They rescued him from a stranded spaceship along the Feynman Orbit. He was only a teenager, emaciated, twitchy, and all alone. He said the rest of his crew had died. There had been a terrible accident.
No one questioned that story.
Until the life support system on their ship started sputtering.
And then everyone did. Everyone eyed him and whispered of sabotage. One person did more than that.
Once they were back planet-side, they discovered that the system had a known defect. It had been recalled several cycles ago.
But by that time, it was too late for the kid.
Victoria Brun is a writer and project manager at a national laboratory. Her other short fiction includes pieces at Daily Science Fiction and Uncharted Magazine. Find her on Twitter at @VictoriaLBrun.