After Dinner Conversation

Volume 3, Issue 8, August 2022

Jonathan Turner
Pages 51-78


Is Hobbes right, in that, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short?” Will resource scarcity always revert us to our most animalistic nature? In this work of space travel ethical short story fiction, the space cruise liner the narrator is on is hit by a rock. It is severely damaged and some of the crew is injured. They are slowly moving to their destination via “dead reckoning” but the ship will run out of water long before they arrive. At first, the captain decides to do a first round of killing, both by volunteers and by lottery, to save resources. Riots break out as a second lottery happens and water is rationed to just one liter per person, per day. The narrator is a second-class passenger on the ship, but largely built, so he volunteers to serve as security detail. He ends up killing a passenger who fights back during the lottery. As the situation worsens, gangs form on the ship. The narrator is brought in by a gang, but is later kicked out for being sympathetic to others. All seems lost when the ship’s doctor realizes he can filter the blood of the dead and use it to supplement their water supplies.