When Ijon Tichy, a solo astronaut, discovers his spaceship has collided with a bean-sized flying meteoroid, he tries in vain to fix the damage. His drive regulator and part of his rudder are shattered. Without them, the ship's velocity steadily increases. And he is unable to fix it alone.
Then, something odd begins to happen. In the middle of the night, he is awakened by a man who looks strangely familiar. And he should. For he's seeing tomorrow's version of himself! The ship continues to hurl Ijon faster and faster toward the Galactic Pole — which can cause the duplication, even the triplication of the present. Soon scores of Ijons from past and future multiply and crowd into the small vessel, bickering and fighting amongst themselves (himselves?), unable to agree on how to fix the rudder!
It is not until two child versions of Ijon join forces to fix the ship that order is restored — and he is back on course!