Author : Roger Dale Trexler
He sucked in a deep breath as the airlock opened. It was a force of habit. He had always been afraid of spacewalks. Too many things could go wrong, and you’re dead, he thought.
So why did he join the Space Corp?
The answer was easy: money. The unemployment was at ninety-three percent on Earth. The only jobs were out in space.
A voice came over the intercom in his helmet. “Are you outside yet?” Courtney asked. Courtney and he had been lovers on Earth, and they joined the Corp together. But, they were separated for a couple years. Courtney became a communications officer, and he a simple computer tech. He repaired minor servo systems and, when necessary, satellite equipment.
“Yeah.” He stepped to the open airlock. “I’m outside.”
He stared out into the vastness of space and, for a second, he thought he just might be the loneliest creature in the universe.
He drew in a deep breath again. The bottled oxygen was thick and stale.
“You’ve got to hurry, John!” Courtney said. “Please hurry!”
“I’m heading out now,” he said.
His accentuated the thrust in his backpack with his left thumb and drifted weightlessly out of the space station.
Once again, he took a breath.
He looked at the damage the meteor shower had done. The communication array and a small part of the hydroponics lab were damaged. The losses there were minimal. But, the communications array was shattered, and Cooper had gone out to repair it.
Cooper. Courtney’s new lover. She hadn’t even had the decency to tell him over subspace. It was only through sheer providence that John Kisat had found himself in the presence of his former lover. A simple refueling stop on the way to Ganymede to repair a deep space transponder brought them back together.
He had gotten the shock of his life when he opened the hatch to his one-man shuttle and seen Courtney’s face.
Courtney had gasped.
But, there was no tender reunion, no “I’ve missed you so.” Instead, Cooper had stepped around the corner and said sternly, “better lock it down tight, honey….there’s a meteor shower headed our way.”
Courtney looked at John, then at Cooper. “Ok,” she said.
The meteors pelted the station like a violent hailstorm. Courtney and Cooper huddled together while John sat across the room from them. Courtney never made eye contact with him. When the storm was over, she did a system analysis and informed her new lover that the communications array was damaged.
“Well,” he said, “I’ll go for a walk and fix it.”
That had been an hour ago,. Kisat listened to his former woman and her new lover talk as he went to fix the problem. They spoke so lovingly to each other.
Then, his comm went dead.
Courtney was frantic. “John! You’ve got to help!”
“Just for you,” he said.
He doned a spacesuit.
As he slipped in beside Cooper’s spacesuited form, he turned. There, almost perfectly placed in the center of his helmet, was a dime-sized hole.
The meteor shower hadn’t been completely over.
He looked at her lover’s face. The vacuum of space really was an ugly thing. Courtney would be upset anyway, he thought. It was better to spare her the agony. She was, after all, someone he loved. So, very carefully, he released the tether that held Cooper to the station and, ever so gently, gave him a push off into space.
He waved goodbye as his replacement slipped into the void of space.
Then, he turned back to the station.