The stairs had a tightness, coiling down into the gloom. I stepped nervously, missing a step and clunking into the wall. And then it was brighter, the light coming from above. The space was empty, full of grit and dust.
I held myself there, thinking this was the place and should stay here to find something out, something true, but went into the side room, walked across the creaking floor and opened the little door. The light changed. There was someone above, and I stayed quiet, wondering when they would find me.
The connector to Dee Pod was empty, the infinitesimal vibrations somehow building out here with the view out the oblong windows of the deep blackness. Calli stared out into it, looking for something to move, the stars to move past, a planet to appear as a fleeting shadow, but she only had a vague sense of motion, moving forward maybe, and then not, just still again, going nowhere, hovering. And then as suddenly, forward again, something there and then gone, a planet, moon or fragment of something like that, thrusting forward, and then suddenly back, hard, twisting around, the thing coming past the other way, falling backwards now, thinking she might vanish like that, her heart in the back of her head, plunging, a real sense of going down that rabbit hole, in that thing, going forward and back at the same time, not in the same place, but around and around, up and down, all at once. And then spat out of that, lurching ahead, really forward at Hawking 4X, At that speed so close to light, feeling that, getting somewhere, the glare and things in the blackness really moving past, leaving those for the next, exploding ahead into the darkness, as fast she was she was moving still, on into nothing.
*Hawking 4X: four time Hawking Speed which, at .21 light speed, is the fastest speed Stephen Hawking believes humans will ever be able to travel.