I can't breath here.

My wife is a sweetheart. My son is a darling. We have a beautiful daughter on the way. I can't stand it. I can't stand it the way my teacher's couldn't stand my homework.

I hear about volunteering for a test. A test of strength, it says. A test for science. And I think "I'm strong." Or I should have been. I should've been strong like my dad before me, like my grandpa, who fought in The Great War. He still calls it that. It really must've been great. He should know, he was there. Not like spineless historians.

They want to send a man to space, they tell me. Deeper space. The original goal a few years back was just plain old shallow space, but that shit-hole country on the other side of the globe beat us to it. Then it was the moon. The shits beat us again. Fuck it all, and fuck them in particular. We hold control of have the earth and they have the balls to beat us to space. How cloying for attention can you get.

The lab rats I'm speaking to have a different idea. A new one. Only someone from this country could've come up with it. They know the shits are ahead of us in terms of rockets and satellites, and that they will always be ahead by just one inch, cheaters. Of course they prepared for that; this country is ready for anything. So they have a back up; a way to send a man all the way to the asteroid belt, without even needing to stock on supplies or oxygen. A faster way. A biological way.

I don't want to say good bye to these people I live with. I try to leave at night, but she wakes up. She's crying. I don't know what I did this time, but she's crying. I can't listen to crying anymore. Grandpa wouldn't have put down his gun if he'd seen someone crying would he? And yet for years I did so much shit because someone cried to me about it. She cries about everything. My son cries about everything. They can't shut up about it.

I slam the door. It stops me from going back.

The lab rats get to work right away. They hit me with a needle, then put me under a lamp of sorts. A bright one, like when I put tin foil in the microwave when I was seven. It's almost immediate, what's happening to me. I feel stiff. Solid. Dense. My lungs are slowing. I feel something growing on me. I try to lift my head, but my spine feels welded together. I can only turn my eye to my cheek, on which I can barely see rock and mineral forming. The light reflects off of a crystal, hurting my retina. I close the eye in pain, and before long I can't open it again. My other eye is covered soon enough.

Later, what could have been a hundred years later, I feel carried, like on the back of my dad's truck. Then turned upright. Then accelerating up and up and up. My stomach drops into my pelvis. I feel full of food, but I haven't eaten since I left. Oxygen is flowing through my blood, but my mouth and nose is sealed off.

I feel dizzy now. I don't know where I am or how long until I reach the asteroid belt. I don't think I'd know the difference now. The asteroids won't know the difference. They won't know a stranger when they see one. And I won't know them.

I can't breath at all.

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