HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 316

She tossed Angela a cylindrical metal tube with a screw-on cap. Angela opened it and peered in at a thick white liquid. She took a tentative sip; it tasted like milk, but with a mix of spices that she couldn’t quite place. It made her feel warm inside.

“You have to order it months in advance from this little dairy on the other side of the galaxy.” Va’el unscrewed her own tube. “I usually save it for special occasions. Guess this qualifies.”

“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about your ship,” Angela said.

Va’el shrugged.

“It’s my own damn fault,” she said. “I pushed her too hard for too long. Only a matter of time before she pushed back.”

“What are you going to do next?”

“I don’t know,” Va’el said. “Play it by ear, I guess. What about you? You’ve seen your future. Or a version of it, anyway. How’s that make you feel?”

“Hopeful, actually,” Angela said. “Whatever happens from here on out, I know that it can’t be any worse than what she experienced. And I know that I’ll still be just as in love with Genesis in twenty years as I am today. That’s a kind of certainty not many people get to feel.”

Va’el chuckled.

“Enjoy it while it lasts, kid.”

Behind her, Ozzie appeared in the doorway, sweating and out of breath.

“We’re ready.”


Angela stood on the bridge of the ship, staring out the viewscreen at the night sky above. The rest of the crew had already been evacuated, leaving only her, Ozzie, Va’el, and Leigh on the ship. Va’el sat in a cockpit-like alcove at the front of the bridge.

“As soon as we fire up the engines, the damage to the power core is going to accelerate,” Ozzie said. “We’ll only have a few minutes before it blows.”

“Is that going to be enough time?” Angela asked.

“No,” Ozzie replied. “But if I stay behind, I should be able to hold the thing together long enough to get out of range.”