[If the reader hasn't read Ceres Rising, they might wish to skip the following scene. The music may still be enjoyed. Ed.]
Grace felt numb, her thoughts wrenching from one image to the next. There was no logic, no direction. She was a marionette worked by grief. She stared at the frayed edge along the bottom of Kyran’s lab coat. He should repair that. She didn’t understand why he’d wear cheap fabric when mimic would be superior.
A sterile field hummed, and there was a clink of forceps as Kyran laid them on the instrument tray. Blue gel dripped from the jaws of the tool and pooled across the reflective surface.
She couldn’t recall how she’d gotten here. Had she run? No, running was impossible on this icy rock. And she hadn’t used the ceiling straps. I cradled Tim in my hands. Grace crossed her arms over her chest and grabbed her shoulders, trying to stretch, feeling no relief. Downhill, she thought. It had felt like falling downhill.
Grace unfolded herself and examined her hands. She thought she saw lines of blue gel in the creases of her palms. She started to trace them, to collect the precious fluid, but they were just shadows, just parts of her hand where the veins were close enough to the surface that her own blue showed. I kept most of the blue gel from spilling. It will be enough. Tim will be fine. She wiped her hands on her jumpsuit. They still felt wet. Just sweat.
She heard the door open and turned. Jacob arrived, carrying two large beakers. They were filled with blue gel. Maybe half a liter. Would it be enough to quench Kyran’s concern over gel loss? There was blue liquid everywhere, too much of it.
“Go back and get the rest,” she said.