“Is there anyone out there? I repeat, is there anyone out there?”
The words had become automatic and no longer held any meaning for Karl. He sprawled on his back in the middle of the darkened control room, radio receiver clutched to his mouth. He stared up at the stars through the huge window above him as he mindlessly repeated the distress message.
He had been an astronaut for many years and had long since become accustomed to the sight of the stars, but now when he had little to do but look up at them and wait for death, he was reminded how beautiful they were. Their feeble light and that of the shuttle’s emergency power was the only thing that separated him from the true darkness that the inky black sky threatened.
“I repeat, is there anyone out there? Shuttle in distress, potential loss of human life.”