“Probably should have dropped that bomb a little easier.” Emma says as he is throwing up “That’s my fault. I’m sorry.”
“They said…” He coughs. His brain runs over dozens of logs and reports in his mind. Thousands of numbers are dragged up from the crevices of his memory. “They said that it would only be a hundred years or so.”
When Emma doesn’t speak the ship is too silent to handle properly. The silence fills his ears in the worst kind of way. He wants to scream.
“A hundred years to your target star, yes. Unfortunately there was a miscalculation. We missed the capture point of one of our gravity assist nodes and we were flung into an unpopulated region of the Milky Way. We’re between the Orion Spur and the Sagittarius arm.”
“Are we still travelling at near light speed?”
“Yes that much hasn’t changed.”
“So with relativity…”
Emma doesn’t respond right away. Another silence that fills him with fear. “Wait please don’t.”
“Tell me how long has passed.”
“Yes. Please don’t tell me.”
He walks back to the soup and starts drinking again. He wishes he had some alcohol.
“Gabriel, if you don’t learn the truth what good does it make?”
“The truth?” He says in between sips. “If this much time has passed on here, that means thousands and thousands of years on Earth.”
He is drinking fast. The bowl is already half empty.
“You control the ship and thus me as well, but I think you need to know. Things won’t change if you know or not.”
“Can I finish the bowl of soup first?”
“By all means.” Emma vanishes into the aether and he is left alone to drink. The spoon rises and falls slower now. He knows that at the bottom of the empty bowl lies something that he doesn’t want to hear.