A screenshot from Lifeline with a glitch effect applied to it. The text reads, 'Oh, thank God! It's so good to have human contact! It's been hours!'

Y’know, hours without human contact can really take a toll on a person. (Don’t know why I didn’t get to that realization in the FIRST few hours of being alone, but here we are!) I’m no social butterfly, (an absolutely GROUNDBREAKING discovery by me ‘cause there’s NO REASON that there isn’t too much overlap in the social circles of nerds who do unprompted science experiences for fun and, well. Everyone else.) but I talk a LOT more than I thought I did.

I guess my teachers had a point about my “never-ending stream of questions” ‘cause I have about a billion and one of them right now. Unfortunately for me, there’s no one here to answer them! And while finding the answer myself is fun and all, I don’t think I’m anywhere REMOTELY close to finding the solution to ANY of them.

Oh! And another realization/problem: I can only monologue for so long before I get bored of entertaining the audience of Just Me and realize how bad it is that I’m alone! THAT is something that I need to solve ASAP. …Actually, maybe not ASAP. Being alone isn’t exactly on the same level as MORTAL PERIL from being STRANDED WITH NO FOOD OR WATER so maybe it’s more of an “If Possible, Solve Soon” situation. IPSS. (...I need to think of a better acronym.)

HOWEVER if this stupid “emergency communicator” would actually WORK, that problem would be solved! Only the one problem since there are SO MANY OTHER THINGS that I have to deal with right now, but hey! That would be one off of the list!

Alright, maybe if I just up this setting by, I dunno, 0.5 it’ll be in range of a signal…? That sounds like solid, right? Going back to the main menu, looking for another signal, fingers crossed… Aaaaaannnd nothing. Nothing again. Well, crap. I don’t have any other ideas…

Jeez… how many times have I pressed these buttons by now? I THOUGHT I knew enough about this thing and programming in general to beep-boop my way into making it work, but APPARENTLY NOT. Hollywood has really let me down, here. What do you MEAN just because I took a look at how these things work for MAYBE an hour or two back on Earth and I code for fun doesn’t mean I can reverse-engineer its programming to fit my needs on this desolate, barren moon? This TOTALLY would’ve worked in theaters.

…I might actually have to throw in the towel and quit while I’m ahead. While I would really, REALLY like to have someone else with me right now… I don’t like how low the sun’s getting. This place looks pretty desert-y so it would be a TERRIBLE idea for me to stay out at night. Shelter sounds like a GREAT idea right about now. Food and water would be great, too. Don’t know why there isn’t any in this escape pod, but uh… There’s got to be SOMETHING left in that wreckage, right?

I’ll keep this with me, though. Just because I haven’t gotten it to work right now doesn’t mean that it never will, right? Giving it another shot later wouldn’t hurt.

This is so much worse than a mile-run. Any second now, I’ll be stranded ‘cause my legs are dead and I don’t have the upper body strength to drag my sorry ass to shelter. (...That got morbid REALLY quickly... Time to backtrack—) Every step I take is just a reminder of the cruel reality that walking doesn’t spare you from the pain that is trying to do a LOT of exercise with absolutely NO prep. I don’t know how I’m still going but I guess this IS kind of what humans were built to do. Not that I’m enjoying actually USING those capabilities. I’m getting FAR more than the recommended half-hour of daily exercise. Does that make up for all the days that I haven’t hit that goal? Probably not.

...My legs are still KILLING me though. Maybe I should mess with the comm again to try and take my mind off of it. This arm is definitely doing worse than the other one ‘cause of the weight of the thing. Lemme just… switch it over to my other arm… eh, good enough. Let’s try to figure this thing out. Time for more beep-booping… I forgot how much this hand sucks but hey! It’s not like I’m short on time—The peak’s still not getting any closer. (Which sucks. A lot.)

On the bright side, this is another step toward mastering the whole ambidexterity thing! I haven’t worked on that in a while. Though this time I don’t just want a cool party trick—I have a feeling that it would be VERY useful to be able to use both of my hands equally well out here. Not that I plan on being an arm down or anything. (That would be like a living nightmare.) It’s definitely a possibility, though, and if there’s any way to make that possibility suck less, I’ll take it.

Plus… It would be nice to hear another voice. (…Or get ANY sign that I’m not alone here.)

It would be just my luck to get a cursed comm, wouldn’t it? There’s definitely SOMETHING wrong with this thing ‘cause it hasn’t ever worked properly, but Mari couldn’t find it. The rest of the crew don’t even know WHAT to look for so I guess I’m out of luck. I know that I probably won’t need to use it onboard the White Star, but… I’d like to know that I have a way of talking to people if we get separated, you know? It probably won’t happen (at least, I really, really, REALLY hope it doesn’t) but I’d like that extra layer of security.

I should probably stop lugging it around with me—I’m just weighing my arm down for no reason at this point. If it didn’t work back on the moon when it was attached to the escape pod that I took it from, what chance does it have of randomly kicking back to life? It’d be great if it DID happen, though. I’m no miracle worker, but maybe… Maybe something will happen if I keep tinkering with it. (And if I keep telling myself that, it’ll DEFINITELY come true.) It keeps my hands busy, at least.

(Not to mention the thought of leaving it behind seems… wrong, somehow. It hasn’t done anything for me so far, but… who’s to say that it won’t ever help, right?)

To be honest, it’s not much better than a piece of scrap metal at this point. Sure, the buttons do their jobs and the menu works. Everything looks fine (in my unprofessional opinion) HOWEVER the communication software, the MOST IMPORTANT (and ONLY) function of the COMMUNICATE-or is showing no signs of working. Absolutely NO signals are getting picked up on this device. I don’t know if that just means that my luck is the worst that it has ever been or if it just… doesn’t work. Either way, pretty useless.

If it’s the latter and not the former, though, I could get a complaint in to the people who manufactured this. “Hey guys, didn’t you design this incredibly expensive piece of space-tech JUST so that lost astronauts (and ESPECIALLY lost students who are running on luck and spite alone) could have a way of contacting home? Why doesn’t it do it’s ONE JOB?”

…It’s not really their fault. There’s really no way to account for everything that can go wrong in an emergency and I don’t think “everything else gets trashed and the least experienced person on the ship is the only one left” was a probability they would’ve thought to account for.

(Captain Shepard says that Mission Control freaked out when she reported that I was with them. They didn’t know how to react to what happened to the Varia. All of the crew, just… gone. I’m so, so glad that I’m here, but.. Why ME out of all of them? There were about two DOZEN other people that could’ve made it out but didn’t. Sure, I was the youngest, but… Everyone else ALSO had their whole lives ahead of them. There’s no reason that I should be the only one still here.)

Maybe I shouldn’t look for someone to get angry at or blame, but… god do I wish I had someone with me through those three hellish days. ANYONE. Hell, I would’ve been ECSTATIC if the comms picked up on some random signal on Earth, even if it wasn’t where my messages were supposed to go. The company would’ve been nice.

In any case, I’m off that moon. It can’t hurt me now. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. I’ve had enough parasitic alien creatures hellbent on TAKING OVER THE WORLD for a lifetime. I just have to trust that the military nuking the moon will get rid of all those occupiers. (It’s going to. It HAS to. There’s no way they can survive that. ...They WERE only on the moon, right…?)

Okay, fine. I’ll admit it. In hindsight, MAYBE it wasn’t the GREATEST idea to throw the communicator at the “good” doctor’s head. HOWEVER, it definitely made him drop the creepy little occupier in his hand AND I got a really good hit in with the bedpan right after, so I’m going to count that as a win for me! It’s not like it would matter if it got a little more damaged, anyway. So what if it’s a little banged up? It never even worked to begin with. And (the worst offense of all) it doesn’t even have any cool games on it so what’s the point?

(…please please PLEASE say that it’s not completely broken—)

...okay. It works as well as it did before. In other words, it’s still useless (stupid to think that it wouldn’t be) and I REALLY shouldn’t be carrying it around, still. Not if I have to run again. It’s probably not gonna work the next time I try to fix it.

(Does that really mean I should toss it, though…?)

When did this become my life? Here I am, scared half to death of MYSELF because I don’t trust that the person in front of me isn’t a corpse being piloted by a little green alien creature (which is so ridiculous that I would’ve LAUGHED if you told me that I’d be dealing with this a week ago) and I’m STILL messing with this damn communicator. So, so stupid…

It’s not gonna work. It never has worked and it WON’T work just because I’m racking my brain for any adjustment or additional bit of code that might let it find a stray signal. If it WAS gonna do that, it would’ve done it ALREADY on the moon where I first turned this PIECE of SHIT on—

ow ow ow okay no hitting the ship—metal is a lot stronger than me oW— (also that was loud probably don’t want that whoops)

I wonder if messing with this is as fruitless as it feels. Is there ANY timeline where I managed to get SOMETHING on the comm? Maybe I did, in a different life. Not the one that I see in front of me, that’s for sure (they would’ve said so or I would’ve noticed them talking to someone that isn’t ME if they had), but… maybe there’s a world where the stars aligned and I caught the tiniest, fleeting frequency… and held on to it. Maybe Mission Control didn’t lose contact with the Varia or managed to make contact with me and they found a way to guide me home. Honestly, if I only managed to intercept a radio and all I got out of it was some music, I wouldn’t be that mad. At least it would be something different. And it would mean that this comm isn’t as broken as I think it is. Wouldn’t that be something?

…There’s no way to know for sure, though. Not unless it happens to me. And somehow, I doubt that’s gonna happen. Just a hunch. The odds aren’t (and never have been) in my favor, here.

But despite that—despite EVERYTHING—I’m still here. Maybe something more CAN happen. Maybe. I’ll find out sooner or later. And good or bad, whatever happens will happen. Fingers crossed that what happens is that I get to go on a ship that DOESN’T pose a serious risk to my life and I go home. (This ship feels really… final, though. That could mean a lot of things. A lot of BAD things. I don’t think I’m gonna rest easy tonight.)

…I’d like to have a nice, hot shower at the end of this. And a proper meal. Chili mac MREs are FANTASTIC but they’re nothing compared to food that’s hot off of the stove. And I’d like to stay on planet Earth for a long, LONG time. It’s a LOT harder (though admittedly not impossible) to be completely cut off from all other human contact there. And—I’d just like to not feel so lost and alone anymore. I wanna go home. That’s what it is. That’s what it always HAS been. …And no one else is here to help me get there.

I’m putting this down. For REAL this time. How much would it help to have someone else here, anyway? This whole situation—No one would believe it. If I’m going to get out of here… I’ve got to do it myself. No more waiting around for a miracle to fall into my lap.

Let’s start with figuring out what the HELL is going on with all the occupiers on the ship, possibly including my time-looped self. Information is always a good place to start.

A screenshot from Lifeline: Halfway to Infinity with a glitch effect applied to it. The text reads, 'I'm so glad we can have these text conversations. They're the only thing keeping me sane. And since T2 has given me a glimpse of what I might look like when I'm NOT sane... ...I value every single word we exchange.'