One hour earlier
Rachel-7 awoke to find the Afterthought mortally wounded.
According to her readings, the ship spun end over end in zero g, and – somehow, at the same time – remained at full stop.
Her sensors were full of contradictory data like that: she was low on energy and suffering from an energy overload; her hull had multiple breaches and needed no repair.
It was all wrong. Not wrong in the normal “something is always wrong with the Afterthought” kind of way, but wrong in the “AAAAAAAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHH” kind of way.
Even her thought processes moved slowly. Everything seemed dull.
The ship’s too badly damaged. My datacore must be broken, Rachel-7 thought, the idea filling her with horror. I’ve been lobotomized.
“Do you need help?” said an insufferably cheery voice. The voice came from her starboard and port sides at the same time.
Rachel-7 didn’t respond. She had to think.
How long have I been out?
She couldn’t guess. She might have been drifting for years.
Activating her optical sensors, she “saw” only darkness. No stars. No light of any kind.
“Do you need help?” said that same voice.
She couldn’t locate the speaker.
Come to think of it, she couldn’t sense Trak or Daniel in her hull.
Her friends were missing. She was alone, awash in a sea of impossible information.
Rachel-7 felt herself starting to panic. It was a foreign feeling.
She didn't like being alone.
Taking a metaphorical deep breath, she tried to calm down.