Kaneda died on the shield. The flames just kind of lifted him up and carried him away like he was nothing. He knew he hadn't the time to reach the edge of the shield, so he'd turned around and faced death head-on. The last thing he heard before all other sounds were drowned out by his screams and a "whooshing" noise were Searle asking him what he could see and Capa pleading for him to move.
Searle died in the Observation Room of the Icarus I. The Observation Room had been his favorite place on the Icarus II. Never before had he felt so close to the sun. Never before had he felt so miniscule. So, he figured, if he had to go, he might as well go out doing something he loved. He picked up the sunglasses he found, blowing and wiping the dust off of them, and oh, how he had always wondered what it'd be like unfiltered. He died within seconds, his brain barely registering he was in pain before it stopped working.
Harvey died in outer space. He'd felt himself let go of Capa, but assumed he hadn't drifted too far for the other man to catch him. It took a little longer than it should have for Capa to come back for him (and why had that damn kid been allowed to take the spacesuit?), and curiosity got the best of Harvey. He opened his eyes. Bad move; Mace told him not to. When he opened his eyes, Harvey found himself floating free. It was then that he knew they weren't coming back. It was then that he knew that he'd die out there, that he'd never see his wife again, that he wasn't going home. He opened his mouth to scream, gasping on impulse. Bad move; Mace warned him not to.
Trey died in the Earth Room. Pinbacker had murdered him, but nobody in the crew would ever know that. They all thought he died by his own hand, died so they could live. Never could they know that he'd chickened out. Where Trey had failed, Pinbacker succeeded.
Corazon died in the charred remains of her oxygen garden. Both her excitement over finding a living plant and her life were cut short by that knife in her back. Capa didn't know this. He didn't even know she was dead until her body shot past him out the ship.
Pinbacker—well, Capa wasn't sure just what happened to him. He and Cassie had grasped onto Pinbacker's arm, the weak flesh giving to their fingers. The skin of his arm was so weak and decayed from exposure that it came off with ease. Capa and Cassie went flying. Capa's best guess was that Pinbacker was either dead or too weak and in too much pain to cause any more problems.
Cassie died in the payload, broken and bloody from her encounter with Pinbacker. Her death was the hardest. Capa stayed with her the whole time. She'd clasped his hand and looked at him through dead eyes and, with her last breaths, told him to "finish it."
And then there were two.
"Mace," Capa lamented, crawling toward the controls by the other man. He'd done a basic run-through of how to use the equipment with Mace before going to find Pinbacker in case something happened. As much as he trusted Mace, he was glad to be doing this himself; a five-minute training session was not nearly enough for the Payload. The Payload was a deadly maiden that required all his attention and love or she'd make him pay. That was something Mace didn't understand—something Mace couldn't understand. The Payload wasn't his.
"I'm okay," Mace whispered. He was shivering almost to the point of convulsion. "J-just d-d-do it. Finish it."
Finish it. Those had been Cassie's last words to him. Those were Mace's words to him. He wondered how many people back on Earth were thinking that same thing. It was more than just Cassie and Mace who'd placed all their hope in him. The thought almost overwhelmed him as he set up the manual controls for the Payload.
For Cassie. For Mace. For the rest of the Icarus I and II crews. For every living creature back on Earth. But most of all, for himself.
Capa set off his Mistress one last time, this time for real. No amount of test runs could have prepared him for that moment. He only hoped his Mistress would be kind to them; the fate of the world now rested in Her hands.
Capa collapsed next to Mace, exhausted but smiling. He did it.
And then the mechanic's rough hands were on him, taking his hand with one and using to other to trace along his cheekbone, along his jaw, down his neck. At first, the gentle touches took him by surprise, but then he closed his eyes and leaned into them. He squeezed Mace's hand back.
And then the mechanic's frosty lips were on him—first on his lips, then the hollow between his jaw and neck, then down the neck to the shoulder Mace had exposed, followed by desperate kisses and sucking through Capa's shirt. Oblivious to them, the first spark formed overhead.
"Capa…" Mace whispered. The other man's body was soft and warm. Mace curled up against it, hoping his own freezing flesh wouldn't bother Capa too much. He felt an arm wrap around him, pulling him closer.
"Capa…Capa…" Mace seemed unable to stop saying the physicist's name. "Capa…tell me again what'll happen?" He glanced up at the other man. He already knew what would happen. He'd heard it a million times. But he was pretty sure he'd never heard it from Capa's perspective, heard from him what his "baby" would do.
Capa watched the sparks forming and disappearing around them. He cleared his throat before beginning in a calm, level voice. "This twinkling will last about another twenty, thirty seconds tops before all those sparks gather together to form one giant wall of light. That wall will explode, and the Sun will rush in, and the Sun will devour us."
Mace died in Capa's arms. The last thing he felt before he went was human warmth and the vague sensation of fingers running down his spine.
Capa put a great deal of effort into rolling Mace's body off of him. He recalled with a pang how easily Mace had tossed him around when they fought. He gazed at Mace for a second longer before giving his hand a last squeeze and standing to meet his fate. The wall of light exploded, like he said it would, and he screamed as flames rushed toward him. For a moment—just a moment, time seemed to suspend itself. Capa opened his eyes.
And then there was one.