The Station
                      - A. David Smith
PART I: DARKNESS


27 / 5 / 2207

Before anything else, I have to know, is anyone receiving this? If so, I ask--beg you to send your response. Anything
will do. Anything. Send a picture of your wife and kids, a video of you waving, I don’t care. Just let me know you’re
there, and this transmission isn’t just disappearing into space. I’ll wait.

Nothing. But then I expected that. Nothing’s come in for three days now. I guess they’re blocking it. It. Haven’t
given a name for it yet. What the hell for? I can’t even describe what it is. Whatever it is, it’s enveloped the entire
station, all 300 fucking meters of it.
Somebody please answer!


28 / 5 / 2207

I don’t know if my transmissions are getting through. I’m guessing, hoping somebody’s trying to get through to me.
It’s blocking incoming transmissions somehow. I don’t care how it’s doing, just why. Why let me send out pleas for
help while not allowing me the peace of mind knowing you’re reading this transmission and sending help. Crap, you
must by now be thinking just what the hell this guy is on about. Look, I’m the only one here. You can only imagine
what it’s like here on this station when you’re totally, and I really mean totally alone. Even when I look out any of the
view ports I see nothing but blackness. It must be huge to block out the stars on every side. I can’t even tell what the
general shape of the thing is. I don’t what to, but I have to consider that it’s all around me because I and this remote
space station been swallowed whole by the thing. I want to be wrong. I want to be too stupid to understand what
might be happening to me. I want you to fucking answer my goddamn transmissions. You fucks! You fucking
bastards! Say something! Write something! Send me some fucking pictures of your fat, ugly wives! You fucks!


1 / 6 / 2207

I’m sorry. I really am sorry. It’s just that there’s no one here. I’ve tried to act like a calm, rational human being. Act
like a professional. It’s not like the universe has forgotten me. Has it? I refuse to believe that. No, it hasn’t. I’ve be
stationed on
Frontier 2 for close to six months now. I’ve performed my duties to the T and kept this operation going
even when the manual didn’t have a chapter on—what would you call it? Kidnapping? Invasion? Being eaten alive?
Somewhere outside there’s a ship receiving this. A relay satellite is bouncing my words towards one of the remote
mining colonies who’ll then send it to Central Command. They’re out there, trying to find a way in to me. You’re out
there right now. I know it. And I’ll keep transmitting as long as it allows me to. You have my word on that. Tell you
what, let’s make a deal with each other right now. If I keep sending you my words, my thoughts and my discoveries,
then you’ll find a way in here. I’ll keep talking to you if you keep trying to talk to me. Deal? Deal. Please, just don’t
leave me in here.


3 / 6 / 2207

I’m Jonah and this is the story of my whale. Thought that was kind of profound. Not really. Just trying to bring some
levity to the situation. It’s still all dark in here. I’ve been keeping a sharp eye on the power cells to make sure they’re
not affected. Seems so at the moment. Oxygen supply normal. Gravity normal. All normal. I don’t know what you
can see on your side, if anything at all, but it’s just pitch black no matter what port I look out of.

You know, I’m not helping you much at all from in here. You’re new on the scene after all. Other than bitch about
being alone, I haven’t really filled you in properly. And if I take the take to put into words just what has happened to
me in the last few days, I think not only will it help those of you out there who are reading this. It’ll (I hope) be
therapeutic for me. Let me organize my thoughts, and get back to you. Just give me a little time. I want to get this
right.


4 / 6 / 2207

It began exactly seven days ago. My name is Robert Bradley. I am a Lieutenant in the United Systems Navy, currently
stationed on Deep Territory Monitoring Station
Frontier 2 and the sole crew member. I had gotten up at my usual
time (07:00) and performed the routine checks of all major systems. Takes about half an hour to do that. Then I got
on the comm to Central Command and reported in. Got the usual response from my contact there. A very nice, very
pretty fellow officer named O’Brien. She always greeted me with a smile that I believe hinted at some sympathy for
me. She knew that I was all by my lonesome here, and spent a little more time talking to me than regulations called
for. I appreciated that. I made sure to always ask her family news from Earth. Not that I was particularly interested,
as any news from Earth was about as exciting as watching color adhesive meld to a wall. Something about a lack of
human violence, the wrath of Mother Nature and all of those common problems of centuries past that plagued Earth
centuries ago being wiped out made Earth an otherwise dull place to me. Thoroughly explored and catalogued, dull
Earth. That’s why I had gone into the service in the first place. I’d bought into the whole “adventure” aspect of the
navy. That had been three years ago.

After a brief stint on a reserve cruiser and a short lived colonial port assignment, I’d gotten this lovely project.
Apparently my psych profile had marked me and a few other officers as prime choices for the brand new, nearly fully
automated _Frontier Class_ communication stations to be deployed along the edge of explored space. Instead of the
more expensive explorer vessels that had pioneered much of the known universe, these satellites are fully committed
to endlessly scan the surrounding heavens for the holy grail of space exploration—signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
Not that you need reminding of any of this, but this is my story and it’s probably going to be a standard operating
procedure from here on out to fill you in on my personal history. Hell, it’s my whole purpose for being here. And has
it happened you’re asking. That’s the question. Has it happened?


5 / 6 / 2207

Eight days ago the stars disappeared. I woke at precisely 07:00 and went through my routine. Nothing showed up on
scans. And that
should have been my first clue something wasn’t right. But routine and habit got the better of me. My
fault letting the comfort of the automated systems and my general and growing disinterest in the project make me
lazy. Why, oh why, wasn’t there some civilian contractor out there willing to put a bid out? Guess I’m the answer for
the cheap labor the military usually goes for. And yeah, I’m a communications specialist. Hooray for me.

Scans showed nothing but the expected interstellar static of the universe. Pulsars, stellar nurseries, red giants and all
stellar marvels outputted their wavelengths of meaningless chatter that was efficiently catalogued and dismissed by the
main computer. If I had given more of a care then I would’ve noticed the marked drop in that traffic from a particular
region of space, in the direction of the unknown regions. A null point.

I don’t look out the ports anymore. I used to. On the port side I used to be able to see the Crab Nebula. A wonderful
sight. But as spectacular as that sight was, a man can get used to anything. And so I just stopped looking at it. Every
window to the outside was little more than a familiar framed picture in a hallway. If I had only stopped to look that
morning. If only I had given a flying fuck and stopped wallowing in my boredom and look one fucking look. I
would’ve known just what the hell it looked like. Just what it might’ve actually been. Now when I look out any port,
there’s only pitch darkness.

Sometime between 07:00 and 07:30 I had been completely surrounded and swallowed like Jonah. Expect I have no
idea just what had done the swallowing. How big is it, what’s it made of? Is it alive? Am I just another victim of
psychosis? I could have just gone crazy, and now I’m laying on a gurney back at base pumped full of tranquilizers. In
a way, that would be a relief. But I know that just isn’t true. This is too clear, too real and far outside my experience
so it must be real. I get the cold feeling that this has purpose. I have to stop for now. Sorry. I’m getting the shakes
again. It’s too dark out there.