It's been perigees and perigees and perigees since you last saw another living troll. (The dead don't count the dead don't count the dead can't count and that's funny because you're terrible at time and math as well.) (Are you still alive?) You think you're still alive. The frogs in the algae vats don't run away when you come near and they don't like the dead so you're pretty sure you're not dead but you can't. Be. Sure? Anyway, it's been some time and you broke all the mirrors you can break (whoops there goes another prong but you didn't need it anyway and hurting makes you feel real, at least) and none of the communication devices do anything but bounce static off your broken crown anyway. You sometimes message yourself on your palmhusk to pretend there's anyone out there but you, dumb knothorns Agouti who couldn't keep a quadrant to save her and couldn't save her quadrants to stay long enough to count. (You laugh, because that's funny too. Anything that has you as the butt of the joke is funny ha ha see brothers I'm a real devout no iron sigils here no siree lemme take that motherfucker off your fronds yeah?) (You would tattoo the Sufferer's sign on you, brand it on like He got branded, except you've all heard and read the scriptures and He don't strike you as a motherfucker who gets His approve on over self-harm.) It doesn't last, though, and pretty soon you're sure that you read somewhere that eating sopor takes the pain away so you try that as well because you're too much of a coward to cull yourself like a proper troll except all it does is make you drowsy and distant and the night terrors keep telling you you need to be on guard because the dead still wander. You wake sick and shaking four (or three or five numbers aren't real and time doesn't matter) days in a row after that, sure that each time you will hear a rotted snarl or hear the slow drag of a husk that shouldn't move no more but does. (You counted every body into the incinerator or shoved out the airlock, even Taupey that poor bastard he begged you to rip out his body from the column before the sickness got into the biowires before it got into the rest of his hull.) You laugh a lot so you don't scream - that's how we do it in the Church my sisters see it DEVOUT AND SACROSANCT - and you sing when you can't laugh any more. Your voice echoes even when you're gardening and you hate that you hate it but you'd rather sing than let the silence crawl under your tongue like language and lose words all together. "There's a hole in my bucket, dear drone sir dear drone sir, there's a hole in my bucket please let me fix it..."