“They slipped the surly bonds of Earth, and touched the face of God…”
He wasn't quite sure what went wrong,
Just that the engine blew
And flung him hard against the wall
And him the only crew.
He felt like he'd been broke in half
He passed out twice from pain
And when he heard the voices
He was sure he'd gone insane.
Just two of them at first it was
And then a dozen more.
He blinked to see two women kneel
Beside him on the floor.
He thought they might be angels
But they weren't like angels much;
No wings, no robes, just plain grey spacer
Coveralls and such.
"You're not dead yet, my friend
And it's not quite your time to go,"
The first one said "Now look,
Your rescue beacon's down below
"Ed says that there's another ship,
Not far away at all.
You still have two good arms, my friend
So grit your teeth and crawl."
They winked out then, the pain clamped down
He thought he'd move no more.
Another one appeared
And sat beside him on the floor.
"Come on, tovarisch," this one urged
"You'll make it, I don't doubt.
Show me some of these Yankee guts
I've heard so much about."
It seemed to take eternity
To crawl from here to there
The pain at least a hundred times
Was more than he could bear
But every time he'd start to quit,
Lie down, give up and die
Another would appear beside him
Urging him to try.
He reached the beacon in a daze
Of fever, mist and pain.
He hit the activator
And he saw them once again:
"Remember, friend," the woman said
"When death is closing fast,
It's then you try your hardest,
For the darkness will not last."
He passed out then, the rescue came
They brought him safely home,
And he forgot it all
Until he got to Luna Dome.
And passed beneath the hologram
That stands above the door
And recognized those faces there
He'd seen them all before:
Gus and Ed and Roger
Made him hold to hope and try.
The Russians, Ronald, Christa too,
They wouldn't let him die.
He knew whose words had saved him
And he knew that in the end
He'd go to join their company
And greet them as a friend.
Leslie Fish & Vic Tyler, “Guardians”
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