Jacob eased back on the controls and killed the engines, settling the Retribution on its decades-long voyage between here and nowhere. They were well out of Earth’s gravity well now and the Retribution had already hit the peak speed mankind had been able to achieve in the void of space before everything had gone to hell.

No need to waste fuel, he thought grimly. Precious little enough of it.

The holo lit up, and the face of Earth’s last Chancellor appeared before him.

“Congratulations on your historic achievement, Captain.” A ghost of a smile played across the man’s lips.

Bastard actually has the nerve to look smug, Jacob thought. “Don’t congratulate me yet, sir. This trip’s just getting started, and we don’t even know that what we saw in our scopes is really at the other end.”

“No, we don’t, but it’s the best shot we have.”

“Of course it is, sir. I just wish I could see how it turns out.” He killed the holo, cast a backward glance at the stasis tubes behind him, and sealed up the flight deck.

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