Your surroundings affect how your audience perceives you. Record in a clean bunk, away from the burning, rancid horror of the bridge.
In speaking of your situation, omit nothing. State what happened, and at what point during the hyperdrive transit. State why. If you do not know, say so. List the names of the living and the names of the dead. If you do not know, say so. Take deep breaths to steady yourself.
If possible, angle the camera so that your wounds cannot be seen.
Do not speak of your sister, her plans for her infant son. Do not speak of your longing for cool rain against your skin.
Speak wistfully and logically in turn, but do not lose sight of objectivity.
Do not ramble, cry, scream, or rail against the outstretched void of space.
VII. A Sense of Posterity
By the time your message reaches home, everyone you knew will long be dead and buried. You are speaking for the future, from the past. Make eye contact. Do not stutter.
Try, if you can, to be happy, thinking of times gone by. The end won’t be long in coming.
This story originally appeared in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.
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Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian, speculative fiction writer, and occasional haikuist. His fiction has appeared in Writers of the Future, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, and Flash Fiction Online, among other places. Stewart was born in England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and California (in that order), and currently resides in Oregon with his family—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet. You can find him at infomancy.net or on Twitter and Facebook as @stewartcbaker