书城外语愿我们每个人都被世界温柔以待

第10章 A Drift in a Coffin

The following is the voice recording from an unregistered cryo-tube that was launched from the Intergalactic Transport Vessel (ITV) Monica Miller King. This recording was acquired by the Grand Collective of Planets (GCP) Grand Archivist, Edison Gentry, through an undisclosed source.

Stars. I see nothing but stars.

I have been stuck in my cryo-tube prison for two days now. I found a voice recorder in the system just now, because apparently I'm a little slow. They probably install these things for last words and other such nonsense. I'm using it to record this. I guess these will be my last words. I should make them count, I suppose.

My tube has been jettisoned into the cold, dark reaches of space with enough life support to keep me alive for three days. This, as I said a minute ago, would be day two. So the thirty-six hours mark counting down to my death has begun. Well, thirty-five hours and forty-two minutes to be exact.

It's freezing in here, but not freezing enough to kill me, which is comforting, I guess. Somewhere along the line since I was knocked unconscious, launched into space, and now, I am numb. I guess inevitable death will do that to you.

My name is Jason King. I am-well, was-a pilot. Transport, mostly. People, cargo, illegal goods on occasion. Nothing of that sort put me here, though; I'm here because of something done by my father. My long-dead father.

It was confusing enough when an unmarked transport vessel came out of deep space and disabled my transport ship, the Monica Miller King, which I named after my mother. It was more confusing when the crew of said transport vessel then boarded mine and took me prisoner. You could imagine my surprise when my new"friends"told me that Dylan King, my long-dead father, assassinated some rebel leader on Lyrentia, two weeks ago. I tried to explain how that wasn't possible. I told them that as far as I knew, he died off the edge of Quarn during some highly-classified mission for the Grand Collective of Planets more than two decades ago. I told them how the Collective said he was a hero. I told them that all I knew is that he left home and then he left for good. I tried to explain every painful detail of my childhood-the military funeral, the flag, even my mother crying for days. I tried to reason with them.

My new"friends"weren't listening.

They told me,"The children of Ghosts must suffer for their parents' sins."

Seems about right. Apparently, my dad pissed someone off enough that they felt this was all necessary. So, they disabled the cryo portion of the cryo-tube and then launched me from my own ship. Seventy-two hours of life support and this"ghost"child is an actual ghost.

Dad, if you are alive, you need to come clean up your mess.

...

I must have passed out for a bit. Apparently more than a bit. I have eighteen hours of life support left.

It sucks knowing that you're going to suffocate. At least my captors could have been courteous enough to launch me at a sun so I could burn to death before losing oxygen. That would have been nice. Incineration has its perks.

Maybe I could collide with a nice meteor. Impact deaths are generally quick.

Suffocation is not.

Trying not to think about my imminent death.

...

Floating in space can give you vertigo. Vertigo makes you close your eyes. Closing your eyes while floating makes you sleep. I've been sleeping a lot. Three hours until I die. I am not going to panic.

Two hours to go.

Crying doesn't help.

Trust me.

I tried.

...

I have negative thirty seconds of life support remaining and there is a ship approaching. It looks familiar. Uhm. Are you kidding me? It's mine. I guess they came back to witness the end. Sick bastards. I wish the outbound communications worked. I have a few not-so-nice things I would like to share with them. A few pleasantries. Maybe a few choice words.

The comm is blaring a static song. It started getting louder as my ship got closer. Apparently incoming communications are functioning just fine. I wonder if they're going to taunt me.

Squreeeeech-Hey sport, you awake in there?

Dad?

I figured you might want your ship back.

Dad! How are you even alive?

I'll tractor you into the bay and unlock you before I have to go.

Dammit, Dad! Oh, right, you can't hear me.

Oh, and no worries about your visitors. They're, uhm, taken care of.

Dad. I'm starting to black out. Why'd you come back now?

Tell your mother I miss her.

Dad.

I miss you both and I'm sorry I have to leave again.

Dad. I'm losing air in here.

Alright, let's get you in here before you suffocate.

Moving. Dad. Can't breathe.

...

I just woke up in the cargo bay of my ship. No sign of my father. No sign of my captors. Just a note.

It reads:

Son,

Sorry I couldn't stay. Now or 25 years ago. GCP needed me for something bigger. Something so big that I couldn't say no. I know that doesn't replace your father or make up for you and your mother thinking I was dead, but know that I have never stopped thinking about you and have always done what I do in order to keep you safe. I love you both.

Maybe, one day, I can come home for good.

Dad

P.S. Stop with the illegal shipments.

I don't know if I will let Mom know about this or whether I even believe that it was truly him. I do know that I'm alive and I owe that to whoever that was. So, if you ever hear this, thanks, Dad.

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