The impact didn't cause any serious damage – as far as she could tell – but it did create an unpleasant sensation in the forward section of the Afterthought.
It was so unpleasant, Rachel-7 considered labeling it "pain."
The sensation took up residence in her mind and knocked thoughts of the cloud nest right out of her.
If she hadn't been so distracted, she would have felt more unnerved by that moment of forgetfulness: Rachel-7 had never forgotten anything in her life.
In the dark, she felt her hull leaking some type of coolant she couldn’t identify.
At the same time, her sensors were still screaming nonsense at her, and then that aggravating voice chimed in.
“I am so sorry!” it said. “Do you need help?”
“Of course I need help!" she snapped. "I think my ship is dying. Emergency classification…”
As she trailed off, Rachel-7 found she couldn’t access her list of emergency classifications.
“Can you move?” the voice asked.
And then Rachel-7 developed a new theory.
I must have been picked up by a repair crew, Rachel-7 thought. And they’re testing my systems.
Cheered by the possibility, she grew impatient.
"Can you hurry this along?" she thought. "I have to find Daniel and Trak. I mean, I have to find my co--"
"I just need to find them," she said quietly.
She felt an unseen force lift the Afterthought off the flat surface and then flip the ship 180 degrees.
By now, her optical sensors had adjusted to the dark … barely.
There was a strange circular obstruction between her visual receptors, but she could still make out the light of the cloud nest.
CLOUD NEST! Rachel remembered suddenly.