And when sleep does come, it does not guarantee peace. Maybe your wetware is booked in for Somno subconscious parallel processing. Maybe you’re woken moments after you drop off to deal with some crisis or another.
Or maybe you just have bad dreams.
It’s hardly surprising: while no place was ever truly meant for anyone, if there’s anywhere that nobody should be, it’s in a desolate former cargo vessel in deep space. A fatigued hull; degrading pipes leeching poison into the over-recycled water; cracked PHOME tanks; an ageing, leaky Salient reactor core; airlocks that open and shut without warning… everything safe feels so far away.
Often, in the face of these incomprehensible forces of nothingness and entropy, the sense of fragility is so overwhelming that it cannot be focused upon in waking life, for fear of utter paralysis. But it has to have somewhere to go. So it burrows down, deep into the subconscious, waiting for a chance to explicate itself–and when drugged, uneasy sleep comes, it bursts through the surface fully-formed. Glass shatters; bone cracks; lungs burn; blood boils.
There’s something to be said for the few moments of relief that come with waking. But they only last for as long as it takes to realise where you are, and that, while those images were just a nightmare, it may only be a matter of time before it comes true.