Void – Chapter 8 by Andrew Patrick Jae Havensy was not dead. The mechanic was smart enough to realize that they wouldn't try to absorb her if they thought she was already gone. So the limited explosion on the prize was part of a plan. She had stuffed Lang's emergency suit with spare parts and wiring pulled willy-nilly from various consoles, enough to give it the illusion of volume. When she lit the fuse remotely, the dummy flew out into space. She space-walked in secrecy until oxygen depletion forced her to make for the Vulture One. She grabbed a new emergency suit there and gingerly made her way back to the ship, armed with a magnetized grappling staff for securing prizes to the wings. Lang discovered all of this when Jae violently shoved him awake and then made to attack him with the staff. So the limited explosion on the prize was part of a plan. "Are you, you?" she shouted. Lang assured her that he was. "Really you? No philosophical bullshit now." She had not lowered her staff. "It's gone," Lang said. "It's dead." "Show me," said Jae. They walked back to quarters and into the room where Lang had killed the thing. It was still there. Under the white lights it looked small and helpless. "And this was controlling all of ... them?" "So it seems." "You smashed the hell out of it, Skipper." "I did." "Good for you." Lang told her the rest of the story right there, in the room, with the smashed thing and its green effluvia in front of them. He told her of how close he came to surrendering. "I think I've been in space too long," he said at the end. Jae nodded. They spent the night in Lang's quarters. Sleeping. *** Getting back to Proxima was a daunting task for a two-man crew, but not impossible. They just had to sleep in short shifts to get everything done. The dust was hoovered into a containment unit and, after much deliberation, they decided to unhook the false prize and blow it up in space. "Admiralty won't like it," Jae said. "They'll hate to lose the knowledge opportunity."