Cricket Magazine

SISTERS AND OTHER LIFE FORMS

“IT’S NOT YOUR fault. It’s not your fault.”

I kept telling myself this as I waited for the cryotube’s cooler to pump down. Its rhythmic wheezing echoed the same reply: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. As the temperature dial crept downward, I glanced at the face in the rapidly frosting glass.

“She shouldn’t have even been on the ship,” I muttered. This was my pilot’s test, my first solo orbit. If Mom and Dad hadn’t insisted Sera come along “just in case,” none of this would have happened. OK, maybe I still would have crash-landed on an uncharted moon and lost all communication with the rest of the galaxy, plus all access to my nav files. But at least I wouldn’t be freezing my big sister in a cryotube.

The tube’s blue light blinked: chill complete.

Now that Sera was safely frozen, I looked around the shuttle. Most of it had survived the crash, except the first-aid module—also my fault. I should have made sure it was securely locked before takeoff. Its cover had come open when the asteroid hit, sending its

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