Sometimes you just gotta admit when you’ve failed. And this isn’t one of those times because despite forever delays, goddamn it, I’m seriously wrapping up Degenerate. The problem is that I’m writing about two words per day so it’s taking me longer than normal. But they’re two super choice words.
Anyway, to distract myself from actually finishing something material, I often start writing new books instead. It’s far easier, you see. And I’ve been meaning to pen a first-person novel. So here’s a little excerpt from the very-dumb-but-also-kinda-okay named Starcophagus.
LOG: ROBERT MCCARTHY; LAST RECEIVED
MAY 5, 2037, 18:37:11
So, hi NASA, and maybe the Air Force, probably the Pentagon by now, and if by some miracle this makes it past all the bureaucracy to Mom and Dad, too, wonderful.
Folks, I’ve got some good news and bad news here. Maybe let’s start with the good, huh?
Assuming this stupid marshmallow suit is recording and I’m not just talking for the sake of it right now, in about, well, something like six hours, video will be on the way that proves yours truly, Rob McCarthy, master linguist extraordinaire, now holds the interstellar record for the longest spacewalk. Fuckin’ A right. Eat your heart out, James Voss and Susan Helms. Get out of here with your weak shit.
The bad news is that by the time you get this transmission something like twenty-four hours from now—these delays are really annoying, by the way—I’ll be dead.
So… yeah. That sucks.
Okay, listen—Mom, Dad—if you’re watching this, it’s okay. I knew what I was signing up for, understood the inherent risks, and listen, for real, it’s all right. I only hyperventilated a little earlier and I didn’t start recording until after I got myself under control. But seriously, as far as dying goes, suffocation has objectively gotta be pretty high up on the list of options. After a while, I’ll just get really tired, drift away peacefully, and that’ll be all she wrote. Unless, you know, a micrometeorite traveling at 160,000-ish miles per hour obliterates me, but that’s super duper unlikely—and if we’re being honest I’d be dead before I knew what was happening anyway, so hey, that’s also a win.
I’m not terribly worried about the latter possibility. It’s called space for a reason. It’s spacey. And yeah, there’s space dust, too, but your chances of running into it are infinitesimally small, especially if you’re floating around in the wide-open darkness of interstellar space. Truth is, there ain’t shit out here.
Well, except for good old Voyager 4. I can still see her floating about a football field’s distance away. Gotta say, she’s lighting up the vacuum. Admittedly, that’s because she’s on fire—and lemme tell you, if there’s a God watching over the vastness she’ll explode into a billion pieces while I’m still awake enough to see it. That’s my final wish—just to see that fuckin’ ship disappear forever.
The crew’s dead, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet. Everybody. The captain. Felicia. Jory. Susan. The Russians. The Chinese. All gone. And me next.
Still, I’d rather be here than there. That should tell you everything you need to know, but allow me to be crystal clear on the point. If that ship comes within a 100 million miles of Earth—if it slides into the goddamned solar system—you blow it out of the sky. You send everything, you hear me? Nuke the shit out of it. Shoot whatever other insane bombs you got at it. Laser it—I don’t care. But do not send any more people. I’m repeating that just in case you’re too stupid to listen the first time. Do. Not. Send. Any. More. People.
There’s a reason I’m floating out here in cold space and not sleeping in my underwear on Voyager 4. And spoiler: It’s not because I’m adventurous.
The object—the starcophagus, as we’ve been calling it—is the textbook case of curiosity killed the cat, and by cat I mean the human race. We should’ve left the goddamned thing alone.