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Lunacy: Epilogue: Breaking Bread


  06:47:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1009 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Epilogue: Breaking Bread

?It?s Thanksgiving,? Ken said from the head of the table, ?and maybe it?s just that I?m older than all of you, or maybe it?s that I have more gray hair than any of you- sorry, Bill-? Bill, who was in the middle of drinking a glass of wine, continued drinking, but raised his free middle finger in Ken?s direction. ?But I feel a bit like the father of this mutant family. And while we have no bird to carve- unless that?s a euphemism, and then-? ?Ahem!? Paul bellowed. ?Right, on track, focused, we don?t have a bird, but this is still turkey day. For those of you non-Americans, sorry; I wish you could have been born in our better country.? ?And we wish your children were better educated,? Rica said. ?Or that your people lived longer,? Ang added. ?Foreign-born peanut gallery, zip. But in case you?ve somehow never caught a Peanuts holiday special, aside from slaughtering a weird-looking, weird-sounding, weirdly named bird, we show our appreciation of things since the last turkey day.? ?I meant what I said about family. I haven?t been here near as long as some of you, but you?ve made me feel welcome- given me a sense of belonging I only ever had fleetingly back on our home ball of rocks. Maybe some of that is our shared parasite, and maybe some the forced intimacy of a space station. But it seems like a fair trade off, just to let some microbugs do science in my colon.? ?Can?t we go one Thanksgiving without talking about your colon?? Paul asked. ?Never,? Ken said. ?But we lost people this year. I?ve been with the program long enough that I knew all of them, in one capacity or another. Trained some of them. Trained with some of them. They are our brothers and sisters, even in death, and they will be cherished, and missed. So the first of man toasts- those of you with weak constitutions might want to pace yourselves, because that is heavily fortified wine- I may have fortified it a little extra myself- but the first toast, as it should always be, to our fallen.? Ken raised and drained his glass. He shook it at Colleen, who rolled her eyes and poured him another. ?My second toast, because I?m a lush and I talk too much when I drink, to guilt. All of us have got it. Whether it?s questioning how we could have prevented things, or just guilt that we lived where others didn?t. Well you knock that shit off. We are brothers and sisters, through fire and through blood. I?ve bounced my fair share of military nutsacks from the program who didn?t understand that what we do is just like combat- only instead of drone strikes dropping missiles from a world away while you sip your goddamned beer from the safety of a trailer, we ride the rockets the whole damn way. It is a madman?s dream, a dream only fulfilled by men and women smart enough to know better, but crazy enough not to care. And that combination already makes us something special, set apart from the rest of our species. But living through what we?re called to do, and living through what we have, that makes us family. And maybe I don?t deserve to place myself in there; I sat in a comfy armchair while the rest of you fought for your very survival up here. But not once have any of you made me feel like I didn?t belong. So drink with me again.? He killed his second glass, and Colleen dutifully filled it. ?Third, we?re going to drink to the future- though I?m breaking that up into two separate toasts, because I like drinking, and you should, too. Claudette?s heading back to Earth in the morning. We?ll miss her. But she?s volunteered to pilot resupplies for as long as we need them. And given the time I had trying to track down even a civvy to come up here with me-? ?That?s because you were the one doing flying,? Skot said. ?My piloting is so smooth it would give Barry White?s corpse an erection.? ?And there goes my appetite,? Laura said, pushing her plate forward. ?But that commitment might mean a lot to us in the future. In effect, she?s volunteered to go on milk runs while everybody else does the big fancy exploration. She?s punching her career in the overhead gonad compartment so we don?t starve- or have to go too long without booze. So to Clod, for being a generous sort, and for not getting her genetic cherry popped.? ?And there goes my appetite,? Colleen said, comically dropping her fork. ?Screw you all- I?m being eloquent up here,? Ken muttered. ?The second half of that third toast is about all of us. We?ve been through what should probably be pictured in the dictionary to represent ?crazy shit,? but we came out the other end.? Paul leaned over to Colleen and said, ?This seems to be a very colon-heavy Thanksgiving.? ?Makes me feel right at home; very colon-heavy, my family holidays,? she said. ?The two of you together now makes so much more sense,? he said. ?Cough cough,? Ken said, ?because I?m still talking. But We?re resilient, frequently brilliant, and candidly excellent specimens of the human condition- though our human condition is a little on the altered side nowadays. I know this isn?t the life any of us expected. And had we been asked, this is quite likely not the life any of us would have chosen. But I have every confidence we will not only persevere, here, but we will thrive, and we?ll accomplish that together. It was a privilege working with all of you. And it?s been an honor joining you here.? Ken raised his glass a final time, then drained it, and dropped into his seat. ?For right now,? he said, ?we?re going to feast. But the future starts tomorrow. And it?s a big weird Moon out there. Let?s go do some science to it.?

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