Review Summary: Drift through the void. This will destroy you.
You can't remember how long you've been floating. A long time. You're sure you've made some horizontal progress along the colossal, umber planet taking up the vast majority of the view to your left. Or was it really horizontal" God, which way is even 'up' anymore" Even the cause of your current predicament has become hazy. All you seem to recollect is fire. Fire and overwhelming kinetic force. You struggle to piece together more, but the suit's emergency oxygen procedure kicked in some time ago, and the anemically thin air leaves you giddy and unable to concentrate.
You're even starting to hallucinate. Your pulse has merged with the soft clicks and whirs of your suit and the buffeting of the solar winds against you to form a steady, percussive march, seemingly propelling you forward. Your head is throbbing. The blackness surrounding you threatens to swallow you whole, appearing to distort and pulsate. You hear snippets of voices; words uttered by your shipmates perhaps" Only they don't quite sound like the people you knew - more like twisted, corrupted versions of them. Their fragmented half-sentences ring in your head bitterly. You wish you could wipe the sweat from your brow.
As you drift further, you notice to your right a gorgeous nebula, radiant yellow and jade. Gaseous tendrils shoot off in every direction like some kind of majestic cosmic kraken. The blackness has ceased its attempts to engulf you for the time being, keeping at bay. You begin to see more detail in the inky expanse. Wobbling stars of myriad colour and size. Blinking pulsars, what looks like a supernova. Entire galaxies. One of them doesn't look markedly different to home, really. It's beautiful and vibrant. The voices have returned, only this time more comforting. You close your eyes to focus on them. They don't seem to be as accusational and antagonistic anymore, though still distorted beyond recognition. You're grateful for the company. Your eyes start open as you feel a robust pull. You have no idea what is generating this new force, but you cannot fight it; nor do you care to. You gain momentum. Your head still faintly throbs. The celestial phenomena around you seem to draw closer, unreasonably closer. They're practically within reach as you float by them, bemused. Every part of you tingles. Time has ceased to exist.
A rhythmic yet erratic sound breaks you out of your reverie. It sounds... man made. Caught in a loop. A distress signal! Where is it coming from" Looking left again, you scan the surface of the yellow planet. Squinting, you make out a dark grey mass. It definitely does not look natural. You decide to use almost all that remains of your jet fuel to alter course towards the possible origin of the beacon. As it grows in size, you begin to make out details. It's strange, unlike any ship you've seen before. It is massive. Spires rise out of it like mechanical chimneys. Bizarre lines crisscross the surface. From some parts, jagged arrays of what you guess must be antennas protrude like menacing spikes. As you draw closer still to the monstrous derelict, you see a yawning, cavernous opening in its side. You burn the last of your fuel reserves to reach it. Almost overshooting, you reach out and grab the edge in reflexive desperation. You climb through the black maw. You're sweating again. When did it get so hot"
Switching on your helmet's light, you navigate down the tunnel. You're now absolutely sure this vessel is not of human design - the architecture is all wrong. The walls of the corridors are smooth, yet oddly textured. They have an almost organic look to them, covered with ridges and grooves. A dead silence hangs in the air. Coming into a room, you see nothing but peculiar shapes jutting out from the walls and floor. You have no idea what function they serve, but you can see that the whole place is clearly decrepit. How long has it been sitting here for" What happened to the inhabitants" Stumbling over the uneven floor, you cross the room as your light flickers and enter another, larger space. Much larger; you can't even make out the other end. More indistinct shapes abound. Dust forms a blanket over everything. You see some displays in a corner. Hurriedly making your way over, you wipe the dust from one of the screens. Dead, as expected. Your heart sinks. You hear something like a clang in the distance. Jerking around, you peer into the darkness. Nothing. The heat is oppressive by now. Pressing forward through the cavernous room, you make out what looks like a space suit of some kind a few feet away. It is bipedal and roughly humanoid, although much bulkier. Nervously, you approach. You notice piles of dust in and around it. Your stomach knots as you realise what all this dust is made up of.
Barely able to keep balance, you limp out of the room and down a corridor towards a light. As you get nearer, you see it's a window to the outside. The light is overwhelmingly bright. You have to squint as you approach. You swear it's growing hotter in your suit with every step. Looking through the window, your eyeballs are suddenly awash in searing pain. You scream in agony. Closing your eyes does nothing to stem the anguish. You want to look away, yet find yourself compelled to stare directly into the inferno outside. Nearly blind, you are shocked to barely discern the earlier supernova. It has grown enormously in size, now nearly covering the visible sky. The maelstrom of light before you expands. Your skin begins to crackle. The sweat stinging your eyes barely registers over the searing of your retinas. The pounding in your head builds and you feel like you're spinning wildly. Knives trace across your brain. Your skin begins to peel. Light and dark alternate. As the last of your consciousness disperses into the void, all that ever was and ever will be flashes before you.
A moon hangs in empty space, its owner nowhere to be seen. Ridges and craters mark its face. Alone in the pitch-black void, it pulsates dimly and intermittently. What interstellar happenstance scarred it so" Its pale, expressionless face remains silent.