James A. Corry is desperate for some company. Writing in his diary, he relates how Allenby, the captain of a supply ship, is decent and brought him the parts to a car that he spent time constructing as a means to pass the time. He is elated when the supply ship arrives for a drop-off and quickly puts together a make-shift chess set.
Allenby and his two-man crew emerge with supplies for the convict. He cautions Corry that they only have fifteen minutes before they have to leave or else risk being stranded for two weeks on the asteroid. While the other two are not sympathetic to Corry's plight, Allenby tries to treat him gently.
One of the crewmen, Adams, jokes that Corry hasn't asked about a pardon yet. Allenby explains that there is controversy on Earth regarding these types of sentences. Some believe they are unnecessarily cruel, but for now, Corry's sentence still stands. Allenby sends the others out to unload the supplies, cautioning them to take care with a large one.
Privately, he tells Corry that it is difficult for him, too, to come out here and witness the man's struggles. He has brought some books for him to read and, also, something else. Corry angrily tells him that he doesn't want pity or any gifts. He only wants a pardon. He insists he killed in self-defense and is not a murderer. He spends every day telling himself it will be his last one here and that's the only way he is able to live.
Allenby asks him not to open the crate until they are out of sight and, before he leaves, Corry thanks him for the decency.
After the ship leaves, he opens the crate and finds a woman. It is actually a robot that is made to resemble a human female. She has a memory track and a set of basic emotions. Her name is Alicia.
At the sound of her name, Alicia responds. Corry rejects her angrily, telling her that she is a mockery of women and he wants nothing to do with her. Her tears soften his heart, however, and he soon warms to her.
Over the next 11 months, she learns and, in his mind, becomes more like him. He writes in his diary that he has learned to love the things she loves as well and she makes every day bearable. He confesses that he loves her.
They sit in the evening viewing the constellations when they see a supply ship in the distance. It is too early for another one and Corry expects it will arrive in the morning.
With Alicia out of sight after dawn, he waits but is surprised when Allenby and the others race to him, excitedly.
Corry has been given a pardon. All of the remaining sentences will be carried out on Earth. They are here to take him home and tell him he needs to pack his things, but only 15 pounds worth. They are running low on fuel and they will have to leave quickly or risk being stranded. Corry is elated. He has almost nothing of any consequence to take with him and mentions only a few ounces of possessions and Alicia.
The crew is puzzled, but Allenby is horrified. Alicia weighs more than 15 pounds. He'd never expected to run into this situation. Corry protests that they will have to lighten the ship some way, but Allenby tells him they are stripped as it is and Alicia will have to be left behind.
Corry insists he won't leave her. She is a woman and he loves her. He runs to find her and the crew follows. She is uncertain how to respond to the new arrivals, though, and while Corry begs her to show them that she is really a woman, Alleny shoots her in the face. The exposed wires jolt Corry back to reality and Alleby tells him that all he's leaving behind is loneliness.