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One Alone

The Black is empty.

First thing I always do is head into the cockpit. I check the monitors, maybe hit a few buttons on the console, but the Vincible basically flies herself. It's more a habit than anything else, drilled into me back when I was a mere wet-behind-the-ears Ship Wipe.

If I happen to be docked at a station, I'll check the local Employment Center, see whether anything needs doing. I've got a lot of skills under my belt, learned just about all there is to learn. At this point about the only thing I haven't tried is outright criminal behavior.

But it's never long before I head back to the cruiser. To my cocoon. Universities and Gyms don't offer me much these days. And I learned the hard way that wandering around stations out in the open can be hazardous to your health. It's a lesson I've never forgotten, even though Security eventually eliminated most (most) of the psychotics.

Plus I've grown accustomed to being on my own.

The Black is solitary.

Once in a while, something will remind me of how amazing pre-Cat humanity must have been. Spread out across millions of planets, in billions of star systems. Galactic citizens who looked and thought and acted just like we do. Who had careers and families and friends just like ours. Who were technicians, artists, builders, scientists, inventors, traders, teachers, soldiers, just like we are. Who drank and joked and celebrated and wept and held each other, who laughed and learned and loved and lived just like us.

So few left.

The rest just billions of floating corpses.

The Black is silent.

These days there's almost no chatter on the Mesh, or at least the Vincible's ancient technology doesn't pick up any. The Citizen Council seems to be AWOL, but then no one's asking them for much. Occasionally someone might pipe up with a question, and Ser StarGazer is prompt to respond. Other than that, it's mostly background radiation. Static.

Every tenspan or two I'll hear from someone else in the TAU Syndicate, usually an invitation to help clean out a nest of ruffians on some distant station. Making our tiny corner of the galaxy a little safer, a little more palatable. They're a good crew--no, a great crew--but of course they've all got their own lives. So we get in, we do the job, we get out. Strictly professional. More efficient that way.

It's been cycles since any of my regular contacts updated their blogs. Can't really blame them, when I haven't updated my own either. Hence this somewhat more introspective than usual entry. Maybe someone out there is still reading. Still interested.

Still connected.

The Black is lonely.