Just left a gruesome scene. Sebastian was in the head, moaning so loudly it woke me up. I went to see what was the matter and he was barely conscious. There was blood and excrement everywhere. It stank. He looked like he had been turned inside out. I called down the hall for help, dragging Sebastian and rinsing him off in the shower. Lin came and we took him to the Daedelus’ sick bay. Amanda Perry, the medical officer, wasn’t in the best shape. Too much champagne. Lin grabbed her by the bottom lip and smacked her cheek. That sobered her up enough to get Sebastian hooked to an IV. Dr. Perry grabbed a heart monitor and began an echocardiogram. She pulled his chart from the filing cabinet and, before she could stop herself, blurted something in a drunken breach of patient confidentiality.

Sebastian has colon cancer.

He was passed out on the gurney, snoring peaceably. I left and went back to the head to clean. Chris was there, cussing and complaining like Sebastian’s trauma was his inconvenience. Jo was trying to calm him down. I spelled them off and took over, partly so they could get cleaned up and partly to prove I could be useful for something. The Daedelus maintenance crew was slow.

On my hands and knees in Sebastian’s puke and poop, something troubling and beautiful, appalling and opportunistic occurred to me. I was ashamed to think it. It never should have crossed my mind, especially not so soon. I’m not sure what this says about me; and what’s worse, I’m not sure that I care. It is all I can think about. Sebastian had told me I wouldn’t be allowed to leave Daedelus. He told me there was no room on the submarine. He told me that I was unqualified. But now he was unconscious, and no one else knew the things he had told me.

It occurred to me that there might be a free seat.