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The opening scene of “Along the Watchtower.” This is the first pass that felt, to me, like it meant something, where it spoke back to me and I could feel the story within taking life. This identifies the tone I want for this story.

Come. Can you hear it? The rattling – rattling through the bowels of the ship; stroking the hull plating, murmuring in the darkness of night, of space. Filling the void where nothing else lives. The ship seems still, now timid. The lights are dimmed, humming gently at 1/8 illumination through the residential sector.

She sighs beneath my touch.

Leave your report, incomplete and unfinished. Leave your computer monitor. Pale green glow follows you down the hall through the open door of your quarters. Go to the window. You have one of those right? One that peers out in the vastness of space, illuminating the corridor with the streaking slipstream. The graveyard shift, when the ships population sleeps and those of us to remain keep watch.

There is no risen moon, streaming through tree leaves, keeping guard over us. Just the light of the slipstream against the hull plating. Listen, you can still hear us, if you strain your ears hard enough. Hear the laughter echo through the service hatch ways, accidentally left open by the tired technician on his last shift. Feel the footstep patters, tremoring thru the deck where the plating isn’t quite thick enough.

Just an echo. Just the memory. We’re not here anymore. And we won’t be again.

Can you think of the words on the face of your report? Can you picture the acceptance that you are about to type?