Out of This World


Space radiated with silence; Barri Szowski floated in the stillness. Through his faceplate, he gazed away at the smeared light that glittered the Milky Way. He paused in his work, halting the robotic nano-gloves that melded molecules on the ceramic alloy of the elevator tubing. Looking down on the wispy ball of Earth, glorious in its flourescent blue glow, Barri grinned to himself, “This is awesome.”

He remembered his first real view of the heavens – the real heavens, not the grey, light-polluted sky of his inner-city childhood – and he knew then it would be his life’s work to go to them. He studied: Math first and always, then degrees in Physics, Robotics, even Philosophy. Finally, application to the International Space Agency – ISA – and now, here he was!

“Hey, fuckhead! Stop wasting O2 out there and get to work!”   A familiar interruption in Barri’s earadio. Barri loved his shitty boss, Fernando.

“I’m done, asshole, on my way back”, Barri replied.

But Barri lingered. This was his favourite time to mentally run the equations and scenarios that he would later pen into the cloud, coalescing the thought experiments into proposals, tracts and dissertations. In the distance now, he saw the shuttle-jet on its way out to Moon Base. Thank Christ, he’d turned down that boring driver job!

Fernando couldn’t believe the ISA would later bestow “Scientist Laureate” to Barri Szowski – failed astronaut, and current space elevator roughneck –  for his contribution to mankind, the paper and plans : “Interplanetary Expansion: How We’ll Do It”.



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