You could see it. We connected. We practically Drifted right there, with everyone watching. It was even tighter in some ways than he and Yancy had been, because with Yancy, he’d expected to know what his partner was going to do. With Mako, there were no expectations. He was completely in the moment, riding the present, feeling each second of time…

She was his co-pilot. Anyone could see that.


“No,” she murmured. “No, don’t go.”

It didn’t seem possible, didn’t seem right, that they should have destroyed the Breach and gotten all the way back to the surface. How could they have gotten all this way and Raleigh be dead?

Not when we did the hard part, Mako thought. No.

She held him tighter.

Then Raleigh coughed and opened his eyes.

“You’re squeezing me too hard,” he said softly.

Mako laughed, a short bark of joy and relief. She was crying as she kissed him, as she had wanted to since she first saw him scarred and alone in his room that night he’d arrived at the Shatterdome. He returned the kiss and they held each other tightly, each feeling the other release all the desperation and fear and loss they had felt during the day just past. Had it only been a day?