The little things

I floated towards the doorway, noticing my overturned cup of tea beside me. The liquid contents seemed frozen in slow motion, spilling outwards from the cup but never hitting the floor, much like myself.

Gravity was out on the station again. Minmatar engineering at its best.

I kept one monitor in my office fixed to the local station news channel. Fortunately, that monitor was wall mounted and not spinning out of control like so many other items around me. I could see the chaos already breaking out; the public sector was quick to panic.

Already local transit was reporting increased incidents of violence, though the retail sector wasn’t reporting any spike in vandalism or theft. I chuckled, thinking about the inherent challenges I would face of trying to deface something while floating haphazardly about. I could see it now. I would spray the aerosol can and go flying in the opposite direction. Knowing my luck, gravity would be restored as I’m four levels about the ground deck.

As a spaceship pilot, I was familiar with zero gravity, though it wasn’t one of my favourite environments. I was always left feeling a little queasy, my stomach in my throat; not the most comfortable feeling. Some pilots detested being planet bound. Others feared leaving their capsules at all, preferring to watch their bodies wither way to a barely living husk than to have to disengage and interact with the real world.

In my experience, the opposite also proved true. Many ground troops I had worked with loathed any type of flight, whether it was ground based air assault, atmospheric, or space. Solid footing and all that.

We all had comfort zones we preferred to live within.

I exited from my office, slowly pushing off a wall towards the nearest ship, one of my own Rifter class frigates I had recently had towed into our hangar.  I figured I’d wait this out in the artificial gravity of the ship, more comfortably. The Rifter was clamped tight in the bay. Gravity or not, it wasn’t going anywhere. I found that reassuring.

I began to spiral as I gently swam towards it, trying in vain to right myself. As my rotation turned me to face the ceiling, I realized how seldomly we look up. The ceiling was filthy. I may have to get around to having that cleaned at some point. I also made a mental note to look up more often, though that wasn’t the first time I had made such a promise.

The memory of an old news story popped into my mind, fresh as the day I first saw it on GalNet. It was one of those incidents that had you read about it, it would’ve been dismissed as urban legend, but with camera drones being almost omnipresent throughout the galaxy, the entire grisly, yet comical incident had been captured live.

I civilian, an enforcement office as it turned out, had been on his way home from the final day of his career, and was stuck in the typical rush hour traffic. He and his family had been looking forward to his retirement. According to an interview with his wife after the fact, she couldn’t understand what they had done to deserve this punishment, as her husband had been a god fearing man, always looking to the heavens in prayer.

The ironic tragedy is that as his vehicle sat in gridlock, a cargo ship with religious knicknacks had fallen under pirate attack in orbit, breaking into pieces as it fell into the atmosphere, parts and cargo disintegrating on entry … for the most part.

One large cargo crate of carved statuettes didn’t burn up. In fact, as you probably have guessed, it crashed into the man’s vehicle at high velocity, instantly killing him as well as damaging several nearby drivers and vehicles.

Sad, I know, but I also found it funny. Here’s why.

Had he been praying at that moment, he may have been looking up. Had he been looking up, he may have seen the incoming crate and avoided his fate. Of course, if fate is pre-destined, maybe things played out exactly as his god meant them to.

Still, I had decided to be more aware of my surrounding from that day onward, yet had fallen into my own complacent habits and rarely looked up.

Yes, the ceiling was filthy.

I appeared to still be on course to collide gently with my Rifter, about thirty meters away. I suppose in what could only be called divine irony or divine retribution, the station managed to restore gravity at that exact moment.

I could feel the shocked expression on my face as I foolishly reached out for the ceiling in front of me, before dropping a good ten feet to land flat on my back and ass, a loud thud ringing throughout the hangar bay.

It knocked the wind clean out of me, and yet somehow, I still laughed.

I don’t know why I’m journaling this entry. There was no moral lesson learned, no punch line to make it humourous. It simply was something that happened out of the ordinary and I felt compelled to share this small glimpse into the small mishaps that my lives have been composed of.

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