That left me alone with the ship. I looked it over critically one more time. Its sleek swept back features always made me wonder. What good would aerodynamics do when there's no air to be dynamic in? Still, it was the best that Earth could make at the time, I shouldn't be complaining. Approaching the ship, I let a gloved hand slowly pass along its smooth hull. It felt cool, reassuring, and solid. This would be the only thing between me and death for the next untold years, jetting through space at almost the speed of light.
Would I be one of the ones to reach a habitable planet? It's a romantic thought, I admit, but there are so many less palatable alternatives. The ship can really only make two trips. Out, and back. And back isn't nearly as assured as the out trip. If the destination has nothing, you have a 50-50 chance of surviving the return. Now don't get me wrong, they do a lot of checking to make sure it's worth sending a guy anywhere before they strap him in. I'm told they've sent some people to where I went before. Promising data, etc.
If it was so promising, where's the colony ship? We've sent out two colony ships so far. We won't hear back from them, of course. By the time they reach where they're going, we'll all be ash. Actually, I suppose I won't be. I'll still be hurtling through the cosmos when they arrive, sleeping in this ship. Maybe I'll hear a radio broadcast from them some day. Maybe the ship will have some select words for me to hear when I wake up. It's not likely though.
They say volunteering for this project is a fancy way to commit suicide. In some ways they're right. Even if everything goes right, you arrive, find a habitable planet, and send back the 'Go' signal. You still lost everything. Everyone you ever knew will be long dead. The government you worked for? Might have collapsed. Who could really tell. The promised riches could be quite invalid. They make this all clear up front. If you aren't willing to do it for the sake of your fellow man, you probably shouldn't be doing it.