Voyager had long since left the silver fragments far behind, with only two beings on the intact ship grasping the truth about the ship that no longer was.

The fragments tumbled through the soundless, endless night of space, gradually scattering as their separate trajectories carried them in different directions. The frozen silver chunks were of many different sizes. Some were quite large, composed of sections that had once constituted parts of the hull. The forceful breaching of its shell had tended to keep most of the pieces from the dead ship rather small, however. Most were tiny; some were microscopic in size.

One of the more sizable clumps had once formed the bodies of two humanoids standing on the bridge of the doomed vessel. At the moment the infinite cold of space surrounded them, they had been wound tightly together - in fact, at the moment of death they had been in the act of melting together. What once had been two separate entities was now one form, wedded together, with but one trajectory through space. Whatever fate might come to one of these formerly separate beings, the other would share.

Did these two, copied from others, ever possess souls? It was impossible for an observer to say. If they did, then those souls must already have flown into eternity when molecular cohesion failed to hold their vessel and their bodies together.

As for the sentience that had lived in the silver blood, prompting the creation of the beings from the templates that had been the crew of Voyager - in the smaller bits, it died. In other, larger pieces, it only slept. If a passing comet or meteor or space vessel chanced to pick up any of those larger fragments, the silver blood could be transported, perhaps to another place which awaited new life. Within the frozen chunks not yet completely broken down to its components when freezing occurred, some strands of DNA might still lurk.

Could new life - and, eventually, intelligence - be carried to another planet when the silver blood melted, releasing DNA fragments, and seeding a new world with the beginnings of life? The laws of probability made the chance minute, yet even a slight chance is better than none at all. Just as even a brief life may be better than none at all.

It was hard to say for sure.

In the here and now, however, the silver droplets floated majestically through the vast, empty, and dark silence of space.


The end.

Disclaimer: I borrowed a little of the dialogue from Paramount/Viacom's "Star Trek: Voyager" and characters belonging to the series in order to revisit the episode "Course: Oblivion." The concept is mine; all else belongs to Paramount. The story was originally written in March 1999.