The nightmare had unfolded as she had feared, then blossomed into tragic reality. The skirmish had followed the template of Joni’s quantum-transform premonition… right down to the last drop of spilled cytoplasm…and blood.
No human mind could comprehend all that had transpired in the previous minutes, but the broad strokes couldn’t be ignored. The Intrepid was scuttled and adrift, her battered hull leaking the last vestige of micronized breathable oxygen…lost. But the infinitely greater loss was Kaya. Even through the filter of shock Joni couldn’t erase the searingly vivid memory of Kaya’s contorted-yet-still-beautiful form falling lifelessly through micro space like an angel descending through clouds – accompanied by the screech of the audio receiver…Jas Ford shouting, pleading to Joni, to stop her attack on the Scylex centurion.
When that Microsian centurion tore lover/partner/soul mate away from the Scylex temple, Joni’s mind broke as easily as Kaya’s body. The savagery of her subsequent attack left the centurion dead – and plunged the human exploration team into a conflict they had no business being in.
She felt Jas’ arms pull her close as he guided her away from the battlefield, through the carnage of war. Where would they go? How could they survive without the ship? How could she even exist without Kaya?
Joni opened her eyes. If the answers weren’t to be found into the shadowy canyons of bottom detritus that lay before them, then Joni would not have to suffer those heartbreaking memories for long.