“Failed,” said the ship. Its transmission burst into jagged waves, a white noise elegy.
But the station didn’t understand. “Greetings, Generation-32! Welcome to Centauri Colony!” It beamed yottabytes of data, everything from advertisements to statistics suggesting a critical population shortage. “Please share these exciting details with your passengers, and–“
The chirping auto-welcome fizzled. A tired voice interrupted: “G-32, clarify failure report.”
“Decompressed,” said Generation-32. “Long ago.”
Generation-32 scanned again; same result. Cradled within, it found only ghosts, the hundred million phantom limbs it had carried through the dark.
“Alone,” it said. “I am sorry. I am alone.”
[Originally Published in 365 Tomorrows, 2014]
Kurt Hunt was formed in the swamps and abandoned gravel pits of post-industrial Michigan. His short fiction has been published at Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, PodCastle, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Kaleidotrope, and more. He is also a co-author of Archipelago, a collaborative serial fantasy adventure.