The officer approached, hands clasped behind his back, staring unabashedly at the young astronaut, raising his slender brow in cynical awareness of the situation. He reached across the stark white table and clicked the record button on the small tape recorder. His voice was deep and disturbingly serene for the nature of the interrogation, “Why don’t you tell us that, again?”
Johnnie sighed and wiped his sweaty hands on his knees. He was nervous, but that was all relative now. “It was like I said. Routine mission, you know, standard stuff. We were unloading an empty O-2 tank to refuel at the space station. It was Bucks, Johnston and I carrying the load, out there in harsh space in our suits. And, like I said–” The military official interrupted Johnnie.
“You do know that the vacuum of space will kill a human being, don’t you?”
“That’s what we were meant to think.”
“What do you mean? Go on.”
Johnnie nodded, “I was curious, I mean… no one has ever died in space before and I really wondered how they knew. I wondered how they could possibly know what could happen. It’s like Columbus…”
“Stick to the subject.”
“I was having trouble with my girlfriend back home, things were just, I don’t know… bland. So I did it.”
The interrogator sat forward, “Did what?”
“I took the suit off.”
“That’s impossible. I just told you the physics of it all. No air, no moisture, hell, let’s not forget the hard radiation from direct exposure.”
The young astronaut had the look of frustration on his face, “I already told you this! I took it off and I floated around. There is no air but you don’t need it up there. There’s no radiation because, I don’t know, because you don’t need to believe in it. I floated around and laughed. The others guys were panicking but they kept asking me how I felt. So I told them… it felt great.”
A fist slammed onto the table, the white room seemed to vibrate with the anger now resonating from the eyes of the interrogator. “You’re either covering up for something or you’re just trying to be famous. Either way, we’re going to find out. You do understand that you will go to jail.”
“I was floating above heaven; I think that’s why nothing made sense.”
“Do you hear yourself? Youâ€™re not making any sense!”
“I know, it sounds crazy, but I’m telling you, the only reason we didn’t know is because we brought it with us.”
“What?” His fists had unclenched he was interested again.
Johnnie just smiled, ” Earth.”
There was a long pause, the interrogation had to have a break, and the officer just paced the room looking around, thinking hard, as one does when given a paradox of their reality. He turned, curious as ever, and began again. “Why did you do it, then? Why would anyone do it, Johnnie?”
Johnnie just shrugged and grinned, as he was prone to do since he got back. “Because we can.”
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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Voices of Tomorrow
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