I successfully impersonated a crewmate and infiltrated the ship. It was relatively easy, and I was, I can admit it now, a bit disappointed to realize I only had to lie to be accepted. Seriously, no wonder they keep getting killed by us, there is NO OBLIGATORY SCANS to complete when we enter the ship. It’s ridiculous.
The ship is acceptable. A lot of dark, cold corners for me to rest. They assigned beds to us, but I know I won’t use mine. It’s too hot in the dorms for me.
So far so good. Everyone is pretty suspicious of everyone, so I’m not feeling left out. Purple tried to throw a “cards night” and was immediately shut down by half of the crew. Yellow even said “you’re sus”. What does “sus” mean, and what is a “cards night”?
So many questions. I can’t ask them to my crewmates, in case they start wondering why I am the only one who doesn’t know what they are talking about.
The food is disgusting. I see them happily slurping their mushy, brown and tasteless rations, and I want to cry. When a crewmate asks if I want to eat with them, I pretend I’ve already eaten. Nobody will ever make me ingest this disgusting food.
I just saw Purple trying to swipe their card 45 times. During the 23th attempt, they started crying. Am I really supposed to kill someone who is this incompetent?
I started some minor sabotage, to get the killings going. After a brief panic, they all rushed to electrical, and I desperately tried to find someone alone in the corridors or in the rooms.
Apparently, I stumbled into the only crew in the galaxy who stick together when something bad happens. But I’m not giving up.
As a revenge, I turned off the lights, and listening to their horrified screams echoing throughout the ship calmed my wrath. Tomorrow, maybe, I will taste blood.
Pink indirectly told me what “sus” meant. It’s short for “suspicious”. Why. Why do they feel the need to shorten such a beautiful word?
In other news, I’m absolutely garbage at my tasks. Yellow and Red watched me try to fix some wires for a few minutes before helping me. They seemed both amused and mortified by my failed attempts. I will kill them first.
I like the green house. It’s peaceful, and the smell reminds me of my home planet. Blue saw me standing in the room, and during the next meeting, he asked me if I wanted to take care of the plants.
I said yes, obviously. As long as I don’t have to do any electronic meddling, I’m happy.
Update : unfortunately, I still have my other tasks to complete. But Red volunteered to take care of electronics. Maybe they are not that bad, after all.
I completely forgot I was supposed to get rid of the crew. The ship is too high-demand to be handled alone and I’m so busy I don’t even have time to do some light sabotage (which is sad, because I love how the crew reacts to that).
Pink sometimes helps me with the green house. I think they are my favorite. They don’t talk much, and seems to appreciate as much as me the serenity of this room. When we have completed our tasks, we sometime sit next to each other in silence, surrounded by the plants. I like it.
I will eat Pink last.
Update : I could kill Pink during these quiet moments, but 1) it will make me highly suspicious, since everyone knows we hang out in the green house, and 2) I don’t want to ruin the moment.
Purple finally wasted everyone time with their “card night”. It was so boring I think I fell asleep at one point. It was basically just people exchanging cards and mumbling insults under their breath. No fun. I pretended to enjoy myself, but I think I wasn’t the only one bored. Yellow and Red left after the first game, pretending they had tasks to complete, and Green fell asleep on the table after the second game. Purple was the only one who was having fun, I think.
We all went to bed, and I patiently waited for everyone to fall asleep so I could get up and got to my vent. But Red, Pink and Blue decided to have a “night chat” (do they really think that adding “night” to an activity makes it fun?) and invited me to stay. I accepted. They talked about feelings. It was ridiculous.
We all fell asleep in Blue’s bunk. Waking up was truly awful. Red was drooling on me, and Pink was snoring next to my ear canals. I almost ate them on the spot, but refrained at the last moment.
Update : Purple complained they weren’t invited to our “night chat”. I told them they didn’t miss anything. Pink looked almost hurt. I think I’ve made a mistake.
Day 12, later
For an unknown reason, I apologized to Pink for my hurtful comment. They said it was okay, and that “night chat isn’t for everyone”. How can they be so naïve? It’s actually quite pitiful.
Yellow said the green house has never looked better. I’m proud, I think. I tried to sabotage the O2 supply, but it wasn’t as satisfying as before. What am I turning into? If I get as soft and dumb as Pink and Purple, I might throw myself trough the airlock.
Red asked me why I never ate with them. When I told them I had already eaten, they told me to stop lying. Apparently, nobody has ever seen me eat since we started our journey. A mistake on my part.
I though Red was going to call an emergency meeting and accuse me of being a murderous parasite, but they didn’t. They just told me that if I find the food disgusting, maybe I can use the products from the green house to cook myself a meal.
I though the green house was reserved for emergencies and for giving samples to colonies. Red told me I was right, but nobody was going to be mad if I took some plants here and there to eat. It’s strange. They seem to care (?) about me. I wasn’t expecting this.
If only they knew. They will be running as fast as they could, away from me.
After a few failed attempts, I finally managed to cook something that I can digest. It’s a relief; my hunger was almost out of control, and I barely contained myself in some occasions.
It doesn’t taste like blood, but it’s organic, and I think that’s enough for me. Soon, I will have a good supply of fresh flesh.
I will never have a “good supply of fresh flesh”. Past me is an idiot.
I CAN’T KILL THEM.
I tried. I picked my least favorite crewmate – Purple, just because they invented the dreadful “cards night” – and I managed to be alone with them in Security. They were just idly watching the camera, pretending to work, and I was taking care of some damaged wiring close to the door.
I locked the doors, got close to Purple. I was ready. I had an alibi – I had told Yellow earlier I was taking care of my tasks in the reactor room, and I was planning on using the vent to escape the crime scene as quickly as I could, and be in the reactor room when Purple’s body was discovered.
Purple was watching the screen. I got closer, opened my mouth. I thought about the taste of their flesh, of their blood, of the wonderful feeling I felt when I tasted fresh meat.
But then, my treacherous mind provided me with pictures of Purple talking and laughing with Red and Blue, of almost crying when nobody wanted to play cards with them, of trying to swipe their card and failing for the 34th time.
I closed my mouth, and left Security. I went to the reactor room, and underwent a very taxing existential crisis. Yellow arrived as I was starting to wonder if my whole life has been a lie. I pretended I was fine, and helped them deal with a reactor meltdown (the third of the week. This ship is falling apart).
Update : I’m now in my vent. Everybody is asleep. I feel safe. It’s the perfect temperature for me. What I am going to do ? Do I have to impersonate a crewmate for the rest of my life ?
My skin is dry and I feel like my body is getting to small for me. I hate this form. I wish I could turn back into my true self without any consequences.
Since this is my new reality from now on, I asked Purple if we could modify the rules of their cards game to make it more fun. They accepted, surprisingly. The new rules are as follow:
- The one who receives the Captain card leads the game. They are omniscient, and can’t be killed.
- The ones who receive the Civilian cards are completely useless, and can and will be killed.
- The one who receives the Warrior card is supposed to protect the Civilian. He can either kill, save, or do nothing, but only once.
- The ones who receive the Devil cards have to kill the Civilians. They can only do it during the “sleep” phase of the game (commanded by the Captain). For playability purposes, they are only two Devils per game.
- At Yellow’s demand, we added the Leader card. The one who receives it has more influence on the others, and can vote double. It’s either assigned randomly like the other cards, or we can vote to decide who gets it.
- Most of the game is spend arguing and trying to discover who is lying about their card. It’s more interesting than Purple’s game, in my humble opinion. I was the Captain during the first game, then we took turns. Red and Blue are both terrible liars, Green didn’t understand the game for at least three rounds and kept dying stupidly, Pink is pretty decent, and Yellow is terrifying. Purple was a bit put off by the success of my game, but they quickly accepted that it was far better than theirs, and they had fun. It was a good night.
I went to bed wondering why I was trying so hard to be accepted.
The crew has slowly but surely stopped eating the rations in favor of my cooked meals. I shouldn’t feel so proud of myself, but I am. Only Yellow refused to eat at first, pretending we shouldn’t eat the plants reserved to the colonies, but when they saw everyone enjoying their meals, they asked if they could have a bite. Pink shared their meal with Yellow, and I felt something grow in my chest.
After extensive verification, I’m not developing some space-tumor, which is a relief for me. According to my research, what I am feeling is called “happiness”. Ridiculous. If my specie was capable of feeling such a foolish, useless emotion, I would know.
Update : maybe it’s not such a ridiculous theory. Green complimented me on my meal and asked me if I could teach them how to cook. Again, the growing feeling returned in my chest. I need to conduct some experiments, but I fear this is happiness.
This is happiness. But also contentment. And gratification. And excitement. NOBODY TOLD ME I WAS CAPABLE OF FEELING SO MANY EMOTIONS ??
I’ve started to categorize them by degree. First, contentment. It’s the feeling of Purple telling me my game is much better than theirs. Then, gratification, when Green and Blue ask if they can add rules to expand the game, but if I say no, it’s okay, because it’s my game. Excitement is when we have a great, violent game, and everyone ends up yelling or cursing, and Yellow tries to calm everyone but nobody listen to them.
Happiness is when we all go to bed, and Pink wants me to stay next to them because they want to talk, and Purple and Green join us and they all talk about mundane things. It’s when Yellow told me I was now the official cook of the ship. It’s also when Blue and Purple threw a surprise party to congratulate me on my change of function. It’s when Pink takes my hand when the lights go out and we have to go fix them together, and they don’t like the dark so I have to reassure them. It’s when Red talks about Yellow in a shy voice, and asks me (me!) if I think Yellow likes them or not.
How do they manage so many emotions without bursting out of their skin ? Yesterday, I looked at a nicely shaped leaf and I almost cried. I’m ridiculous.
Day 25, later
Pink joined me in the green house. We didn’t talk, just watched the plants in silence. I felt better when they left. They have a soothing vibe that I very much enjoy. Killing them would be such a waste.
Checked some wires, cooked for the crew, talked with Red about their growing feelings for Yellow, and helped Purple with the new game they are inventing. So far, so good, but what I am doing with my life? I should have already kill them all, eat them, and joined a new ship as soon as this one reached the outpost. This is ridiculous. I am a failure, not even capable of doing what I’ve been prepared for my whole life.
But every time I have the opportunity to kill, I can’t. I got too close to the crew, and now they consider me a friend. Purple and Green told me so earlier today, as we were trying to fix the reactor (again)
Happiness and gratification.
Either I’ve boarded with the stupidest crew that ever sailed across the galaxy, or I was very wrong about a lot of things.
Yellow called an emergency meeting first thing in the morning. I was surprised, because I haven’t done anything wrong in my opinion, and the ship is functioning normally.
Here is the transcription of the conversation that took place during the meeting.
Yellow : thank you all for coming.
Blue : I hope it’s important. I was in the middle of something.
Green : stop pretending you were working, I saw you sleeping in Storage
Blue : *indistinct noises of outrage*
Yellow : are you two done ?
Blue and Green : *nod and stay silence for two minutes*
Pink : we are doing this right now ?
Red : *panicked look*
Yellow : yes, better late than never. Black, can you come closer please? Blue and Green, if this elastic comes any closer to my face, you are both grounded.
Blue and Green : *hide the elastic they were trying to throw at Yellow’s face*
I approached. I was feeling nauseous. This was it, the moment when they all realized who I was, or what I was, and unanimously decided to throw me out the ship by the airlock.
But none of them looked tense. Except maybe Purple, who always looked tense during meeting, probably because they always messed up their tasks in one way or another. But the others were calm, Green almost looked bored, and Pink was idly scribbling some plants on their notepad.
Yellow : I’m going to put it bluntly so there is no confusion among us.
Blue : confusion about what ?
Yellow : you are the one I’m talking about. Shut up and let me speak.
Blue : *indistinct noises of outrage, again*
Yellow : Black is the impostor.
There was a silence. For a brief, horrifying moment, I saw myself floating in the emptiness of space, alone and dying. No more cards night, no more idle chit-chat, no more cooking, no more quiet moments in the green house. I was on the verge of crying.
Then Yellow spoke again.
Yellow : but since it’s been 28 days since our departure, and nobody has been killed, I suggest we consider Black exactly as we’ve all been doing.
Red : a great cook ?
Pink : a great gardener ?
Purple : a great card player ?
Yellow : yes, we all understand what I meant by this, shut up.
I was shaking so much I feared for a moment I was sick. They all turned their heads to look at me, as if they were expecting the impostor to chime in. What was I suppose to do? Defend myself? Pretend I wasn’t an impostor? Run to the airlock and bring justice to the ship myself ?
All I could muster was a strange noise, halfway between gurgling and screaming. Pink chuckled, and Blue tried to discreetly throws their elastic at Yellow.
Yellow : as long as you don’t kill anyone, you are welcome here, Black
Red : please stay, you are the only one who can cook here
Everyone : *unanimous cheer*
I was so perplexed. I wasn’t expecting this. This blind naive trust. They knew I could kill them all, eat them, and walk away unarmed. No one could hurt me, they were too weak, too soft, and their weapons would barely scratch my skin.
But still. They trusted me. It was a new feeling for me. Knowing that I could look around and only see friendly faces. Deep inside of me, I felt shame. I boarded on this ship wanting to murder and maim. But now, they were my friends.
All I say was “thank you”. It came out muffled, and my voice cracked at the end (shameful). Pink grabbed my hand and squeezed. I was glad I didn’t eat them; this small gesture helped me ground myself in the moment.
Everyone nodded, and just like that, the discussion ended, and Yellow asked who took their clamps and why, and Purple tried to hide under the table with obvious guilt written on their face.
I left the cafeteria, and went to the green house to think about what just happened. Plants are silent, and don’t expect me to talk about my feelings.
Day 28, later
Pink and Blue came to see me in the green house. They didn’t ask any questions (well, Blue tried, but Pink punched in the arm, and they stopped). They simply talked about mundane things, and left after an hour.
A quiet reminder that I am not alone. That they know what I am, and if somebody die, they will know who did it immediately, but also, that they know I need to feel loved to stay innocent.
It’s confusing. Complicated.
But I don’t think I want it to change.
Some things have changed.
Our routine stayed the same. I still cook for the whole crew. Purple is still coming up with ridiculous, over the top games. Pink still sits with me in the green house when they have the time. Blue and Green are still getting involved in terrible pranks and mischief. Yellow still pretends they are the leader, and Red is still deeply in love with them.
But some details show me I’ve been accepted.
Purple and Red invented a game to teach me about their culture. The rules are simple: one of them says two truths and one lie, and I have to guess which is which. It’s fun, in a way. Some things seem ridiculous to me, but a lot of them make sense after a month of close observation.
Important information : hugs are not shows of dominance, like I first though, but simply a way of demonstrating affection. Purple volunteered to hug me so I could have the “real experience”. It was strange. A bit uncomfortable, as I am not used to close contact. But nice, in a way.
They now let me sleep in the vent. I don’t even have to pretend to fall asleep in my bunk, I can just go directly to my little spot, and no one had said a thing, even if Pink and Blue still insist I stay with them for “night chat”. I accept, because it allows me to learn new things about them.
I had an interesting conversation with Yellow. They were working on the reactor and Red sent me to help them, as they were busy repairing a camera.
We started working in silence, as usual. Yellow is like Pink: quiet, but not shy. When they have something to say, they say it.
As I was holding some wires for him to weld, they asked, without looking at me: “What made you change your mind?”. I shrugged (a very useful gesture, I must say). But Yellow wasn’t convinced : they told me to stop lying, and to respond as honestly as I could.
So I told them the truth. Or at least, I tried. I told them the crew was the one to change my mind; that knowing them, living with them, understanding them, made me realize how foolish and cruel my goal was. How unfair it would have been to kill the ones who never harmed me in any way, who accepted me without any questions.
It was hard for me to explain all of that, but Yellow seemed to understand. They nodded, and asked for the smaller smoldering iron, and the conversation ended.
I think I like Yellow. They are honest and direct, and I can see they appreciate my efforts. It feels nice.
Day 34, later
I just stumbled across Red and Yellow hugging in the cafeteria. They told me that this particular kind of hug is called “cuddling”. They were so close I couldn’t even distinguish where their bodies began and ended. Disgusting.
I don’t know. It’s confusing, for sure.
Pink and Green were very happy for them. They said “it’s about time!” while laughing. The joke eluded me, and Green noticed and explained to me the situation. Apparently, Red, Yellow, Pink and Green have been crewmates for a long time, and the latter two have been waiting for a long time for the former two to “act on their feelings.”
“They love each other” Pink told me.
Love. I asked “what is love?” and Green immediately started singing “BABY DON’T HURT ME”. Pink laughed so hard they later complained about their ribs hurting. I didn’t understand the joke, again, but they didn’t explain it to me this time.
I still don’t know what “love” means exactly. I know it’s a strong feeling of attachment, but how do they separate it from… friendship? Affection ? Care ?
I asked Purple, the self-appointed “feelings expert” of the ship. They told me love is a combination of all these feelings, but “turned up to the max”. I’m still confused. They have so many feelings, and don’t seem bothered by them. What’s their secret?
According to Red, the secret is to “let go”. Instructions unclear.
I am now stuck on a ship with a bunch of weirdly sympathetic crewmates and feelings I can’t even begin to understand. Life is full of surprises.
I showed my true form to my companions today.
It was Red who asked if they could see. I accepted, because they’ve only showed me kindness and compassion so far.
Blue yelled a little, more of a yelp actually, and immediately said “wow that’s so cool!” so I guess they were just surprised. Pink only asked a few technical questions, very shyly. Green tried to poke me in the mouth, and I managed not to bite their hand off, which is encouraging. Yellow nodded, and asked if we could all concentrate on the imminent meltdown of our reactor.
I was surprised by their lack of fear of my true form. I can guess not all of them would have reacted like that, and it comforts me to know I choose the right crew.
I like that.
I feel loved.
Not a lot happened since my “revelation”. In two days, we will arrive at the outpost. We plan to stay here for a month or so, to repair the ship, replenish our stocks, and exchange some goods with the inhabitants. I will have to be careful, but I feel like my crewmates care about me, and will do anything to protect me from any sort of harm.
In return, I promised to look after them, in case some other impostor tries to infiltrate them, or if someone is rude to them (in which case I would eat the rude person).
Blue told me “we have a deal” while Yellow was slowly shaking their head, muttering about their “no murder” rule.
I won’t eat anyone in front of Yellow, that’s for sure.