"Nothing around those other suns but ashes and dried blood," old Dunbar told the space-wrecked, desperate men. "Only one way to go, where we can float down through the clouds to Paradise. That's straight ahead to the sun with the red rim around it."But Dunbar's eyes were old and uncertain. How could they believe in his choice when every star in this forsaken section of space was surrounded by a beckoning red rim?
d Dunbar's back. Now the fire was gone, extinguished automatically by units inside the suit. The suit was still inflated, self-sealing. Nothing appeared to have changed. The four of them hurtling on together, but inside that first suit up there on the front of the gravity rope, Dunbar was dead.
He was dead and his mouth was shut for good.
Dunbar's last faint cry from inside his suit still rang in Russell's ears, and he knew Alvar and Johnson had heard it too. Alvar and Johnson both called Dunbar's name a few times. There was no answer.
"Russ--you shouldn't have done that," Johnson whispered. "You shouldn't have done that to the old man!"
"No," Alvar said, so low he could barely be heard. "You shouldn't have done it."
"I did it for the three of us," Russell said. "It was either him or us. Lies ... lies that was all he had left in his crazy head. Paradise ... don't tell me you guys don't see the red rims around all four suns, all four suns all around us.
Four escapees from a prison planet are flying towards a supposed paradise when their ship is disabled. Their space suits will keep them alive for a year, if need be, but the only one of them who claims to know where they are is a crazy old coot, and the longer they follow him, the crazier he gets.
An okay story.
Four cons have escaped from prison only to have their ship fail. Now they are connected and in life suits capable of reaching nearby stars, but which ones have habitable planets? The old spacer says he knows that one has a paradise planet around a sun that has a red rim, but is he right or just BS-ing the other 3 disturbed cons? Lots of nearby stars have faint red rings around them. What should they do, go along with the crazy old dude, or light out on their own to find safety?
Somewhat predictable outcome.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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