“The engine's broken,” said a shocked Trak, relaying the muddled sensor data from the ship’s aft maintenance compartment.
“It broke? … Oh ... Well, that doesn’t matter!” Daniel said, even though he knew it did.
With a crazed look in his eyes, he said, “We have five seconds left of the Kep Effect. It could still fix the engine!”
They waited five seconds.
“Let's see that wonderful Kep effect…” Daniel said, still hoping.
In that five seconds, the Kep Wave improved the Afterthought's viewscreens, making them 10 times more efficient. They now pumped out 1,000 percent more light.
"C'mon, Kep Effect," said Daniel squinting in the brightness.
Then the effects of the Kep Wave dissipated. The Afterthought had finished changing.
“Anything?” Daniel asked hurriedly.
“Engine remains dead,” Trak reported.
Daniel cursed the Kep Effect, its discover, the mother of its discoverer, and anyone who had ever even said the word "Kep".
To be fair, the Kep Effect had nothing to do with the destruction of the Afterthought’s propulsion system. The drive was an antique.
The lack of proper maintenance, the six weeks of straight use, the missile barrage, and the cannon’s shaking had been too much for the engine. Trak, Rachel-7 and Daniel had overestimated the drive's usefulness.
“But the Kep effect could still stop the cannon explosion ... right?” Daniel said, sounding manic. “Right? Right?!”
Trak, who was trying to collect some of the metal of his lower limbs that had dribbled in different directions, said, “The odds are even lower that anything good …”
Daniel glared at his injured friend, who stopped listing another long string of probabilities.
“It is possible,” Trak said. “Technically.”
“Rachel! I can’t see what’s happening,” Daniel said
He mentally ordering his augmem to reduce his eye's exposure levels to cope with the extra light in the cabin.
“Did the Kep Wave repair the cannon?!”