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This is a classic science fiction story. A teenage girl stows away on a space ship headed to a colony on a far away planet, in order to see her brother. The ship is carrying medications necessary for the survival of the colony. It also has only the bare minimum fuel needed to carry the bare-bones ship to the colony. The equation of the title is the one that relates the weight of the ship to the weight of the ship plus the girl--there is nothing to jettison in place of the girl, and the captain has to tell her she must be sacrificed so that the medications reach the colony.
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