“I think I’m gonna puke…” Harmon pushed out of his chair and ran for the corridor. As he reached the door, the stray asteroid ripped thirty yards of metal plating from the upper third of the ship, directly over the galley—metal sheared and tore away from the hull, the grinding sound bore into their skulls—they had one moment to appreciate the noise, then the silence of space flooded in.
Andreia watched her life flash before her eyes: she felt the warmth of her father’s hug as he picked her up the first time; felt the disappointment of losing her first love and the joy of finding another, and fear for its loss. She turned her head toward Kelli, but she was gone. It all happened in a fraction of a second.
All four of them were ejected through the hole, the venting cabin pressure forcing their bodies into space. The effect of the vacuum was immediate: it sucked the air from them, and they began to suffocate, the fluid in their lungs crystalizing from the deep cold of space. Their blood retained enough oxygen—from the last breath they took—to keep them conscious for about fourteen seconds. Fourteen seconds struggling to breath is like living a miniature lifetime—hands at their throats, fear on their faces—gasping for life, and having it pulled away…
Andreia watched the empty whiskey bottle spin past her, turning and tumbling, the light from the sun refracting through the cut glass—she thought the colors were beautiful. The edges of her vision turned black, forcing her field-of-view down to a single point of light.
It winked out as her eyes froze over.
Twelve thousand miles away, the ship, knocked off-course, bounced off the outer atmosphere of Caralon. The thermal plating on the belly glowed a bright crimson, skimming the thicker air, and that force was enough to aim it directly at the sun.
The damage from the asteroid affected all the ship’s systems, but the most severe was the impact on the warp drive: the control interface wiring ran through the section of hull that was gouged out—a tiny electric spark between two bare wires activated the drive.
The ship collided with the sun, and the Terillium blended with the corona. There was a huge orange explosion, and then the sun turned solid-black. It burned like that for twenty-two days before it exploded, the blast wave expanding at sixty-eight-million miles per hour, almost four light-years in all directions.
Several Galaxies ceased to exist.
It was pretty bad.