Hope and a Prayer

“What’s the story?”

“They’re flying in a DSRV from Mare Tranq.”

“A DSRV? From cis-Terra to Mars?”

“Mm-hmm. They three-staged it by jury-rigging a C-Class to be a kick stage on either end—”


“—and filling ’em up with all the LOX-drive fuel they could scrounge up. They sent it at something like eight gees. Just did the skew flip. Should get here soon.”

“Give me the bad news.”

“We have to take a burn and try to clear Deimos. They don’t want to risk getting this duct-taped lifeboat Swiss-cheesed by the debris.”

“They want us to burn.”

“After the burn, we’ll dock with the DSRV, throw all our supplies in, and hitch a ride home.”

“They want us to burn.”

“Yeah. I know there is the possibility that…the engine assembly has been…compromised…”

“…in which case we blow up and we die.”


“Are they insane?!”

“Yes…as are we, to have come out this far.”

“I just…I don’t want to die…not like this…”

“Neither do I. It’s a million-to-one shot…but it sure beats a definite nothing.”

“…Let’s do it.”

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