromised his standards, and he had a lot of astronaut blood on his hands. He probably deserved to be torn to shreds. But looking out at the stars as the Elevator descended, he knew it was a death he could live with. He was in space. He was complete, fulfilled in a way he never understood before his shuttle breached the Earth's atmosphere. It was like his soul losing its virginity to the girl of its dreams. He was alone with the love of his life, and the only thing that saddened him was that it couldn't last forever. The Elevator shook as it reached the bottom floor. He'd already video conferenced with the Station crew, and knew they were going to meet him at the bottom of the shaft- which made him smile. He walked over to the exit. He stood in the Elevator once on Earth- or rather, the prototype build of it. The more expensive, intricate, difficult to manufacture on the Moon bits had been launched, but most of it was rebuilt using Lunar minerals mined by robots. He swallowed as the doors started to open. The room was dark, but he could make out several silhouettes in the blackness- including one outline he'd never forget: Paul's ex-wife, Maria. ?What big teeth you've got,? Ken said. He regretted not having more clever last words; they were good, but not great. Maria stepped into the light streaming out of the Elevator, looking a little self-conscious. ?I know,? she admitted. ?Too big for my mouth. I had to have extensive orthodontics.? Ken sighed, from relief, but it came out annoyed. ?You people ruin all of my bits,? he said. ?I hope you're talking about the comedy kind...? Maria said. ?You people?? Colleen asked. ?Astronauts. I'm beginning to suspect there's a secret medical op they don't tell me about- funny bone ectomies. Dare I ask why the lights are out?? ?We talked about jumping out at you and yelling, 'Boo!'? Maria said with a grin. ?Until cooler heads prevailed.? ?Yeah,? Mai said, ?scaring the crap out of an older guy with a heart condition didn't seem like the kind of thing fricking scientists should be stupid enough to do.? ?Anybody have the urge to violently murder me?? Ken asked. ?No more than usual,? Colleen said. ?Of course, you did talk to my tits a lot back on Earth- so that's relative.? ?That's fair,? Ken said. ?But- and I mean this sincerely, so no social niceties, please- I need to know if anybody gets a burning desire to defenestrate me. For science.?

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