A chance meteroid strike has crippled the Silver Queen and killed everyone on board with only three exceptions. The remnant of the ship is circling the asteroid Vesta while the survivors watch helplessly, unable to move the ship or call for help. Their only prospect is a slow death as their supplies dwindle—their supplies of everything but water, of which they have enough to drown in and throw away.

This is Asimov’s first sale, and it is actually better than many of his early stories (such as “The Callistan Menace” or—icky, yucky—"Half-Breed”). It’s also a little auspicious, in that it foreshadows something Asimov was to exploit over and over—the puzzle story. The issue here is “how are the survivors going to save themselves?,” and the solution is sufficiently unobvious yet plausible to make the story reasonably satisfying. The style is a bit primitive, and the characters a tad weak and cartoon-ish (not to mention the title!)—but, hey, it’s his first sale, and not very bad at all.

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