The sudden blaring of the tinny speaker in the cabin jolted Dale awake like it had 9,130 times before. “Happy Birthday” struggled through the static. The music was for his 50th, but more importantly it was the anniversary of the launch date of Pluto-1; 25 years ago.
With a stutter and screech, the speaker failed. Desperate rage exploded from beyond the hatch. Carl was screaming at God and Sony about how nothing lasts like it should. Shortly afterward he curled into a spinning ball and wept, sobbing and bouncing off of long forgotten equipment. Carl had been fragile ever since they lost contact with Earth; and the recent departure of Dr. Yang was too much for him. Dale remained in his cabin, away from the increasing instability of his crewmate.
Pluto and his ferryman captured Dales attention. Dr. Yangs pale corpse drifted into view, disrupting the solemn beauty of the system. Ignoring her icy gaze, he focused upon the two companions spinning together in desolate isolation, waiting for something to happen.