They were inside the orbit of Venus when Lew's rocket stopped going forward at all. Lew hadn't let up on the accelerator, but it was all he could do to stay ahead of the Big Ball of Doom. It was slowly, relentlessly, drawing them backward.
So many bits of drifting rock and dust had plastered themselves against the Ball's inertrium shell that it looked like an asteroid now. Lew knew that every bit of debris the Ball attracted to itself was ever so slightly increasing its gravity, and each tiny bit was making their end come that much sooner.
His rocket would have looked stalled, to an observer who didn't notice that his engine was still pounding away as hard as it could. Lew was leaning on the accelerator so hard that his leg was starting to cramp. But, of course, they weren't going anywhere. That's the way he chose to see it, anyway: because in fact they were, very slowly, moving backward into the Big Ball of Doom.
There really wasn't much to sa