All of that had transpired at least four or five hours ago, although
there was no way to accurately calculate time passage out here. He could
look at his chronometer, but again he decided against it--he would rather
not know exactly how many minutes he had left.
For something to occupy his remaining time, he began to reel in his
tether. Perhaps he could figure out how it had come loose from the
ship--not that it would make any difference, now, but he was still
curious. He pulled the twelve feet of safety line in and looked at the
end of it. There should have been a large snap-hook at the other end of
his line, which would, under ordinary circumstances, be attached to the
ship. There was nothing at the end of Nate's tether.
He brought the tip of the safety line close to his face plate. There
were no frayed edges here--the tether ended abruptly, with a straight,
flat surface where the snap-hook should have been. For this to have
happened was not only highly unusual, it was practically impossible. The
tether was made of a heat-treated, flexible, braided metal cable, just
over a one quarter of an inch thick and wrapped with almost another full
inch of insulation to protect the cable from temperature extremes found
in space. All of that was then covered with the same material their
suits were made of, to protect the insulation from any possible scrapes
and cuts the tether might encounter, rubbing against the outside metal of
the ship. For his line to have ended up this way, it must have been cut.
But Nate had attached his line to the safety hook on the ship himself and
had tested it to make sure it was secure, before he started working.
There had only been the two of them on the EVA and neither carried
anything sharp while they were wearing their suits. The danger of
accidentally puncturing the material was more than enough of a threat to
keep sharp implements away from anyone wearing a pressure suit.
So, how could his line have gotten cut and more importantly, 'why' would
anyone want him out of the way so badly that they would plan and carry
out something of this nature. Someone on his crew, someone he had
thought of as a friend, had murdered him. Well, he hadn't actually been
'murdered' quite yet, but in a very short time he would be.
Nate thought about it as his body slowly rotated the last few minutes of
his life away. Jude was the only one with opportunity, he decided. They
had been outside the ship, by themselves, for over an hour and Nate
certainly hadn't watched what Jude had been doing every minute of that
hour. He could easily have moved over to my tether and somehow cut it,without my being aware of his actions, Nate thought. But, how and why?
1 2 3 4 5