“This is the push they need to immerse themselves in outer space,” said Len as he adjusted Gliese 581’s telescope lens, connecting nodes on the computer screen and trusting that the telescope some yards away reconfigured itself.

Nieran smiled as convincingly as the exhausted muscles in her face would allow.

Len slid his chair toward her and grabbed her hand, looking up at her with the same determined eyes he’d had twelve years ago when they graduated MIT. He never lost the obsession with getting people engaged. It drove her crazy.

“You’re my partner in this forever. If it wasn’t for you, I’d be working in some lab giving rats cancer,” he said, as though he’d read her mind.

“I just hope that the outcome is as positive as we meant for it to be.”

“What are you even talking about? This is the bait the public needs. Do you see anyone else making any effort to get these people to keep up with the privatization and all of the other revolutionary shit going on? The United Nations certainly isn’t.”

“Len, Telestellar is only possible because of the amendment.”

He rolled his eyes. “They just did it to get the three people in the world concerned with space to get off their backs. It’s three lines of text tacked to the end of one of the worst documents of all time.” He slid to a computer in the left corner of the room and adjusted other nodes. “Something is off with the Gliese 581 reading.”

“Weird. What’s wrong?” Nieran was glad to change the subject they’d so frequently debated about since the day they’d met. She figured that what made them such a successful team was their general disagreement of most political strategies but mutual beliefs in the greater good, whatever that meant.

But Len wasn’t finished. “It’s up to people like us to pick up the slack that these institutions so willingly overlook. We have to implement the systems if we want to see change. We can’t wait for them.”

She sighed loudly, all-too-content to let Len win the argument. “My kids haven’t seen me in four days. I’m going home.”

“Tell Bermuda I said hi,” he called after her as she walked out the door.

“If she’ll even let me crawl into bed next to her,” she called back.

@2015 Kayla Lewis