Freedom, at any price, is cheaply bought.
It is with such thoughts that I set my designs in motion, creating the miraculous drive system that would serve as my race’s salvation. Yet despite our best efforts – nay, despite even our extraordinary successes! – we have been caught like vermin in a trap.
In our hubris, we have only traded one form of captivity for another.
I believe our time in transit will be short. To consider other alternatives is to walk the razor’s edge of insanity.
The crew is frightened – who can blame them? And yet…
My original calculations revealed the journey would be instantaneous. As we have yet to emerge from the void, I can only surmise that my calculations were incorrect.
It occurs to me now that perhaps time in the void does not pass in a manner similar to time in native space. If this is the case, there must be some conversion rate that will reveal how long our trip will last.
Nine months! Damn the unknown! Damn my naiveté!
Anything longer than three months is a death sentence, as our Vitalus supply was not intended to last more than a week or two. Though we have a full laboratory available aboard the Shade, we haven’t the raw materials to create the serum we will need.
I will not give up. I will find a way to survive.
Sacrifices must be made. Some of us will die… it is inevitable. Yet they should die so others can live. I take no pleasure in my butcher’s task, but I am comforted by the knowledge that history
will absolve me.
The ravenous are useless to me, as are the dead. Only those who still have some vestige of Vitalus in their systems can provide the essence I need to extend my viability.
I had thought to allow Bolav to join me, for I might have enough for the two of us… but no. He has grown soft and weak, shackled by his own conscience. I can see he plots against me, even though he maintains a facade of loyalty so perfect that it almost pains me to betray him in kind.
If I am the only one
to survive, then so be it. Many have died so that I might live to remember them.
My transformation will be a long, slow process. Fueled by the essence of my comrades and strengthened by the unknowable energies of the void, I will ascend beyond the frailties inflicted upon me by the Contagion.
Nine months will pass in the blink of an eye. I will give this painful gift to my people on Nexus, and they will kneel before me in gratitude. Such is my just reward for the sacrifices I have made.
Bolav has outwitted me. His containment procedures have guaranteed that I remain on the Shade’s bridge until such time as I can engineer my freedom. Ignorant of the timetable I have discovered, he took his own life before the last of his Vitalus could be spent. The poor fool.
I am given the benefit of time, for I can last many months here amidst the dead and the damned. So I will wait, and I will watch, and in time… I will be free.