The lights were giving him a headache.
They were too bright, too hot, and too artificial. The biggest problem, though, was that they were everywhere. They lined every single one of the perfectly cylindrical, perfectly featureless passageways.
At first, he'd wished for windows. He thought it would be nice to be reminded of things outside the labyrinthine ship. Then he remembered that, at this point in the voyage, there probably wasn't anything out there to see.
He tried not to think about that.
Instead, he focused his efforts on figuring out what had gone wrong and where everyone else was.
For this piece, all I had was that opening line. I had come up with that while writing Sickness and really wanted to use it in something. So I sat down today with that line in mind and came up with what you see above. In my first few tries, the setting was just a barren hospital, but that wasn't going anywhere, so I decided to go a little bigger.
I imagine this could start off a longer science fiction piece about a group of astronauts travelling through space to find a habitable world, new resources, energy, or some other MacGuffin for planet Earth. Due to the length of the voyage, they would have rotating shifts, where the majority of the crew is under cryogenic sleep, leaving only a few awake at a time.
The story would feature Ensign James Decker (the man with the headache) waking up to find the rest of the crew missing and the ship strangely different (or different from how he remembers it). We would then follow his search through the enormous vessel to figure out what happened. Maybe not the most original idea, but I find stories generally live or die based on their execution, and I think I could manage something interesting out of the premise.
For example, maybe it's not the lights giving him that headache.
Perhaps, one of these days, we'll see.