Per Immolo Ad Meliora

Image of Maxwell Sun

Maxwell Sun

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It was the right call, he was sure of it. He had to be.
He sat in the captain's chair of the Event Horizon cruiser, much appreciating the irony of being torn apart by a black hole. As the engineer, he officially should have been on the escape pod instead of his captain, but he was too clever for that. He'd tricked Captain Layla into making sure the charges to blow the jammed pod releases were secure, before double-kicking her into the pod and sealing the hatch on her and the crew. She was supposed to have stayed behind to activate the fuses, by the plan.
But he wasn't about to let his captain die.
Falling into a black hole from so far out was a timed process. He had forty-two seconds left, going by the faulty dashboard, to enjoy the light show and the bottle of brandy grabbed from Gerome's lockbox, confiscated after ‘inexplicably' showing up at Liam's birthday party.
Clearly, if anyone were to be left aboard, he was the best candidate. Gerome and Farah had each other, Maxwell was too young, Liam had a sister, Ezra her useful contacts, and Layla...
She was his captain. And it didn't matter now. She and the rest were already accelerating faster still to safety.
The ship was starting to shake between sips of brandy, showing her fifteen years of use, although admittedly any ship would have trouble this close to a black hole.
Was it fifteen years already?
He'd met Layla during the Andromeda conflicts. Soteria had just been scored in flame, and between becoming a refugee or joining the fight, he chose the latter. Commander Layla had picked him as engineer for her cruiser, a role he fulfilled balancing both emergency repairs and manning turrets off solely adrenaline and cold sweat. They'd fought alongside each other at Vita II and IV, across the pulsar JOH-1513, at the great towering hydrogen clouds of Between...
Beyond the combat, that was one of the most beautiful expanses they ever saw.
With the conflict closing, she had entrusted him in helping her pirate and jump-start the Event Horizon and escape the starport they were stationed in.
She'd always say that since the war was about over, she hadn't wanted to suffer through a promotion. He understood what she meant.
As the years went by, even though the ship was used mostly for smuggling, combat remained the same. But there's no perfect streak. After so long, sometimes a bounty hunter gets a shot on your drives before being blown to bits, leaving you adrift and falling closer and closer into a black hole.
The ship went silent and dark, illuminated solely by echoes of reverberating light - electrical failure. She was giving way, her finale drawing near. He could ‘feel' his whole body beginning to be torn at the quantum level, his senses dissolving as the absolute gravity from the black hole overwhelmed the failing artificial gravity of the ship.
He finished the bottle. It was bittersweet having seen the tears in Layla's eyes as the rest of the crew realized the change of plans.
He gave a final toast with an empty flask to the event horizon, before the ship surrendered and vanished across the event horizon.

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Image of Abigail Haworth
Abigail Haworth · ago
Aaaah my heart. Also this is a nicely crafted sci-fi world and characters here, especially given the length restriction.

Also...black holes are cool...

Okay also what does the title mean? Im terrible at Latin