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๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ข๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป

๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜‹.๐˜š.๐˜Ž. ๐˜‰๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ

When the ship exploded, killing everyone on board instantly, Mrs. Rogers-Frey had just declined dessert.

Shipboard comedian Frank Bordello was aggressively drying his hands in the menโ€™s room on Deck Six, aft.

Eleven passengers were comfortably strapped down around the largest moonpool. Four crew members were serving drinks and surreptitiously removing empty glasses before they could float away.

Mrs. Meagan Trout, in Suite 1004, had just asked her husband not to spend too much at the casino. And she was about to say that she would probably be asleep by the time he got back.

Seventeen passengers were already asleep.

One of the shipโ€™s engineers, Paul from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was unknowingly minutes from death already from an imminent brain aneurysm.

Mrs. Connie Seville-Rogers, in the game room on Deck Nine, was searching for any puzzle piece that included the brown and beige eaves of a rustic Earth cabin nestled beside a green lake.

Mr. Thomas Gross and Mr. Eugene Myers, staying in adjacent cabins, were politely giving way to each other at the freeze-dried gelato cart on Deck Seven. Hans from Denmark was holding a freshly rinsed scoop aloft, ready to serve.

Twenty-six passengers in the restaurant on Deck Ten were testing the patience of eight galley crew members by lingering over their entrees.

Gabriel from Brazil was carrying two sacs of waterโ€”one sparkling, one stillโ€”and had just bumped the elbow of Mark from Sitka, Alaska, while he was taking a late dinner order from the couple in Suite 838, who were pretending that they hadnโ€™t just been fighting moments earlier.

Mrs. Leslie Linn had just told her sister Laura that she would be right back.

Jazz guitarist Maurice was asking for his scattered audience of six passengers to shout out a song for him to play. If no one had a suggestion, he had already decided he would play, โ€œCome Sail Away.โ€

Mr. Stefano Perez, overly aware of the shipโ€™s thin walls, had just hooked up very quietly to the vacuum toilet in his suite.

Two passengers, who did not know each other, were sharing the hot springs simulator on Deck Eight. Ms. Margaret Anderson was searching for a jet that would hit her right between the shoulders, where she kept most of her tension. The other bather had just realized that he was too tall to get comfortable, and for this reason and several others, already deeply regretting taking this trip around Jupiterโ€™s lesser-known moons.

Ms. Tara Rosebrook was explaining to her mother, for the third time, how to adjust the gravity in their suite.

Ricky the cruise director, waiting backstage at the Roy Tan concert, was cycling through a series of still photos of his ex-wife, their two children, and her new boyfriend Gary on their recent vacation to the Moon.

Miss Sara Anthony, drunk and leaning over the railing on Deck Five, had just misunderstood her friend and was giggling uncontrollably at what she thought sheโ€™d heard.

Captain Alphonse DeMarre was just about to say, โ€œOh shit!โ€

The remaining eight-two passengers had just begun a standing ovation to celebrate the musical stylings of crystal violinist Ron Toy. โœฆ


D.S.G. Burkeย lives and writes in New York City with her fiancรฉ and a cat named Android. Her writing has appeared in The Seattle Times, The Opiate Magazine, Thereafter Magazine, and the 3Elements Literary Review. Find her at or on X (formerly Twitter) @dsgburke where sheโ€™s usually hyping up composting.


Speculative fiction & POETRY ZINE
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