Three half-men in a lifeboat drifted on the methane sea. Her ship’s name, Night Marie, was written on the stern like a tombstone. The ship, along with the rest of her crew, had sunk thirty hours before sunset. Sparks, the ship’s half-boy, crouched in the bows, his ears still ringing with the sound of screams, though the sea had long since swallowed them up. Hobb, the mate, lit the lanterns. Beyond their circle of light, the darkness was total, as though they sat inside a bubble in a well of ink.
“Well,” Hobb said, at length. “We shouldn’t have thrown old Creeping Jack overboard, that’s what I say.”
There are people in this haunting nautical nightmare who should have been thrown overboard, of course, but their presence is inferred rather than overt. The company, and the company men, who built the bodies the half-men wear and designed them to be disposable. Consumable.
But of course they’re absent until it doesn’t matter anymore, because their presence would shatter our suspension of belief. Why would they be present to witness the brutal consequences of their mindless pursuit of profit?
Yesterday’s poem from Dim But Bright Poetry seems apt, somehow.
Doesn’t matter the material composition of the skull, or whether the skin was yours through birth or artificial construction, or whether the thoughts course through circuits or synapses. Some things are yours, and are not capital, no matter what a shareholder says.
Scrap metal lived in the belly of the company ship. Sparks lay strewn about and shuddered by engines. He felt like a star in the dark.
I trust you’ll burn them all to ashes one day, Sparks. That’s what stars do.