Everything hurt. All she could do was lie there and wait for it all to end. Her limbs seemed to no longer respond; it was all she could do to keep breathing. Every twitch of her body resulted in another blast of agony. She didn't cry out, that would only cause more pain. Instead, she lay in a heap, teeth gritted, breathing shallow, just staring at the slowly increasing pool of blood beside her. Dammit.
She wished she could move. That was all she wanted. The pain, the prospect of death… by now, those concerns had ceased to worry her. There was nothing she could do to stop them. Anyway, what did they matter in the long run? The pain would end soon, and her death… well, she would die for a reason at least. She would die having helped save mankind from extinction. Knowing that made it easier.
She just didn't want to die alone. Capa was gone, the last one left to detonate the bomb and complete the mission. She hoped he would get there in time. There couldn't be too long left by now. The payload had been separated from the ship, propelling the bomb straight into the sun. Not long left. Please God, let him get there in time. Please God, let it work.
She thought she would feel more afraid when this moment came. Long ago, she had asked Capa if he was scared of dying. He said he thought it would be beautiful, being there to see the big bang on a smaller scale, a new star born out of a dying one. He said he wasn't scared. And now, neither was she. She had had a long time to accept the fact that she would never reach home, never again see her family or her friends, or all the places and things she had known throughout her life, so familiar and beloved.
She just wished she could have been there with him, to die by his side witnessing the birth of the new star, their new star. She hoped it would be as beautiful as he had imagined. It was a nice thought, to die in a moment of beauty. Not like Harvey, frozen to death in seconds out in space, and Searle, left behind to die in the company of corpses, and Trey, poor Trey. He would have loved to know they had made it, that the mistakes made hadn't deterred the mission. They all would have. Her stomach clenched as the thought of Mace and Cory struck her. Where were they? Were they already dead? Capa had never told her. She supposed she would never know what had happened to them. And very soon, it wouldn't matter at all. The sun would have them all in the end. They were all heading toward an end like Kaneda's, they would all soon be swallowed up in the sun. Destroyed in a single blast of light. Just like in her dream. And Capa's too, she guessed. They both had been dreaming of the surface of the sun. The closer they had got, the more she had thought about it, until it was all she could see once her eyes were closed. She could see it now, even with her eyes open. It started out in flashes of white below her, like diamonds, or stars. Then, everything around her erupted in one massive blast of white and yellow. And then the pain was gone. She lay there floating in light.
She smiled. Capa had been right. It was beautiful.