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Lunacy: Golden Ticket

03/06/15

  06:23:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 536 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Golden Ticket

It had been several minutes since Ken asked the question. He was surrounded by astronauts, crazy space cowboys who usually fought each other over the chance to do something dangerous and stupid. But still, not a single hand was raised. ?This is a golden opportunity,? Ken said. ?A chance to be a part of years of research in space. It's the Moon, and an extra long stint; it's a singular opportunity to join the ultra elite who've spent the most time outside our orbit.? ?Sir,? one of the astronauts said, ?we're used to being guinea pigs. But that's always come with the reassurance that the best medical and scientific minds had already figured out all the variables, and the only risk was God viewing what we were doing as building a tower like the one in Babel. But this... it's based on conjecture and guesswork. You can church that up if you want, but it don't change the fact that this isn't a known risk. It's an unknown. Made worse by the fact that we don't really know what happened up there. The Moon went dark, and astronauts died. You give us your personal assurance that whatever happened up there is over- but that assurance doesn't mean a hell of a lot, since you'll be safe back here on Earth.? ?I'd gladly put my fanny where my mouth is. Don't chortle; I have an especiallly hygenic fanny. But the fact is NASA doesn't shoot people like me off world. I'm loud, and opinionated, and I make for one hell of a bureaucrat, but I'm no astronaut. And you are. You have been blessed with physicality, intelligence and talent. I would murder every third one of you for this slot. But that's no how it works.? Silence. ?This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go into space. Sure, potential dismemberment?s a rider, but this is space, and not a one of you cowards wants to make the trip? Cowards. Every last one of you.? He stomped out of the conference room. But there was a smile hiding under his sneer. He?d never had the heart to hope for this, not since his idiopathic atrial fibrillation was discovered. But he was getting his shot. Alan knew him well enough to see all that, but he kept it to himself, at least until they were alone. ?I know this is what you want- what you?ve always wanted, since way before you joined the program. But you?re not that same kid anymore. You?d have to give up booze. And hookers. And booze. And all that?s assuming your second-rate heart doesn?t explode on the trip up.? ?That?s sweet, that you?re concerned. But you?re not my type.? ?And you?re not mine. But that doesn?t mean I can?t want you to be happy- or at a minimum alive.? ?This is every pretty boy or girl whose asshole you wanted to tongue; it?s my white fucking whale, Alan.? ?As opposed to your white eating whale?? ?I?m going to miss that sarcastic mouth of yours. But I?ll shoot you the moon from the Moon real regular, so you can keep it exercised.? ?I think, despite myself, I?ll miss you, too, Ken.? They hugged.

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