The ship drove towards its hellish perihelion. On its cramped flight deck spun a simulacra of a binary system: two white dwarfs locked in an vicious gravitational embrace, a combined orbital period of two minutes, twenty-five seconds. An endless, futile pursuit. Their luminosity had been muted to make them bearable. Even so, the display cast double shadows throughout the cabin, a confusion of intersecting lines and hard shapes that slashed across walls and deck like whirling blades. Too late, he thought from the confines of his narrow cell. Too late to change anything. A bright green designator appeared at the periphery of the display. His ship. Then, before he could draw another breath, seven red indicators like flotsam in his wake. Drones.