The intensity of the cold was astonishing. Waves of it slithered right through every part of the escape pod, washing the heat away. The temperature sink was so profound it began to alter the colour of plastic components, bleaching them like a dose of ultra violet light. Tolton’s breath condensed into a layer of iron-hard frost on every surface.
They’d taken the survival clothing from the supply lockers, and he’d put on as many layers as it was physically possible to do. He looked even fatter than Dariat, his face shrouded by thick bandages of cloth he’d wound round and round to protect his ears and neck. His exposed skin had acquired its own sprinkling of frost, each eyelash resembling a miniature icicle.
The pod’s power cells were draining away as fast as the heat. At first the environmental circuit had chugged away merrily, heating the air and extracting the water vapour. Then they ran a simple analysis and realized that at their current rate of use the cells would be empty in forty minutes. Dariat slowly shut down all the pod’s systems, like navigation and communications, and thrusters. Then when Tolton was snug in two heated suits and all his insulated clothes, he switched off everything except the carbon dioxide scrubber and a single fan. At that consumption rate, the power cells should have lasted two days.
Tolton’s heated suits went through their inventory of power cells a lot quicker than they’d expected. The last one was exhausted fifteen hours after they’d entered the mélange. After that he started drinking soup out of self-heating sachets.
“How much longer is the hull going to hold out?” he asked between juddering sips. He was wearing so much clothing he couldn’t bend his arms, so Dariat had to hold the sachet nipple to his lips.
“Not sure. My extra senses aren’t up to that kind of work.” Dariat beat his own arms against his chest. The cold didn’t affect him as badly, but even so he’d clad himself in several woolly sweaters and some thick track suit bottoms. “The nulltherm foam has probably gone by now. The hull will just evaporate away until it’s so thin the pressure from the mélange implodes us. It’ll be quick.”
Peter F. Hamilton. "The Naked God. Faith"
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