Don’t Panic. This is just a drill

by Zoe Gangell

  And then she turned to me like I was the one who put it there, like the bloody thing hadn’t just crawled out of storage or through the vents. Like, what in hell?

– Wow, what in hell.

Yeah, what in hell, indeed.

– What?

– Uh, I was agreeing with you?

– Oh, sorry. Yeah. Anyway, she got me to throw it outside. 

– Woah, hold your goblins, what happened? Did she just scream at it? Throw a pillow? What?

– Ah, well we kind of lost sight of it which would have been alright cause it had just crawled behind the monitor screen, but she was being such an over-reactive ass and kept hitting me and yelling to ‘oh for hell’s sake, just do something’.

– And what? You went and grabbed a cup and flimsy, found it, and let it go?

– No, no, no. Too easy. I had to improvise. She wouldn’t let me leave and she didn’t want to leave in case it followed her and she couldn’t stop shaking me so I had to wrench myself away, which is so dumb.  I mean, come on, it wasn’t any bigger than my palm.

– Oh my stars, seriously. 

seriously. 

– Yeah, what? Yeah, no, I swear it was tiny as and so I threatened to drag her with me, which worked so well, she jumped a foot, and I walked around the room, pulling up pillows and looking behind the benches and it was just there, sitting on the wall behind the screen minding its own business. I picked it up, scared Chelsea with it a bit more by taking the scenic route to the hatch and went out into the garden.

– And what? It scurried on to your lemon graft?

– Basically.

That is not how I remember it. 

– Huh?

– Ahh, so that’s it? She just let you back into the house and you went to bed?

– What? You thought she was gonna make me sleep in the dome? Nah, dude, she’s too paranoid for that – worried I’d try smuggling new bed partners in the next rotation.

– Alright, then. If that’s it, then I’m getting another beer. You?

– Yeah, I’ll take all I can get. 

– OK. You alcoholic.

-Hey, you would say the same if you had to live three months on an inactive station.

Your liver is not proud.

– Wow, you weren’t long at all.

I never left.

– What? Wait, where are you?

In here. In you.

– Stevie, stop playing games.

I am not Stevie. I am you. Another part of you.

No, seriously, this is not funny. You know not to pull this shit with me.

Go to the bathroom and I will show you.

– Ok, who is there? Where are you? Are you talking through comms?

…I fear this may have been a mistake.

– Come on, Chris. I wasn’t taking tha- what are you doing?

– Stevie, I think there’s someone on your ship.

– What, why?

– Seriously dude, I was just talking to someone that sounds just like you. I think they might be in the comm walls.

– What like a hacker? Yeah, right. We’ve got the latest in Ford Security.

– Dude, I just had a conversation with the guy, pretending to be you.

I am not pretending, this is just your brain’s interpretation of my presence.

– Ah, that there! Did you hear that?

– Haha, Chris, I hear you loud and clear. And I think you shouldn’t drink anymore. How about we just go back to the lounge room?

– I am being serious right now.

You already know.

– If it’s still there in the morning, then I’ll call the doctor’s.

He cannot understand.

– No, it’s here right now.

– Mate, your acting crazy. Come on.

You sound crazy.

– It’s mocking me. Mocking us with your voice.

– Chris, calm down. Let’s just go back to the loungeroom.

Yeah, just go lie down, I will keep you company.

– Far out! Shut Up! Shut up both of you!

– Woah, mate. Actually, calm down, what are you doing?

– If you don’t bloody shut up, I swear Steve.

Oh, what are you going to do? Stab me? You think you could?

– I swear, I will.

Do it, coward.

– Ha, Chris- stop joking around, put that down. I know the last couple of months have been really stressful and you’ve had a bit too much, but this is going a little far. You’re not really going to do that.

You are going too far, Chris. You always try so hard and never get anywhere, do you not? You never really commit to anything, not your job, not your dreams. What the hell have you ever finished, Chris?

– Fuck you!

– Chris, stop. You’re going too far.

Haha, you have gone too far. Just another thing you regret even starting. 

– You’re freaking me out.

You freak everyone out. An outsider trying too damn hard.

– Just calm down.

Take a chill pill Chris, would not want all that quick anger getting the better. Always acting on your emotions, never thinking things through. That’s why no one ever relies on you. Too overreactive. Too paranoid.

– Shut up!

– Ack-

– Shut up! I do finish things! I have a ship, I have money, I have all the time in the universe to do whatever the hell I want! And everyone loves me, alright! I don’t need your validation!

What about Chelsea?

– I never cheated on her, you asshole!

Then why is she never coming around?

– Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

See you react so well.

– Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. 

Oh, mate. I think he is dead.

Now we know. You can commit to something.

  Oh hell. Oh fucking hell.

Calm down.

– Fucking hell, what the shit. Oh stars.

get a grip mate-

– I am not your fucking mate. You killed my mate- I kil… I killed…

Why does this always happen?

– I killed him.

Wow, baby’s first murder.

– No, nononono. What- what about Nate?

Nate?

– I can’t tell Nate, I can’t let him know. He won’t ever forgive me. 

What? Who in hell is Nate?

– Of all the stars, get out of my head! Get out of my hands! Who are you?

Calm down, that’s not how this works.

– I need, I need…

Woah, ok, no. Put the knife down.

– Get out.

You’ve already tried that and look what good that did you. 

– Yeah, you’re right.

I know.

– The worst has already happened.

Ah, well…

– Might as well finish the job.

Oh my- you are insane. Stop, stop! I swear, I will take everything if you actually sta-

– Agh!

I did warn you.

– How, how did you do that?

Dude, I am inside you. Inside your brain. Breathing patterns, heartbeat, even how much you sweat. It is not hard to force your hand.

– Is, is it like that awful fungi thing in ants?

Not a fungus. That is genuinely insulting.

– Are you going to shoot your off-spawn out of my dead corpse?

– …What?

– Will I be like a zombie? Oh stars, I don’t wanna be the first zombie.

Oh, what is wrong with you?

– Please, I- oh hell, what do I do? Why do you sound like him? Oh, oh shit- Stevie?

– If you would just stop scratching at everything. Seriously, peeling your skin off is just going to make you feel worse.

– Shut the hell up!

– Get a grip and hide the body. Do that and I will stop.

– Ha! Why don’t you just do it for me? Just hide your own body, why don’t you, Stevie!

I am not Steve. You have killed Steve.

– What? I am going insane. I’m insane.

Oh, for the love of-

– Hello! I’m home!

Move.

– Stevie? Where are you at?

Fine, I will do it-

– He-hey Nate.

No. don’t you dare, you imbecile.

– Chris? Oh, hi. I didn’t know you would be over. It’s been a while.

– Yeah, al-almost too long. Haha.

You are pathetic.

– Yeah, just been too busy… are you alright?

– Wha-what? What makes you think that?

Stop stuttering.

– Honestly, you look one second from having a meltdown. How many drinks have you had? Where’s Stevie? Please tell me he didn’t just leave you here like this.

– He-he, he went out to the shops to get some m-more.

This is not working. Leave.

– Chris, your legs are shaking. How about we go sit down in the lounge-

– No, n-no, no. The air’s clearer out here.

– Wha- Oh let me guess, you guys left a huge mess for me?

This is not going to work.

– Ah, yeah, sorry. I told St-Stevie that I’d clean it before you got back. S-so don’t go in there, please.

– Well alright, just make sure it’s semi-clean by tomorrow. I don’t have much time before my next shift.

– Yeah, yeah, yeah. No worries.

Well, it has been nice chatting with you, but I just got off a very long shift…

Oh, no, of course. Yes, I am sorry, I’ll leave soon, just gonna clean up the lounge before. I know too well Ste-Stevie doesn’t like to do it after too long.

  Haha, yeah, that’s fine. When he gets back, send him to bed? Gotta be wide awake for that first day on, am I right?

Ha, yeah. I’m sure he’d have been great.

Well, I hopes so. We both know how much he’s been yammering about it for months now. Gosh, he becomes a child again every time it gets brought up. It can get quite infectious, don’t you think?

Yeah, yeah infectious indeed.

Oh, I’m rambling again. Sorry, you should get out of my sight before I start up again. You know, I thought I would mellow out after all these years being married to him, but no, I think he’s made me a whole lot more of a gossip then ever before. Truly frightening, that is.

Ah, yeah, best you head to sleep. No doubt you ha-have an emotional day ahead.

  Hmm, goodnight, Chris. And thank you again, for being there for him, I don’t think you understand how hard it was for him through the years with you, you know, gone. I just thought you would want to know; it really means a lot.

– Oh, yeah. Thanks. I-I always tried.

– Well. Goodnight.

– Yeah, n-night.

Clean the kitchen. Wash your hands. Take the knife and body. Get out of the solar system.

Move, or I will do it.

– Yeah, Ok Stevie.

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