21:3 One Hell of a View

OUTER SPACE  |  2055

Locked in geosynchronous orbit, the entire length of the Jefferson One was suddenly peppered by a profusion of potentially deadly projectiles. Major ducked his head while his suit absorbed the forward momentum of dozens of tiny fragments of ruined satellite. In a lull, he lifted his helmet enough to see an unsecured Bjoern still trying to extricate his lifeline from the mangled antenna.

“Bjoern!” Major called out. “Leave it. Strap back on until I come to you. We’re getting massacred out here!”

Major saw his crew mate wave him off and give his tether one last strong pull when a hurtling chunk of metal split open his spacesuit, the outward explosion of air pressure hurtling him off the side of the craft.

“What’s going on out there, captain?” Konstantinov punched in. “Bjorn’s vitals just went through the roof!”

“Goddamn it,” Major cursed as he tested his own line and launched himself out after the floating Bjorn. “Nika, we have a critical suit breach. Have Zhang prep sick bay and ready that air lock.” The peaceful sound of recirculating air in his own suit was superseded by his measured, determined breathing.

“Bjoern! Can you hear me? I am coming to you. Do not panic. You’ve lost pressure and are going to lose consciousness. It sounds crazy, but you must not hold your breath when that happens. Are you still with me? Nika, can you open Bjoern’s intercom from there? I want to hear if he’s trying to breathe.”

Da, captain,” Konstantinov answered, already on the task. “I do not hear respiration. Get him in here before the oxygen in his system begins to boil.”

Major drifted out slower than he could possibly imagine something taking to where Bjoern floated limp. He grabbed the unconscious man by the handle on his air recirculation pack and unhooked his own tether before clipping it to his crew mate, hitting retract, and holding on for the ride. As the two men were slowly dragged backward across the blackness, Major took one last look at the Earth below.

You have to admit, he thought, that is one hell of a view.

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