In celebration for the release of Kameron Hurley’s MEET ME IN THE FUTURE, Tachyon presents glimpses from a “brilliant story collection.” (Grimdark Magazine)
by Kameron Hurley
meditated at mealtimes within the internode, huffing liquor vapors
from a dead comrade’s shattered skull. This deep within the
satellite, ostensibly safe beneath the puckered skein of the
peridium, she went over the lists of the dead.
She recited her own name first.
Enyo’s memory was a severed ocular scelera; leaking aqueous humor,
slowing losing shape as the satellite she commanded spun back to the
beginning. The cargo she carried was unknown to her, a vital piece of
knowledge that had escaped the punctured flesh of her memory.
She had named the ship after herself—Enyo-Enyo—without any
hint of irony. The idea that Enyo had any irony left was a riotous
laugh even without knowing the satellite’s moniker, and her Second,
Reeb, amused himself often at her shattering attempt at humor.
After the purging of every crew, Reeb came into Enyo’s pulpy green
quarters, his long face set in a black, graven expression she had
come to call winter, for it came as often as she remembered that
season in her childhood.
“Why don’t we finish out this turn alone?” he would say. “We
can manage the internode ourselves. Besides, they don’t make
engineers the way they did eight turns ago.”
“There’s the matter of the prisoner,” she would say.
And he would throw up his dark, scarred hands and sigh and say, “Yes,
there’s the prisoner.”
It was Enyo’s duty, her vocation, her obsession, to tread down the
tongue of the spiraling umbilicus from the internode to the holding
pod rotation of the satellite, to tend to the prisoner.
Each time, she greeted the semblance of a body suspended in viscous
green fluid with the same incurious moue she had seen Justice wear in
propaganda posters during the war. Some part of her wondered if the
body would recognize it. If they could talk of those times. But who
knew how many turns old it was? Who knew how many other wars it had
seen? On a large enough scale, her war was nothing. A few million
dead. A system destroyed.
The body’s eyes were always closed, its sex indeterminate, its face
a morass of dark, thread-like tentacles and fleshy growths. Most
sessions, she merely came down and unlocked the feed cabinet, filled
a clean syringe with dark fluid, and inserted it into the black
fungal sucker fused to the transparent cell. Sometimes, when the body
absorbed the fluid, it would writhe and twist, lost in the ecstasy of
Enyo usually went straight back to the internode to recite her lists
of dead, after. But she had been known to linger, to sit at the flat,
gurgling drive that kept her charge in permanent stasis.
She had stopped wondering where the body had come from, or who it had
been. Her interest was in pondering what it would become when they
reached its destination. She lost track of time in these intimate
reveries, often. After half a rotation of contemplation, Reeb would
do a sweep of the satellite. He would find her alive and intact, and
perhaps he would go back to playing screes or fucking one of the
engineers or concocting a vile hallucinogen the gelatinous
consistency of aloe. They were a pair of two, a crew of three,
picking up rim trash and mutilated memories in the seams between the
stars during the long night of their orbit around the galactic core.
For info on MEET ME IN THE FUTURE, visit the Tachyon page.