Captain Brandon was a pioneer. He explored the far reaches of space and reported back on how things were out there. So it was pretty disquieting to find out that the “far reaches of space” knew more about what went on at home than he did.
em down again.
Desperately he turned on the tele-talkie.
"Astro, this is Brandon," he said.
"Brandon, this is Astro," Reinhardt said.
Brandon's body tensed. "Thank God I finally got through to you. Listen, Reinhardt, I must be about three--"
"Brandon, this is Astro," said Reinhardt in a monotone. He said it again and again and again.
Brandon fell back on the ground. His breathing was short, strained. His face was bathed in perspiration. The oxygen, he realized, was giving out.
What are the odds, that the air of Sirius Three is breathable, he wondered. One in a hundred? The planet has water and both animal and plant life. Certainly it has sufficient gravity to hold its oxygen. But what other elements--noxious gases might be present. Maybe the odds are closer to one in fifty, he decided.
"But it's no gamble when you have nothing to lose," he told the Milky Way.
Ripping off his oxygen mask, he took a deep breath of the alien atmosphere. The dust chok
After four years flight (relativistic time) with a by-the-book colonel, the Astro One finally made it to Sirius Three. The colonel made it clear he would be the first man to step on another star's planet, but Brandon's scout ship malfunctioned . . . .
Some nice characterizations and a good, ironic, ending.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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