He floated, weightless and in silence, amid infinity.
His body rotated, slowly, on its own axis, but since there was no up or
down in space, it didn't much matter. At least his view was always
changing, although he could no longer tell which of the million or so
bright pinpoints of light that filled the vast expanse surrounding him,
had been his ship.
The thought crossed his mind to check his chronometer, but he decided
against it. There had been six hours of oxygen in his tank-pack when he
and Jude had gone out for their EVA and he didn't really want to know how
much was now left. The minor repair mission was slated for three hours,
but they always carried extra oxygen while on EVA, just in case of an
emergency. Nate smiled to himself. He guessed that this might be
considered an emergency.
They had been outside the ship for just over an hour when, somehow, his
life-line tether had become detached from the safety hook. Their cargo
ship, 'Orion Rising' was four months out from earth and was moving
through space at over 13,000 miles per hour and as long as Nate remained
tethered to the ship, he was moving just as fast. Since he was no longer
connected to the ship, however, his own momentum would steadily diminish
as he drifted farther and farther from her, so he and 'Orion Rising'
would begin to separate rather quickly, if he didn't receive some
When Nate first discovered that his tether had come loose, he was already
just over an arms-length from the side of the ship and any sudden
movement on his part would have sent him into an uncontrolled spin.
Their suits weren't equipped with thrusters, so he wouldn't be able to
get back to the 'Orion' without help. Jude was working nearby, but
apparently hadn't noticed Nate's desperate situation.
"Yo, Jude," Nate called over his helmet-com. "A little help here, eh,
Nate watched as Jude turned slowly in his bulky pressure suit and stared
over at him. And then just continued to stare.
"Hey, toss me a line or something, will ya? I'm loose, here," Nate
shouted, pointing to the end of his tether, floating free about ten feet
Jude turned and looked over to where the life-line should have been
tethered to the ship, then back over at Nate. While Jude was slowlylooking back and forth, Nate had managed to drift another couple of feet
from the ship.
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