Lixiviation is a process in which a solvent is applied to a solid mixture in order to extract the soluble part of that mixture; your goal might be to obtain the soluble part, which dissolves in the solvent, or the leftover insoluble part. Percolation and leaching refer to the same thing, but I like “lixiviation,” as a word, because it evokes its Latin root, which is related to liquid and liquidity—different connotations than the other two. Anyway, it’s a useful metaphor in lots of contexts, and I tried for a while to use it in this part. I tried to get a lot of different ideas to work here, and most of them didn’t. What survived all the cuts may not work either, but I’ve spent way too much time already on the succession of minutes that make up this part. Probably part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 also. Anyway, if you feel like it, keep lixiviation in the back of your mind.
They aren’t ten minutes from the airport when the engine hinks out a warning, a rumble that Myka registers but doesn’t process. Then it coughs, gently, a little artful Victorian consumptive pant, as if into an embroidered handkerchief. Then it stops entirely.