Stranded in Space
Hori Akira Translated by Okayasu Tomoko
- 1 -
The spanner is floating five centimeters or so from my outstretched toe. I have stretched my right foot to the maximum and my toe is fully extended. The spanner is the closest object to my body. But it's not within my eyesight. I had to turn my head in the opposite direction to let the toe extend the utmost toward it. So the five centimeter distance between the spanner and the toe is just my estimate. Perhaps it may be a bit less -- even a few millimeters. But I cannot verify this, because if I turn to look, my leg will inevitably swing away from the spanner. I grudgingly realize that I can only rotate around my own body -- to be more exact, the center of my body has become a pivot, and I cannot move it elsewhere. There's a tiny space between my toe and the spacesuit. I wonder if the toe would stretch another few millimeters if I move my body within the spacesuit. But no. This is impossible, because the spacesuit is tightly fit at the waist. I measure the remaining air in the tank. It holds up to five hours of oxygen. I still have more than three and a half hours to go; but the situation hasn't changed for the past hour. It's pretty likely I'll remain like this for the rest of the three and a half hours: a few centimeters to the nearest spanner; just over two meters to the wall in front; three meters to the wall behind; four meters to the door above; and six meters to the door below leading to the corridor at the ship's stern. I'm floating right at the center of the cylindrical vacuum. Perfect!