Greetings, and welcome to the Void! We hope you enjoy your time spent drifting into infinity, and we’ve written this handy guide to make your stay more enjoyable.
Any right-minded adventurer suddenly finding themselves in this predicament is sure to have consumed the finest of Earth’s space-themed entertainment. While this is admirable research and can, at times, be handy, it can also lead to confusion and false expectations. Let's debunk some of the more common misconceptions:
99 PROBLEMS AND ALL OF THEM BEER
You probably need a drink right now. Indeed, in many parts of the galaxy, alcohol is the go-to solution to battle the stresses of space travel. If you’re hankering for the hops, however, think again, as carbonation makes a huge mess in zero-g, and requires special gear for which you likely have neither the space nor the resources. This is why cocktails rule the spaceways; we hope you’ve carried along a flask of your favorite grog, or can remember where Anatoly hides the vodka.
Cosmic Rays. Greasy solar atoms. Gamma bursts. Red matter. Let’s be honest: space is full of awful things when you’re a carbon-based life form. A little bit of lead, you think, and all’s well? Sadly, that miracle metal is usually far too heavy to get into orbit, let alone take along as you meander among the stars. If you've done some planning, maybe the walls of your shelter are filled with a foot or so of water, which you’ll need anyhow. If not, human waste works just as well. Happy micturition!
It may be tempting to dream of being found at some distant date and being rescued into the welcoming arms of a society vastly advanced from the crappy one you’ve left behind, but you should know a few things before your hopes reach the stars.
If your conveyance is able to reach a significant fraction of the speed of light and you’re able to maintain an orbit that will eventually bring you back to where you started, congratulations! You’ve won the time dilation lottery! Decades may have passed during your handful of years beyond the Sun. Take your reintroduction to the future slowly, lest you become overwhelmed. One can hope you’re still the dominant species?
It is also recommended that you have some way to decelerate from that fraction of the speed of light. Relativistic bombardment of inhabitable planets is against the Pan-Galactic Peace Treaty, as well as almost certainly fatal.
The temptation might be high, but DO NOT enter any uncharted black hole or Einstein–Rosen bridge. Naturally occurring rips in the fabric of space and time are capricious on the best of days. If we're being perfectly honest here, the charted/artificial ones aren’t much better, unless weird or symbolic death is your goal.
You may wish to allow yourself to be frozen for retrieval at a later date. We advise you only try this with functional hibernation equipment. At the very least, consider some kind of anti-freeze treatment, though this method is very uncomfortable and difficult to do alone. Anatoly’s vodka DOES NOT count.
SHIP OF THE REIMAGINATION
Space is, in fact, not empty. It’s actually brimming with energetic particles, complex molecular chains of dust and gases, and a whacking giant lot of hydrogen. Unless you’re actively studying any of these things, though, it might as well be empty. The cosmos can be intensely boring, especially when you’re lost in it. Coasting between planets and stars, there’s not even anything cool to look at.
Modern society provides an endless supply of electronic diversions, which would certainly help alleviate the doldrums. If you’re quite lost, however, don’t expect Wi-Fi to be readily available. Even if it were, checking Twitter with any kind of light lag is an exercise in futility and frustration. By the time you get the next hashtag game and think of the perfect joke, for example, it’s long since trended, and almost certainly someone’s already done it.
If you’re a smart, well-prepared castaway, your favorite portable device is loaded to the gills with books and games. Excellent! You’ll be a short step ahead of the inevitable madness of isolation. Hope you can keep that battery charged, though. Make sure to time your charge cycles with the max current provided by your solar array. If you’re too far from the Sun for solar energy, remember: don't draw power from flight critical systems, such as life support! If your craft depends on a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, know that you will eventually have to choose who lives and who dies.
AN AWFUL WASTE OF SPACE
What’s the number one thing that catches most errant space travelers caught off guard? Just how little actual space there is in space.
Sure, the universe is essentially endless to the perception of our frail, mortal frames, but the interior dimensions of your average spaceworthy craft are finite to an almost painful degree. The Gemini spacecraft had roughly the internal space of a non-TARDIS police box for a crew of two. Let us tell you, you really know who your friends are after ten days together in that little space. The state of the art is always improving, it's true, but you would be best served to not expect a holodeck, a Ten Forward, or an engineering space that looks curiously like the inside of a modern brewery.
Wiggle your toes. Can you stretch your legs all the way out? Odds are you’re doing better than most. Look on the bright side: rapid zero-g muscle atrophy means not needing your legs anyway!
Hopefully these tidbits will help you along on your endless voyage through the stars! Have any comments or suggestions to add? Simply broadcast them in the blind at frequency 1420.4556 MHz with as much gain as you can spare power for. Don’t worry if you don’t get a response; your transmission will propagate spherically at the speed of light! We’ll get it eventually.