My Life in Space

Daisybrain
8 min readDec 12, 2023
Razor Wire Sunset, by Daisybrain

Being stuck for months on end on an interstellar ship kinda drives the sane ones crazy and the crazy ones right over the edge. I started out as one of the sane ones. So did Domingo. One morning, I got up early to go to the bathroom while the others slept and I found Domingo facing the window, shaking his head. The System programs an unbelievably beautiful sunrise in the window. Or maybe it’s a sunset. It’s there all the time. In front of the sunrise or sunset, it projects the image of a tall razor wire fence to remind passengers not to try to run off in an escape pod into the deadly emptiness of deep space.

“Preposterously contrived,” said Domingo. This is a phrase he has since repeated a lot. I don’t know what he means by it. It’s some sort of conclusion that he’s drawn about his situation here.

Like all of us, Domingo misses his family — his wife and young children. He hasn’t heard from them since he came aboard. Of course, due to our speed relative to the Earth, they are growing older much faster. It’s like time is standing still on the ship, while life continues outside.

“This is all an elaborate practical joke on me,” said Domingo, staring out, or at, the window. “They’re playing a joke that I can’t understand.” He was losing his perspective on reality. People tend to get paranoid on these long space journeys. But the truth is harder to deal with: nobody is in charge. The robots who run the ship and who are owned by the System don’t care enough to be playing a joke on you; they are just doing the jobs they’re programmed to do.

The first things you give up on a ship are privacy, dignity and autonomy. These are all protective shields long put in place by your ego. When they are taken from you, either your ego grows to compensate or it diminishes. If it grows, you spend the journey engaged in an endless series of conflicts over trivial matters with robots and your fellow passengers. If it diminishes, you can find a measure of peace in letting go — letting go of pride, letting go of the disappointments and pain of the past, letting go of the ship’s destination. There is freedom in just living.

Here is the daily schedule:

At 5:30 am, a robot yells, “Chow!” People crawl out of their narrow metal bunk beds and line up for plastic trays of carbohydrate-rich artificial…

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