Wait it Out

Short story in the Known Space Universe by Larry Niven, first published in 1968.

Narrator, along with Jerome Glass & Sammy Cross, has traveled to Pluto on an exploration mission when Pluto was closest to earth. About 18 months one way trip.

Sammy will stay in orbit; narrator with Jerome goes down in a landing craft.

Something goes wrong after landing. I didn't quite catch all the details of accident, but the two are now marooned. No way to go back to orbiting return vehicle.

Sammy quickly commits suicide - by removing his helmet, & quickly freezing to death.

Narrator does something similar but doesn't die. He is now in a semi-stasis. Comes alive with very sluggish metabolism & thoughts during night; is pretty much dead during the day.

Story is told by this frozen narrator for whom the time has all but stopped. And he is awaiting rescue which will surely come some day!

Published in the collections All the Myriad Ways (1971), Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven (1975), Playgrounds of the Mind (1990) and Three Books of Known Space (1996)