Pod Life

I’ve broken into the food stores for 8 other cryo pods now and eaten quite a bit more than I should, but it was a necessity.  I have been going mad from the light and lack of sleep and I needed a solution.  I can close the lid to the cryo pod but it does not latch and springs back open and even closed it is transparent from head to toe. I have been able to craft a small chain of plastic foil wrappers from the food bars that I can hook to a handle on the lid and a hook that holds the padding on the inside to keep the lid mostly closed and have been able to block out most of the light from the pod lid by a more disgusting means. In an fit of sleep deprived madness, I was able to black out the light by covering the outside of the lid with my own feces. Although it was gross, my first attempt seemed to work some and I was able to cover about a fourth of the pod lid near the top by using the small pile that had already accumulated in the far corner.

I slept better immediately and needed more… material to finish the job. Being my own biological factory necessitated more raw material input, so I shoved bars into my stomach as quickly as I could. After sitting against the wall with a full and aching stomach and a well rested head, I realized that I may be able to make a much less disgusting paste material by mixing the bars and water. So far, my attempts have not held together well and the bar paste would just flake off as the water dried. My pod is now three fourths of the way covered in turds, but it does not stink too badly after it drys and I have been able to actually sleep.

Man, I sound like a scientist, but I am playing with my own crap.  I somehow doubt that my mother would be proud.

I have barely been leaving the pod actually. My depression is unbearable and all I want to do now is sleep. Sleep and stew in my own pity. I look at Kim sometimes. I stare at her frozen face and think “How could you?” I also think of the good times we had that are all lost, the hopes for a future that will never be and these dark thoughts bring me back to my bitter thoughts.

I have thought more of attempting to unfreeze her and have even used her pod as a test to see if I could force open the lid, not caring if she would die or if I would have to live with her awake with me. Either way would be fine right now. It has been only five days and I am starting to think that input from anyone would be good.

I do wonder if anyone in any of the other pod modules is awake like me. I have taken to rapping “shave and a haircut” on the doors and the bulge by the terminal occasionally thinking that it would send a clear message that it’s not a mechanical noise if anyone would hear it but I have yet to hear anyone knock back.

I shouldn’t be too surprised though because of the way this ship is constructed I doubt that sounds can travel much. The titan class colony ship is made for long and dangerous trips across vast distances. A lot of things need to be taken to jump start the colony and to supply all of the people. The ship is totally modular with interconnecting blocks in stacks and rows like shipping containers. Some have people, some have materials or machinery and all can be used as shelter once the ship arrives at its destination. Yet others still contain engines, avionics and other ship parts. Most of these are redundant too. All of this is wrapped in an ablative shell that is designed to burn away on atmospheric entry.

Each module is self contained like this to reduce the chance of a total loss when things go wrong. The thing is, we are travelling very fast for a very long time and it is entirely likely that rocks or other space stuff could rip right through parts of the ship. With everything self contained and redundant, the ship could theoretically get hit by several things and the colony still survive. Of course this could also mean that there is absolutely nothing on the other side of these doors and my module has separated from the rest of the ship.

Thoughts like this and every other worst case run through my mind all day every day. I have no idea how bad it could really get, but the thirty minute vid that we watched while getting detoxed, explaining the safety features of our ship, did point out a hell of a lot of things that could go wrong.

As I write this, I am starting to realize other possibilities. We may have landed. Maybe we are on the planet now and the other pods are broken and should be opened too. I mean there is gravity in here and maybe there shouldn’t be. I mean, what do pod people need gravity for? They never told us this any any of the prep videos and I had no reason to ask if there would be gravity while I was frozen.

I feel like I need to get out of here but what if something happened to the ship and I am spinning through space? What if there is “gravity” because I am spinning hopelessly through space and if I open the door to a vast nothingness and we all die?

I don’t know what to think.  I don’t know what to do.

I will just keep plugging away at trying pass codes on the tablet and see what unlocks when I get that open.  It’s been about an hour and it should be about time for me to try entering another code.

About Wade Walters

I started writing the Wade Walters story on a lark.  I really only intend for it to be a practice run or “writers training” as Hugh Howey suggested in the article that I posted first.  It started as just a simple exercise in writing about something, anything at all really, but as I think about it more and more, I have started to build what I think could be a pretty decent story arc around Wade and his predicament.

The idea for being stuck on a colony ship came after I read The Knight and the Moon by Hunter Ryan and solidified more when I read Half Way Home by Hugh Howey.  While this is not a similar story, thinking about that situation and what may come next for the Blue Knight got my noggin going in this direction.

I do have some plans for Wade Walters though and think that this will end up as a novella that I may publish.  Who knows?  I don’t really care too much about publishing anything right now, but I do definitely want to flex my skills some and see what comes out.

While the stuff you see here is not my first attempts at writing, it is the first time that I am exposing it publicly.  Comments and suggestions are welcome!

You can read the posts in order here.


My Inventory

  1. 3.5 food bars
  2. 5.8 liters of water
  3. One tablet
  4. 149 closed and inhabited cryo pods
  5. One computer terminal
  6. One open cryo pod
  7. One food bar wrapper
  8. Two closed doors
  9. A pile of crap
  10. Light. Too much light

I have no idea how long I have been here. Not awake and out of my pod I mean, but how long I have been on this ship. While I was in stasis, time did not stop, meaning that I did not stop aging completely, but rather things slowed down a whole lot. Judging by my hair growth, I suspect that I aged about two weeks since it has grown to about the length that I would normally have Kim trim it for me. What does that mean in real time? I have no idea.

There is a clock on the tablet, but it was unset when I awoke and found it. I set it to 0000.00.00.00:00:00 shortly after typing in my first entry and it now reads I have been out for a bit over three days so far, but awake for so much of that time.

The light is driving me mad! I have not found a way to turn it off, so I assume that it is automated somehow. Maybe my pod triggered turning them on, because I assume that they would not just stay on for 500 years, but surely there would be a way to turn them off. They make sleeping nearly impossible for me, but having nothing to cover my eyes is nearly as maddening. I have been able to lay in my open pod and while it is confining, it is better than the hard floor. I just have to hide my face in the corner and cover my eyes with my arms to block the light, still though, that will allow me to fall asleep, but staying asleep is a whole other story. Having a clock has helped, but when you are alone and the lights are on all the time, there is really nothing to separate the days from nights, so I have just been sleeping when I can and spending my waking hours trying to do something useful.

Ok, honestly, I have spent most of my time staring into nothing and feeling sorry for myself then crying like a child about my current predicament and the things that happened before we launched.  The depression is bad enough, but the light is probably the worst.

My food and water situation really worried me at first, but then I found that the plastic doors holding the post wake up food for the other pods could be broken into with enough force. I did manage to bruise myself up while trying to break into the first one, but I think that the next will be easier. I broke into my ex-wife’s food bin first because, well, screw her.

I have really been limiting how much I eat or drink, not just for conservation sake, but also because I have nowhere to… go. There is no toilet in the pod lined hallway that is my home, so I have had to just use the floor over in the far corner. Luckily, the processed food and plain water I have aren’t too rotten smelling (yet), but it is an unpleasant issue.

150 pods, all with three bars and 4 liters of water. That totals up to 450 bars and 600 liters of water, which means that if I limit to a half bar a day or less, I could live for like two and a half years, but I suspect that the turd piles would take over the space before that. I’m going to start saving my pee in the empty water bags, but I have no idea what to do with the… solids.

Maybe I can use the empty water bags to help block out the light while I sleep. They are white plastic though and probably will not block everything, but maybe I can make some kind of mask or something to help cut some of it out. These and the bar wrappers are all that I have that I could possibly make something out of.

Enough with the day to day stuff. I found something on the tablet that may be the key, and by the key, I mean the key to the damn door. There is an application on here that is locked. It takes a four digit code to unlock but it locks me out for a progressively longer time with each failure. I tried all the obvious ones like 1234, and 0000, but no luck and by the fifth try I was locked out for like 15 minutes so I stopped because I was worried I would get locked out for good or that the tablet would wipe itself and I would loose the ability to get out. The next day, the lockout timer was reset, so I think that I can try as much as I want, or until I get too frustrated with it, then leave it alone for a day and try again. It could take a long time to get this, but maybe I will get lucky. Hopefully I can crack the code and see what is in there. I am no computer expert, but this seems to be my best bet.

There is not much on this tablet, but it does seem to be connected to the ships network based on the icons I can see. The screens are blank other that the notepad and the locked app. I could really go for a game, some vids, a book or something to distract me. I have read the help for this notepad app four times already.

The terminal is a bit more sophisticated and requires a password. I don’t think that I can break into that one. If I did, I have no idea what it can do. Hopefully I would be able to refreeze myself, but I don’t know how I would be able to hook all the tubes back up to my body and manipulate the terminal across the room at the same time.

The noises freak me out too. Little noises, all over. I can hear the ventilation and it is very regular. Every 15 minutes it kicks in and circulates the air. I actually reset my tablet clock by a few minutes to make it coincide with the vents. It only took me three tries to get it pretty much exact. Simple victories make me feel like I am accomplishing something I guess. I do hear some clicks, whirs and a faint hollow clanking sometimes, but nothing that makes me think that anyone else is awake but me.

After breaking into Kim’s food store, I have considered trying to pop open one of the other pods so that I would not be alone, but I am not sure if I can and if I do, I am not sure that the person would live through it. I suspect that there is a warm up process involved and that I can’t just open the door and say “Hi”. Besides, I would be damning that person to the predicament that I am in. I have thought that maybe I would use Kim as my test subject, but I don’t think I want to just murder her and if it did work, then I would be stuck with her being my only company.

This room is maybe 400 meters long and has 75 pods on each side. There is an identical door at each end and one end has a terminal table near the door. The wall opposite the terminal does not have a pod next to it, but the wall bulges out at that location to be even with the pods. My empty pod is the 17th pod from the terminal end on the bulge side. Kim is in number 16. She dyed her hair since I last saw her. Must be a color that Dan likes.

I have looked at the faces of many of the other frozen occupants of this room, but none are really outstanding or anyone that I recognize as famous or anyone that I knew. I did see some of them milling about on our last day awake, but I was too focused on ignoring Kim to talk to any of them. All of the people in this room seem to be in their late twenties to mid thirties and pretty evenly divided between male and female. I can only make generalizations about any of them and have no idea who I would want to try to thaw, who would be helpful, who I would get along with. I don’t know if they would resent me for thawing them or not. Probably though. I would.

This sucks.