The Chronic II – “The Vacuum or the Suit”

Hello Citizens. We are back with another chapter in the life of Charlie Grove- cosmic stowaway, and self-proclaimed Space Bukowski. Their transmissions are sporadic at best, and very little is known about the individual who composes these journal entries. They are disseminated over the Mesh at odd intervals and have been gathering quite a following. Without further ado, the latest installment of the “The Chronic”.

You are reading this…
You are hearing this…
You are being told this, feeling this, consuming this…

Welcome to the unwelcomed.
Welcome to the outcast, the dejected, and the mislaid.
Welcome to all those that are still lost and yet, still wander.
Welcome to the Chronic -the journal of Charlie Grove. Intergalactic stowaway.

This captain is a captain. He fixes me straight in eyes with a look that speaks. He didn’t reach for a scanner, he didn’t access his CORETECHS, he didn’t ask the Mesh what it knew -he sized me up, and gave me a choice.


Let the word sink in? Does anyone remember that word? It’s a word whose meaning has departed -all that’s left is an empty case in the form of letters. A violin case without the instrument.  A small violin plays for me. A faint echo of self-pity; it’s in all of us, and I despise it.

The Black falls away all around me; this is an old ship -PreCatTech (PCTs the sailors call them, and I’ve always felt more at home in their titanium bellies). The Captain is eye level with me. He’s sunk to my level, squats. He is strong. The kind of man that commands as much from experience as he does charisma. This one’s already done what he’s inspiring others to do. That should be prerequisite. That should be mandate. That law I’d salute.
His eyes swallow me. He’s clocked me. My mind is fuzzy, like a radio station that’s not quite catching the signal.

He repeats the choice. One of his lieutenants is by his side, but the words would fall just as empathetically were he and I alone.

“No free rides. The vacuum or the suit?”

I know what kind of ship I was stowing away on. I had no illusions. PCT. Ice-rig. The type of ship with extra quarters for crew. Extra crew because you go through crew. Ice-cutters. The type of men that don’t let machines do the cutting. The kind of men that would row the ship themselves if they could; the kind that begrudge the thrusters. The type of men that like rust, loose bolts, low O2 tanks.

Poets in action -men, who are not fond of words.


We’re not far from an ice-cap. I can feel it. There will be plenty of spare suits. I’ll have my pick. They say the hardest part of ice-mining is getting the frozen body of a miner out of the suit without damaging the fabric. They say they’re grey, cracked, and cold to the touch. They say you have to unstitch the back to get the frozen block of a body out. They say unthawing them is too messy. The organs explode and turn to mush, that the stench itself is unbearable. They say it’s easier to unstitch and jettison.

They say.

Enough with the saying. Now we’ll see….

Starbound is unbound.
Signing off…