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The Death of the Lantau

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Captain Raphael S. Richardson stood silently before the flames as they flickered across the ruined bow of the Lantau, bulky ceramic boots locked onto the listing steel deck. The tongues of cobalt flame waved as the atmosphere rushed past them from within the bowels of his crippled lady to the waiting expanse of empty starlit night, their movements capricious like the weaving hands of fate which had led him here. They cast disorienting, flickering reflections on his visor. He watched, silent and impassive. A great calm seemed to seep out from between the stars and into his bones, while his heart pumped what felt like poison into his bloodstream. It all felt wrong: one part of him wouldn't let him weep for his ship and crew, the other wanted nothing more.

Raphael's life didn't flash before his eyes when the wound was rent in the ship's flank, the missile's explosion ripping open the secure bridge like a spherical tin can, scooping Lantau's entrails out and sprea…