Why It Couldn’t Be
The short story Cold Equations by Tom Godwin takes place on a ship called EDS. The space cruiser is piloted by a man named Barton. He has an order of killing the stowaway who snuck onto the ship because the weight on the EDS is too much for the ship to handle. In the process of hunting down the stowaway, he realizes it was a young innocent girl named Marilyn. Once Barton understands what kind of person Marilyn is, he doesn’t kill her immediately because he knows her reasons were pure. Marilyn only wanted to see her brother, Gerry, again after ten years of being apart and was ignorant to the fact that her life can end with the decision of sneaking onto the ship. Barton begins to feel compassion after being with her and tries to comfort her, but knows what her fate is. He lets Marilyn live long enough to let her speak with Gerry once more before he follows through with the command. After Gerry and Marilyn speak he ejects her out into space. The ending was logical and no other endings would be possible because one the equation that was calibrated delicately, and two Barton could not throw the out the fever serums because that is the main reason for going on the trip to Woden. A theoretical ending of Cold Equations could have been that Barton sacrifices himself for Marilyn, but since she is lighter than him, the fragile calibrated equation would be disrupted due to the change in weight. On EDS everything on ship is accounted for its’ weight in an equation that takes in all the factors of the ship. “The white hand of the tiny gauge had crept up. There was something in the supply closet across the room, some kind of a body that radiated heat.” (Godwin 164) Obviously, when Marilyn snuck on to the ship Barton already knew something extra was on board and he would have to get rid of it. “Any stowaway discovered in an EDS shall be jettisoned immediatelyfollowing discovery. It was law and there could be no appeal.” (Godwin 165) Marilyn’s weight made...
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