The count

He sits alone in his spaceship, counting the hours. The minutes, the days and the seconds too, but mainly the hours. They are his focus.

The more hours he counts, the fewer there are to go. The sooner this mission will be over.

He is hanging in space, counting. All of space around him, under him, over him, behind him, in front of him. Time is a line, space is where the line sits.

His ship moves along its own line of time, a curve, a wave, millions of miles long, with known endpoints. The estimated mission time minus the elapsed time equals the time left to go, the time to count.

The ship’s line is known, programmed, predicted. It could potentially change, but conditions are allowed for, recalculations will take place, the line will adjust and reshape accordingly. This is all done for him, it shows on  a display in every area of the ship. He doesn’t need to count. But he does.

He trusts the computers, the ship. It isn’t a lack of faith that causes him to count, hope to be more trustworthy than them, catch them out miscounting, prove himself to be more in control of time. They’re far more accurate and effective than him at counting. But he does.

He just wants to know his own place in time for himself. He checks with the displays to help calibrate himself from time to time. After so long now, his time is getting pretty close to real time, to the ship’s line. This is his time though, his line. In his head, just from feeling time for himself, knowing each hour, marking it. Nodding, adding it to the total, then carrying on.

His ship floats onwards.