The Afterthought did another about-face and sped directly toward a wall that was five miles distant, hundreds of feet tall and incomprehensibly wide.
It was the only wall Daniel could see.
In every other direction — except for a few places where the towers and columns blocked the view – an endless white and blue plain stretched out beyond the limits of his vision.
Even with the brilliant light now emanating from the ceiling, the visitor’s bay was simply too big to take in all at once.
Suddenly the wall let out a loud whirring sound, a noise that Daniel was certain would have been deafening up close. A black vertical line formed down the wall's center.
The whirring continued, and the line in the wall began to shine, emitting beams of dazzling blue and green light.
The line thickened as the Afterthought approached, and Daniel realized the wall was opening, splitting into two panels that were each as long as a small city.
Ignoring his own misery, he stepped off the lift plate to get a better look.
The opening widened and the light grew unbearably bright. But Daniel didn’t turn away; he was determined to see what happened next.
His eyes started to water and burn. Then he felt the familiar tingle of his medicloud augmenting his vision.
With newly filtered retinas, Daniel watch the glare recede.
He could now make out the receding shape of the Afterthought in the blinding light — a lumpy teardrop silhouetted against a swirling maelstrom of pulsating energy.
If he squinted, he could also just make out a large sign near the wall’s opening – a white rectangle hovering above the tallest tower of T-shirts.
The sign – in that familiar calligraphic script he had seen when he first arrived on the station– read, “Please excuse our swirling maelstrom of pulsating energy. We’re currently undergoing renovations.”