Adrift: Mabry’s Chapters: Chapter 01. aside – Are you there Universe? It’s me, Mabry.

There’s no way to know who will hear this and the likelihood of my transmission making it to human ears is inconsiderable. Maybe that’s the wrong word, as I have considered it, but all I have left now is to choose hope or despair. I don’t feel hopeful, but I’m doing this anyway. My sister is one of those people who always says, “The universe will give back to you what you put into it.” I doubt she ever thought the concept would come to bear in such a literal way….

Hello, Universe.
My name is Mabry – Mabry O’Shea, pilot of the Z. Polunachnaya. This is a distress call, or a last call, as I am about to die. If we don’t find some thrust in the next twenty-four hours this ship and the two entities on board will be crushed on approach to a black hole.

That’s it.

Help us. Please.

Don’t let the black hole win.

On the despair side…I’m Mabry. Somewhere out there amid all those planets and stars I have a father and a sister…and a brother-in-law. (Sorry Wade, I’m still getting used to the + 1 to the family.) O. Well if this is a full-disclosure situation – and I can make it so or not, so it is so – I also have a mother back on Earth and all reports say there’s another sister somewhere. I guess she’s on Earth, too.

There were some people in our community that had family at various points all over the planet. The kind of nuclear family we grew up with resembled a radiation dispersal diagram more than a nucleus. But now, in the contest of who’s family has the largest scatter pattern, I win.


I used to spend days holed up with machines and code, shunning everyone for the sake of focusing on my work. Gemma would come by (always with protein bars and water) to make an effort to tempt me away to some social event or just a sister date…and I would wave her away. Promise her we’d catch up tomorrow or next week. Or the next. I’m not even sure that I believed my work was all that important. It was more of an obsession that took hold of me and I let it. I did create Earth’s first, truly independent constructed intelligence by age twenty-three. Well, me and a whole team of brilliant people who are mostly dead now.

I’d really like one of those sister dates now. As me and the lovely independent being I helped birth slowly drift to our deaths.
Really bad timing this, for finally sorting out my priorities.
Let’s talk about something cheerful.
My mother’s a psychopath.
Always a fun topic.
Actually, Gemma and I never discuss her with anyone. We aren’t supposed to know as much about her as we do. She and my dad split up when we were infants because she chose her church over our safety.
It’s a strange story I don’t fully understand. My mother was a Corp ward from birth. That means from the moment she left her mother’s body she became the property of a corporation. Her parents were freedom fighters or something in the Green Wars. They tried to blow up a building, got arrested, and were sentenced to life working in an off-world mining community. Some time after that, my mother was born and since her parents had no rights, the Corp took her.
Nineteen years later, she emerged from Corp training as an entertainer – a self-proclaimed priestess of the moon.
If you are listening to this and happen to be not-human allow me explain to you what a moon is. Planets have moons. We call the big sphere in space that orbits a star (and sometimes supports life) a planet. Orbiting that you will sometimes find other spheres that are fixed in their revolution by the gravity of the intermediate body. Oversimplified, a moon is a big rock.
My mother created an entire religion worshipping one of those.
And the psycho part is this — her first daughter, my older sister, had her life threatened by some fanatic from the moon church or a rival church. The guy tried to kill her; she was six years old. My father got shot trying to protect her,  while my mother kind of stepped over her limp form and prayed to the moon for healing into her body cam close-up. How would you like to have that in your family history? The Corp took my other sister – traumatized but physically unharmed – as a Corp ward for her protection.
When my mother was pregnant with us, my dad smuggled his pregnant wife off the Corp deck to a safehouse maintained by the LBC [Little Bear Clan]. They lived there together until Gemma and I were born. Mother was given the choice to leave her entertainment world behind and join the clan, but on the flip side  was warned that as long as she maintained her priestess lifestyle she would never know her daughters or even where they were. Mother chose the moon and left.
Most of that is a matter of public record, if you know where to look. It’s not a well-hidden family secret. But I have one secret I stumbled upon in my mentor’s private journal. I never told Gemma because I didn’t know how. Not even my dad knows this one. The reason the Corp gave my mother another birth voucher after having her deemed unfit to parent, is that she agreed to allow them to experiment in vitro. One of us, me or Gemma, is a clone of the other. I talked to Haraboji about it —
Haraboji. that’s my mentor, he was like a grandfather to me. He was the biological grandfather of my half-brother (by my father and his first wife). Haraboji, also known as Dae Kwon, was one of the founders of the LBC and one of its active leaders.
When I confessed to reading his journal and asked him which one of us was the real human, he said there was no way to know which of us came from the cloned zygote. Haraboji also said it didn’t matter and made this long speech about sentience and souls…and love. I cried a lot. Crying’s not something I do often, but I made up for it over the clone thing. I didn’t want to be the clone, but I also didn’t want Gemma to be. Haraboji said it didn’t matter, but it did to me. It still does. On the flip-side, the question of being a clone and how that contrasts being a natural human was part of the driving force, for me, when we were creating Faraday. Who is less human, the doppelganger or the synthetic? Whose life has more meaning?

Burning questions never to be answered.

Maybe today I’m glad to be the clone. Gemma will survive. Better that she’s the real one.
I wonder if she and Wade have created a new life yet? It’s been six years, they should have reached the planet by now. Maybe the black hole will send my soul or spark or whatever back to them when I die.

There is one thing I am so disappointed over. With us about to die and all it’s going to seem trivial, but damn it’s not fair. I lived my entire life in a cave. It was a really big cave, yes — more like a system of caves that comfortably housed nearly a thousand people. We had fresh water (some of the last on the planet), room for crops, caves of industry – it was the crowning gem of underground living for outcasts and rebels. But we couldn’t grow trees and I’ve never touched an ocean or even seen one with my own eyes. From the scans that came back from Yama, the planet we were migrating to, the whole place is covered by oceans, trees, and sand. I wanted to go to one those sandy places with the glowing turquoise water and swim. I wanted to grow fruit on a tree and eat it while it’s still warm from the sun. I wanted to feel grass under my feet, the sun on my head, a natural breeze playing with my hair. I want to know what a world smells like before people foul it all up.
Regrets are weird. In an Earth-standard day I’ll be dead, does it really matter what never got done?

It does to me.

Enough of my babbling, Universe. Thanks for listening. If you can’t send help, send me to my family. And if you can’t do that, well, say goodbye for me.

This exercise is a little getting to know her session between me and my character. Find out more about why I wrote it here: The Challenge.


{Faraday, I’m getting strange feedback on the coms. It’s like a low buzz with a tiny whine at the edge every time I turn my head. Can you –? Oh there. Yea it’s gone. Thanks.}

[distant murmuring]
{Alright. Just let me get my thoughts together. It’s not every day I leave a note for aliens. Let’s mark this bit to be edited out.}

[faint scoffing noise]
{Yeah. That’s too formal. Let me check a thesaurus. We’re editing this out too.
Well that was useless. I’m not opening this message with ‘shalom’ or ‘howdy’. How is ‘howdy’ still in the human record? Seriously, Faraday, when was the last time a human said ‘howdy’?}
[muted response]
{Huh. I find that surprising. Let’s move on.}

I guess I’m hoping you are a curious people. Otherwise this — {Mumbles to self – mark for edit.}

My name is Mabry. Officially, I am Pilot O’Shea on the Z. Polunachnaya.
{I am terrible at this – mark for edit.}


Creative Commons License
Adrift by t.s.wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.



One thought on “Adrift: Mabry’s Chapters: Chapter 01. aside – Are you there Universe? It’s me, Mabry.

  1. Wow.

    I love every bit of this — the rambly parts make total sense, considering the desperate situation Mabry is facing. And the reveal! I didn’t realize the Moon Priestess was her mother! *gasps*

    Great writing exercise, and great product from that exercise.

    P.S. The outtakes are awesome 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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