But, alas, Nimona doesn't have space, aliens, squids, the X-Universe, Brennan, Elena, or even Hegebalios. Also, before I begin in earnest, I wanna say how I love the size of this book. It's wide-ish and tall-ish compared to an average paperback and it really tickles my aesthetic.
Back to Kyle and Elena (Billy and Lin) banter! We learn that they were "gangling teens" ten short years before this story. Aboard the X-Shuttle, there's fifteen minutes before takeoff. The ship's got a matter-antimatter drive in addition to the world's first goddamn jumpdrive. This-- this is good Sci-Fi and I'm not even sure why I was reading Nimona right 'bout now. I know how this ends, but I'm practically hyperventilating, here.
Oh! YES! Helge didn't forget. They call each other Billy and Lin again at the top of page 39, and this time, I'm not turning back. This time, it's stickin'. They're all flirty and the story does an OK job at setting that up. I'm OK with it.
The synchotron heats up, stealin' energy from the M/AM drive, and we're treated to a little humor! "...Deflectors that were preventing the unimaginable energies generated by the singularity drive from turning him and ship into a second sun. An event that would have given [Lin] sunburn, even way down in the Milan Mission Control Centre."
This paragraph is why I love the book. Lemme bullet this list. It:
- contains a synchotron
- contains space
- contains a likeable character
- contains self-consistent science
- spells "center" like "centre"
There's a really well-written winding-up sequence before Billy says the all-too-cliche line," Mission Control...we have a problem."
Then! Straight from (to?) the album, his HUD dutifully tells him, "WARNING: QUANTUM FLUX OUT OF BOUND. DESTINATION PROBABILITY LOCK LOST. ABORT MISSION."... and my heart melted a little more.
Chapter seven ends with our hero Billy jettisoning his jump-drive and hurtling into a probabilistic anomaly-- over a weird event horizon into the unknown. Jesus, this is good.
Nopileos and Sissandras start the chapter doing their crazy non-conformist Teladi antics... like looking at the sky and daydreaming. Those goddamn rebels.
I've been a little confused in telling their story up to this point. I said with Chapter 6 that whatever was happening, I understood it to be big, but I didn't really know what it was. Fortunately, Helge's got our collective backs. The "story" is this: apparently in a previous adventure Sissandras was given the profiteroid's location by some space pirates. An elaborate scheme was set up where his auto-broker would buy shares before the asteroid's bountiful Nividium would be realized. It'd then, by a program, sell the shares before the new, bountiful Nividium supply would crash the market. Further clarification, the Pride of the CEO is the name of the Boron ship from Chapter 2.
Sissandras denies the whole thing. His auto-broker is lost to him, and it's all a faraway dream. That none of this made it into the album is fortunate.
So, the two brothers must fly to the CEO's Pride and deactivate the auto-broker. It'll mean cutting class, deviating from a flight plan, and being all sorts of rebels. This chapter looks longer than previous ones, so we're getting to some meat!
Up to page 46. There's definitely some solid, well-cooked meat. Some suspenseful lurking around the station... a mention of a Goner... the word "Yatta!"... and HOLY CRAP, they're not alone on the ship. Some hulking spacemonster seems to be there, too!
Rushing! Escaping with the goods! Dramatic squeeze-the-ship-through-some-closing-do
Nopileos' last thought of the chapter is to hide the dough, of course.