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but they say my head is in the clouds

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Variations on a theme. Mace Fisher dies, and Lovelace breaks her arm, and Hui gets sick. They build a shuttle, Rhea breaks down. Hui dies. The shuttle’s engine dies.

Fouirer gets sick.

Selburg puts her in quarantine, spends most of his time down at the lab. It’s just Lambert and Lovelace left to work on the shuttle.

Faintly, Lovelace wonders if Fisher would be proud. They’re finally working together, after all.

Lambert doesn’t say much anymore. Hasn’t said more then a couple of words in a row since Rhea couldn’t function anymore, her systems too broken once they had started pulling pieces of the Hephaestus off to build the shuttle.

“Lambert,” Lovelace says. He glances over at her, and there’s a million things she wants to say, promises that they both know she can’t keep, apologies he knows she doesn’t mean. Instead, she hesitates before saying, “Pass me that socket wrench.”

He pushed it over to her, and turned back to the wires that he’s been working on.
“Hey, is--” Lovelace starts to say, but then he cuts her off.

“Don’t.” He bites, tired. “Please. Just-- don’t.”

Lovelace turns back to her work.

Fourier dies. The shuttle’s engine roars to life.

Selburg tries to space Lambert and fails. Lambert and Lovelace try to go back to Earth and fail, because the ship and star are the same but the people are different.

Variations on a theme.