Pacific Standard


The gray lenses they sent us were useless.  “Pacific Standard”—that’s what it said on their label. They were bent, too. What kind of standard is that?

But it didn’t matter, there wasn’t light to filter on Earth.  There hadn’t been light in, we guessed, millennia—and that’s millennia in New Pacific time, which was the time we used on our old planet.

The Pacific doesn’t even exist anymore on Earth.  Everything’s black here.  But no one knew that would happen when we left.

Who knew we’d be asking if we lived in a black hole?

Computers are what matters now.  Do you think this is a black hole?

When we landed, I woke up in the dark and a computer smashed through my helmet and cut a vertical line up and down my forehead so I could see better.  At the time I thought it was an organic needle that made the cut, but it wasn’t.  I was upset, I guess, but now I’m evolved for Earth.  I’m not sure if this is a black hole.

For a while I laughed about the lenses they sent us all those millennia ago.  I mean, I got why they did it. The sun was far too bright to look at without the protection of lenses.  But I didn’t understand why the lenses had to be in that particular shape.  Each piece was bent in the shape of a spiral.  But then I felt something move. It was moving under my forehead, under the cut.  It had a voice.  It told me the lenses were supposed to protect us from more than just the sun.  They were shaped like that to protect us from the computers’ needles.  I joined the voice. It was laughing. Clearly I never got the message.