Mutiny Near Earth

My name is Corinne Hansen, and I'm an engineer. If you live on Earth, you think that's a desk job, designing things with computers for a robot to build, a thousand miles away. But I live in space. We do design things, but then we build them ourselves. When they break, we fix them. The things we make aren't meant to be pretty, or to make money. If I make something wrong, a pipe or a valve, a ship or a station, it can kill me. Kill everyone I love. So I'm careful. But if I make everything right, and we're lucky, we travel to a place nobody has ever been before. And we make a new life together. We're going to live on the moons of Mars. Our kids will go to the asteroid belt. Humanity will go to the stars.

This is the story of the first crewed ship to mine an asteroid. If you live in space or on the Moon, you know the story already, but I'll tell how it felt for me, a new graduate in 2035, giving up a comfortable buggy business on the Moon to go out on a ship with eighty people I'd never met. Most of those people, the bosses at least, were from Earth, had never lived in space. We didn't always agree on how things should be done, and it was an open question whether I'd even get to go. Our motto, then as now, is "if you can't fix it, don't take it." Just about everything we took did break, from design faults, wear and tear, or later from enemy action. This is the story of how we fixed it, and where it took us.

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