The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign

Save the Girl and Save Me From Having to Toss Her Out of the Airlock

Organised by Captain C. Barton

Started on August 4, 2178, 08:48                         Category: Accidents and emergencies

My name is Barton and I’m the pilot of an EDS (Emergency Dispatch Ship) currently en route to the frontier world of Woden to deliver some desperately needed medical supplies.

I have a problem, because I just discovered a stowaway aboard my ship, an eighteen-year-old girl named Marilyn Lee Cross. Upon questioning, Marilyn explained that her brother Gerry works on Woden as part of the government survey crew. She wants to visit him and since there is no regular passenger traffic to Woden because of the current medical crisis, she snuck aboard my ship. She did see the big red UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL KEEP OUT! sign, but chose to ignore it.

Now anybody who is familiar with the Emergency Dispatch Service will be familiar with Paragraph L, Section 8, of Interstellar Regulations:

“Any stowaway discovered in an EDS shall be jettisoned immediately following discovery.”

So you see my dilemma: The law requires that I throw Marilyn out of the airlock. However, I don’t want to do that. Sure, Marilyn may be a little stupid, but that’s hardly a reason to kill her. Not to mention that our security measures are way too lax, as I’ve pointed out time and again. And, besides I’m just not the killing type. If I were, I’d have joined the Starship Troopers, where the pay is better.

Once I discovered Marilyn, I immediately commed my superior Commander Delhart, who yelled a lot and then demanded that I throw the girl out of the airlock at once.

I asked about emergency refuelling – which is possible, if rare and expensive. Delhart said if I requested an emergency refuel without an emergency (as if this wasn’t an emergency), I’d have to pay for it out of pocket. Oh yes, and I should consider myself fired, if I refuse to follow orders.

So in short, I need twenty thousand solar credits and I need them in the next ten hours or poor Marilyn is doomed.

So save Marilyn! And save me from becoming a murderer!





August 4, 2178, 08:54 by Tom G.:

Don’t do it, Barton! A few years ago, they forced me to do it and I never managed to forget or live it down.

PS: Donated what’s left of my unemployment pay. Because they will fire you anyway.

August 4, 2178, 09:02 by Brett:

Thank you for serving. Donated.

August 4, 2178, 09:15 by JWC:

The cold equations of physics and the laws of space know no mercy. Out of the airlock with her now!

August 4, 2178, 09:18 by Ursula in reply to JWC:

           You, sir, are an unempathetic arsehole!

PS: Donated.

            August 4, 2178, 09:20 by JWC in reply to Ursula: 

            Overly emotional and knows nothing of science. How typical of a woman!

August 4, 2178, 09:23 by Ursula in reply to JWC:

 Oh, so you’re a misogynist, too. Why am I not surprised?

August 4, 2178, 09:22 by Michael M. in reply to JWC:

Way too soft, Ursula. He’s a fascist arsewipe.

Donated as well.

August 4, 2178, 14:19 by Jeannette in reply to JWC:

Ursula and Mike are right. You’re a fascist, a misogynist and probably an arsewipe, too. Also why do you even bother to comment, if you’re not going to help?

Donated and shared.

August 4, 2178, 09:35 by Gary W.:

I have a question: What idiot designed a spaceship (and an EDS at that) that has zero margin for error? It’s not just a mass increase due to a stowaway that will cause problems. Fuel loss, meteor strikes, system failures, pilot errors could all easily cause an EDS to fail.

Donated, because bad engineering shouldn’t cause deaths.

August 4, 2178, 09:44 by Captain Barton (Organiser) in reply to Gary W:

Tell me about it, Gary. I’ve been complaining about the inadequacy of our ships and security measures for ages now. Maybe now they’ll listen.

August 4, 2178, 09:46 by Tom G. in reply to Gary W.:

Can confirm. EDS ships are crappily engineered and our security measures are a joke. How many more must die before somebody does something?

August 4, 2178, 09:55 by Cory D. in reply to Gary W.:

I agree. The engineering is just plain bad. Also, why just a simple “Keep out” sign with no notice that the penalty for ignoring the sign is death?

Donated as well.

August 4, 2178, 11:09 by Richard H. in reply to Gary W.:

In my opinion, the Emergency Dispatch Service is looking at a lawsuit for criminal negligence here. Captain Barton will probably be on the hook for manslaughter as well (sorry). I advise the family of Marilyn to get a lawyer asap.

Donated and started a legal fund for the Cross family.

August 4, 2178, 11:12 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Richard H:

Dude, I’m just following orders here. I no more like this than you.

August 4, 2178, 11:23 by Richard H. in reply to Captain C. Barton (Organiser):

The “I was just following orders” defence didn’t save Korvakian, the butcher of Telos V, and it won’t save you.

August 4, 2178, 11:25 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Richard H:

Great. Now you’re comparing me to one of the worst war criminals in galactic history. Thanks a lot.

Why do you think I started this GoFundMe? Because I don’t want to do this.

August 4, 2178, 12:45 by JWC in reply to Richard H.: 

The laws of physics and the cold equations of space know no mercy.

August 4, 2178, 12:49 by Richard H. in reply to JWC:

Shut up, troll! We’re talking about the laws of man here.

August 4, 2178, 14:56m by Neva of Gelania:

By the Stars of Zod, I fear this may all be my fault. I met Marilyn, whose Gelanese is excellent by the way, aboard the Stardust, where I work as a cleaner. She told me all about her brother and I told her that there would be an EDS leaving for Woden that very day.

I’m so sorry, Marilyn. I honestly didn’t know that they kill stowaways. I thought the penalty was just a fine.

Oh please, Captain Barton, don’t kill Marilyn for something I did. I donated my entire pay and the rest of the Stardust cleaning crew chipped in as well. It’s not much, but I hope it will help.

August 4, 15:15 by SadPuppy3:

Girls don’t belong in space. Out of the airlock with her.

August 4, 15:23 by Jeannette in reply to SadPuppy3:

Shut up, misogynist troll!

August 4, 15:45 by Gerry Cross: 

Hi, here’s Gerry, the brother of Marilyn. Me and the boys of the survey crew all donated, of course.

Mari, sweetheart, don’t do something stupid like that ever again, do you hear me? The frontier worlds are not like Earth. It’s the Wild West out here. Also, why aren’t you on Mimir like you promised?

Barton, if you throw my sister out of that airlock, me and the boys of the survey crew will rough you up, understood? And they’ll never find your body.

August 4, 15:52 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Gerry Cross:

Chill out, dude. I don’t want to kill your sister either.

August 4, 15:54 by Marilyn Lee Cross in reply to Gerry Cross:

I’m so sorry, Gerry. I didn’t know. Please help me. I’m so scared. And don’t hurt Captain Barton. It’s not his fault and he’s been very kind.

August 4, 16:01 by Gerry Cross in reply to Marilyn Lee Cross:

It’s all right, Mari. Everything will be all right.

August 4, 16:16 by Harold W. Tannenbaum, director of the Woden colonisation project:

Far be it from me to interrupt this drama, but when can we expect those medical supplies? Cause we’ve run out of kala fever serum here and several members of Group One are sick.

August 4, 16:22 by Gerry Cross in reply to Harold W. Tannebaum:

With all due respect, sir, that’s my sister we’re talking about here. Group One can endure a bit of cosmic diarrhoea.

August 4, 16:25 by Robert Tucker in reply to Gerry Cross:

Hi Gerry, it’s Bob from Group One. I think we met at the rec centre once. Anyway, we can manage for a few more hours without the serum, even if purple and green spotted poop is really, really unpleasant.

PS: The whole ward donated.

August 4, 18:57 by Commander Eberhard Delhart:

Stop stalling, Barton, and jettison the girl now. That’s an order!

August 4, 19:09 by Captain C. Barton (Organiser) in reply to Commander Eberhard Delhart:

With all due respect, sir, fuck you! We’re funded. And I quit.


Inspired by this comment thread at Camestros Felapton’s blog and “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin.

ETA: If you’d rather have an e-book version of this story, you can get it for free in the format of your choice here.

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32 Responses to The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign

  1. Bravo! The comment section is brilliant!

  2. JJ says:

    This is fantastic! It gave me the biggest laugh I’ve had in a week.

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  4. peer says:

    Very well done! (Im currently debating myself if a pun about the push effect would making things worse. Probably yes)

  5. C.A. Collins says:

    Yeah, much better story this way. Everyone who hated the original would be lined up waving money.

  6. Anna says:

    Loved it. Particularly when I got to SadPuppy3!

  7. Ron says:

    Wow, that JWC guy is a real jerk. ?

    • Cora says:

      And he just happens to share initials with the person who was most eager to kill off poor Marilyn in the original story.

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  9. Estara Swanberg says:

    Oh I loved this, all the typical online infighting but still a cheery upbeat thing to end up on and it’s about getting around useless beaurocracy.

    Love all your content 😀

    • Cora says:

      Glad you enjoyed it and I hope everything is okay with you. After all, Bavaria has been hit much worse than North Germany.

  10. Kendall says:

    Wonderful, Cora!!! Lots to LOL about here, thanks. 😀

  11. That was a fun start to the day. And now Jeanette has guest-starred in both of our writings!

  12. lurkertype says:

    This is *chef kiss* perfection.

    I would donate. High school me would break into the piggybank to donate.

    Depending on epidemics, I might be a Hugo nominator next year, and now you’re first on my list.

    (So far we’re well. Cats are fine too, including the one who had his own funding donations. Just been busy GAFIAting.)

    • Cora says:

      I would have donated as well. And in fact, I suspect that Barton would have gotten so many donations that he could not just have paid for fuel, but bought the ship (provided he wants a crappy spaceship with no margin for error).

      Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I’m also glad that you and your cats are all doing well.

      I’m fine as well and thankfully in a part of Germany with comparatively few cases and no deaths so far.

      Stay safe!

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  15. Kevin Harkness says:

    I think you’ve created a literary vaccine, 100% effective against a virulent plot.

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