“Shoot for the moon,” the saying went.  “If you miss, you’ll end among the stars.”

John stared out the window at the uncountable twinkling dots scattered across an endless field of cold, sterile black and wished everyone he’d ever heard say that was here right now, so he could punch them all in the throat.

He’d spent his entire life shooting for the moon.  Thirteen years of primary education and eight of secondary, all with a perfect GPA.  Fourteen years in the U.S. Air Force with an absolutely impeccable service record.  Five years of NASA training.  No wife, no kids, and no ties or distractions of any kind.  Thirty-eight years of unrelenting focus and dedication to a single purpose.

And all of it had been a waste.  Every last fucking second.  Because of a rock.

John turned away from the window and looked at the monitor showing the feeds from the Ganymede Lander.  A massive cloud of hydrazine spewed into the vacuum from the hole left in the fuel tank by a meteor strike.  There would be nothing left for an orbital insertion; John would meet his end among the stars—adrift and slowly suffocating in a freezing titanium can.


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