A List With Nothing On It
Raptor 1029 jumps into empty space; Hoshi and Racetrack don't see anything, and spin the dial to jump again. To anywhere.
Nine and a half hours of half-alive oxygen left, and everyone's asleep again. Felix dreams of Hoshi. When he wakes again, slow and confused, he sees Sweet Eight's freed herself. She wonders if he's going to tie her down again, but he tells her he was planning to unlock her, to plot the drive home with her. He knows that he can trust her. She reminds him to be careful; reflexes dulled and responses weak, he can't afford to wake Shark and Easy again. He hands her a scalpel so that she can link to the ship.
Sweet Eight slices open her own palm, like a razor, but she can't do the rest. She asks him to help, and with her breathing roughly, trying to be quiet, he cuts his way into her flesh, feeding in the data cable, connecting her to the ship. She would project, she says, and walk away from all this pain, but the oxygen level's making it too hard. He knows what she'd be dreaming of, but asks her anyway. There are more kinds of love than there are survivors.
She tries to remind him, tries to kiss him back to wakefulness, tries to make of them a team again, like Eights do, but he stops her: Hoshi. He's found someone. She says she's happy, that he deserves joy and love; she kisses him again, and just as his passion ignites under all that quiet and breathless air, she gasps: the Fleet. She makes ready for the jump.
On another Raptor, Racetrack's happy for them, too. "Been making book on it for... Since forever. Took you long enough!" Hoshi's been dreaming of him for hours now, and smiles to himself. "He's got this... This fire about doing the right thing." Racetrack nods. That moral core. Rarer than it should be. "Guess it's because they can get you so killed..." She remembers where she is, who she's talking to, and blushes. "Frak me, I'm sorry, I didn't..." He assures her it's okay. The reason we quash that fire for the right thing is because it gets you so killed; he gets that. But this, tonight, Felix out in the black without a hope or a way home, that wasn't because of his moral core. It was because it's been killing him all along; it's because every fire burns. It's because Earth and the better world died on the same day, and Felix is hopping along on his one leg, trying to catch up with whatever happens next. He's getting tired, he's getting old, and his heart is broken. Hoshi loves Felix for this list: the same reasons that Felix hates himself. Knowing that is what keeps him out here, looking. Someone's got to bring him home.