Space hung like black infinity before Darren. As on every space walk, he gasped at the awesomeness of it. Behind him floated The Impetus, to which he was liberally tethered. At his feet spun the Earth, all blues and greens splattered with white. Watching, he suddenly imagined the billions of people spinning an impossible number of miles per second, and the thoughts waved vertigo over him.

He snapped his lids shut. He micromanaged his breathing. He corrected.

The most of his view was space, that star-dotted darkness that seems unnaturally bright and empty. A new ache churned his gut. He longed for an artistic hand, so he could capture the perspective. Even a photograph could only imitate the expanse in rudimentary ways.

“I hate to do this, Cap’n,” came Melody’s voice in his helmet, “but we have T minus ten minutes.”

Today his crew went home, playing “tag team” with another, and he’d be sent to terrestrial endeavors. Where do they put old astronauts? What would he do now?

He smiled sadly. Maybe a pilot.

View this story's 4 comments.