The body tanks had to be replenished and the ship had to be serviced—and the crew was having a Lotus dream in its bed of protoplasm. But Kelly knew how to arouse them....
e glad and face what he deserved.
If that were not the answer, then why had only Kelly been spared to face emptiness and silence and no life, all alone?
The irony of it was that he would go on as long as possible keeping himself alive in his own hell. There was food aplenty in the ship, enough to last as long as hell cared to have him.
He turned and started walking back toward the ship that seemed some five miles away. At that instant, the ship disappeared in an abrupt explosion that twisted the rocks, and a mushroom cloud flowered gently above the lake as Kelly fell trembling on his belly and hugged the ground and pushed his face into the shale, while the wind tore and screamed around him and particles of flint ripped his clothes and slashed at his flesh.
* * * * *
He did not bother walking much farther toward where the ship had been. There was only a crater there now which would offer him nothing in the way of sustaining his very personal and thoroughly private hell.
The crew was five different species who couldn't even talk to each other. It didn't matter, because during the trip they were all asleep while their minds and thoughts mingled in a vat of protoplasm; they knew each other very well. Until Kelly got restless.
Good story, one of the few I've read with a female plant as a character.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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