“You have to take this tank.” I pleaded as his gasps grew louder.
“No… I knew what I signed up for…” he grunted as he pushed my gloved hand away. The stars looked on silently as we struggled to move back towards the safety of the airlock.
“We can both survive on one tank!” I insisted. “We’re less than thirty minutes away. We can move the tank back and forth!”
He shook his head, but he couldn’t stop me as I disconnected the straps that held the emergency oxygen tank to my breather unit. I reached around to disconnect the main feeder tube, so that I could transfer the bottle to his pack.
“No!” he shouted as he pushed away from me. “You know that little bottle is good for ten minutes only! It’s my own fault… “
“We’ve never lost a man in orbit and we’re not going to now!” I said. Then, it happened… the bottle escaped my grip from the struggling. It slowly drifted away, spinning around. I held the disconnected hose from my own pack. The air hissed out like a snake as I stood there watching.