"Yeah." Joy stared out into the emptiness beyond the screen of their next planet. "They're definitely unique." Her mind was elsewhere, Angus could tell. Although, he couldn't blame her. Wouldn't they all be elsewhere? He pretended to gaze at the planets, but his eyes never left Joy. The way she snaked out of the chair and headed to the kitchen. A curved, tall figure, she had more of an athletic build than one of a model, but there was grace and beauty in the way she moved.
Angus' mind jumped back to the time when things were actually going well for the two of them. Now they rarely talk. They had actually been happy together for the first year or so. Looking back on it, Angus felt in those times a sense of purpose and identity. They both had just figured that was the way things were supposed to go. One man and woman of relative age, matched by the countless hours of 'psychological training' as they called it on Earth, and one older male or female as the non-aggressive mentor role. It was one of those things in life that was too good to last, though, and it eventually fell through. Too close quarters for too long.It was hard enough for Angus to live with a woman on Earth, where you could escape for a couple hours, let alone living with one and never being able to escape her sight. It ended mutually, both deciding the fun was over and it turned into nothing but bitching and nagging on both sides. Angus still missed those days, almost as much as he missed the sky and ground.
Things seemed to be working out better for both of them, though, and Angus, as of now, preferred his drugs that ate his liver and sloshed his mind. They would not last forever, and this he knew, but either did his life for that matter, so he decided right there when he and Joy had split to ride the crested wave until it brakes shore. Have a drink and than another and another, something to make your brain turn to liquid and your existence not matter. When you are that fucked up for that long, it's like living in a perpetual mist. Only what is in front and seen in important, else you get trapped in the constant gray of your future thought. There was no hard work to keep the mind at bay here, either you drown in troubles or revert your mind back to a time when there weren't as many.
Angus considered this for a moment, realizing he was doing both. One consciously, the other through his dreams. In his waking life, his mind was pushed away for the pleasure of the bottle, in his dreams, his mind pushed away back to Earth, even if it was the same dream over and over.
How did that cute girl headed down those stairs do it? She, maybe on a bad day, drank one glass of liquor. Never touched the second drawer, maybe a pain-killer for a headache or such. Angus figured she had the willpower of a saint. Six years and to never fall into addiction so carefully placed in front of you. When your life is the two levels of the ship, the empty abyss, and the few and far between passing, wavering lights of the cosmic sea, you need to find an escape. The universe is not meant to be this black to anyone.
'Joy carried a torch through this emptiness, not just for herself,' Caleb realized, 'but for Crowley and me as well. If the men in charge had gotten it wrong, and picked some other chick, six years would of been too long.' When Angus had left Earth he put a timeline of two years on himself, anything after that was too much.
'She may not be the living incarnation of her name', he reflected in his mind, 'but it was her and her alone that kept us afloat in the dark,' Angus shivered at these desolate thoughts, "Damn." He whispered barely audible, "I need a drink."
Joy was gone, slinked off back to her room or somewhere. After pouring himself a drink, Angus flipped through the drama programs attached to the ship. Crowley had awakened and hobbled up the stairs, standing in the doorway. A faded Hawaiian shirt, worn by age and neglect, hung skew off his shoulders. A pair of shorts went barely to his knees. Angus thought he looked more like a couple old surfers he knew from California, rather than an air force pilot and outdoorsman. He had seated himself next to Angus, and lit a long, thin cigar. A couple brief moments of sighing and puffing, coughing, sipping. Angus' thoughts had stopped rattling when the drink took hold, and he felt, all together, a lot better.
The men settled on an action film revolving around a man in an unknown environment on Mars, underground space aliens, real bloody stuff. Something to settle the nerves and keep their mind occupied. Crowley made comments along the way as always. Sometimes, especially with dramas they'd seen a hundred times, his wit was appreciated. The main character worked in a mine as a guard when some of the miners show up dead. All the guards were huddled in a break room when two of them including the massive specimen called the Hero, decided to go check it out. Crowley, now drunk and loud, was cleverly warning them about their future doom.
"You don't want to go into that room! Ah man!" He jumped and sat back down in the same motion, a small stream of liquor cascading down after him. "I knew that beast was there," looking at Angus for confirmation.
"Look at that blood trail, no, don't do that!"
"Stick together you idiots!"
And so it went.
Eventually, the main character was the only guard alive, and he won a trophy, some girl, and ended up living in a mansion on Earth the rest of his life. Cheesy, corny stuff, but Angus felt less angry after seeing all that fake blood spill, so it must of done the job.
Shortly after, Crowley was hunched over the glass screen, flipping through files and checking the diagnostics of the ship. Angus still sat in the same seat, waiting for him to finish his job so he could watch another film.