passage from my forthcoming book …
“All of the bodies were in the crew quarters, laid out peacefully on their bunks, as if they had known the end was coming. They were dressed in their best clothes, which had not decayed much in the cold vacuum of the lifeless planet. Even their skin was remarkably intact after what was presumed to be many decades, even centuries, of death. Most had their hands on their chest, as was the typical pose for burial when they left Earth’s Arm. “’Except this woman,’ [name redacted] said, coming to one woman whose bed was separated from the others by a few feet. She had only one hand on her chest, with the other hanging off to the side, a syringe on the floor near the bones of her hand.
“Zechariah took one look at the syringe, then walked back over to the other bodies and began checking their necks. He suddenly stood upright and said, ‘They didn’t just die of asphyxiation or hypoxia. They all died because that woman over there killed them before taking her own life.’ As [name] and Colleen came closer, the captain pointed out the puncture wounds on the victims’ necks.”