Why Andromeda? I asked. Why not? he said. But it'll be, like, a million years later in relation to your people back home, or wherever they are, I said. Is that about right? Close enough, said Spiff. So, they'll all be dead, unless they're going on their own interstellar jaunts. Or cryogenically freezing themselves, Spiff added. Yeah, that too, I said. So, they'll all be dead when you get there, probably, most of them. That's the idea, said Spiff. I hacked, well, my friend hacked into the Welfare Cosmos mainframe for me. See, I wouldn't have resorted to that, but it was getting ridiculous, every time I completed one of their forms, they'd contrive some subsection that I hadn't completed, or otherwise change the rules to postpone my claim for income support indefinitely. It was getting increasingly obvious they were never going to give me anything, so I had to take things into my own hands. Dealing with them long enough, you learn how they think and thus, how to sneak around their security grid. All I needed was to convince Carlos it could be done. With his know how, we got it done.
To be honest, I still can't even believe it really worked, I could barely convince myself, but lo and behold. So, I filled up my bank account with a few zeros. Man, I can't describe how weirdly great it felt to stick my card into a machine and, you know, just be able to type whatever number, and then have credits come out. And then get a receipt with numbers on the left side of the decimal place. So, I bought myself a full tank of anti-matter. First time I'd had that in, well, ever, I guess. It just felt so good. So good, I decided I'd fly to Andromeda, just for the fuck of it. Maybe for more than the fuck of it, but certainly for the fuck of it. And, well, I thought maybe I'd dry out there. Have it be a spiritual pilgrimage, to the unknown. The Unknown, you know? That's what I've always worshipped, I finally realized. The only thing worth worshipping, the unknown, the only thing godly enough for me. The only thing that could maybe be better than substance. Absence. Listen, I've never told anyone this. People think I'm some kind of a saint, or at least a respectable merchant, or at least a scoundrelous pirate - but in truth, i'm not even good enough to be that - i don't keep the armada in employ with dastardly deeds - i don't do anything really, except abuse substances - at least i used to deal, but i don't even do that anymore, i only consume - and it's consumed me, it's the only thing i know - i need to know something else - this galaxy is tapped, for me - i'm gonna high tail it out of here.
I said, wait, you tried synthetic ketamine yet?
Spiff said, woah, did you say Ketamine? Woah. That is a name I have not heard in a long long time.
Funny story, I said. There was a derelict with a single cryo aboard. Old thing, send out 2012ish, I can’t remember. Me and my buddy Sapio found it while on a vespine gas recycling run. I help him out with that, he gives me a little cut of his puny government paycheque. Anyway, we thawed out Popsicle Pete, and he turned out to be a groovy guy, just kind of rolled with the waking up in the future thing. Turned out he had a stash of K, so we invited over some freaks who would appreciate and had a welcome to the world of tomorrow party – we were all giddy with the retroness of it, it was like Spanish Galleon treasure but with the extra added virtual reality malleability.
Sounds like something I woulda dug, back in the day, Spiff said.
Yeah, I would hope so. Anyway, the guy, shit I don’t remember his name, I still think of him as “Pete”... he did some asking, and, can you believe this, the stuff is still around! Man, he talked his way into the circle that manufactures ketamine, albeit from the atomic level up. And damnit, I haven’t made it back to that sector since, and I was gonna get his contact info, and, fuck. I’ve been kinda looking at shady looking people since then with this hopeful, could they be in the circle look, but I never say anything.
I know, said Spiff. I dunno how people do that, schmooze into the conspiracy, slick willies, that eludes me. I never got the social lube and scented oil that makes bullshit smell of sandalwood.
Yeah, same here. But I know it’s around and that knowledge is driving me nuts. Been trying to track it down and not having much luck. I was kinda hoping you'd know where I could... but I guess you don't.
Nah, I'm an old space dog, Spiff said. And set in my ways. Really just one way. And it's Superglu.
Superglu? Holy fucking Space-Christ, how are you still alive? I mean, that's so, so sad.
Well, yes and no, Spiff said. Mostly yes, but. You learn to live with it, if you don't die by it. I'm on the right side of the suicide bell curve. It's kind of a dream state. Like, you never get to heaven, but it's always underneath the crack of the motel room next door. Some people think it's like being a cockroach. Maybe I'll still be around after the next nanoplague. But I should be on Andromeda by then. Living large, or well, that's just one of those things you say, when you're set in your ways. A whole lotta crack battery babble, the kind Tom Green used to film, and not for its beauty, although maybe just a little, and not in that trash bag flying in the wind American beauty way. So maybe I'll be living small, maybe swimming naked through space, maybe somehow I'll evolve, or adapt, or conquer dimensions, and know the bliss of the electromagnetic wave in the vacuum.
Well good luck with that, I said. I'd stay inside the spaceship for a while if I were you. Are you sure you don't wanna go look for some keta with me, before you take off to the next galaxy? You really wanna turn your back so... inextricably?
K won't save me, Spiff said. It's too late for me. There's no pot o gold at the end of that rainbow.
There never was, I said. And so what? Are you dead set on Andromeda then?
I’m live set, Spiff said. I’ve never been more live-set in my life.
In that case, drop me off at Starbase 229.