- by Stockeater
My name is Dave.
I grew up on a small farm on Caldari prime, where my family grew crops in large greenhouses to protect them from the almost perpetual rain. When I was eighteen I attended university on a nearby space station. A normal enough life shared by billions of New Eden’s inhabitants.
After I’d received my engineering degree, I was looking through the job advertisements for something I could do to earn a decent wage. I normally just glossed over the capsuleer staff recruitment; we’d all heard the horror stories from those lucky enough to survive on one of their vessels.
However, I’d heard from a few friends that capsuleers were now running operations planetside. They said the pay was very good and the commitment wasn’t as heavy as the navy or one of the mega corporations would demand.
One of these advertisements caught my eye. A small capsuleer corporation needed technicians to work on a gas giant harvesting platform. The advert said that the living conditions were great and that their corporation has an ‘exemplary safety record’. To be honest I didn’t really believe it, but the pay was great, probably due to having to live in one small facility for months on end.
So I applied for the job.
I have to admit my training was very thorough. I was assigned to be part of a team for a harvesting node they were putting up in Umokka. We had three weeks of training in our respective roles that we’d have to perform before meeting the rest of the crew, probably thirty all in, and they actually put us in a full sized mock up to work in for a whole month, so we could learn how to do our jobs almost second nature before we were put in at the deep end, so to speak.
We went through every kind of drill imaginable, so if anything and everything went wrong, we’d all live to tell the tale.
No one was particularly fond of the notion of ending up mangled in a crushed piece of metal falling into the heart of a giant planet, so we all paid close attention to this vital piece of training.
It was also an excellent ice breaker so we could get to know our colleagues in the friendlier environment of an orbital station so we could live more happily together once we were on the rig.
This is also where I met Sandra and Alan- two other young people who were fresh out of university and were in a similar boat to mine, and we became good friends throughout our training.
There was one odd point though. A few days before we were due to be shipped down to the new harvesting rig, everyone had to go into a med scanner and had to sit there for an uncomfortable ten minutes while they took their scans.
The official reason; they claimed they were looking for any underlying health problems before we went planetside. Although there would be a fully equipped infirmary, specialist help would be a couple of hours away at best, and they didn’t want anyone having anything drastic like an aneurism under such conditions.
I thought they were probably just selling the results to various research groups for a bit of extra money on the side. It’s fairly common practice nowadays. To be honest I really didn’t take any notice, or care.
It seemed like hardly any time at all had passed between signing up and we found ourselves in the passenger lounge of the cargo ship in orbit around the gas giant. I couldn’t help but stare at what would soon be my new home.
Umokka IX lay beneath us like a misty green jewel, far from the orange light of the sun. Interspersed bands of green and brown encompassed the planet, with eddies and whirls hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometres across forming where two winds meet.
As the ship descended I could see the sun’s rays filtering through the edges of the planet’s vast atmosphere, turning a murky green. I couldn’t help but feel like I was being consumed by a primordial monster as I plunged into the abyss.
I spent most of the voyage playing cards with Alan, Sandra and a few others. The pilot had explained over the address system that we couldn’t go into the atmosphere very fast or the cargo vessel we were on wouldn’t survive. The light through the windows got progressively more tinted, which set up a fairly foreboding atmosphere for myself and the other assorted workers who would soon be living here.
‘Hey look!’ An excited shout went up ‘There it is!’
Everyone stopped what they were doing and rushed to the observation window. A shadow was forming in the gloom, with red warning lights winking all over it. As we got closer, the harvesting station gradually revealed itself.
It was fairly typical Caldari design, with a series of bulbous repulsor pods holding a platform aloft, upon which was built a structure that looked a lot like a Christmas pudding with the top removed. Between the repulsor pods, a long cable snaked down and disappeared in the clouds below, and a large pipeline stretched away, slowly fading from view as it moved further away from the harvesting rig.
On the opposite side to the pipeline, large tritanium girders jutted out over the roiling clouds, and it was these the transport ship came to rest on. A short airlock bridge extended and connected to the hull with a clang.
My first impressions were of how bright and clean the inside was compared to the perpetual twilight outside. Everyone had their own cabins and although not incredibly large, were big enough to live in. I was also surprised to find that indeed all the modern amenities were provided, such as personal computer terminals with a good access to galnet and a few general relaxation areas joined on to the mess hall.
Basically, it felt like the brand new extraction rig that it was supposed to be.
Everyone settled in fairly quickly, the month’s training on the dummy proving worth its while. Within six hours we had already located a dense layer of argon and were pumping it into the pipeline back to the command and storage centre a few hundred kilometres away.
On this rig I had two jobs, to calibrate the analytical equipment used to locate the gasses that we would be extracting, and to make sure that the main pipeline feed was clear. Dust particles would build up on the line’s filters and so they would have to be replaced and cleaned off every so often.
For the next few months, life was good. Everyone got to more or less know each other like a large extended family, and we got the work we needed to done, piping vast amounts of noble gasses to be launched into orbit. Every week or so a small cargo ship would dock and drop off supplies to keep the crew’s needs satiated.
The only exception was the security team, who always seemed aloof. Because we were located in high security space with CONCORD watching over us it was highly unlikely that pirates would try to interfere with the harvesting operations.
We all assumed that they remained distant from the rest of the crew so they could better look for signs that a particular crewman might try to sabotage the equipment or steal company secrets, both of which are serious concerns, especially on a rig where people are cooped up for months on end.
It was a fairly normal day; I’d started work and was monitoring the flow of liquefied gas through the pipeline when I felt a slight change in the vibration of the deck plate.
I was in the main control room at the time and an alarm sounded.
‘What’s going on?’ I asked.
One of the technicians was peering at a control panel on the wall while he responded.
‘Looks like one of the repulsors just went offline. It’s probably just a loose cable that’s been blown loose by the wind.’ He said.
Our overseer agreed.
‘OK, stop the pumps and disconnect the pipeline as per normal procedure. Brian, get outside and see if you can fix it.’ He ordered.
Brian nodded and left the room. I turned the pumps off and watched the lines clear, before sealing them shut and giving the all clear for another worker across the room to disconnect.
The floor shuddered again as the pipeline came free of the rig. We were now adrift.
At that moment Alan came into the control room.
‘What’s going on? I was just working on the pumps and they shut down on me.’ He asked.
‘One of the repulsors is malfunctioning. We had to disconnect from the pipeline as per standard safety procedure.’ Our overseer put bluntly.
We knew that if we sank too far the pipeline could tear away, compromising the entire structure.
Alan looked a little worried, he knew that those repulsors were the only things holding us up and was always a little pessimistic. I could imagine what was going through his mind.
We watched on the monitors as the hulking mass of Brian in his protective exo suit left the airlock, and slowly made his way around the platform.
The speakers crackled into life as Brian called in.
‘Uh, I found the problem. It looks like we had a lot of dust get blown past here. The whole casing on a couple of the units has come off… I don’t know how we didn’t notice this before. I’m coming back up. We’re going to need a repair barge down here.’
‘Copy that.’ The overseer said ‘I’ll call planetary control and see how quickly they can get a ship down here.’
I knew then I started worrying too. There was a real danger that if-
My train of thought was interrupted by yet another tremor and feeling as if I was in an elevator planetside again.
An ominous siren started wailing now.
‘The other repulsors have gone offline!’ A technician cried. ‘We’re falling!’
The overseer swore. ‘Brian, get back inside as fast as you can- you won’t last long out there!’
‘I’m trying!’ Brian replied. We could see him on a video feed. It looked like he was walking through water. ‘The air’s thick, it’s like wading through treacle.’
Over the radio his laboured breathing was all we could hear. We saw him stop a few metres from the airlock.
‘Keep going!’ I cried, trying to get him to move. ’You’re almost there!’
‘Just… Catching… My… Breath.’ He replied.
Suddenly we heard a bang over the communications system and Brian started screaming. The left arm of his pressure suit had just imploded. He stood flailing for a few agonising seconds before the rest of his suit was crushed and the line went dead.
We all stood there in shock, staring even as the camera died.
That bought it all home. If we didn’t take drastic action now we’d all die. It took watching one of our colleagues dying before our eyes to make us break from procedure. We should have got out when we first saw something was wrong.
‘This is a general address.’ The overseer calmly said into the speaker system. ‘All personnel are to evacuate immediately. This is not a drill.’
With that everyone filed out of the command centre, climbed down the stairs two decks and made our way to the row of escape pods studded in the outer hull.
When we got there a small crowd had already gathered around the emergency seals. I knew something was wrong when I saw green through the armoured glass where the escape pods should be.
‘They’ve been crushed!’ Someone wailed in despair. Then I realised it was me.
We didn’t know what to do anymore and just couldn’t believe what was going on. Only the security team seemed nonchalant about it all, and I began to wonder if they were ever completely sane.
With a crash, the porthole on one of the escape pod hatches blew in. The pressurised gas shredded people near it into crimson rain. Everyone started running away. I was furthest ahead and ducked under the emergency bulkheads as they came down. I found myself in the mess hall and realised I was alone.
I felt sick looking at the screen next to the door, watching people bang on the bulkheads with despair. Then the feed cut and I knew they were dead.
I sat down at a table and wept, I don’t know how long for. All I could hear was the groaning of the superstructure as it was crushed around me.
Looking up through my haze of tears I saw the ceiling bulging in under the pressure.
Not long now, I thought.
When it gave way, the mess hall imploded almost instantly. I felt agonising pain for a moment, there was a bright flash and everything was gone.
I woke up suddenly, sitting upright in my bed. The bedside clock was going off telling me to get up. I was in familiar surroundings, my cabin on the rig. Sure enough the green half light was filtering in through the porthole.
I got up shakily and went over to my wash basin, splashing my face with water. What was going on? I thought I was supposed to be dead?
I made my way to the mess, and it was as if nothing had happened. I got my breakfast on a tray at the serving hatch and went to find a table.
Sandra was sitting alone at one, and waved me over. I sat down opposite her, glad for the company.
‘What’s up?’ she asked ‘you look like you’ve seen a ghost.’
Indeed I had. I had seen her in the escape pod bay yesterday with all the others.
‘Don’t you remember yesterday?’ I asked.
‘Well it was another day. Can’t say anything unusual happened.’ She replied. ‘Why, what happened to you?’
‘Well, I remember the repulsors cutting out and the rig got crushed. Then I woke up.’
Sandra laughed. ‘Sounds like someone’s been having nightmares. You should lay off the cheese before sleep!’
I laughed as well at that, although I couldn’t help but be unsettled. It had seemed so, real. I couldn’t imagine myself dreaming like that. Still, I tried to shake the thought out of my mind.
I went to the control centre like every morning, and as usual there was Brian sitting at his chair looking bored like nothing interesting had happened in the months on board.
I shuddered momentarily at the memory of the crushed exo-suit on the platform outside, before I remembered that it couldn’t possibly have been real.
This morning I had a surprise when calibrating the scanners. They picked up a fairly large metallic deposit sinking into the atmosphere several hundred kilometres beneath us. I thought its probably just a meteorite or an old starship wreck carried up by some freak winds.
I registered the results with the main computer back at the planetary command centre because it was an anomaly after all, and it came back saying there had been a fault with the scanners.
When I re-ran the sweep there was no metal returned on the display, so I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t made at least a minor discovery.
That day I was scheduled to go and check the filters on the pipeline. I made my way out cautiously, having to hook a safety line to a bar every few metres. I knew although the wind was already ferocious for most terrestrial planets, it was but a breeze for this giant. If a sudden gust sprang up I could be tossed over the side of the platform like a doll and lost forever in the inky depths.
The exo-suit was bulky and it made the going slow anyway without all the fumbling around for the safety lines. Still I was grateful for the protection from the elements. Without the layers of titanium plating and reinforced joints I’d be almost instantly killed at these pressures. Inside one is slightly claustrophobic. There is only a pair of very small eyepieces for you to look out of if you don’t want to rely on the HUD in the visor showing a camera’s view from the side of the helmet.
I finally got to the pipeline and started my inspection. The filters were spotless, which wasn’t surprising since I had replaced them a few days previously. However, something did catch my eye.
The bolts connecting the rig to the pipeline were shiny as if they were new. However the slightly corrosive elements of Umokka IX should have put a little layer of dull corroded metal over the top during the months it had been exposed. I definitely hadn’t seen them that shiny when I last replaced the filters.
When I got back, I asked the maintenance and requisitions officer if the bolts had been replaced.
‘No.’ He said ‘Although they are due to be replaced in a few weeks- I hear this atmosphere isn’t too forgiving to exposed aluminium.’
‘Well I was thinking that myself.’ I replied. ‘But they seemed good as new to me when I went out there earlier.’
‘Probably just someone’s rubbed the grime off is all.’ The officer said.
And that was that. Life went on as normal. Word somehow spread that I had bad nightmares and it came up more often than I’d have liked, although thankfully no one meant it in a particularly nasty way.
A couple of weeks later, they installed a small landing pad near the pipeline, and put a shuttlecraft on it.
The corporation said that they’d had problems on other sites where the lines carrying the liquid gas had fatigued and failed, so now we had this shuttle to inspect the pipeline running towards the planetary command centre.
Honestly the little craft wasn’t a lot to look at. Basically a reinforced armour-glass cockpit and four directional engines to propel it through the gas giant’s turbulent atmosphere.
Sandra, the only one of our crew qualified to fly, got the lucky task of having to fly the shuttle up and down the pipeline.
Between one of my shifts I was lucky enough to get invited to go along on one of the routine inspections. It was cramped in the tiny cockpit, but I thought the way the nimble little craft handled in the winds was fantastic.
We followed the line for a few hundred miles, only clearly seeing the few metres that were illuminated by the shuttle’s searchlight. The rest of the construction disappeared into the gloom, even the bright navigational lights along it winking out in the distance.
After what seemed like an age, another shape emerged. This was the storage tank for all of the liquefied gasses we were pumping out. The structure was immense, just basically a massive cylinder storing millions upon millions of tonnes of gasses.
Huge cables and pipes snaked from the silo to a large landing pad tacked on to the side. From the sheer size of it and the attached control tower, I assumed the ships that would dock here would be at least a mile long.
All too soon, we were back on our way to the little rig and back to my job.
One day we got a call from the planetary control centre telling us to change the types of gas we were harvesting. Of course this got grumbles from the staff, me included.
We had been extracting noble gasses for as long as the platform had been here, and adjusting the extractor inlets was a pain. I had to retune the sensors to pick out Hydrogen now, while the crews on the extractor itself had to play out more line to drop the inlet another hundred kilometres down.
Hydrogen harvesting was a lot more risky than the noble gasses. For example, if there was a leak of argon or similar, we’d only have to shut down the area like a hull breach and send people in exo-suits to fix it. With hydrogen, such a leak could cause an explosion.
Even so, I was surprised at how quickly we converted the rig, and within nine hours of getting the call we were pumping liquid hydrogen to the silo.
Soon after, we got told that we could have more leave. It was a welcome change, since we’d all been on the rig for the last few months. This move was probably made to relieve stress of the crew.
These breaks were only a couple of days long apiece, but it gave everyone a chance to catch up with things that they’d missed on the extractor.
I remember the first trip up to one of the system’s stations. Everything seemed so huge! I guess I’d gotten used to the relatively cramped conditions at work.
My personal favourite destination for these breaks was the corporate police force assembly plant. Visiting the civilian decks you wouldn’t believe you were on a megacorporate security station.
I had one of these breaks coming up when I was replacing the filters a couple of weeks later. I’d just finished placing the clean units in and started the system back up when I saw a familiar searchlight sweep across me. Looking up I saw the shuttle circle overhead, back from its inspection run.
‘Hey there Dave.’ Sandra said over the radio. ‘I guess it has to be you since no-one else likes those things as much as you do!’
‘Yeah you’re right there, but I seriously doubt anyone would want to haul these wretched things around.’
I lifted one of the old filters that was caked in dust and grime. They were about two and a half feet across and you couldn’t fold them away like the clean ones. In my humble opinion, they’re not the most pleasant of things to lug around.
A little warning flashed up on my HUD- the wind speed had started to pick up. I called out a warning.
‘Hey you might want to set that bird down- I think it’s going to start gusting soon.’
‘Relax, I’ve got it covered.’ She replied. ‘Besides, who has the pilot’s licence?’
‘Yeah well just be careful.’ I said. ‘Haven’t you got a couple days’ shore leave too?’
‘Yeah I do actually, thinking of going somewhere?’ she asked.
I thought about it for a moment, while picking up my tools and starting to gingerly make my way back.
‘Yeah, we could go see that new Clear Skies holo that’s in the cinemas. Heard it’s pretty amazing on the big screens.’
‘That does sound pretty good.’ She replied. ‘I guess it’s a date then.’
I watched the shuttle come in on its final approach to the landing pad, when a sudden gust hit. I grabbed a railing to hang on as I felt myself being buffeted sideways. The shuttle jerked in the air, caught unawares by the wind.
‘Oh crap’ I heard Sandra sigh.
The shuttle smashed into the unyielding hull of the rig, its momentum carrying it along the hull before coming to a halt on the shuttle pad above me. Pieces of debris were raining down in the trail the ship had left.
‘Sandra?’ I said, trying to get something, anything to indicate she was ok. All there was in reply was static.
I started to panic. I dropped my tools and started moving towards the stairs to the pad. The going was painfully slow. I had to re fasten my clip to a new rail every couple of metres and hang on tightly if I didn’t want to be blown away.
The heavy exo suit didn’t help, making all of my movements clumsy and slow.
I stopped in horror as I climbed high enough to see over the rim of the pad.
The shuttle was wrecked. It looked as if a giant fist had smashed the front and side of the craft, tearing it apart.
I couldn’t even recognise where the pilot was supposed to sit. I used the optical zoom on my suit’s camera to get a closer look.
I wish I hadn’t.
The cockpit was totally destroyed, and amongst the wreckage I could see pieces of flesh where the intense pressures and forces of the atmosphere had torn them apart. There was nothing left of Sandra but little pieces and streaks of gore.
I felt a massive hand descend on my shoulder and was turned around. It was one of the security team who had come out, having watched the accident on a monitor.
‘Sir, you’ve got to get back inside.’ He said, pointing to the airlock just past the bottom of the steps. Even as he spoke more security personnel in heavily armoured suits were leaving it.
I nodded weakly, and made my way slowly back inside.
I spent the next few hours in my cabin, trying to absorb myself in my paperwork, trying to forget what I’d just seen. I just felt completely empty inside.
I barely noticed the repair barge docking. No doubt it was carrying crews to take away the wrecked shuttle and fix up any damage it had caused.
Eventually, a knock on the cabin door broke me from my reverie. I got up from my desk and went over to see who it was.
Alan was standing there.
‘Hi. Um, Sandra’s in the infirmary, she wants to see you.’ He said.
My mind reeled. How could that be possible? There’s nothing in the cluster that could heal damage like that.
Even so, I went there, opening the door with some trepidation, expecting some kind of sick joke.
However, there was Sandra sitting in one of the beds, with bandages and a small medical device on her head.
‘Sorry if I worried you.’ She said to me as she saw me. ‘Had a bit of a rough landing there.’
All my powers of speech monetarily left me.
‘H-how are you still here? I saw the crash… you were dead…’ I said.
‘What?’ she replied, sounding almost as surprised as I was. ‘It just came down hard and I got a concussion. The shuttle was broken but all I did was hit my head. That’s all I remember.’
She then looked serious, remembering the last time something like this happened.
‘Are you ok?’ she asked. ‘I think you were hallucinating. Like that time a couple months back when you had that nightmare. Maybe on your next leave you should go and see a doctor.’
I didn’t know what to believe. I know I’d been wrong before, but I didn’t just wake up from this event. I thought it had actually happened.
That evening I reviewed the camera recordings from the exo suit I’d been wearing. To my dismay the moment before the shuttle crashed the image became corrupted, so I couldn’t prove I’d seen what I had. The repair crews had taken the old shuttle away for reprocessing so there was no trace of the accident at all except a few security and incident reports which confirmed what Sandra had been saying.
Something was now very wrong. I couldn’t separate fact from fiction, truth from fantasy. I feared that the rig had somehow driven me mad with its same routine over the long months.
Word had got around now that I had been seeing things. This time however, everyone grew more distant from me, stopping talking whenever I drew near and treating me like some kind of disease, even Sandra had stopped talking to me.
After a week of this, I’d had enough. I had to end it all. I’d probably never find out what was happening to me and I was beyond the point of caring.
As soon as my shift ended I went to the emergency weapons locker and took out a pistol.
I went back to my cabin and locked the door. If everyone out there thought I was crazy I could at least show them what they expected.
I put the gun to my head, and after a moment of reflection about whether I really was being stupid at this point, I pulled the trigger.
There was a flash of light right before my brains splattered all over the wall.
Darkness enveloped me. Was this it, the afterlife? I moved my arm and it hit a rubbery wall.
Where am I?
I realised I was inside some kind of small container, trapped. There was a tube in my mouth running into me, and I couldn’t breathe! The tube retracted and electrodes popped off of my scalp. I took a deep breath, only to choke as fluid rushed into my lungs. Lights turned on in front of me, and I realised I was looking out of a glass window. The fluid around me drained away and the window opened. I fell out of the vat, vomiting and coughing the goo out of my system.
I looked back at the cloning bay and saw my name and the facility I worked at on a panel next to it. On either wall of this corridor that I found myself in are identical bays, but with different names and facility numbers. I peer into one of the occupied bays and I was shaken by what I saw.
It was me. In every bay there was another clone, identical to myself, but with a different name and facility number. Before I had time to work out what was happening here a door at the end of the corridor opened and a pair of medical staff came in followed by an armed guard.
The guard told me to do exactly as the medics asked. I wasn’t going to argue.
The signs all over the facility indicated that I was in a cloning bay owned by the corporation I worked for, and so all of the clones were employees. It dawned on me that perhaps there could be other versions of me working on other gas harvesters, completely oblivious to each other. That thought chilled me to the core.
I went through the procedure that all capsuleers must go through innumerable times, having the cloning goo washed off and having a series of tests done to make sure that you are indeed alive. Although I doubt that most capsule pilots were treated as roughly or had an automatic rifle aimed at them at all times.
Within a short period of time I found myself wearing a medical gown and handcuffed to a chair in an interrogation room. I had no idea why I’d just been reanimated as a clone, although I wasn’t as surprised as I thought I’d be.
I wasn’t left to dwell on things for long, because the only door to the room opened and a guard entered, followed by a man in a business suit. He radiated power and confidence. He turned his back on me to close the door, allowing me to see the neural socket on the back of his neck.
My breath froze.
This man must be the capsuleer in charge of the whole operation!
He turned back to face me, the expression on my face betraying that I knew who he was.
Sitting down opposite me, he smiled coldly.
‘So then… David? Yes it is David. I see you’ve stumbled across our little secret here.’ The capsuleer spoke as if he were talking to a child. ‘And, according to my security team on your rig, you decided to redecorate your quarters with your head. Now that wasn’t very nice, was it?’
‘What are you doing here?’ I cried. ‘What are all those clones doing back there?’
The capsuleer’s face grew serious at my outburst.
‘I run a business, and it is my business to make profit. Gas harvesting makes me a lot of ISK, but it is also incredibly hazardous and requires some of the best technicians in the cluster to make it work. Now, to get around the first problem is simple enough, fit cloning devices to personnel so when they invariably die they can get back to work with minimal fuss. After such an accident occurs the handful of people ‘in the know’, so to speak, cover up the accident and the clone’s memories of its previous demise are wiped. This stops any pesky state or concord safety investigations.’
‘But what about all the other clones, with the different names?’ I asked. I’d pretty much worked out his first answer, but this is what I really wanted to know, and dreaded at the same time.
The capsuleer smiled.
‘Do you know how difficult it is to recruit and train dozens of crews for this kind of work? Why not clone the same team, alter some of their memories so there aren’t any unpleasant issues if they meet each other, and change their names so CONCORD doesn’t get suspicious about having the same name in the payroll a dozen times? It’s so much cheaper!’ He exclaimed.
I knew then that this man was not a demigod, as I had once believed his kind to be, but a monster, treating humans like laboratory animals. I was sick at the thought of MY crew scattered throughout space, over and over again.
‘You can’t do this!’ I yelled, trying to struggle against my bonds. ‘It’s wrong! I’ll expose you!’
The monster sitting opposite me laughed, and laughed until tears ran from his eyes.
‘But how can you do that, if you don’t remember a thing?’ He nodded to the guard.
I felt a hypodermic needle plunge into my neck. My vision started to fade and I felt weak. All I did was kept telling myself to remember, remember, remember…
Everything went dark.
The gentle shudder of a barge undocking woke me from my slumber.
I was trying to sleep in my quarters before my next shift. I had a headache and my vision swam. I must be coming down with the flu or something.
There was something nagging me in the back of my mind. Like I needed to remind someone about something, although I didn’t have a clue what it was or who to remind.
‘It doesn’t matter.’ I mumbled, as I rolled over and drifted off back to sleep.