By Peter Van Werkhoven
A 2016 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Story
The Whale’s Song* rumbled and reverberated silently through the silky black, vast and unaccountable, long and peaceful area of space just outside the planet Jupiter.
*The Whale’s Song. A Class 4 Cruise Liner. Decommissioned in the 42nd century. In size, the Whale’s Song is easily double the width of two Titanic’s, plus another two on either side. This makes the ship roughly the size of 6 Titanic’s in two rows of three.
Class 4 cruise liners were known for their slow, steady speeds, glass bottoms for staring longingly into space, open space decks for evening dances, cramped quarters, and, most importantly, for running tours that no one could afford to go on to places no one wanted to go to^.
In the 41st century, after failing its safety examinations and for poor income, the Board of Interesting Cruise Course Liner Encorporated (BICCLE for short) came up with the decision to decommission the Whale’s Song.
As per the service arrangements of the contracts of the crew and personal, all signed in their contracts to leave their homes and make The Whale’s Song their new, and permanent home. When BICCLE announced the retirement of The Whale’s Song and the dismissals of its crew and personal, Captain Otua Rood, Captain of The Whale’s Song, approached BICCLE and requested approval for herself and her crew to stay on the ship, and to continue orbiting around Jupiter.
One large court case later, in which Otua Rood and the personal of the Whale’s Song sued BICCLE for breaking their contract and attempting to dismiss the from their homes, Otua Rood bought the Whale’s Song and, along with her crew, patched up what little problems had to be fixed on board, and started her own touring company.
Now stuck in orbit around Jupiter, as per the lines in their contract that allowed them to only win the Whale’s Song if they kept it in BICCLE jurisdiction, Otua Rood offers a home and a sight tour of Jupiter to anyone who wishes it. And can pay. Of course.
^This was largely due to poor management and in no way reflected the personal ideas or views of crew or passengers.
Oscar shivered and rose. He looked like Death had touched him –via a sharp left hand slap across the face. Other than the distinct, hand shaped birthmark across Oscar’s face, the rest of him looked completely normal*.
Far away, a klaxon rang. It repeated its shrill blerring, changing up its pitch up and down to make sure people were aware it existed. Oscar grunted, attempting to clear his throat from the phlegm that kept things closed. With a wave of his hand over the light panel, the room burst in to light and he sat blinking in his covers.
Far away, the klaxon continued to ring urgently. His eyes adjusted to the light, Oscar stepped out of his bunk, his feet finding their way into his slippers blindfolded, and he trotted over to the sink at the end of his cabin. Cold water splashed his face, and then warm water as the heater kicked in. A shower, that was what he needed.
The klaxon continued to sound, along with the sound of pounding feet along the corridor outside. Oscar payed no attention as he entered the little bathroom in his cabin. His cabin was three square meters, with a bunk nailed to the floor opposite the door, a porthole right next to it. A little counter came out of the wall to provide a one square meter kitchen area. It contained a mini fridge and a microwave. The sink next to the bed, in which he had just washed his face, doubled as the kitchen sink and his washbasin. His toothbrush sat in a cup next to the tap. Opposite the kitchen sat a smaller room, separated from the rest of it by a shower curtain. It was in this room that Oscar now stood, under the dripping water of the showerhead, lost in his own little room.
Far away, but really outside his door, the crew of The Whale’s Song rushed hectically backwards and forwards in a panic. Someone had managed to turn off the klaxon, but its shrill blerring still echoed in everyone’s ears. Moreover, the impending danger still lurked outside the porthole windows.
*What? Do you demand a further examination of Mr Oscar? To quote Dr Martin Dysart, 'A normal boy has one head: a normal head has two ears'. Oscar's looks are irrelevant.