Still spewing a fog of purple plasma, liquid metal, and bluish gas, the fissure was now a ten-foot wide gash.
And it was getting wider by the second.
“Not much time now,” Trak said.
“Gods,” Daniel said softly.
Just then, the Belmont radiation became too much for the Afterthought’s artificial gravity engine. The system shut off.
This would have been bad luck for a clean and orderly spaceship, but on Daniel’s disaster area of vessel it made for pure chaos.
Any object not cloudbonded to the cabin (or to use an archaic human expression, anything not nailed down) began to bounce about the ship.
“Gods!” Daniel said, as floated up toward the ceiling, joining a storm of silverware, heirlooms, and old clothes that randomly formed a spiral pattern in the air.
Trak extended his arms to the nearby walls and held his four feet to the floor.
“That’s it then. We’re starpaste,” Rachel-7 said. “You lot have anything you want to say before we go?”
Daniel thought a moment, then looked down at Trak.
“Trak, you’re a cool guy,” Daniel said, with deep emotion.
“You too, Daniel,” Trak said, without hesitation.
“And Rachel-7? You’ve been an amazing pilot,” Daniel said. “And a surprisingly great friend.”
“Surprisingly,” Trak said, in agreement.
“Thank you,” Rachel-7 said.
Trak and Daniel waited a moment.
Then Daniel couldn't stand it any longer.
“Rache, would you like to—”
“You know I care about both of you idiots," she said, quickly cutting him off. "Don't make me say anything else.”
“Thank you,” Trak and Daniel said simultaneously.
Under the incredible heat and pressure washing over it, the powerful Onean headlight shield began to spark.
The shield's generator—which had survived the destruction of the cannon's core—was fighting to stay online.
“Nothing to be done," Rachel-7 said. "Might as well watch the rest of the show."