You can see a complete game of Space Oddity played out in the original post.
I’m going to tell you a short genre story that makes sense of the inscrutable lyrics of an otherwise popular song. I’ll do it in very brief parts to keep things interesting. There will be weekly clues.
Your job is to guess the song before the story is done. The first person to correctly guess the proper song receives…High Praise Indeed ™.
“That somebody is you,” growled the Senior Conductor as the two brute officers dragged Ternie down the otherwise deserted prison hallway. He hadn’t been paying attention – starvation and atrophy contained galaxies of pain – but it didn’t take much attention to realize this was it; death awaited somewhere in the upper chambers of the great vessel.
“You’ve threatened my chances for too long. Enough.”
The sloshing, thin magnetism that passed for gravity in the below deck gave way to the disorienting pressure of natural gyrotics. It felt like being buried in mud. Ternie’s weakened lungs couldn’t handle it. As the guards stooped to unbolt the gravitons on his feet, Ternie passed out.
This would not look good, thought the Senior Conductor. All the defiance had been drained from the old rebel. The crowd needed to see some fight, a criminal to inspire rage. The Senior Conductor made a snap decision to limit attendance, even though it had been announced and made mandatory not two hours before.
That’s okay. Unpredictable – like a future king. Just stay confident. Make sure the news announcement is well crafted.
His own wrath built without prompting. Landfall was days away – a two-hundred year journey! consider it! – but some glory could be his even if the lion’s share of it went to that demented octagenarian in the iron bed. The Engineer might be the captain of landfall in name, but the Senior Conductor would be the power behind it.
“Rouse him. I want him blinking and foaming at the mouth by the time we make it to the pavilion in Central Forest.”
Ternie chuckled as they dragged him through a dim field of clover on the way to the pavillion. The Senior Conductor grunted at the show of mirth. The bizarre old rat’s gone mad. I’ve traded everything I own and bet it on this?
“This is where I did it, you know,” said Ternie, in a grandfatherly voice more appropriate for a picnic than an execution.
That’s more like it. Keep bragging like this on stage, and they’ll stone your head off.
On stage, beneath the shadows of a grove, spotlights deflected from the roof of the artificial sky and focused on Ternie, who winced in the blinding glow. It looked to the crowd like he had an insane smile on his face.
The Senior Conductor spoke into the loudspeaker, which was also broadcast on all channels throughout the ship.
“For numerous crimes of monogamous ceremony, sedition and a life dedicated to the overthrow of New City and the undermining of the Engineer and his people, Ternie Suffragan has been hereby sentenced to a beating, stoning and execution by decapitation. The beating has been rendered, and the stoning and execution shall therefore commence on the call of the designate second in command, the Senior Conductor of the grand vessel Arisch!” That last flourish had been of the Senior Conductor’s own making. The better the pageant, the more memorable the history.
With a feigned confidence, the Senior Conductor selected the top stone from the pile on stage and weighed it like a boy might weigh a cricket ball. He stared into the blinded face of the prisoner, the man who had married the Senior Conductor’s parents and in so doing sentenced them to death. The prisoner would be forgotten . The Senior Conductor would be remembered for doing what needed to be done to found the New City, New World and for having guts when others would have hid from duty.
He cocked his arm and jerked when someone grabbed his wrist.
It was the nervous brakeman who had been assigned to shepherd the case.
“Your eminence,” stuttered the bespectacled clerk. “The Engineer. He’s dead.”
Additional clues already covered include: the song first became popular in the 1980s (around the same time as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were seen as sort of a cynical gothic retort to this kind of music), the song doesn’t feature trains or any other kind of large vehicle, and Ternie’s odd full name is a significant clue to the song lyrics.
There’s only one clue left. Try to guess Song 2 before the last clue goes up.