I must begin by informing you that what you are about to read is all true. I have left this account of what first began happening by what my computer accounts as the 13th of June, 2163 by the Julian calendar. It was at this point that my station had reached the aphelion on the far side of Neptune, so my disbelief of what happened initially may be understood.
I had awoken to the simulated morning that, even after thirty years alone, felt uncanny. The day progressed as normal with breakfast, calisthenics, and mental exercises. It wasn’t until after the mid-day meal that anything truly out of the ordinary happened. The station computer popped up a display over the sink indicating a collision had occurred with one of the sensors on the orbital walkway. Sighing to myself, I headed to the airlock to inspect the sensor for damage.
As I stepped out onto the narrow walkway, I hooked my safety cord and took a moment to marvel at the inky darkness stretching out before me. Any deepening of the oblivion that served as my yard I attributed to the aphelion stage of my orbit. A slowly march along the way brought me to the red flashing light for the sensor I needed to inspect. Sure enough, it appeared to have a scratch over it, most likely caused by an errant piece of debris. I set about the arduous task of removing the damaged sensor and replacing it with one from my maker unit. All the while, my computer reminded me that it was time to fulfill my recreation requirement for the day and asked if I’d like to listen to some music. That was the first incident.
Life returned to its normal routine for two weeks. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of a sleep cycle when my computer felt the need to alert me with an alarm again. This time two sensors facing out from the solar orbit had been affected. Wearily, I got up and readied the brown, tasteless sludge that passed for coffee on my station. I didn’t want to go on a orbital walk half asleep. By the time I had finished my coffee, a third sensor had been damaged as well. Before suiting up I ran a quick proximity scan, not wanting to terminate my stay by exiting into a field of debris. The damaged sensors were still pinging something so I waited until an all clear was finally given by the computer.
My wake up alarm began to chime as I began my second repair job of the month. Outside it seemed blacker than I remembered from my last excursion. Colder even. Ignoring my computers chiding that I was not performing my morning exercise, I once began replacing the damaged sensors. One was the same as the previous collision. The other two sensors sat adjacent to it. The more troubling aspect than the coincidence of the same sensor being damaged again was the black sludge that coated the walls of the station surrounding the sensors. The markings seemed like something had been gripping the hull while targeting the systems that would have notified me if something had been there.
By the midday meal alarm I was trudging back inside. That was the moment when I swore that I felt something tug at me. I thought I was going to be hurled into the abyss that lay at my doorstep. Luckily, my safety cord kept me tethered to the station and I managed to grasp onto the rail and pull myself back into the airlock. After cycling in and removing the suit that was a slash on the outer protective layer that hadn’t penetrated fully. There was also a viscous black slime. I placed the suit in the station’s incinerator and spent the rest of the day in a decontamination unit.
The alarms picked up after that. Not wanting to risk another space walk, I sat helplessly inside the station as my computer chimed to alert me of each damaged sensor. By the end of the week every sensor surrounding my station was disabled. That’s when the music started.
It should have been impossible, as insulated as the hulls of the station were, I shouldn’t have been able to hear anything. Not to mention the vacuum of space not being able to transfer the sound properly. But sure enough, each sleep cycle I was rousted awake by cacophonous piping. By the end of the next week, the flute had become ubiquitous. I could find neither rhyme nor reason to the tumultuous melody that haunted my every hour. I began toying with going through the airlock to confront whatever infernal musician like an old man yelling at children on his lawn. I’d gotten so far as beginning to suit up when I spied an amorphous being through the airlock.
I immediately stripped out of the suit and hid in the escape pod. I’d like to claim that I bravely prepared to eject, but the closer truth is that I became a whimpering, gibbering mess, my peeling wails interjected by bouts of fitful slumber. After I don’t know how many times I awoke in that trembling state that I realized the music had stopped. In its place was some language. I couldn’t transcribe the utterings here, but I felt as if I was being invited out. So now you’re caught up. I’m writing this now to let anyone who happens on this station know what happened. Perhaps the entity that awaits me will also await you. It beckons. It is our friend. Hopefully this message will help you see that, so that you can join it in blissful union, as I have.
Apropos of: This Link