12-Minute Tales – Floating


It’s big, and black, and empty…Man has long gazed at the night sky and wished to soar into the boundless abyss…but now that we are up here, exploring, it’s kind of boring…cold…

The name is Una, and I’m one of the space custodians here on this station. My job is simple: keep the outside of the station clean so it looks nice for visitors. You wouldn’t think space stations would get dirty too often, but you would be surprised. Dust, space debris, people’s garbage. It all manages to cake the hull of the station.

But it’s also an issue of safety. You don’t want someone’s plastic toy they got at McDonald’s fucking around with some of the equipment. So, it’s my duty to ensure that there isn’t any stuff that isn’t supposed to be there.

I don’t like my job. The hours are long, and everyone treats you like shit because you’re a lower caste, but I don’t bitch about it. I see visitors all the time from higher echelons of society who are so full of angst. They are about to launch themselves toward another cosmos, but they’re too fixated on themselves. It makes me feel almost bad for them. But then they dump a bunch of shit outside their ship and all my sympathy is evaporated.

I sometimes wonder though. We have advanced so much, but have we ? Technology has launched us beyond our origin planet which once trapped us, but it’s like we haven’t really caught up. We’re still the same simians we were 500 years ago. The richest of the rich and the smartest of the smart are still dwelling on the same, navel-gazing stuff that humans on earth used to obsess over. It’s like we can find some new stars, but we’re still trapped, somehow, by what we’ve always been.

I guess that’s why I don’t bitch about my station. Because it’s silly to bitch about things you can’t control. Maybe that’s what the higher-castes don’t realize because they’re so used to having freedom, but their simians brains don’t exactly know what to do with it; as a result, a void nestles in. They worry and wonder and dread. All the possibilities the universe has opened to them only brings misery. But maybe I’m the one who is delusional.

I see myself, floating again. I hover over the windows. Usually the windows are blackened, but sometimes I can see them in their colorful clothing and surroundings. Unity. That’s what humanity has preached ever since leaving earth. But earth is long gone. And all there is is us. But do we really want unity? These thoughts disperse as I hover to the next window, another ship sitting in the belly of the station, readying itself to puncture a distant galaxy that has yet to be named.

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