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SS Whale Fall

The crew of the SS Whale Fall never joke about Jonah. Jonah was swallowed by a fish. Their ship, they know, is warm-blooded.

Hers is the only starwhale corpse ever to beach itself in the gravity well. The scientists stripped her down as best they could, and the Navy got the skeleton. Then they started building her back up.

She’s cobalt-clad now, big plates that flex visibly when she vents reactor steam from her blowhole. Micrometeors have accumulated to give her craters like sucker scars. Her fins shift: they’re diving out, through the heliospheric current, towards colder, darker space.