A Perfect Arrow

The rocket drifted through space, silent, its inertia undisturbed, a perfect arrow loosed at Europa. Daniela and Max sat on duty on the bridge.

Strapped to his seat, as per protocol, Max rolled his head back. "God, I can't wait until we get there."

Daniela ignored the protocols. She floated in midair as though lounging on a couch, at a level with Max's face. Her eyes were closed. "What's so great about getting there?"

"There'll be something to do. Boundaries, man, that's where everything interesting is. Water through dirt, erosion makes a valley. Hot air meets cold air? Tornadoes. Same thing when we reach Europa. Space. Planet. Something interesting."

Daniela breathed. "No boundaries out here?"

"No, man. It's just... space."

"Why you strapped to a chair, then?"

He looked at her. "What?"

"You're there because you think you're supposed to be."

"It's protocol," he muttered.

"It's conditioning. Conditioning is a boundary in your mind. Different circumstances," she raised one hand, "meet old expectations. Boundaries. They're everywhere. Stop staring at the obvious ones. Find the ones only you can see. Those're the interesting ones." She monkey-barred out of the room, leaving Max staring out into space, trying to find something interesting.