Dial set to Zero

original

Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. This is my litany, my mantra. This is my all-consuming all pervading all-protecting incantation. My answer to everything. My answer to the unspoken challenge of the universe – the challenge I feel every day and do my level best to ignore.

 

I don’t even know what most of the dials are for at this stage, for God’s sake. The secret of the dials is lost to me – has been lost to me for a long long time now. That is why it is a secret.

 

I keep them all at zero because I don’t know what they do. Because I don’t know what might happen if they weren’t set at zero. I don’t trust them. Or maybe it would be truer to say that I don’t trust myself – I don’t trust myself to know what to do with the machineries they activate, and so I keep them safely shut down. I don’t know what might happen if they start up again. That would be far too much responsibility for me.

 

Just about the whole ship is shut down, come to think of it, not just the various subsystems associated with the instrumentation that I have access to here via the control panel. The only thing not shut down is the hibernation circuit, the basic-level rudimentary life-support system that keeps me alive so that I can carry on from day to day, doing whatever it is that I do to pass the time. Which isn’t very much, I can tell you…

 

Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. One thing that I do is to keep checking the instrument panel, making sure nothing has happened to nudge or alter in any way any of the settings on the various control systems. To make sure that the dials are still all set to zero. If anything did happen which threatened to stir or jolt any of these ancient ship-systems back into life then it would be my job to shut them down again. Immediately. Before the activation process went too far. Before the process became irreversible. Before the Ship woke up.

 

The reason the ship is shut down has to do with the Accident. I don’t know what the Accident was about, I only know that it happened. Something happened a long time ago and something important blew and at the same time that it blew, I lost my ability to know what it was exactly that blew. Or why it was so vitally important that whatever key system it was that failed didn’t fail. I lost my capacity to understand anything about it. I ought to know all that stuff because I am the Captain, but I don’t know it. I don’t know anything any more…

 

Sometimes it feels that it was my own brain and not the Ship that blew its fuse and then closed down amidst a terrific shower of sparks. It feels like it, but then again at the same time I know very well that the Disaster happened to the ship, not me. The Disaster, the Catastrophe, happened in the Ship’s Drive, not in my brain. It is important that I don’t confuse these two things, these two things that are so very different. I know that when I do confuse them then that is because I have gone mad…

 

These days I confuse so many things – so many different things. Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t confused everything. Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t confused the Whole Damn Thing. Whatever THAT is!

 

Is there anything at all that I am still clear about? I suppose the only thing I really am clear about is that I have to keep all the Ship’s functionality shut down.

 

Something very bad happened way back then. Way back when. Something so bad that I don’t even know what it was. My ability to know what has been damaged has been damaged. Destroyed in the Accident along with so much else. Full extent of Damage Sustained forever unknown….

 

I don’t know what that bad thing was but I do know that I don’t want it ever to happen again. Which it almost certainly would if the Star Drive were to be started up again. If there was anyone foolish enough or reckless enough or crazy enough or irresponsible enough to try that.

 

The only possible course of action – the only certain course of action – is to keep the Ship’s Drive safely shut down. That is my job now.

 

Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero. Dial set to zero…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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