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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #916776
Theo faces choices, but are the decisions correct?
Theo limped over to the airlock, his weariness showing in every step. Numbly, he donned the space suit. Once more, he would look at the damage done to the space ship as if this would do any good. He wondered if he would be able to find any new answer to the problem at hand. And he wondered, too, if he would ever see his step son again. Why did it have to end like this? First the boy lost his mother and now he was about to lose the only father he had. The boy had no one else. It wasn’t fair.

He waited for the seals to lock and then approached the main portal to the cold unfriendliness of space. Within moments he had floated out to the length of his tether and viewed the ship’s jagged tear. No change. What should he expect? He reeled himself in closer to do some more diagnostic testing.

Systematically, he checked over everything. By now, he could do this in his sleep and since he was so tired, his mind drifted aimlessly to other things. It was only a year ago that Sheila had died, but still the pain lingered. She had suffered. Theo had wished that he could have disconnected the life support and let her die quickly and mercifully. She had died anyways in the end, despite all the promises and tests and experimental drugs. In a way, he blamed himself for believing something could be done.

He stared at the useless piece of metal he held in his hand. “Just like this ship,” he muttered to himself. “I just keep on hoping something will turn.”

Time was running out, not only for the ship but for everyone in it, for him and the hopes and dreams he had shared with Nathan, his step son. Theo was so tired. He wished he could fall asleep and wake up finding this all a bad dream. It was the same when Sheila lay dying, moaning in agony, as he stayed by her side, morning and night, for days.

She had depended on him, then. Now the ship’s crew had their lives placed in his hands. Why couldn’t it have been someone else? He placed the broken hose back in place and tightened the bolts. Little good that would do.

It had only been three days since the meteor had struck the side of The Cosmote sending the ship soaring off the main traffic route into deep space where a search wasn’t likely to find them. In another week, they would all be dead and none of this fatigue would matter. The food was gone, the water would only last another day and a few days after that, the oxygen would be too foul to breathe. But until then they would all suffer like Sheila.

It was then that he made up his mind. A kind of tired peace settled over him as he pulled his way along the life line back to the portal. He knew what he must do. But first, he wanted to recheck the computers, just in case.

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