A message echoes out into the dark, wishing me a good morning as I regain conciseness and giving the updates from the front lines. I smiled and it hurt, even here at the edge of what is known it seems our trash flies about, unstoppable and fast as light. I carefully rose to the controls and almost shut off the speakers, the noise from an age past, and I stopped and listened in marvel at the symmetry in the world that allowed this to happen. Metals had been rationed the announcement told me. Be careful about what you consume as food is being sent to the front lines. She told me, in mock chiding tones, to avoid wasting anything and above all support the troops every day and in every way you can, no matter how far from home they are.
I smiled, the blood drying on my lips slowly, “Lady, you don’t know the half of it.”
I listened for a while longer, what else was there to do? Her name was Janet I eventually discovered from her soothing archaically accented chatter and I almost laughed through the pain. “Sorry Gretchen, looks like I found another sweetheart!” and I did laugh then, though the pain and the sorrow and the doubt. Eventually the laughter gave way to crying and crying to blessed sleep.
I woke to a song I didn’t recognise, something simple from a distant history I knew almost nothing about, it was something about being a long way from home. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. It ended far too quickly, replaced by Janet’s lovely voice, “Thank you all of you our there on the front risking your lives, your sweethearts are at home waiting for you, please win this war quickly and please come home.”
I did switch off the speakers then for a short while and worked. I’d found some strength in that old broadcast, enough to do critical repairs, enough to limp out onto the side of the the ship and batter its shattered form back into shape.
Re-entering the ship and exhausted to the point of collapse I turned the broadcast back on and recorded as much as I could while I waited for the hyperdrive to warm back up over the next few days.
I had a fleet to rejoin, we had a war to win.
For all those back home.