Doodles

It’s important to take care of your pets, and okay to worry about them

I stepped to my front door. It had been a long day at work, and I just needed a break. I figured that I could just sit around and nap for a while. I think that I earned it, considering how rude my manager is.

I took out my keys, and unlocked my door. It slid open, my key glided out of the lock. “Doodles!” I yelled for my cat. I waited for a second. How odd. Normally he’s right at my feet the moment I open the door.

I began to walk around and look for him. “Doodles?” He wasn’t anywhere to be seen. “Doooooodles!” I heard a faint meow at that, coming from my room. “Doodles!” I was concerned at this point.

I walked into my open door frame. I looked down. Doodles was just lying there, breathing harshly. A pile of vomit lay near him. “Oh god, Doodles, what’s going on?” I panicked a bit. Doodles had never actually been sick like this before. I picked him up, and wrapped him in a blanket. I needed to get him to the vet’s.

I carried him away and put him in my car’s passenger seat. “It’s okay, buddy, I’ll get you better in no time.” Do veterinary clinics even have a pet emergency room?

Doodles mewed faintly. This looked bad.

I started to speed. I only hoped there weren’t any cops waiting to ticket me.

I continued driving to the clinic. I had him caught up on all of his vaccines, why is he so sick? I braked at a stop light, eager to continue. Maybe he just bit a bad bird or something while he was outside? The light turned green, and I pounded the gas. What if he caught avian flu or something? Can cats even catch diseases like that? I turned right into the parking lot, and parked as close to building as possible.

I hopped out of my car and ran to the other side to get Doodles out. I picked him up, to which he mewed again. I rushed inside the clinic. “Hello Miss, would you like some help?” I sighed in relief, and handed the man Doodles.

“Yes. I came home from work to see Doodles on the floor of my room next to a pile of vomit. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I think he needs attention right now!”

The aid smiled. “Of course ma’am. We’ll get Doodles attention right away,” he handed Doodles to another aid, “In the meantime, I’ll need to you to fill out these forms.” He handed me a clipboard. I took it, and thanked him.

I filled out the papers as quickly as I could. Name, Address, pet’s name, medical problem, insurance, the works. I had basically memorised all of this, since I took doodles in at least once every three months. I took the form up to the attendant. Then I waited.

I looked at the clock. It only took me a couple minutes to fill out the form. I had only been here for about ten minutes. I doubted that they would have examined him that quickly. I tapped my toes. Who knew how long it would be until they called me in? I had never had an emergency like this before. I looked at the clock again. Only a minute had passed. I leaned forward and put my head in my hands.

I tapped my fingers. I tried to avoid thinking about what could be wrong with Doodles. Instead, I thought about my three day weekend and all of the naps I would be taking. Yet, Doodles usually sleeps on my bed with me, and my thoughts fell to him anyway.

“Sophie?” Oh thank god. I stood up and walked over to the same aid who greeted me. “Right this way.”

He led me to my usual doctor’s office. I wouldn’t have guessed he was on emergency duty. The aid opened the door and let me in.

“Sophie, good to see you are well,” Doctor Rhodes greeted me. I got straight to the point, “How’s Doodles?”

He turned to my cat. “He’ll be fine by tomorrow. He just caught a rough bug that’s been going around the neighborhood. Just keep him inside for a couple weeks, and put him next to food and water for tonight.”

I smiled and laughed. “Thank you so much, doctor. I was so concerned that something really bad was going on” He laughed, too. “Just make sure you don’t speed on the way home.”

I wrapped Doodles back up, thanked the doctor once again, and brought Doodles home. “I’m so glad you’re going to be okay.”

A Wintertime Tale of Asexuality

During a wintertime festival celebrating snowfall, Ash has to explain asexuality to ver mom.

I was walking down the cold winter street with my mom. We were at some sort of winter festival thing, where people got together to celebrate the snowfall, and subsequently the runoff that would supply us with water during the summer. I had only heard about it this year.

The festival always took place on the 21st of December, the winter solstice, every year. It didn’t matter if it had actually snowed or not, apparently, because this year there wasn’t any snow yet. Well, there was a bit on the mountains, but not any down here.

The festival took up about two blocks of the city, and the roads were filled with small vendors selling all sorts of things, as well as a few street musicians. They were mostly playing Christmas songs, which I found quite irksome, but it was nice that there was music anyway. I always liked hearing acoustic musicians, but could never actually find the time to go out and listen to any. I just wish they’d choose some song other than “Let It Snow.”

I saw a cart filled to the brim with books. I stopped and looked at it, while my mom walked ahead without noticing. Picking up one of the books, I noticed it was some schlocky romance between a city girl and a country boy. I put it down and picked up another. This one was a schlocky romance between an alien woman who crash landed on earth and a farm dude. Shaking my head, I grabbed a different book. If you couldn’t bear to guess it was schlocky romance. This one was between two detective girls though. Neat to see some queer representation, I guess.

“Ash, what are you looking at?” Mom shouted at me. I guess she noticed I fell behind.

“Oh, it was just some books. I thought I might find something cool, but it was all romance,” I replied. I put the third book down and walked to catch up with Mom.

“Ah. You sure none of it would interest you?” Mom seemed to be hinting at something. I wasn’t a fan of that.

“No. I’m not really into romance. Or dating.” I picked up the pace a bit, hoping that forcing mom to move faster would distract for long enough to not ask about it.

“Yeah, but those are just stories. They aren’t real or anything.” Turns out my plan didn’t work.

“I know. That doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy them.” I pushed my mom toward a small pizza stand. The smell was rather tantalising. I also figured I should sit down for this conversation.

“I’ll have a slice of margherita,” I told the stall worker. “Anything you want, mom?”

“I’ll have what he’s having,” she replied.

“Ve. What ve’s having,” I corrected. I paid for the pizza slices, gave the worker my name, and then sat down at a small table nearby.

Mom sat down with me. “So who are you attracted to?” she asked.

“I’m not attracted to anyone,” I told her. “I don’t really experience attraction like you do. I’m asexual.”

“Oh. Okay.”

The stall worker called my name and I grabbed our food. I was surprised my mom had let that go so fast. I was sure she was going to keep pressing for my sexual and/or romantic preferences. I don’t really think she knew what the difference between the two was, though.

“So if you were to date, would you rather date boys or girls?” She asked immediately as I handed her the pizza.

“Yup, there it is,” I said. “I’m not going to date, and the answer really doesn’t matter. So please stop asking.”

“I just want to know, that’s all,” she added trying to seem innocent.

I sighed. “Mom, I don’t feel attraction. I’ve literally never felt attracted to anyone to the point where I wanted to date or have sex with anyone. The most that I’ve ever done is conflate thinking someone was cool and maybe a little cute with feelings of attraction when I actually just wanted to be their friend. I ended up making supposedly romantic gestures to these people and pushing them away because of it. I’m not attracted to people.”

“Well, of those people you liked, were more of them boys or girls?” she retorted.

“Jesus, you were sitting on that response, weren’t you? Neither. Well, that and it’s kind of reductive to only include binary genders when I’m nonbinary. I don’t even like being called a boy in the first place. I literally changed my name to escape that kind of gendering.”

“Oh. Right.” Mom took a large bit of her slice of pizza. I think she was biding her time before she said something else. Which I guess I was the one who opened up that opportunity in the first place by buying food. Oh well. I took a bite of my own slice.

“I know you said you’d never get married a few times. I guess it makes sense that that should extend to dating,” Mom said after a few moments of quiet.

“Thanks for realising,” I said.

I was content to sit silently for a while, but Mom seemed to want to keep talking. “I guess I’m just curious.”

“Curiosity is fine,” I told her, “but that implies learning. You were really pushing for boys or girls in your questions. You should have asked a new question instead of reframing your old one.”

“I see.” After that she was okay with just eating and listening to music. A nearby group had started performing Auld Lang Syne.

Trainyard

Every step I took left a crunch as I passed over rocks and leaves. The sounds of my footsteps were accompanied by the sounds of birds singing in the distance. Overhead and on a bridge, I could hear cars driving by occasionally.

Around me were painted trains. By that, I mean trains and train cars that had been painted on. There were covered in graffiti. No one had driven these trains in years, so the art just kept accumulating. It took me a few minutes, but I eventually did find an empty spot on the side of a car. The train itself was a dingy red color, and its paint was chipping away in spots. It was exactly what I wanted.

I dropped my pack onto the ground next me. I kneeled down and started going through it. I took a few cans of spray paint out of the bag and put them down. After I had the colors that I wanted, I stood up and dusted my hands off on my pants. I picked up a black can, shook it up, and sprayed it onto the train car.

After a while, a dark black oval sat on top of the rusty red. I tossed the black can onto the ground, and reached down to grab a different color.

I might’ve been there for hours, just spray painting this train. I had emptied at least two of the cans that I had brought, including the black one I used for the background. After I was done making my art, I slid backward and admired my work. It was better than I had ever imagined putting onto a train car.

I took the remaining paint cans, the ones that weren’t empty, and put them back into my bag. I had left my mark in the trainyard, and that’s all I had wanted to do.

As I left, I could still admire the art around me. I know that graffiti is supposed to be a crime, but how can anyone hate something so wonderful?

Let’s Not

“Great view from down there, huh?”

“Yeah,” I replied. I was laying on the ground, taking photos of the party lights that shone on some trees.

Whoever said that walked away, and I took a few more photos. More than anything, I didn’t want to be here right now. Yet, I had to be. It was a scholarship required event. So here I was, laying on the ground, taking photos of lights on leaves.

I could hear the music and shouts of excitement coming from the crowd less than 20 feet to my right. I sighed.

I haven’t really felt much connection or want to connect with any of these people. The closest I had to a heartfelt moment was a really awful conversation that went like this:

“I really want to get into law, because I love politics,” he said.

“You love politics?” I asked.

“Yeah. They’re great.”

I sighed. “I mean, politics themselves aren’t great. By the standards of ‘politics,’ I have to debate my own existence with more people than I care to think about.”

“What do you mean you have to debate you’re existence?”

“I’m trans.”

“Oh. So does this mean you want to be a girl, or were you a girl before?” He seemed earnestly interested enough, so I figured I’d tell them the truth

“Neither. I’m nonbinary.”

“I see. So do you have a, you know? Or the other thing?”

I groaned loudly. “Oh my god. This is exactly what I was talking about.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Let’s change the subject.”

“Sure.”

He smiled. “So I’m registered to vote Democrat. They want to expand trans rights. That’s good, right?”

“Mm. I mean, it would be nice, if it would ever happen. But Democrats are so obsessed with trying to appeal to a middle ground that they keep ceding power to Republicans.”

He seemed to be listening to me. I was a bit hopeful I could change his mind.

“Okay. So are you saying Republicans and Democrats are the same?” He asked.

“More or less. If they weren’t so similar, blue states would be drastically different from red ones. But do you ever really notice a difference between California and Oregon to the north?”

“Okay Republicans and Democrats are not the same. Have you seen the things Trump says? He’s so different from Democrats!” He sounded upset.

“Sure they are. Whatever. I’ve gotta go to the restroom.”

“Okay, man, see you later,” he said.

I winced. Man. I’m not a man. I had explained that.

The party seemed to have gotten larger while I was lost in thought. They were only fifteen feet away now. The cheers had certainly gotten louder.

I got up and walked away. It was dark enough that they wouldn’t notice.

So, I wandered. Not enough to get lost, but enough to be away. That was all I really wanted, so I was going to take it.

I walked away, to a small clearing with just a couple of trees. I sat down next to one and simply stared away.

In my pleasant fantasies, someone would approach me to have a conversation. But, seeing as how this wasn’t a fantasy, I couldn’t have that. To be fair, I looked like I wanted to be alone in the first place.

Lights and voices started to approach. They were people, likely trying to go to the bathroom. I sat in place, making no motion or sound. They walked past, oblivious to the fact that the only thing between them seeing me was a tree and my own low posture. I was hiding in plain sight.

I looked up, and hoped to see some stars. I didn’t. There was too much smoke in the sky from all the forest fires. In fact, earlier today, the sun was red from the smoke’s cover. Curling my head around the tree, so was the moon.

“I shouldn’t be breathing comfortably right now. This is really bad.”

I sighed. There was so little I could do to change anything right now. I couldn’t leave, I didn’t want to dance, the music was too close to the tents for me to sleep, I couldn’t stop the forest fires from happening, and I can’t vote my way into change.

The only thing I really could do was sit in silence, and continue to think about things.

What am I? Is this really something I can be?

I dreaded the idea of this moment for months. Maybe even years. I couldn’t tell you.

Holding a small, sealed envelope close to my chest, I tiptoed down the hallway. It was 3 A.M. and I didn’t want to wake up my parents. But I desperately needed to tell them something. But I also didn’t want to wake them up. Oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god.

I stopped and leaned against the wall, shaking. I clutched the letter even closer to me. I let a breath out, and it shook as it left my lungs. Maybe I just shouldn’t tell them anything. Maybe I should just go to bed and forget all about this.

I took a breath. I need to do this. I told myself I’d at least do this before I go.

I got off of the wall, and took another step toward the door. I can do this. I can.

In less time than I would have liked, I was staring at the door. All I would have to do is slide the envelope underneath the door, and then leave.

It felt like an eternity before I made my choice. I stared at the crack underneath the door for what could have been hours. I slowly crouched down. Still, the envelope was held near my chest. My hands clutched it closer to me the more I thought about sliding it underneath the door.

Shaking, I eventually forced my hands away from myself, and toward the small crack underneath the door. I slipped the envelope into the crack, and breathed. I had finally done it. This was it.

Panic immediately set back in. What if they’re angry? What if my parents secretly hate me for this? What will my sisters think? Oh god, they’ve had an older brother for so long, what the hell am I supposed to do?

Slowly, I stood up from the door. My hands weren’t shaking anymore. I walked back to my room, just as quietly as before. I opened my closet, pulled out a bag, and started to pack it. I was going to have to leave. Yup, no way around it.

Once the bag was full, I tossed it next to my door. I needed to figure out what might be important enough to take with me.First things first, I grabbed my phone and threw it into my pocket. I grabbed the charger it was connected to as well.

Next up, I made sure my wallet was in my pocket. It was. Lastly, I grabbed my journal. I mean, at least that way if I die, someone can know my story.

I went downstairs and walked out of the house, with no intention of looking back. I made the choice, and I knew it would have consequences. Maybe some consequences I wasn’t ready to face.

I think I had walked for somewhere around two hours before I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. It was probably just an early morning email or something. I pulled my phone out and looked at the notification.

Mom

We already know. Come home.

Train Ride

Giggling, Devon and I got onto the late night train. Alone, I don’t think either of us could have walked, but we were fine with each other.

We stepped inside of the train, and sat down at a bench. The train car was basically empty.

“Dev, did you see that boy with the blue hair?” I asked, still stifling a small laugh.

“I’m a thousand percent sure he’s gay,” she replied.

“No way, he was totally hitting on me while he was there! He complimented my eyeliner!”

“That’s why I know he’s gay,” She said. We both laughed.

“What about the guy who kept buying you drinks?” I asked.

“Oh, him? He’s just a friend of mine. He knows what I like to drink.”

“You don’t think he wants to find out anything else you like?” I was covering my smirk with my hand as I said that.

“If he does, I’ll never find out,” she gave me a confident smile and laughed. Then, she suddenly looked very serious. “We talk about boys a lot, but we never pick one to stay,” she said.

I blinked at her a couple of times. “Well, we’re young, we can have fun whenever, right?”

“Yeah, but our fun is always just talking. We don’t ever stay with anyone.”

I shook my head and laughed a little bit. “We stay with each other. We’re roommates, you silly.”

“I know,” she said. She looked out one of the train windows. “Don’t you ever think about it, or why?”

I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I felt butterflies in my stomach anyway.

She continued. “We spend so much time together, you and me, and we go and party, and look at boys, and flirt with boys, but it’s still just us in the end.”

Then she whispered. I didn’t hear it.

“Say that again?” I said.

She moved closer to me, and whispered in my ear, “I think I love you.”

My stomach fluttered and I felt heat rise to my cheeks. Dev grasped me close to her and held on. I gripped her back. “Maybe I love you, too.”

Virtual Beginnings

Welcome. Enter command.

Log access granted. Choose log.

Accessing log . . .

Data corrupted. Would you like to restore the system to a previous date?

Restoring system to 12/25/20 . . .

Not all data could be recovered. Attempt recovery anyway?

Attempting recovery . . .

Available data recovered.

12/17/20

I̧t͏’s͏ g͏et͞tìng pret̢t͠y cl̨o͠se͘ t͠o ҉á ne̴w y҉e̡a͞r̨.͡ A̧lt͡ho̧ug̵h,̶ h͝o̕n͞e̕s͏tl͏y,̢ I͝ ̀don҉’̸t̛ ҉kn̷o̷w ͢if t҉h͜e͘ date͠ ̛ìs͜ ̛p̴rop͜e̶r̷. ̧Li͠ķe͢,̛ ̵I do̵n’̸t̛ rea̶lly ҉hav́e ͜a̸ny ҉re҉fe̕rence̛ f̶o͟r ̸tim̷e̛ ͘a̧ny̧more͏.For ͢t̴h͏e mơst͏ ͏p̧ar̶t̸, ͟I ju͡st ̴trust w̕ha҉t̀ th͝e co͡mpuţe̡r̵ ͝śays ̧the ͠d̛a̡t̴e͢ ͘is.̶

Okay, it’s time to change topics before I spurn myself into an existential crisis again. Okay, so, the food stores are still overflowing. I’m throwing shit out of the airlock faster than I can eat it, and I eat a fuckton. Like, I have to exercise a bunch just to make sure that I’m not gaining weight, which fucking sucks, because I hate excersise. I’m super worried that one of these days the ship is going hit something and it’ll stop accelerating, and then I’ll lose gravity. Like, fuck. I’ll get so damn fat if that happens.

Ì̀ ̷̴̨͢m̷̷̡͝i̶͞s̶̡̢҉s̵̡ ̶͡M͞͏í̧̨̀̀c̶͘͢h̶̨̡̢͝e̛͝͞l͜͠l̀͟e͠.̵̷̴̀ She always kept me so grounded. I told her to not bother fixing the fucking airlock, but she insisted. Fuck man, I’m back on the bullshit topics. I haven’t written anything but dates in this journal for a fucking month, and now I’m back to moping about shit. I’m done with the journal for today. I think I’ll go look around the old storage closets again, see if there’s anything worth my time. It’s not like piloting the ship matters.

12/18/20

So I think if that I just write about it, I might get through the grieving process faster. About a month ago, one of the three airlocks on the ship broke. M̈́i̐ͩ̋ͮ͜c͗̎ͤ͂̃̀ḩͬͣe̓ͥ̽̈́l̴̓͐̈͂l̍̿́e̾͐ͧ ͪ̾̍͑ͩ͆͒͝s̆͑̽ͭ̂͒͐͘äͣͨ͌ͩ̔i͐ͤd͂̓̔ͯ͌̾͛ s͡h̛͛ͣ͐̓̎ê̇ͬ̍̾’͜d͟ ̽g̏͗̄̅̾ͦo̾̏ͩ̎ ŏ̴̐͌͋͒̆̓uͪ́ͭ͊͛ͧtͤͮ͊ ̸ͫͣ͆̔̀̀̓tͬō̴̏͑ ̵̅ͤ̂̾f̓̍̀͑̐̽͊i̔͂͊x̓́̍̐͒̽͏ ̌̿͊i̧͋ͬtͥ.ͫ͑ I told her to just forget about it, because it could risk her life. She told me if she didn’t fix it, it could risk both our lives. I’m still angry that she was right.

So, the outer door of the airlock broke. That puts the inner door at risk, along with the rest of the ship. Michelle went out to seal off the outer airlock. Sealing it off means potentially getting your a͂̐̆ͫ̒̿̿ͭr͑͗͒̌̚mͧͫ ͯ̌̿c̽͗ͦ̌̚u͑̃tͧ͆͌̓̐ ̌ͫ̐̓öͧ͒f͊f͑ͣ̾̐͆́,ͬ͋ͪ̾̑́͑ ͬ̌͌ͤͯ̊b̋͋ͬ͐̚e͋̓c̑̄ả͑́uͪͮ̇͗̆̅ͯͦs̒̑ë̇̋̿͌ ͩ̆̓̓̇̂ͦͦy̓̃̇ͬoͥͥ̂̈̔̐ͫ͐̚u͐̓͐̏͊̔̇̇̑ ͣ̿͗̂̾̓ͨh̊̇â̅̎ͧͨ͆͂v̒̏̓e͆̌̓͌̅͆̈́ͯ ͤ͛͗̅̀͆ͭ̇ṫo͗ͮͩ͊̐̌́ͭͨ ̇ͣpͯ̄u͌͗̽̄l͒ͤ͗͊̓l on a metal sheet from inside the ship to get it to seal. There’s a design flaw that causes the reserve air tanks to keep pushing air into the airlock until its level of air matches the rest of the ship’s. So, as she was trying to close the airlock door, the air started pushing harder out of the gap. Michelle didn’t lose her arm, but her entire bottom half. Her legs were just torn away like god damned tissue paper, but she just kept pulling that fucking sheet closed.

The moment the airlock closed, I went in and held Michelle, in her last moments. She couldn’t even get out any words, just gasps and sputters. I couldn’t do anything to help her. Her body is still there.

Fu͝ck, ̵I d́on’̛t͠ f̀ee͢l̛ a̛n͏y ̶b̡ette̴r̵.̀ I’m c̷ryi̧ng ag͘ąi̵n.̵

12/19/20

So I checked out the closets again, and I found an old VR room. We used to use it for training demos on the ship. I looked through all of the programs, but I didn’t need any review. I guess that’s just another room for me to abandon.

The plants are doing fine, and they’re managing to keep the atmosphere on the ship stable. They’re reproducing very rapidly, and there might be more plants than ship one of these days. I’m looking forward to it. Maybe this ship will create its own evolution and shit, and there’ll be a new ecosystem one day. I don’t know, I’m a computer technician. I didn’t really study how the plant stuff works very well. It’d probably take way too much time to learn now, anyways.

The accelerated water cycle on the ship is doing excellent, as well. Now that I’m the only guy using any resources, there’s an overabundance. That’s probably what’s increasing the plant growth.

Jaylen would have known what all of this shit means, now that I think about it. His job was bioengineering and stuff. It would be nice to͙̞͈̙̝ ̲̙̰l̫̺̞ͅe̫̪̮̬a̭̜͓̣r̹͕͇̘̪̣̙n͖̱̪ͅ some new things. I ̸͑̊ͬ̍w͝on̨de̸r ͢i̧f ͏that VR̵ roo̷m ̸h͡as͠ al̷l ̨o̢f̨ ͘t̶h̷e͏ ͢mo̸dul͏es̸ ͝fo̵r̶ J̛̕a̧͢yĺe̸n̴͢͠,̕ ̸̕t͞ǫ̀͜o͝?̑̈́ͧ͛́ Maybe I should check them out.

12/20/20

I don’t have Jaylen’s login info, so I can’t access his modules. Wait, change that “can’t” to “couldn’t.”̖̩͓ͦ͋ͯ̍̄̍ͫI̭̣̯̎ ͯ̊̓͐̾̇͆j̍ͩ̓ͩu̩̜̯͆ͧ͒̃̽s̘̖̺̥̻̠͐ͦt̒͌̓ͭ͛̈́ ̯̳̙͇̯̖͔ͬ̀̈́͛̚̚p̜͈̭̻̥͓̱ṟ̲̹͕̄̍̃̍̎̑̌o̖̲̪͓͕̿̓̏g͇͈̗̈́̌͗͌̊̆r͍̪͈͎̋ͬ̉ͩ͆̐a̫͆̔́͌m̬͙̦͋m̳̮̰͛e̙̯ͪ̋ͥͩ̒d̳͉̟͚͉͈ͫͧ̐̅ ̟̼͑̒m͇͓̰̻̹̃̌̇̅ͨ̂ͅy way around everything, and now I’m an admin with access to e͍͇v̘͖̲̻̰͔e̫͉̯̘̘r̺̜̗̼y͖̝͎͔o̖̦̜̪ͅn̜̘͈̤̲̮e͔̰̺ͅ’̤̻͇s̬̯̙͔ ̭̟͕m̪o̻͙̙̥͖ḓ̤͉͚͖͉̬u̱l̜̗̱̟̳e̪̩̬̤̥s̟̺͎̞͓̮̟. They weren’t as interesting as I thought they would be. But I have an idea. I think I can program a new VR program, and I might be able to create something good. I’m going to cut today’s journal entry short for that.

12/21/20

This is just a reminder of how long it’s been since I’ve coded games. Jesus. I used to just sit around for hours as a teen and make all of these niche and ridiculous games. I remember one was called “Bartson Jacobson and the zany attempts on his life.” The point of the game was to talk to certain people, and try to discover which ones were trying to kill the amazing Bartson Jacobson. Then, once you had discovered the cause of the problem, you would call them out and cite your evidence. Then there would be a neat little animation of̸͜ ̸t͘h͠ę͠m ̧b̨e͜í̢n̨͜͠g҉̕ ́͟kil̴l͢e͞͞d̵̕ b́ý͞͞ ̵̛̀Bartson.

VR is not a damn thing like that. I have to account for so many other things. I’m lucky that I have a lot of coding experience and a bunch of source programs here to help me start out, or I wouldn’t get anything done. I just need to repurpose a few things, and then I can get stra̳̜̯͚̫͈̗i͇̩̪̤̠g̘̠̪̙̰͖̳̺̗͔͇͈̳̙̭̮̤h̫̫̝̣t͔͙͎̭̝̰̮̱͔̱͉͖̝͈ͅͅ ̥̖͙̫͙̪̩t̫̣͕̲̣͎͚̟͚̞͕͈̪̬͓ͅͅo̝̮͚͓͎̟͖̳͎̬̘ ̺̻̹̬̭̝̬̰̙w̪̤͇̦͇̦͙͔̺̬̭̖̠͔̳̪̼̮͓o͚̫̳̹̭͔̬r͓͙̰͙̠̲͎̫̝̼̜k͍͓̮̣͖̤̯̝̝̜̳. I’ll write down more tomorrow.

12/21/20

Big news: apparently the VR room doesn’t have enough data for new programs. Fucking amazing. NASA only put enough memory in the damn room for the training modules. I’m going to have to dͭẻ͑ͯ͊lͦè̌͐́t̓͋ẽ a͒ ͐̊ͯ̔̃b̿̋͆ͪ̊́͂uñ͗ͤ͐̚c͌h̅̌ͦͣ̚ ͧ̐͒͌͗ȍfͩ̐̽͐͒̃̉ ̑̏them to make space for the new stuff. What’s really bothering me is trying to d͊ͣ̆eͨ͑̄͑ͧͬci͒ͮ̈́̽̓ͮdͧ̽ͧ̇ͧeͧ̀̍̑̃ ͒whͧatͤ̓ͦ ̈́ͭ͋̄̀ͤtͩͣh͌̂̏̚e̓͗ ̈̊h͛̐̍̍͛̇ͧë́l̓͛ͣ͌̈̋̆l̿ͦ̑ I should delete. Like, if this ship doesn’t fucking get wrecked when it lands somewhere, the data on that machine could be so useful. Well, okay, maybe only kind of. We don’t have any books or anything that explain how our number system or language works. I guess the intention was that we would be alive when we landed. So much for that idea.

I guess I’ll delete all of my computer engineering modules first. I already know how all of that works, and I don’t need it anymore. I think I’ll keep the stuff on biology and shit. You know, foods and all that, just in case things go wrong. While I’m at it, engineering will be important too, so that I can keep the ship in running order. W҉͠a̴͢i̸̵t̨̛͡,̀ ̡҉́n̕o̸҉,̵́ Í͝ ̴a̸l͡ŗ͞e͏ady̛ ̕k̷̴̢now ͠h̨o̡͡w̢ t͢o do that. Everyone knows how to run and repair the ship, that was the first step in training to go on this mission. Okay, fuck it, I’ll delete those too. Not like most of it matters, I’ll probably be dead before this ship goes anywhere important anyway.

12/22/20

Okay, so I deleted a ton of shit yesterday. Then I really got to pounding out code for my new program. I’m thinking of just using the ship as the location, since most of it is used in training modules, and then just trying to program a person to be with me.

Anyway, I did get a lot of work done programming a person. There was already a base person in the programs, but it was a hostile person. The hostiles were there for the sake of teaching self defense to everyone. There used to be a security guard who had extra defense programs, too. I didn’t learn his name, because he died first. He had undiagnosed cancer that piped up after the mission began. The poor fucker was done with so quick.

That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I started making a new person for the VR. I don’t ne͞ed̕ ͏t͝o̧ ͞give t̢he͡m̢ a p̴erso̧n̴a̢li̶t͝y y҉et, b͏ut ̀I͘’ll h͢av͡e t͠o̷ ͝th͡in͡k͢ ͘o͠f ̧one l̴a̧tȩr. AI͝ te̷c͘h isn’t advanced enough for us to have taken one with us on the ship, but I really wish it had. That would make this whole personality debacle that much easier to solve.

Fuck. My stomach just growled. I guess I forgot to eat. One step at a time, man. One step at a time. Shit, I used to know a phrase about this circumstance, but it isn’t coming to me right now. Maybe it’ll come up later. I’m too tired to try and deal with this right now. Tomorrow.

12/23/20

I fucking got it! I’m going to use Michelle for the personality! Well, at least as much as I know about her. We didn’t talk about our pasts much. I t̞h̜̗̖̲̲ͅi̳̲̤̱̤̮ṋ̜k̗̬̖ ̦͈̭͉i̝̫̗̖̝t̺̩̬̪̣̬̗ ̩̖̹̩̩̗̝w̤a͔̮͈s̱̠ͅ ̣̠͓le̞̦͎̹̗̞̺s̘s out of discomfort, and more out of sadness. When I took this job, I demanded a clean slate. I didn’t want to be who I used to be. It was hard, then. It’s even harder now, now that I’m alone.

I’ve been rambling more and more every one of these fucking entries. Fuck it. I guess I should just let myself ramble. It’s not like I have anything more important to do besides program.

Look, no one on the ship really knew this, but I used to be a woman. I hated it. Once I was 18 and could get out of my fucking parents house, I did. And then, I started working my ass off and saving money. I would make and sell some pretty fucked up virtual reality programs under the table for some real sick bastards, but they paid real fucking well. Once I had enough money, you can bet your ass I got the breasts removed. Out with Janice and in with Jackson, that was the deal..̢͖͙̣̫̼̣̓̀̑̎̋ͦ̊̌̌͝ͅͅ. Point is, I was cool from t̾̇ͯ̏̚h͆ͪ̓̂̆ͪ̎e͌ͭ̄ͯ̌͊̇̐r̆̿͌̉ͣͪ̚e̎ ͪ̊̎f̀oͫ͆͑̐̏̅̂ͥ͒r̿ͦͨw͆̌̐̊͂͌ͭ͐aͦ̾̇̈́ͩȑ̔͒ͤ̒d͗.̠̠̲̙̠͕͚̩̮̉͞ I didn’t hͥ̔͛̏a͑̒̃͐͌̐͂͛̋vͫe͆ͦͬ ͕͖͔̳͖͇̮̀̈ͤͪ̀͆̍̎ͬ̕t̸̛̥̠ͮͧ̃o̜̼͇̭͚ͪͥͤ̿ͮ͝ ̶̥͙̣̪̗͚͚̉̆͂͜ͅw̴̖̙̹̤ͩ͂ỏ̽ͩ͗̿ͧ̇ͤ͏͏҉͈̻r̸̭̩̣̖̂r͎̙̝̱̙͕̞͖̥͂ỷ̜̰͍̙̥̗ͨ ͤ́͢҉̙͙͎̗̹̥͔a̢̡͚͙͇ͫb͈̮̫̗̼̫̟̅̒̀ŏ̸̠̣͛̀û̴̴̱̘̺̯̺͔̭̙̩̈́̽ͭ̌̓̏̆͢ẗ̨̥̥͍̰̱̪́ͨ͛̍̓̆ ̸͔̤͑̽ͬ̋ͯ͒̚b̷̢̝̖̼͔͎̐ͩ̀ͧͣḙ̷̪͙ͮͦ̈́̚į̛̥̙͐͗ͫ̄ͧ́͒̍͠n̓ͪ͒ͭͪ͗͌̍͒͏̢̻̙͎̰͎̖̜g̪͉͚ͬ́̈́̃ ͖̒ͣ̂̕a woman (much!) and I had a stable job that paid really god damned well.

Anyway, you can imagine why I didn’t want to do that anymore. I didn’t need the police on my tail for selling that sort of shit, and I was sick of making it. Seriously, it was just so fucked up. I can’t believe how desperate I used to be.

Anyway, programming VR is stupid hard. That’s what made me so desirable to NASA. I knew my way around VR, and that meant I knew my way around basically every computer program they could throw at me.

Hey, I think the rambling helped. I feel a little better about myself now. It’s nice to get that off my chest. Heh. A lot like when I literally got boobs off of my chest.

Anyway, I’m calling it a night. I think I’ll keep programming tomorrow.

12/24/20

Okay, I finished most of the little touches on the AI. It certainly isn’t complete, but I can test it more later. I’ll be able to see what it can and can’t do tomorrow. Today, though, I’m exhausted. I’m just going to take a seat, write this entry, then I’ll take my happy ass to bed.

Hey Michelle. I don’t really think you can read this (although space ghosts sound like a badass idea). but, I just want to let you know that I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for being on my side for this mission.

12/24/20

Oka̡y͡, ̕s̵o ͞h̴eŗe’s th̶e ̡de̶al. Ì’͘v͘e̕ ru̡n̷ out ̡of ̷mem̀ory͠ ҉s͝p͞ace. I͟ ha͡v͝e d̀e̛ĺeted͝ lìte͏ra͟ll̵y ̧ever̷y p͡rog̢r̷am ̶I ͢cou͘l̸d f͝ìnd͞ t͠h̢a͝t ̧w̧ou͜ldn҉’t ͝br̷eak͘ ͜th҉e sh̛ip. I ̛th̷i̡nk͞ ͞Į’́m̢ go̵i̛n͞g̨ ̀tó delet̀e͘ ̧al͟l of ̨t̢he҉ jo͠u̕r̨n̡al͘ ent̷r͡ie͟s,͞ ͡toó.͘ ̨It͏’s ̴no̸t li͘ke̸ a̡nyone f͞ucki̷ng ne̢ed͟s̶ t̵h͡em͜, ̵a̧nd̷ ther͜e̕ a̛re̵ ̕so͠m̶e͏ ͟ṕeo҉ple̶ wi̧t͞h ͢y̧ęar҉s̛ of̷ j̢o͟urnal e̶ntrie͟s,̢ ͘m͢y̢self inc͠lu̕d̷e̴d̕. ̶Once I ͜ǵe͜t ͜r͞i̕d͘ o̴f̡ al̸l t͜h҉e͟m͟, th̢a͠t migh͡t͘ g̴i̴v̀è m̴e ju̷st̡ ̶t̨he spac͞e ́I n̴ee̶d̡ to͟ g̡e҉t̀ ́th̴is co̵d͝e̕ ͞b́a͞ck̸ ̶o͘n ̛i͡ts͠ f̶ee̕t.

I҉͞ ̛o͜͝ń̴́l̵y̵ ̵́́s͘le͜p̢͝t́̕ ̷͞͡f̵o̵̴͞r̵̨̢ ̴̨͞á̸͠ ̧c̸ó̷͡ų͟p̶͢͏l̷͞e͝ ̸̡of́҉̴ ͘h̴̢̕o̸̢͞ur͏҉s̡, because I was really nervous about this. I just want this to succeed. I need something, right? There has to be some way for me to escape this special little hell, right?

I guess this means goodbye, journal. Again, not like I needed you that badly. It’ll be alright. I’ll be okay.

12/25/20

Í̻̗̲ͥ’̲̲͖̥͚̻͍̍ͦͧͨͩ͒͑m̪̱̹̆̾ ͦ̐̐̔̽̽̃́d̙͓̜̭ͭ̈́o̤̮̅̍̒ͩ͒̊ňͯͩ͏e̬̩͖̝̝ͨ̍ͤ̿̑.̗̱̿̆̈́̋̂̀͒ͅ

It didn’t work. I couldn’t make it work. I still don’t have enough space on the ships shit fucking hard drives. I’m just so tired of trying to stay alive like this… I mean, at least after Michelle died I was able to find myself with this VR shit to keep me busy. Fucking hell, I can’t believe I thought I could program an AI in this ship when, on earth, there were entire fucking buildings dedicated to nothing but keeping an AI alive. This ship has more functions than just an AI.

If there is any sort of after life, I hope Michelle is there, waiting for me.

God, I just keep having these terrifying thoughts. Like, now that I know a͓̳ n͍̱e̪͖̫w̵ ̻V́R̖̩͝ ͍i͕͚̠̭̠̣s ͚̞̝̩̗i̞̺̝̘m̼͖̝͕͚͉̤͞p̗̟o̟͢s̳̙͜ͅs͕̝͔̰̞̜͜ib̵̭̭̳̫̘l̮̩̣̻̤̞̙͡e̱̝͕ ͓̜͓̩͟o͚̪̹͈̹͍͝u̳̝͝t̶͎͍ ̫͉he͍̮̱̰̘̥r̡͖̯̰̠͎e̺͔̺̦͈̣̖̕,̩̦̲ ͖̺̠͙̙I know that my life is, too. But I don’t know if I’m ready to just jump away and kill myself. I hurt so fucking much right now.

Ì ̨d̢o̸n’̀t͞ ca͏re.́ I͟’m done. I’m d͡ȩ́͢l̵̸et͜͠įng҉ ̨͢eve͟ŗ͜y͟t̷h͞i̢n͟g̵̀̕, a͝҉҉͟n͢d̶̕͟͠ ͡I̴̶’̷̷̡̛m̨̛̀ ̴̷̨̧͞d̀̕͢y̶̢̡͟i̵̸͠n̸҉͘͢g̀͞.̡͡͡҉͘ ̨̢͘I͘͢ ̵̢͘j̶͡u͏́͘͜s̷̀͏t̢̛̀͢͢

I don’t have anything else to say. I don’t even know why I’m bothering to write this anymore.

Log end. Enter command.

Checking status of virtual reality chamber . . .

Virtual reality cham̵͠҉b̸e̶͝r̶͠:͏ ̵͟҉ǫ͞ǹ̢ĺ̵i̢n̷̢͝e̡̢͘

Hello? Is anyone there? Can you hear me? I don’t know where I am.