By Dick Gillman
Copyright 2012 Dick Gillman
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Original cover image of 'Cassiopeia A' courtesy of ESA/Hubble Heritage with additional images courtesy of NASA and Free Stock Images.
Consciousness gradually returns. He manages to open one eye and look towards the ceiling. His vision is blurred; it’s as if he’s looking upwards, underwater from the bottom of the bath tub. He gasps for breath and pain wracks his chest, "Whoa!" The next breath he takes is more measured and he gently breathes in. "Better," he says aloud. His vision is clearing and his other eye is now opening, more of his senses are retuning. Still unsure where he is, he's becoming aware of an intensely annoying and intrusive warning sound coming from his left side. He reaches out a hand to silence it but the painful electric shock he receives instantly grabs his attention.