For Flight Engineer Cynthia Han and her fellow astronauts aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 81 has proved as mundane as space travel ever gets. Yes, this would be Cynthia’s final NASA mission, for reasons she’s so far kept from the rest of the crew; and yes, the latest billionaire “space tourist” has managed to irritate everyone on board. Still, none of them could have asked for a smoother experience.
Until the morning they wake up to silence. All communication with Earth, gone. From half a dozen different agencies with multiple installations and redundancies across the globe, there is simply… nothing.
And through the viewports of the ISS, only the thick veil of churning, lightning-veined dust to suggest the Earth remains at all.
Now, without ground control, without the proper telemetries or calculations or even reliable visuals, Cynthia and the rest of Expedition 81 must make their way home. It will be the most fraught and the most frightening task of their lives.
But it will be nothing compared to the world that now awaits them beyond the dust.