“I love you.”
Andie looked away through the observatory window in the ship. Out there the stars shined bright, they shined despite his impending doom. How could they? He looked at the star they were approaching, a blue supergiant. He didn’t know how much the ship would last absorbing the radiation, before it melted or exploded, before his body and Katri’s became dust, but it wasn’t long. They were prisioners to its gravity now, falling inevitably to its core, destined to become one with it, destined to die.
Andie looked back to Katri. Her hands clutched his as they both waited for the end. It felt strange to him, the notion of death, the knowledge that they would soon cease to exist, that they would be devoured by a star… in silence. Nothing made noise out there, not the ship, not their speed, not the burning star nor their hearts. They sat in silence together, waiting.
“Did you hear me?”
Katri’s eyes and face sparkled with tears behind her helmet’s visor. He could see her desolation. He had known that she liked him, he didn’t know that she loved him, he didn’t know that on her last moments of her life she would be saying those words. He clutched her hands back, an artificial human contact through their thick gloves, a reminder of their delicate existence.
“Yes.”, Andie replied.
The outer shell of their ship began to glow as it was heated by the magnificent furnace of the galaxy that was their destination. Their suits’ outer layer began to smoke as they were heated in turn by the melting ship. In a few moments it would be over, there was no lesson to be learned, there was nothing to regret… what good would that be, there was nothing left to lose.
“I love you too, Katri.”
It was a comforting lie, words to ease the pain of a fellow human, words to see one last smile, even if a crooked one. Their visors began to crack under the stress and through the half-destroyed glass Andie could see Katri’s face smiling… and crying.
And in that instant, a federation star shield began to cover them. Someone had come for them. He pointed towards the window and Katri saw it too. A moon-sized heat shield eclipsed the blue star and two smaller ships approached theirs from behind.
“We’re saved!”, screamed Katri, “We’re saved!”