The Alphaks Zigma Configuration

The Unfolding Text - Episode 843

Mort Eisegesismann trudged on through the clay of Alphaks Zigma, uncaring that he had just crushed the new sprout of one of the planetoid's rare Gubbageflowers.

What does any of it matter any more, he thought. Rachael's leaving on the next uprocket.

He kicked at one of the planetoid's frangible rocks, watching as it shattered like glass.

This colony, little more than a dumping ground for unneeded bureaucrats and other human equivalents of the appendix organ, was surely going to be his tomb. He could feel it, feel the dread of pointless life and the accompanying handmaiden -dread of pointless death.

If death could only have meaning then, mutandam mutandis, so did life. The two things were really one, after all. Like that ancient Earth song, can't have one without the other. They go together like a horse and carriage.

That showed how ancient the dirge must really have been. It was one of the old chanties that featured horses. Extinct animals, or mythical ones like the owl, were always a giveaway.

Mort arrived back at his dome.

The domes of the Zigma Colony were like pale orange boils, risen to the surface of this fragile-skinned world like plague signs, the access corridors between them and associated Digs, Stores and Uprocket Launchers like the traumatised arteries and veins of the planetoid.

Passing through to his quarters he was already twisting off his helmet even though the outer hatch hand't quite closed. The faint whiff of the cyanotic atmosphere - almost nonexistent though it was - ripped into his nostrils.

Choking and spluttering he stumbled to the fridgesink.

"Oh I'm sorry Mort," the fridgesink told him. "You're out of cool refreshing neo-liquids such as frosty liquid H2Oh! and cool reviving !ceCaf. Would you like to buy some more?"

"CHRIST!" he yelled.

"Beverage not recognized," the fridgesink said, all pretence at a personality temporarily suspended as it used different subroutines.

Knowing that he lacked credits, Mort went to the Sumper instead.

The Sumper sucked all the ambient fluids out of the bathroom, the air, the damp laundry, sweat on his skin... Even polymers on peeling labels. Then it turned them into a non-proprietary "equal quality by law" version of H2oh! and dripped it out feebly, as if to reproach the user for not being a better, or at least richer, consumer. And it tasted just exactly the way fresh vomit smelled.

  1. "Also Available In Sane"
  2. Saying goodbye to Rachael
  3. The Zigmans

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7/25/2016 10:10:03 PM

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