|First published||31 August 2004|
|Era||Civil War era|
|Timeline||7 December 3062|
Like Killiany's first story, The Immortal Warrior at the Battle of Vorhaven, the story ties into Loren Coleman's novel Flashpoint, in this case building off the events at the McKenna Shipyards at Kathil; the short story is set two weeks later.
|“||Kevin Killiany brings us back to Kathil, and shows us the dangerous side of working in near-planetary orbit. A hostile environment for even the most experienced spacer. But what kind of effort do you see when you are running a crew of merchant marine students? Sometimes, the best.||”|
The story is told from the perspective of Armis Tolan, an asteroid miner and experienced space worker. At home in zero-g, Armis is unnerved by planetary living conditions (such as harmless air breezes which would indicate a dangerous leak aboard a spacecraft). He has joined the McKenna Merchant Marine Academy to attain a K-F tech license. Although the merchant cadets try to keep out of the FedCom Civil War, some cadets wear insignia in violation of academy regulations (mailed fist or sword and sunburst, respectively).
While they are training to retrieve drifting cargo in space suits at the orbital facility, a space battle involving the WarShip Robert Davion breaks out and a damaged Mule-class DropShip collides with parts of the orbital shipyard. Armis' friend Brogden ends up tethered to a large water container that is slowly falling towards the planet. With a cable harpoon, Armis joins Brogden on the falling container and devises a rescue plan: They vent pressurized water to generate thrust and bounce off the atmosphere (Armis immediately realized that the cylinder provides insufficient thrust to push them back into orbit), to buy time for their rescue which eventually happens from the Castle Hayne, the damaged Mule that hit the gantry in the first place and then was the only vessel in position to rescue them.