Day 1, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting. the other members of the crew are dead, and the engines remain non-operational, though ship integrity remains good and life support systems are still active. I successfully jettisoned the intruder from the airlock, but it remains alive and continues to try to access the ship. with a little luck I can repair the distress beacon, and someone will pick me up. this is Munroe, the last survivor of the Wretched, signing off.
Day 2, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Woke up remembering Gardner. Almost hoped when I went to the galley she was there, same as always, up earlier and brighter than anyone else. seeing her was like having real mornings again. Ray of sunshine to the face isn’t always the most pleasant thing when you’re waking up, but it helps the process almost as much as coffee. She’d always ask about my dreams.
Last night I dreamed about the last dream she told me. It was different in the dream- she wasn’t wearing her overalls, she was wearing robes, like one of the ladies on those cards she’s always playing with. And she told me, again, about how she dreamt the nothingness outside spilled into her cabin, through her wall, and choked her. As she told it, and poured me coffee, and I drank, it felt like that was the only warmth left in this whole wreck. Heating systems must be on the fritz, because I woke up shivering.
I’d thought it was weird, even for her, but it wasn’t bad enough to bring up with anyone else. Rais didn’t even seem to be listening. He always tuned her out. He wasn’t in my dream. I’d just listened, because what else was there to do, and she’d given me an odd smile with my coffee. Maybe I should have said something. I know how she died, now, and that she’d described it perfectly, just a handful of days before it happened. Maybe if I’d listened, she would be here to pour us coffee in the mornings still.
I checked the observatory again. Bastard’s still trying to get in, and there’s signs of wear in enough places that I changed my plans for the day. Pried up some hall panels and got the welder working, started covering up the glass. It’s at least another layer it’ll need to get through. Not feeling much of a need to stare at the stars anyway. Fucked up the lights in that hallway, though. Can’t let myself get sloppy. Too much to do.
🂲 🂽 🃉 🂺
Day 3, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Guess the honeymoon’s over. I should’ve checked the climate control yesterday, because it set off a whole fucking chain of disasters. First the water tasted like shit, which sent me looking in the purification systems. Heat damage has fucked something up there, and I don’t know enough about those systems to fix it. It went from too cold to too warm overnight, so I’ve been sweating something awful- thought it was me that reeked, or maybe some bit of someone that I’d missed. Found the sewerage leak next. Another hall panel welded in place did the job to patch it, but cleanup was a fucking nightmare. And because the water smells like ammonia, a shower didn’t do a whole lot to help me feel all that clean and rosy afterwards.
Felt like crying when I got stuck on the bridge. It’s been a lot, but fuck, I don’t want to dehydrate myself more, and have to drink more of that reeky water. Computer says it won’t kill me but it ain’t doing shit for morale. Sweaty again from wrenching the doors apart. Maybe I can find some cleaning wipes in someone’s locker, tide myself over until I’ve figured how to fix the water. I’ll sleep sound tonight. Trying to take that as a comfort, and not another thing to worry about.
🃇 🃗 🂫
Day 4, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Maybe the lockers wasn’t the best idea. I went through them, looking for wipes. Forgot what I’d find in Grey’s locker. I hadn’t opened it since I shoved the bear in there. I couldn’t bring myself to leave it out, and the sight of it felt like a blow to the gut. Took me a while to get my shit together again, and finish the search. Didn’t want the time to have been a waste.
Only useful thing I really did today was get into the lander module, and that turned out to be just about for nothing. Fucking asteroid must have broken things worse than we’d realised. Not that we’d really had time to check it out, what with the whole engine failure going on. Then we had other priorities. I’d been hoping I could jig it into some kind of shuttle, get free of the ship, but who knows, maybe the bastard would come after it. that gave me an idea, though- so I’d managed to jettison it anyway. Dead weight, wasn’t going to sustain anything, but maybe it would distract Spacefuck. I’m trialing the name. Maybe.
Can’t stop thinking about it. Nothing useful, no ideas as to how to kill it, how to deal with it prowling around the outside, waiting for an opportunity to finish the job. Just shit like- fuck, it’s surviving out there. It’s fine, out in bloody vacuum . Is that where it’s meant to be? Is that where it lives- just out in the black we thought was empty, we thought was nothing? Fuck knows we never saw anything until it was inside, and even then. Maybe we were the first invaders. But if it’s defending its home- we’re not there anymore. Why can’t it just fuck off?
The bear’s name was Piggy. One of his daughters gave it to him, before we set off. He’d always been an awkward sort, not inclined to open up, but I guess I’m easy to talk to. I can't remember all their names, though, but I remember the bear's. He’d kept it on him, even to the end.
I got it out of the locker. Needed the company.
Day 5, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
...if there is an afterlife, I hope I end up in the same one as Ioan, so I can kick his fucking arse. Stupid idiot. We could have both gotten out. Fuck the odds. I wouldn’t have been alone for this, then.
I did shit. I fixed shit. I’m alive. Spacefuck’s still out there. Awesome.
🂦 🃍 🂱 🂹
Day 6, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
I woke up thinking this thing was going to drive me insane, and maybe it has. I dunno. Maybe tomorrow will answer that for me.
The alarms kept waking me up. It was driving me fucking insane, sleep’s the last reprieve I have, and I can’t keep working if I can’t get more than an hour at a time before the computer loses its shit over Fuckstar out there getting grabby with the hull.
Maybe it wasn’t a great idea to turn them off, but I’m dying to hear alternatives. Took me long enough, though. Couldn’t do it at the bridge, had to break into the captain’s quarters and use her computer there. Never been in there. Everything was… softer than I imagined. Would’ve never pegged Hart to have an actual quilt on her bunk. I think I expected something more military dorm.
Considered going back to sleep, but the silence felt weird. I think my brain caught up with me- made me put two and two together that no alarms means no warnings. But then I couldn’t work out how to reverse it, so I guess this is what we’re stuck with. Just silence, and the shit my head tries to fill it with. Kept thinking for most of the day I could hear it again. Not the alarms- the monster. I guess I’ve spent long enough listening for it, listening to it, that even if I never laid eyes on more than its shadow, I feel like I know it. I always had good hearing, for anything that wasn’t a person trying to talk to me. Ask me if I want milk in my coffee and you’ll get a string of what-sorry-say-that-again.
The alarms would be almost preferable. They’re on the other end of the spectrum, really- high and insistent, unable to be ignored. The bastard is more of a… low, pulsing thrum. Like feeling someone’s heartbeat, or feeling the bass from a rock show three floors below. It was hardly a noise, and that’s the worst thing to be trying to listen for. Hell of a lot harder to dismiss it’s there when it’s so subtle, even when the thing is all but breathing down your neck.
I choose to blame Starfuck for fucking up the engine. It’s not my job, and I read up as much as I could from Kaveu’s manuals before I even breathed on a bolt. I was just hoping that maybe it would be fixed by- I dunno. Pull the cartridge out and blow on it. I was being dumb, and desperate for something to do. Probably really broke it for good.
I shouldn’t have gone from that failure on to fucking with the beacon, but fuck I’m glad I did. Knock fucking wood this isn’t just a calm before the final storm. If someone can pick the signal up, I’ve got a chance. I can warn them, even, so we don’t just end up with Wretched Act Two. Act Four? I don’t know theatre.
This better not all be just a hopeful dream tomorrow. Except the engine part. I could do with that mistake being erased.
🂪 🂶 🂵 🂨 🃕
Day 7, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Beacon’s still functioning, so that wasn’t a dream. Had to check again, after I realised the oxy was fucking off . Error log said it was a power fluctuation, so good job yesterday me. when I could breathe again without feeling dizzy I went through each and every one of the still functioning systems, making sure nothing else had been broken.
I saw something on the scanner. Something big. It’s flickering, though, coming and going, and I checked a few hours later to see if it was doing it still. Could have been oxygen deprivation, after all, but nope, it’s still there. It’s not a ship, much as I can hope. Don’t know what else it could be.
I know it’s not Fuckwit, because it was curled up around the engine block the whole time. Hate that I know that. Hate that I opened my mouth about knowing that. Ioan wouldn’t have gotten fucking ‘ideas’ in his head about who had the best chance of survival. He wouldn’t have died if he’d had let me help him, hadn’t fucking trapped me in his room-
I don’t need to talk about this. Sick of crying.
Day... 8 , salvage…
Day 8, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
It left. For a while. I put one of the bodies into the other landing module and jettisoned it, and it followed. I felt it leave.
I couldn’t feel it through the hull- I couldn’t feel the humming ache in my ribs. I just felt still and quiet and dead.
When it came back, I was glad. I hate it so fucking much. I wish it would die. I wish-
🂧 🂤 🂾
Day 9, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
It got in. I think. I don’t know. The cameras don’t pick it up, but I know something was here.
there was a voice on the comms. No rescue, I didn’t even have a moment to think that, because that voice tugged at my ribs and my gut and made every stained spot of blood on my hands heavy as lead. It whispered and laughed and called my name before I got to the bridge and managed to shut it off.
And the lights flickered. The lights flickered, in that same way it did when it first got on board, and I heard the thrum and I was going to die, I knew it was going to happen and it would find me and whisper my name in my ear before it killed me
would it kill me
does it still want to
I didn’t want to be alone. i have to put ioan back. he’ll start to bloat and reek, out of cold storage, but he saved me. again. this time I did hide, dragging a stiff, frozen corpse over me. I don’t know what sense it made at the time. I think I thought if I died near him, I could follow him.
The lights came back on. i haven’t checked the ship. if there’s nothing more- if- if I-
I have to check the ship.
Day 10, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
I don’t know if my dreams are worse or better than reality. It speaks in them, now. More than just my name.
Last night it told me about things I’ve never seen. Worlds of diamond and shale, planets covered in alien moss, places deep oceans constantly boiling. It talks to me and it lies atop me like a great sprawled cat, heavy and soft and purring. I pressed my hands into it to push it away and it wasn’t fur it was just inky abyss that swallowed me wherever it touched.
I wish it would just go back to killing me every night.
🂸 🂳 🂣
Day 11, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Fire suppression system was activated overnight. I turned the alarms for that off too, apparently, so I’m lucky it worked. At least something does on this ship. Technical fault in one of the doors. A surprisingly normal issue. This is the sort of thing I’d help out with before everything went to shit. It was weirdly soothing, to pull it apart, locate the fault, and work through fixing it. It went smoothly.
Only issue was the company. Not Piggy. She’s fine. But I could feel Pissblack out there, prowling about. Not surprised my dreams think its a big old cat. I watched a cat stalk a bird once, and it feels like it moves like that. Except if the cat had more limbs. Maybe something like an octopus. they’re kinda unnerving with how they move. suitably alien, I guess.
I checked the sensors again, when I was making sure the beacon was still functioning. No sign of the big old ghost I saw a bit ago. Maybe it left. Might be for the best. now it’s just me, and the big bitch outside, and this ratty little bloodstained teddybear. Maybe this will be it, to the end. chances of someone seeing the beacon aren’t great, after all.
I should be more upset. I should be crying more. I think I’m losing it in another way. It’s just hard to care as much, even about my own death.
the bastard’s back. it’s trying the airlock again.
Day 12, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Anyway, it’s clawing at the door again. Makes my bones hurt being near it, and honestly I shouldn’t have gone there because what was I going to do? Fight it off when it broke through in the split second before the vacuum dragged me out?
apparently what I was going to do was yell and holler at it until my throat was raw and my head hurt, and now I’m ransacking the infirmary for painkillers. Talking to myself, too. clearly in the best of health and spirits here. Gardner’s old musings, too. Learned more Shakespeare from her than any schooling taught me. She always liked Ophelia, best when she was mad and scattering flowers. I should worry more about it, but I have other things to fuss about.
Day 13, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
New ship policy is, stop fucking with shit out of desperation. I’m down an engine now. Damn thing caught fire, turns out I really fucked it up trying to fix it. I was trying to leave it be but- fuck, I turned the comms back on, I’ve been trying to listen for a few hours at least, until Bastard starts whispering again, and I heard someone. Maybe I’ve drifted far enough- I tried getting a response out but they’d already gone quiet again. Shipping lane talk, which throws off my theory about where we’ve been headed. But it means more might be passing through.
God I wish hope didn’t hurt so much.
Day 14, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Another day. It’s been quiet. Trying to do maintenance, while Shitfuck stalks me about.
I gotta come up with a better name for it. It’s cathartic to just swear at it but if someone does find me, I don’t want to sound like a raving lunatic. I mean I am, I’m pretty sure of that by now, because I have a monster tugging at my bones and leeching into my skin, but I can’t be calling it Starfuck or Pissblack over the comms when I’m warning them that this isn’t just a simple salvage and rescue.
...maybe it has a name. It can talk, unless that’s just more of me going mad. I wish there was someone else to ask if they can hear it too. I don’t think I’d like the answer either way. If it can speak, if it’s capable of reason- it makes this whole shitfest even sicker.
fuck it. It’s Pissblack until I have someone to warn. I’ll make something up then, when I need it.
🃈 🂷 🂥 🃂 🃁
Day 15, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
I thought I’d died in the night. I really did.
I’ve woken up in no gravity before, but I guess it’s never been under conditions quite like this. Anywhere like this. So I jumped to some conclusions, before I realised that I ached too much to be dead, and that I could still feel Fuckwit on the other side of the hull.
Most of the day went to fixing the gravity drive, but it helped me locate a bunch of other issues. Loaded up a thermos of coffee and stuffed my pockets with ration bars and went to work.
Did a lot of good work today. Even fixed the borked hallway light that was giving me heart attacks every time I had to head through there. Had to cram myself up in one of the ducts, but it was easier than usual. I think I’ve lost weight. It was almost comfortable, and I half felt like just dozing off. Of course, then my good old murder buddy figured out where I was, and I had to finish the job while it felt like it was trying to draw me right out through the hull. Annoying fucker.
Located the oxy leak, too. Must have contributed to the failure- fuck, was that a week ago? A week and a day. In a way I’m lucky it’s just me, or else it would have been a problem way sooner. The hole didn’t take too much to weld, but it would be a better patch job if I could do an EVA without being- ...that’s an idea.
Well if I don’t report back, take a guess what happened. I’ll share my plan if I survive.
Ha- ha it worked and we had zero breakdowns in the process! Triumph all around, pudding for dessert!
Okay, so I jettisoned another body. Poppy’s, to be specific.I kept her ID tags, and I hope she can forgive me, but it drew off the bastard long enough for me to finish patching the hull rupture, and I got some work done on the beacon. Signal’s boosted, maybe I’ll have a bit better luck with it.
Bastard came back faster this time, so I can’t keep using that tactic too often. Good to know I’ve got something vaguely effective, though.
Okay, enough work for today. I’ve earnt my shuteye.
🃘 🃝 🃂 🃗
Day 16, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Today’s been… rough.
Needed to move more bodies. The secondary freeze unit malfunctioned, so it’s not exactly keeping them cold anymore, but it gave me an idea. It’s one of the sturdier places in the ship. With the bodies moved to the galley, and put on ice there, I could use it as- I dunno. Last chance bunker.
It’s not the best plan. My other options are limited, and I have to rig up a means for oxygen to get in without fucking with its structural integrity. But- the walls are thick. And my friend seems to struggle with finding me when I’m deeper in the ship. When I’m by the hull, they seem to zip over quick enough, but that’s it, they have to head there.
Other options are the crawlspaces. But it would physically limit me, and it might be able to get in anyway. I studied one of the halls that it fucked up the most- I’m hardly a xenobiologist but it’s clear the thing has reach. Lots of limbs, and it can rupture metal too. But only the thinner panels. I mean, it’s still an accomplishment, I would be pressed to even bend one of those panels, but it didn’t manage to scratch that deep on the thicker pillars.
If I hole up in the freezer, I’ll have room- to rest and eat and wait. and if it comes in- I’ve got Hart’s rifle now. Had to pry her hands off it. It didn’t seem to do her much good but… fuck it. Might as well keep it around.
I need a shower. and to throw up. Bye.
Day 17, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Lost power today. Had to rip apart the backup generator to get it working. It does, now, but that’s it for my backup. It wouldn’t have been able to sustain things long enough if I relied on it anyway. Moved one of the EVA suits to the freezer unit. I’m sleeping in there from now on. The dreams don’t seem too bad.
Found Gardner’s diary. Rae’s diary. Why didn’t I ever call her Rae? She called me Valentine about as much as ‘Mx Munroe’. I probably should have left it- tucked it into her locker, but I- I dunno. Needed the company. Same as needing Piggy and Hart’s rifle. Funny little family I have now. A teddy bear named Piggy. A gun I don’t know how to use. A real book full of paper and secrets.
She drew as much as she wrote. I didn’t know she could draw. Flowers, and landscapes, and they weave in and out of the words in honestly about how I’d imagine her diary to have looked. It flows the same way she talked. Distracted and joyful and clever.
She missed the sky. The sky, and the trees. And her ‘moss’. I think it was a nickname for someone. Someone whose health she worried over.
I should have talked to her more. Made her tea some evening, and broke out those biscuits I’d been saving. Just feels all selfish, now, how much I kept to myself.
Day 18, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Life support’s struggling. I’ve spent all day trying to fix it, and it just isn’t working. I don’t know what else to do. If it goes, I won’t have days until this rescue that’s never coming. I’ll have hours. I could stretch it out, in an EVA suit, but only for so long.
Ioan could fix it. He wouldn’t have been stuck at this dead end. He had no right to decide I got to live instead of him. We could have both lived.
I shouldn’t have yelled at him. I can only remember the arguments now, and none of the happiness. It’s like steam dissipating in the air. All that’s left is anger. ‘Let me out, fuckwit. Let me out.’
Day 19, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Munroe reporting.
Reporting for... the last time.
I’m in the freezer unit. It got in.
The galley freezer failed as well, and I had to start moving the bodies before they defrosted. Only choice was to space them. or at least keep them in the airlock. I had to move Ioan and Rae, and I left them to last. Didn’t want to have to do it, but- fuck, it’d only be harder to deal with when they started to rot.
I took too long. I don’t know how it got in. I only knew it was there as I was opening the airlock- I saw it moving, hiding in the bodies, and I didn’t know what I was seeing at first until it was coming for me. It’s space. It’s the empty void, no stars just
I got to the freezer unit. I can feel it outside. I’ve got the rifle but I don’t know it will do anything.
I can hear it. It’s singing. It’s saying my name. And my fingers hurt, and all I want is to open the door and let it in.
I hope, if this is found, we’ve left. I hope you can get enough data from the computers to know where not to stray. I hope someone can learn from this.
I’m going to open the door now.
I’m going to ask for its name.