Another group arrives upon the shore. Laura's mother, a ringer for Barbara Bush. All of Laura's dead: Cami, Billy, the Olympic Carrier. All of humanity, for she is their mother now, and the one who mourns them most. They are full of light. Laura stares at her mother and weeps with joy: "Mother. You're okay." They smile and welcome her, ready to gather her in; she's caught in a moment between the worlds. She summons up her strength, joyous for a moment in the warmth and light. "I'm not ready." She waves goodbye, and they smile at her. She trails her hand along a railing, wearing a silver bracelet that goes round and round; she wakes with joyful tears upon her face, in the empty darkness of the sickbay. The whisper music plays across her waking.
"...You no longer need to fear the unknown. Because He will take your hand and guide you to the other side of the river. What river am I talking about?"
Emily's bedsit is empty. Only the wireless remains, pumping out his unending sermon. It's the only thing left. She could turn it off, and be truly alone. She walks away, leaving it to play its song into the dark.
"I'm talking about the river that separates this world from the next. There is more to reality than the things that we can touch, taste, or even see with our naked eyes. There is another realm..."
NO CEREMONIES ARE NECESSARY
(A consummation devoutly to be wished.)
Demetrius CIC with a minute to go. Karl hotdogs everyone to their stations for jump prep. Gaeta's leg is bloody and gross; it looks like the Hybrid's cable. Time is running out. Karl paces, eyes on the dradis, calling across the darkness for her safe return; bookending the arrival of a Heavy Raider and the song with a prayer for his Raptor's return. "Come on. Come on, come on!" One eye on the clock, he counts them down and checks them off. Sublight? Seelix is go. Helm? Go. Nav? Hotdog's go. Tactical? Go. Hotdog confirms the jump solutions and nav fixes. Gaeta waits for news. FTL? The drive's spun to 100% and stable. Go. Five seconds. Three. One. The timer stops. Karl doesn't move. I don't think I've ever seen a countdown like that: all buildup and then just standing around, giving the miracle one second, and two, and five, ten ... "The board is green," Helo spits, and dashes his hand against the bridge. "She's gone," says Seelix. Go. "Or they'd be back by now." Karl starts the jump count: Five, four, three...