Daniel stood still, thinking.
“This silence is wonderful,” Rachel-7 said. “But we don’t have time for it. I’ve been tracking Alitma since the first sign of his Kep Effect, and he's catching up fast.”
Trak said, "Despite his ship's considerable size, the vessel is more agile than us. Daniel, we—"
"More agile than the Afterthought," Rachel-7 said. “Not more agile than the Afterthought's pilot.”
“Subtle, Rachel,” Trak said. “Daniel, what do you want us to do? We need that decision now.”
"Now," Rachel repeated.
"Shhh," Daniel said, fingering his father’s flask, still thinking.
"If we head inside the Garage, we will most likely suffer the fate of the other ships inside," Trak said. "And if we stay here, Alitma will capture us and torture you until you tell him what he wants to know. But ... if we leave immediately—"
"Without Jeska," Rachel-7 said eagerly.
"Without Jeska," Trak said, "there is a chance that we might stay just out of range of Alitma's weaponry."
"Shhhh!" Daniel said again, giving the impression that he was developing a cunning strategy. In reality, he was buying time, hoping that postponing the decision might somehow postpone the problem.
Daniel realized he had no solutions. He couldn't abandon the search for Jeska. He couldn't let Rachel-7 and Trak die.
Think of something, he thought. Think of something!
Then he had flash of insight.
Wait … that could work.
Stuck On: The Kep Effect (Part one)
The Kep Effect is the energy field produced when any object Quantum shifts—that is, enters or exits Quantum space. [Quantum space was first referenced in the post titled Too many phrases in bold.]
The Kep Effect extends outward from the central coupling of the Quantum engine for about 23 miles. While the field has no effect on the Quantum-shifted object, it has a baffling effect on all other matter caught in its wake.
More on this later, but it is important to note that the discoverer of the Kep Effect, human William Quantum—who also invented the Quantum engine—named the effect after an Alpha Centaurian word for ridiculous, impossible garbage.
According to the few reporter clouds on hand at the time of the discovery, Quantum’s exact words, upon witnessing the energy field for the first time, were, “That ... is a load of Kep.”