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.

Inventory

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 000.00.03.06:13:27. 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.

Stuck

Shit. I’m stuck. I’m alone with 1,349 other people, but I am the only one awake. I have no idea if anyone will ever read this or if any of it will ever even matter, but it’s not like I have any other ideas right now and I’m not sure if I’ll make it out alive. Maybe I will find a way to transmit this as a message outside of my own personal hell hole, or someone will find it on my corpse, so let me give you the low down.

My name is Wade Walters and I am an award winning colonist on the Montgomery Inc., Delgado-2785, a titan class colony ship sent from Earth on a bazillion year mission to colonize and terraform a new planet outside of our solar system. Yeah, that’s right, I won the lottery and it gave me options. Option one was that I could stay on the overcrowded blue and brown ball named Earth and move my wife and myself out of the 6’x6’x4′ double occupancy apartment bed and into a proper living quarters that one could stand up in and that might even have more than one room and possibly a window to the outside world. I’d never have to work again, and we would live a life of luxury. Alternately, I could choose option two and buy our way on a colony ship and get the hell off of Earth and be part of something new.

We chose option two with the hopes and dreams of starting life over again. Not just our life but all of human kind. Well, sort of. It’s not like we will be the only ones there. There is more than one ship heading towards our destination. Not all will make it, but each is filled with humans like me, lottery winners and other rich types that could afford the three billion credits to buy a slot and dumb enough to sign their lives away for the chance at some breathing room or whatever else it was that people are hoping to find on their new home. Surely some are just adventurous, but I expect that many are running away from the slums of Earth or something else that made their lives there unbearable.

I sure did hit it big in the daily tax lottery. 7.4 billion credits. Enough for two tickets on the Delgado and then some. I told my wife Kim, and we partied like rock stars for six months on one billion credits after our two tickets were purchased. We were leaving forever and had no intention of leaving a single credit unspent. This was not uncommon for daily tax lottery winners and there was a whole industry that existed mainly to serve these farewell parties. Along with the legitimate industry though came the others. Some were seedy people dealing in any vice you could imagine, and others were simply party groupies that were usually very attractive and fun people that spent their meager earnings on appearances, tickets and bribes to just get into the places and parties where the rich were. During our seven month long bender, Kim and I had a blast. Under sea hotels, mountain view condo towers, real meat of every variety, fancy clothes, and pampering that we could only imagine. People helped us find ways to spend the money that we had in ways that we’d never imagined or even seen on prime time vids.

During this time, we grew both closer and further apart than ever. We held nothing back to the world and let other things out to each other. Four months in, with three straight days of no sleep and dilated pupils, Kim told me that she had been sleeping with our neighbor Dan for the past few years and that if “we” had not won the lottery, she would have left me for him within a few months. “The lottery saved our marriage!”, she exclaimed, but I walked out and ended it that day.

I took all the money, but could not take her ticket. Once it was purchased, it was non transferable and was tied to her DNA and countless bio identifiers.  I left her with nothing and no where to go and really didn’t care what happened to her.

I went into a spiral that continued for the remainder of the time I had on Earth and the money barely lasted. I spent time with an ever changing group of followers and lived out every fantasy I could imagine without inhibition. I lived as if I was dying and had the money to do anything I wanted.

My day finally came though, departure day. Well, departure preparation day. Since I was to be frozen with 1,349 other people for a journey that would take about 500 years, my body had to be prepared. This involved purging my system of tons of things, and not just the toxins I had been introducing for the last several months, but viruses, bacteria, and other things. Hormone levels were set to predetermined levels, nanos were injected to maintain my body and mind for the trip and stint plugs were attached into my veins and onto my limbs. Since I arrived alone, I did not have to see Kim until the last day.

Our pods were right next to each other and she tried to talk to me when we arrived, but I ignored her and when my pod closed, I turned my head from the side that she was on so that I did not have to face her for the next 500 years.

Well, that plan did not quite work out how I had expected, because I can see her now, frozen in her pod with a look like tormented sleep on her face. I have no idea how long it has been, but somehow, I am out. I am awake.  I am unfrozen and no one else is. I now sit naked on a rough floor grating typing this into a tablet that I found. It must have been one of the workers that helped put us into the chambers, because it did not seem to belong and was the only thing sitting out on the terminal that I dare not touch for fear of breaking something or killing everyone.

I awoke, crumpled at the foot of my pod with the lid open. I have no idea how long I was like that. It could have easily been days or minutes, but I removed the tubes from the plugs in my arms and legs, unattached the monitor wires and got out. I felt weak, but more than anything I was starving. The powers that be must have known that this would happen though because I quickly found an enclosure that was open on my pod that contained three food bars: pumpkin, chocolate and peanut butter flavored, and a four liter bag of water. I opened and ate one right away, but I am saving the other two since I have yet to find any other source of food.

I called out for others, but got no response. I tried to open the doors, but they were unresponsive to my waving my hands in front of anything resembling a sensor, pounding on them or any other attempt to get a reaction. There are no handles, levers or anything that I can push or pull. All I found was this tablet that I am typing on now. As I thought about my predicament, I realized that I may die here alone among ghosts of frozen people and felt I had to leave some kind of note, so here it is. For whoever finds this. I woke up early and have no idea why or what to do next.

My name is Wade Walters and I am a winner!

Feeding

His paws pulse as they lightly strum the ground with the blazing pace.  His eyes track the gray fur ball of a rabbit and his brain calculates the intercept course.  A slight course adjustment and he is set.  His open jowls drip with saliva in anticipation of the meal, but the fleeing rabbit takes an unexpected left and the wolfs momentum breaks.  A slight skid on the pine needles below his feet and then a strong break in a new direction send the wolf off towards his prey.  His ears rest flat on his head and he moves left then right around the trunks of the trees, barely noticing them since his eyes never waver from the meal in his sights.  The twitch in the rabbits hind quarters tells him all he needs to know and the rabbits attempt to juke in a new direction is the last decision it makes.

The wolf cuts to the right and snags the rabbit in his teeth.  He stops abruptly and slides on the pine needles then rolls to his side with the meal in his mouth.  He quickly rights himself and takes the life from the rabbit, snapping its neck with violent shaking and crushing its spine with his jaws.  He drops his meal and pants with his ears up while taking in his surroundings.  The smell of pine trees surround him and he hears water in the distance, but no others.  No danger.

His foot steps on the carcass while he pulls at the skin of the rabbit with his teeth, tearing a puncture hole open, dropping blood onto his legs and the pine needles below.  The fresh meat is exposed and the coppery scent of fresh blood floods his senses.  Nothing else matters and he tears into the fresh meat, crunching and swallowing bones and flesh as if there is no distinction between the two.

His belly full, he carries the head and trailing, fur covered skin his his mouth towards a tree and drops it unceremoniously.  He nudges pine needles over the remains, looks at his handiwork then trods off towards the sound of water, leaving his left overs to fester for later.