They didn’t have long. Even if the crew tampered with the atmosphere mix and used drugs, eventually the limited food stores would give out. They would starve to death up here, mirroring his countrymen in the lead-lined tombs he would create for them below.
He supposed it was fair.
If those below must die, so must their gods above.
He laughed at the thought, and the queer sound of his voice in the rush of the station’s equipment freaked him out, a little. He knew something was wrong, in his mind. He knew it was only getting worse. He knew that this experiment had better work, and work soon, or Pete’s desire to dive head-first into the darkness inside would overwhelm him, and none of the others were prepared to handle that. None were prepared to handle him. Years of discipline would crumble; he just hoped he could do his duty before that happened.
And he knew it would, now. The time crept closer and closer, and he felt its presence like some phantom heartbeat, slowly increasing in force and rhythm inside of him."