“What do you know, Doc?”
The small contingent of science-minded survivors loitered around the lower level of the observatory like dead leaves without a breeze to carry them. The other—the religious, and the despondent, and the most insufferable of them all, the indifferent—migrated around the gargantuan alien spaceship in endless, meaningless loops, passing the time without marking it.
“We’re certain of two things.” The group was so silent their heartbeats formed a drumline. “First, we’re definitely traveling faster than light. And second—” He waited for the murmuring to cease. Doc inhaled to speak, but someone cut him off.
“We’re heading into the blackhole,” an elderly woman guessed.
“No,” he said. “We’ve already entered it. We’re orbiting just within the horizon—hardly anything at all—but enough.”
“Enough for what?” asked a young man. It was Gerald. By the old calendar he was barely an adult, but here on the Prism there was no room for the innocence that defined a child. He was too young to have any memory of the abductions; a small mercy.
“On this side of the event horizon we’re causally disassociated from the rest of the universe.” Doc put a finger to his lips and again sucked at his teeth. He was still no philosopher. He had triple checked the calculations and they were right, but he couldn’t speak to their implications.
Everyone looked to one another for answers, and when none were found their eyes fell to their feet. No one had any desire to look up.
“I’ll continue my observations, of course,” Doc said hoarsely, and disappeared back into the depths of the observatory.