The Keepers, Kept

Contributor: Ray Daley

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Another lonely day in space. Just me and the crocodiles so far. Oh, and Buddy. Where ever the hell he is today.
Probably hiding because he knows it's his turn on waste disposal today.

It's not a hard job, cleaning out the crocs. They can still get a bit feisty but they've gotten used to the very low gravity on board and the water changes. We flush out the ponds, shovel the shit (almost certainly his least favourite part and definitely the reason he's avoiding the job yet again), hose everything off then recycle the water back for them—all nice and clean.

It's one of the very few jobs that Lucy can't handle.

We lovingly call "her" Lucy, our station computer system.
L.U.C.E. - Living Under Created Environments.

That's our little home, formerly known as Her Majesty’s Space Station Ark Royal. There have been many Ark Royals before us but we are a proper Ark, here to preserve the last two of each rare species. Just like the crocs that we jokingly rechristened Adam and Eve.

I personally like to think of myself as Zoo Keeper and Head Tour Guide. I always show the inspection tours around, they come up every few months to check on our progress, ask us questions and see if we need anything. Are we caring for the Habitats? Are we nurturing the precious seeds entrusted into our care?

Are we breeding yet?

And just like that I am shot back to reality, that I too am also a feature aboard this Ark, the very last of my kind.
Our conquerors were kind, the station is enormous, big enough to be visible from Earth in fact. And it has everything you could possibly ask for.

Except freedom.

Not for us, the last two remaining upstart Colonists. The Brits had always been sore about losing us so when The Fall came they swooped in and took us right back, wiping most of the remaining population out. No more USA. Well the land is still there at least, the Brits farm most of it by telepresence. Buddy and I are all that remains of the country, the last two American citizens. Quite literally, we, the people.

***

It's been a busy day. A delivery of Pandas, Giraffes, Dolphins and Scorpions. Buddy actually bothered to show up and helped me to get our ever growing menagerie into their appropriate Habitats. Afterwards, as always, came the question. "So Meg, Systems Test today?" asked Buddy.

"No Buddy, I'm not ready. Not quite." I replied. He was so cold and clinical about the whole thing.

Systems Test.

He just wants to see if he can screw me yet.
He's a virgin with no idea if his balls work or not, some throwback to a religious upbringing where he never masturbated.

I'm trying to hold off for at least another year. He'll be nineteen by then but hopefully working and living up here will have mentally matured him a lot more. He still acts like a little kid, goofing off and shucking his responsibilities as often as he thinks he can get away with it.

Lucy helps a lot there, cutting his rations until he does work. If she weren't actually pulling the strings on this giant puppet show I'd probably have spaced him by now, last American Male or not.

Last American Male he may be, last American Man—well he might become that, one day.


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Ray Daley was born in Coventry & still lives there. He served 6 yrs in the RAF as a clerk & spent most of his time in a Hobbit hole in High Wycombe. He is a published poet & has been writing stories since he was 10. His current dream is to eventually finish the Hitch Hikers fanfic novel he's been writing since 1986.
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One Response to this post

  1. ray p daley on April 7, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    Those who enjoy this short may be interested to know I am currently atttempting to make this into something longer, about novelette length or more.

    The general framework & whole plot has been mapped out, it's just a matter of filling in the fine details.

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