First Contact Prelude

It’s fucking cold out here, man. 

Nobody understands that shit. You’ve got your environmental regulators pumping stale, hot air throughout the ship. You’ve got self- regulating jackets that are guaranteed to keep your body at a constant temperature. You got boots keeping your feet warm. Hell, you’ve even got thermal implants under your skin keeping you all nice and warm from the inside out. 

But it’s your heart, man. Do you understand me? It’s your fucking soul that freezes out here on the edge of oblivion. Science gave us all kinds of wonderful shit for our bodies, but it ain’t done jack shit for our souls. 

I’ve been out here too long, staring at nothing. Staring at a fucking abyss of nothingness. What’s that shit about when you stare into the abyss, it stares back at you? That’s some deep shit, man, but it’s fucking true. I can feel that abyss staring right back at me…staring into my soul. Making me all cold and shit, no matter what the numbers say on the thermal readouts. 

The numbers are driving me mad, too. Little fuckers never change. I’ve been out here…fuck I don’t know how long…and those fucking numbers on the instrument panels ain’t changed. Not even a fucking blip. Just once, I’d like to see one change. Naw, scratch that. Shit would probably freak me right the fuck out. Who knows what would cause a number to change? Who the hell knows how to fix some shit that might cause a number to change? Not me. I’m just the dumbass they got to fly this thing. I don’t know jack shit about fixing shit that breaks. 

Ain’t supposed to break…at least that’s what they said. My stupid ass swallowed that hook, line, and sinker. Just like I swallowed all that other bullshit, too. All that hero bullshit. All that “intergalactic diplomacy” bullshit. All that “Ambassador of Mankind” bullshit. All that bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. 

Mama Goddess, I’m so fucking stupid. Hi. My name’s Henry, and I’m a fuckingstupidholic. 

Black, blank, black, black, blank, black, blackness. That’s all there ever is. Blackness. The Neverending Blackness. Like the Neverending Story, only blacker. The end of the Neverending Story. That’s what deep space is, man. It’s a whole lot of nothingness. Back home, you look up in the night sky, and you see all those stars, and you think “Holy shit, that’s a lot of light!” But up here, there ain’t shit but darkness. 

And it’s so fucking cold. I already said that shit, didn’t I? Oh well. Ain’t nobody listening to me except me. Well, me and you…but you ain’t really here, are you? Just another figment of my fuckityfucking stupid imagination. Shit. It don’t matter, does it? Even if you only exist in my mind, you’re real enough to me. I might as well tell you the story from the beginning… 

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