I am the Alone One. Every cargo ship has one. This one, the Tauntalar, has three hundred and fifty-two staircases, forty-seven lifts, and two hundred and thirty-six, point, two kilometers of passageways. I know this because I've been the Alone One on this interplanetary freighter for ten years, two hundred, and thirty-seven days, ten hours, and four minutes.
The passageways are all dark until I step foot in them. When the lights come on, they only do so fifteen feet in front of me, so it always looks like I'm walking into darkness. And in some ways, I am.
I call myself the Alone One--but the official job title is Loner. Every long distance freighter has three. About twenty years ago--this was before I was in the business, I would only have been three years old at the time--a crew on a ship, just like this one, ended up going mad. This was when full crews stayed awake for years at a time. After this one went mad, only one member was left alive. A woman. When the ship had docked she'd been found in the med-bay in a self-induced coma, due to all the drugs she'd pumped into herself to stay alive. After that, the IPFU rethought their strategy. The ship's log showed the unwinding of events on the Fortuna Gold. The woman who survived was named Elizabeth Stork. She'd killed another crew member by stabbing him in the throat with a Cardo Pen. She shot so much sedative into his throat that his airways had closed within seconds. His name had been Fernando Silva. On inspection, his semen had been found on Elizabeth's clothing. On further inspection, it was concluded they had been loves.
The other five crew members who had been awake had all been stabbed, or strangled, or suffocated in their beds, or poisoned. The IPFU found this out by autopsy. Elizabeth Stork had deleted all the security logs but one. One that proved she and Silva had been lovers. A strange choice, as the reason for his death took on even more mystery. Stork, even after months of question, was unable to give a satisfactory account of events. Because of the inconsistencies and contradictions within her own tale, her lawyer on Earth fought for insanity--and won.
After that the IPFU tried keeping all seven crew members in cryo, but about four years later a ship AI malfunctioned and vented the gel. The seven crew members woke up, but their doors wouldn't open. By the time the ship, The Superlative, got to it's destination, all crew had died, decomposed, the stench, I heard, was atrocious. All that bio matter and nowhere for it to go.
And so now they have people like me.