shit. agh. climbing over the edge of the world is such a slog. you’d think the barnacles would’ve got big enough to make good handholds but nope. we’re hoping the atmosphere gets thick enough to fly again someday soon but so far only the birds and bugs can fly at all. at least i don’t have to wear a fuckin garden on my back like my gramma did, this climb would suuuuck. crossing south, gotta make the assembly. they picked me. they pick because nobody volunteers to cross the lateral. nobody volunteers because the climb is ass. i miss my car, i wish it could climb. it’s a ways back, went as high as it could. weird how ’across’ becomes ’up’ out here. the view is nice, at least. well, when i can set up a camp and actually look up, at least. if i squint, i can see the sun from here, still bright enough through the lateral lights, cherry red. on good nights i can see the mist from the geyser against the milky way. on especially good nights i’m not fuckin sore from climbing. i’m just about crested, though, and then it’s all downhill till i can hitch a ride with the welcome party. my cousin calls it the whalecome party and i call her “i hate you.” the assembly itself is never so bad, we try to not talk about too much outside of our own spots unless it’s gonna be an everybody thing, like “hey so where are we headed, anyway?” and “do we keep doing these things on earth time?” the heading is pretty important, we’re pretty much on the same page about not going anywhere and we’d sure hate to end up somewhere in a million years or something. and the time thing is like, am i thirty years old or am i technically still in my first year since we never did make a whole trip around the sun or are years gonna have to be something else now that we don’t care about orbits so much? so yeah, it’s pretty chill once we get there, just the climb is ass. the local sems get tense sometimes, but those are the day to day, how much is safe to eat, do we get to plant more yet and all that, and sometimes a town has to meet with another to make sure it’s cool to tie up more water upstream when we do decide to plant more. there’s mostly enough but what else are you gonna do on a fuckin whale headed nowhere forever? they already dialed in the vats like a hundred years ago so now anytime folks get sick of everybody else we got a new calf waiting and raring to go nowhere forever, too. we hear from the rest of the pod every so often but they don’t weigh in on decisions. somebody might change heading and tell the others so there’s no crash but that’s about it. i guess it wouldn’t be a big deal for the whales but everybody living on them would fucking die. we spent like a million years breeding and splicing these things kinda like with corn but we never did figure out how to not die when they nudge each other. they’re careful though. they feed on intersellar medium and you’d think that’s not enough for something this big but really only something this big could ever eat enough of it. from there it’s basically hot jupiter with a digestive system and that’s why we can get by without a star to call home. i hear the sun did us good for awhile before it swallowed everything up but we already had us one of these babies by then, way out past pluto and headed nowhere. we, uh, we got a signal from the old place a couple years ago. we get ’em every so often, i lost count of how late by now. they’re still weirded out we’re not trying to go somewhere. other planets, teraforming asteroids and all. we keep telling them we got us a good thing here and to leave us alone, but you know how it is. anyway, i’m cresting tomorrow, fucking finally. i’mma sleep now. bye.

this flash-fiction story was originally published here.