Why can't you go home again after years in space? There had to be an answer ... could he find it in time, though?
ld figures, sitting in their half circle, spread again over the lighted square.
Colonel Halter saw his own image, looking into the old masks.
He said, "And where was your weakness, Captain McClelland?"
"I was concerned," said the old voice, "with keeping us alive."
"You weren't aware that some of your crew were emotionally involved with each other?"
"Are there any more records you could show me?"
"Many more, Colonel, but I don't think it's necessary for you to see them. It would take too long. And we want to get back out into space." He paused. "We can brief you."
"About your going back into space.... I'm not sure we can allow it."
"Our answer's very simple. There's a button, under my thumb, on the arm of this chair. A little pressure. Carbon monoxide. It would be quick."
"Yes. A matter of preserving our integrity. We'd rather die than face the horrors of life on Earth."
* * * * *
Thoughtful story. The first ship to another star system limps home 50 years after it left, and the captain insists after repairs and refueling the 80 year old crew is going right back into space. The Earth shrink's problems are: to find out what's behind it all, to get them to stay on Earth, to not have them kill themselves.
Good characters all around, and a pretty tense plot.