Engineer's Log, Month of Herd Animals, 10049 of the final reckoning

a living journal, written during an astral voyage

Engineer's Log, Month of Herd Animals, 10049 of the final reckoning
stock photo via unsplash

First Day

New month. Payroll day. Sydney-14 had to use a prybar to open the Captain's Quarters. She was only unresponsive due to hangover napping, and there was more than enough in the coffers to cover the crew's pay. I lose my bet with Gorgrath.

Fifth Day

Gorgrath found a stowaway in the strangest place. A young woman with skin the color of number 3 parchment and hair the color of the Ronco Nebula was hiding in an empty part of the hull. We could see no physical way in or out of this little hidey-hole, and Gorgrath had to cut through with a gemsaw. Inside, on the floor, she had many small metal boxes connected to each other in various configurations with string.

She has asked us not to reveal her presence on board. She offers the coordinates of a wrecked ship full of unimaginable treasures if we keep her presence secret for the remainder of our voyage. Gorgrath agreed, and I do not object.

I have placed a tasteful quiltrug over the hole leading to her hiding area. It is in the traditional Neo-Newark style, and reminds me of home. The stowaway said something like "oh yeah baby love the mets" when she saw the design, and refused to explain what that meant.

Fourteenth Day

Sydney-14 and the Captain came to blows in the galley. Accounts differ on the argument that led to this. The crew seem like they will side unanimously with Sydney-14 if conflict continues.

The Captain seemed ungrateful for the crewbeings who held Sydney-14 back, and said deeply hurtful things to each of them that weaponized her vast array of local cultural knowledge. The Hammer told me they hadn't cried that hard since their secondfather's decommissioning ceremony.

I continue to hear strange sounds from beyond the quiltrug. Today while I was cleaning the mana furnace intake valve, I heard several unfamiliar voices having a nonsensical conversation about sports. When I lifted the quiltrug, the stowaway was there alone, chuckling to herself and staring into one of her metal boxes. Is she a sorceress?

Seventeenth Day

Gorgrath tells me Sydney-14 is suspicious of the quiltrug. He told her a fiction about how touching it would be offensive to me, due to an ill-defined religious belief. I told him that quiltrug was not fit for use in any of my rituals, but he insisted an adequate threshold for plausibility was met. I told him to maybe meet some girls instead of a plausibility threshold, and to stop being such a nerd. He told me in so many words that only a nerd can accurately identify another nerd. I will think on this.

Twentieth Day

I returned from a sabbatical on the meditation deck and immediately heard Sydney-14 and the stowaway exchanging hushed words beyond the quiltrug. Gorgrath apologized for his inaccurate evaluation of whether the plausibility threshold was met. This only assuaged the most insignificant of my concerns.

Sydney-14 emerged from the quiltrug a moment ago, carrying a strange handheld device, and left the engineering bay wordlessly. The stowaway explained to me that the device is called a "glock" and is some sort of specialized conflict resolution technology. In the stowaway's own words, it "ends arguments real quick."

Twenty-Ninth Day

The past astral cycle has truly been life-changing. I apologize for not journaling in the interim,[1] but each day has been full of unprecedented events, densely packed into each timepiece-rotation. I have beheld wonders I could not have conceived, and Gorgrath and I are now wealthy enough to retire together and start a machinist commune with the Hammer and their firstsiblings.

I am getting ahead of myself. The conflict resolution device the stowaway provided to Sydney-14 worked its magic, and we initiated an Article 31 Mutiny Procedure. With Sydney-14 now the recognized Captain, the stowaway emerged safely and showed Navigation Paul where the wreck she'd promised was.

We arrived at an abandoned but undamaged astral galleon large enough to house forty and change of our dear Minnow, and loaded every empty crevice in her cargo tract with gold, jewels, and beautiful artifacts of every size, aura, and shape. Many of us will retire with our share, and Sydney-14 has more than enough to hire a crew at the port to replace them.

Sydney-14 has forgiven us for our deception, and we embraced after the encaptaining ceremony. She did not expect to become Captain until at least her 16th or 17th rebirth. She tells me she will return to the Womb-Sun at the end of her current life-iteration with pride, and leverage her good fortune to humiliate her sibling-adjacent Stephen-14, who was passed up for a big promotion in his psionic gene reconfiguration cult last month.

The stowaway was offered a position on the crew, but refused. She tells me she was "just hanging out until the planes re-aligned" and will use sorcery to return home when that happens. She describes her homeworld as "one of your standard fucked-up cyber-dystopias but guess what pal it's my fucked-up cyber-dystopia and they super ultra don't make them like they used to." I transcribed that verbatim, with assistance from the stowaway herself. She also says to make a note to shout greetings at several people I'm unfamiliar with and cannot hope to spell the names of. I have given her a scrap to write them down on herself, and I will use an adhesive orb to attach it to the journalskin fold below.

[most of the 38 names on the attached scrap of parchment are illegible, but you can make out "Hot Jim Texas," "Sergei the Russianest Catboy," and one that is not letters but a drawing of a dog with a little hat.]

Incredible. May the wonders never cease, and may the horrors remain surmountable.

  1. Don't worry, bud! Journalax the Indelible forgives you. What are friends for? ↩︎