“She didn’t suffer,” said Dr. Honecker. “That much is clear. Death was…instantaneous. Really, we ought to be grateful for that.”

Maya dropped her perspex helmet and kicked it across the room, where it clattered into a stainless steel tray. “The hell it was!” she screamed.

“Look, I understand how you must feel,” said Honecker, his hands up and splayed. “Really. I lost a brother to explosive decompression in the Harper Abyss.”

“And what did you do,” growled Maya, “when the doctor told you that he didn’t suffer, that being ripped apart by the laws of physics wasn’t such a bad way to go?”

“No one told me that,” said Honecker softly. “I was the attending physician. Dr. Kian-To got a bloody nose when he suggested I recuse myself.”

“Well, in that case, I do appreciate what you’re trying to do,” Maya said, still breathing heavily. “But you’ll also understand if you aren’t getting very far with a disturbed and emotional family member!”

“Of course,” said Honecker. “Please, knock over whatever you like. But once you have, I think there is something you should know.”

“What’s that?”

“Your sister’s submersible was sabotaged. And not in a simple way, either; they replaced one of her valves with one that had been withdrawn from service for excessive dives. I knew to look for it because the same thing claimed my brother. And when I tried to question the maintenance tech in SubCon, I found him dead of a heart attack.”

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