The Fine Line

The line broke. Surprisingly he didn't get very excited about it. In fact, he didn't get excited at all. No change in heartbeat--not even a slight fluctuation of his bodily temperature. He just remained totally calm. No breeches, no loss of pressure, no loss of heat--everything was perfect. Except for the line, of course. But that didn't even phase him. He just sat quietly communing with the universe and watched it slowly drift away. After all, there was nothing he could really do....

"Hey Chris! You're kinda quiet. You alright out there? Over."

"Yeah. I'm okay. But the life line just separated fro-"

"What?! Are we reading you correctly?! Over."

"Captain Farrell, this is mission control. Please restate status message. Over."

"I said, the life line has just separated from my suit. But it's so nice out here.... Over."

"Chris, this is the lab. Have you tried the peroxide thrusters? Over."

"Well, yes. But y'know it's a funny thing. They just don't seem to want to respond. Over."

He could hear a growing murmur from both the control center and the lab. But he wasn't worried. He knew they'd figure it out. They'd have to. He checked his oxygen level. Two hours left. That's all I'll need, he thought.

"Captain Farrell, this is mission control. Please explain last statement. Over."

"Well, there's nothing really to explain. The peroxide thrusters are not responding. Over."

"What do you mean not responding? Over."

"Exactly that. When I press the button, they don't go on. Over."

"Why not? Over."

"I don't know. You made it. You tell me. Over."

Chris heard a muffled 'bastards' from the lab.

It was beautiful out there. Just sort of floating along.... Nothing to do, nowhere to go. It felt wonderful. He looked around as best he could. The scenery was gorgeous--all black with tiny pinholes of heaven showing through. The more he looked, the more the tiny pinholes seemed to dance for him. He looked away. It bothered him--they wanted to dance for him. That's not the way it was suppossed to be. He should dance for them. Maybe later, he thought, let's see what there is downstairs. He pressed a button and the chair swiveled one-hundred-eighty degrees and suddenly he beheld an awsome spectacle. But he didn't like it.

"Captain Farrell, this is mission control. We have just confirmed readings of a thruster report. Are the peroxide thrusters working properly now? Over."

"No. I just farted. Over." He giggled quietly and continued watching.

"Captain Farrell, this is General Kelly. What in the hell is going on up there? ... Oh. Sorry. Over."

"Well, I don't really know General. But I'm having a good time. Would you like a beer?"

"Chris, this is Mike, in the lab. Are you alright? Over."

"Yeah, I'm fine. Relax. I'm just enjoying my time."

"Well, we're going to send you some help, okay? Over."

"Nah. Don't bother. I'm havin' a good time."

"Well, we're going to anyway. Say Chris, did you ingest anything funny today? Over."

"No. Just the usual. Y'know. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Same old shit."

He had heard a lot about this view. Quite a few had seen and told him of it. But now, it just didn't really live up to its reputation. They said you could see the great wall. They lied. He like the opposite view better anyway, and proceeded to swivel once again.

"Captain Farrell, we have just confirmed another reading of a thruster report. Please state, yes or no. Are you manipulating the peroxide thrusters? Over."


"Hey Chris this is Mike. The lab's gonna be a swingin' your way pretty soon, you wanna grab hold? Over."

"I'll see what I can do."

* * *

He looked out into the universe. It was a little cooler now. He watched the distant stars. They were beautiful--mysterious. He wanted to reach out and grab them, hold them, feel them. He wanted to be with them. But they were too far right now. The lab began to pass by him. He watched it. It was mainly white. What a boring color, he thought, white--nothing. It was a big facility--took a lot of blood and guts to get it up here. What a waste. He reached out and touched it. Smooth as a baby's bottom--a lot harder though. Then it abruptly ended, and he watched it slowly drift off.

"Chris, we just passed. Did you catch us? Over."

"No. Sorry."

"Why not? Over."

"Couldn't reach."

"Okay. Chris? Listen. We're going to send Roy out to you, okay? Over."

He looked at his oxygen gauge. It read thirty minutes. "Okay."

He continued looking at the stars. They seemed closer now. Almost within reaching distance. All around him they were. Tiny pinholes of heaven. He imagined what it would be like to be one of them. All that power, all that grace, to know everything. How nice it would be. He dimly noticed Roy talking to him through the comlink. He turned it off. Distraction--that's all it was. That's all his life had been--one big distraction. No substance. But now he felt something. And he wanted to keep it. The stars continued growing and they started to dance again. He watched carefully and began to immitate their dance. It was a strange, wonderful dance. It captured all emotions and feelings. It was the dance of life. The stars grew larger and larger even though his eyes were no longer open and the dance went faster and faster, became more and more complicated until everything was one, glorious bright light....

* * *

"Chris! Chris! This is Roy! Do you read me?! I'm almost there! Hold On! Over!"

But when Roy came to Captain Christopher Farrell, he too beheld an awsome sight. For the suit was empty. Chris belonged to the stars....

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