Everybody that ever jumped the Void had at least one story about The One That Never Returned — and once you hung around in the smuggler bars and the asteroid stations long enough, you heard them all. Sometimes it was a young gun, lingering one second too long; sometimes it was just a fool. Sometimes it was an old hand — the kind that’d always warned you — that made a jump just like every jump they had ever made before, and never was heard from again.
Less common were the stories about the ones that came back. The ones that came back weeks, months, or years later — resurfacing on different cities, different ships, different planets — saying nothing, recognizing no one, distant and lost.
Those were the late-night stories, closing-time tales, mood killers. They rarely came from anything but the source. You bought the quiet old trader in the corner enough drinks, and she’d start to tell you how easy it was to go. How the longer you stayed, the more a strange, dark contentment eclipsed your confidence, your sense of direction, your sense of purpose, your sense of yourself. She told you how it was just like sleeping in on holiday morning. How falling into the Void was nothing but a daydream — and how the endless, infinite Nothing wrapped right around you and washed all your worries and fears away.
After a while, someone in the bar spat out a line just to break the silence, and it was always the same thing: You’re one lucky son of a gun. — To have got out of there, I mean.
And the survivor — every survivor — would look away, without nodding, and say to no one in particular: Yeah. Lucky. Of course.
Nice little ficlet. Warning: OPs blog may contain some NSFW content.