Image from NASA public domain - M39, The Archaipelago Cluster


“I’m fed up,” I said as I shook my head.

“Come on, I made a mistake. Sue me,” the short man said.

I stare at him, trying to understand why he did such a stupid thing. The short man fidgeted in his spacesuit, blinking back tears.

“You broke the sacred rule,” I said. “Strict discipline is needed if humans are going to survive in deep space.”

“I promise. I will never do it again,” the short man said. His lower lip quivered and he closed his eyes.

“Out,” I said. I pushed him into the airlock and he didn’t resist. The others didn’t say a word. They watched as I pushed the button and ejected the short man from the station.

A puff of white vapor emerged from the pod as it shot into the distance.

I rubbed my hands together and turned to talk to the crew. I will scare the daylights out of them. I can’t afford any more of these petty rebellions. I drew myself up to my full height and opened my mouth to speak.

They rushed me. I never had a chance. I estimate that I have fifteen minutes of oxygen left.


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