You Never Think You’re Going to Be the Type of Space Captain to Throw Someone Out the Airlock.
BY ARIEL KARLIN
Listen, I know how this looks. I always said I wasn’t going to be “that guy.” Just because I have an airlock doesn’t mean I have to throw anyone out the airlock. And yes, at this point, it’s pretty overdone. But seriously, please step through the first airtight door.
It probably seems like every jackass with a spaceship is constantly throwing someone or other into space. And I don’t necessarily think of myself as the type of person who does things just because I have a certain role and I’ve seen representations of other people in that role behave a certain way. I hope you don’t think I’m that type of person either. Now take five steps forward so you’re in the center of the pressure vessel passageway.
Don’t look at me like that. This is hard for me, too! It’s a kick in the gut when you realize that the person you are as an adult doesn’t match up with who you thought you’d grow up to be. I thought a lot of things about my life would be different. I thought I’d be married by now. I thought I’d still be on Earth. I thought we were many years away from perfecting humanoid cybernetic organisms who could successfully challenge the authority of humankind. And I just never really saw myself as the type of guy who’d let anyone be ripped out of his spaceship into the vast unknown darkness.
Anyway, here’s what’s going to happen: I will close the airtight door that you just walked through, leaving you trapped in the passageway between the oxygen-controlled atmosphere of the ship and the unending nothingness of outer space. Then I will push this button, opening the second airtight door ahead of you. This will let out the air and leave you completely unprotected. You will be pulled out of the spacecraft and will suffocate to death. Your lifeless body will then float around until it’s obliterated by any number of disturbing space-related doom scenarios. But it’s not going to be a piece of cake for me either. I have to live knowing that I’m a different type of person than I thought I was!
I guess what it comes down to is that you never know how you’ll act when you’re in charge of a small group of people in outer space and have access to an airlock until you’re in charge of a small group of people in space and have access to an airlock. That, for a lot of us, is really the moment of truth. And speaking of moments of truth, anything you want to say to me right now while you have the chance? Perhaps regarding any treason you may or may not have committed against the human race? I’d really like to know. Just for myself, you know? But it won’t change anything, because honestly at this point I’m pretty set on throwing you out the airlock.
I mean, we’ve already gone this far. I’ve reframed my entire conceptualization of myself and have started the process of coping and justifying. Now it would take more self-discipline not to throw you out the airlock than to throw you out the airlock. So what am I going to do, not throw you out the airlock? No, I’m definitely going to throw you out the airlock. I’m going to throw you out the airlock! I’m going to throw you out the airlock!!
Phew. It feels good just to say it, know what I mean?
Man, this has really been a day of self-discovery. I’ve finally figured out who I am at my core: a person who would throw someone out of an airlock.
Wait, why are you walking away from me? Oh, you’re ready to head out? To your space doom? While I’m still talking? Well, I’m not really feeling heard.
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