Short SciFi: To End The Plague - Part III
He was quickly approaching Home strata, but the residual effects of the Cold still stunned him. He continued to shiver uncontrollably and the warm had restored feeling to his exterior so his wounds jangled him with a thousand pinpoints of pain. He struggled against the freezing and the pain to keep conscious. It was an inner battle he had to win.
He fell through Home strata and into warmer and warmer. Although the pain from his wounds was excruciating, at least he was starting to regain his core temperature. He felt as if he were arising from a long slumber as his senses slowly returned to him. He focused on his vision, peering Hot and With to determine the shape of the storm's outer wave. There was one section far to the Torrent side which seemed to be less compact and less yellow than the rest of the wave. Since he couldn't possibly go around it he had to go through it, and this was the best of all the places he could see.
He forced himself hard With to position his body as close to straight Cold over the thinnest part of the wave, and then let go, falling faster and faster Hot. He braced himself for the impact, but it hit him harder than he could have imagined.
The impact with the bow wave bounced him hard With and then pulled him to Stream so powerfully that he thought he would lose consciousness. He tumbled helplessly again towards Hot and fell into the convection currents that threatened to tear him apart.
He folded himself as tightly as he could to try and resist the tremendous forces buffeting his bleeding body. He was viciously tossed inside the storm wave with such ferocity that he thought he would die right there and then, but as he concentrated on falling harder and harder Hot, he could barely make out a fairly small swirl of blue through the yellow storm on the far Torrent side. He struggled to redirect his fall towards the swirl, forcing himself with every iota of strength he possessed to push towards the swirl where he could finally escape the yellow tempest.
He pushed so hard that he felt his circulation ebb, but had no choice to push even harder. Just another moment and he would be through... just one more moment...
He broke through the swirl with a hard shudder that almost stunned him. It was much harder than the bow wave should have been, but immediately he realized that it was not so much the convection shear but this strata itself... or what was happening to this strata.
The entire area was filled with an unbelievably torturous emanation of scores of milliwatts. He could feel the enormous energy blasting through his body, setting his interior aflame. He struggled to look towards the source of this inconceivable radiation and there it was... a few hundred body-lengths almost directly Hot of him. He could make it out clearly but couldn't comprehend what it physically was. It was shiny and hard like a chunk of Solid ice about a quarter body-length in diameter, but it wasn't white or blue. It was a reflective yellow-gold he had never seen before, and had a semi-spherical protrusion of black rising from the body of the chunk. The form was too alien to understand. But he did know that he had found The Plague.
The agony of the radiation was so overwhelming that he knew he had only moments to plot his course before it killed him. He positioned himself directly Cold of the yellow-gold chunk and summoning every last bit of strength he had left he blew out every molecule of buoyancy he possessed. He fell hard Hot at a speed he had never experienced before and knew he could not survive for more than a moment or two. But that might be all that was needed.
He willed himself to keep a true Hot trajectory, gaining more and more speed as the lethal radiation poured through his body. He knew these would be his last moments alive. But if he was able to achieve his goal, he could save The Species. Millions of generations of the great civilization of The Species would not come to an end... if he could destroy The Plague.
Everything he had was focused on hitting The Plague with all the force and speed he could muster. As he fell closer and closer to The Plague, he could make out more and more details. Two exterior rectangular black wings. Several pointy protrusions and lumps. Strange shapes and markings. One was a square of dark blue with many white spots, and stripes of white and red flowing perpendicularly off to one side. As he fell closer and closer he could make out the markings of an alien blocky design. He could not know that they spelled out NASA EUROPA I PROBE.
Twenty body-lengths, fifteen, ten, five, he thought of his parents, he thought of his family, he thought of his friends, he thought of his Species... and how they would now survive.
His body shattered against the NASA probe with such overwhelming force that his form split open into a jelled mass of essence and indigo. The impact cracked the external structure of the probe, just enough for the pressure differential to create an implosion that crushed it into a mangled mess of metal and sent it, and the torn shreds of body and indigo, plummeting down towards the deepest infrared.
The transmitter and the rest of the electronics that survived the implosion were soon melted by the Hot. The last signals the probe had sent to JPL in Pasadena were ambiguous and there would be years of inconclusive debate about what had really happened to the probe. But the telemetry transmissions had ended forever. Although the NASA press releases would simply claim it as a technical failure, on faraway Europa the sacrifice of a single individual had saved an entire sapient species from extinction by The Plague.
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