Ethereal Skies

White Ops

Episode 10

Nish’s media ploy has paid off and a multitude of emergency rescue workers and geoscientists have converged on the Ganymede conference centre to lend their help and expertise to rescue the Norça colonists. The colony itself is attached to a huge 300m deep stalactite, one of a row that has grown from accumulated debris rising from a fault line of black smokers on Europa’s sea floor. The last 3 miles of the 10 mile deep borehole down to the colony has collapsed in itself and the stalactite has cracked just above the colony attachment points and is hanging at a precarious angle due to the constant slamming against it by a gigantic psudo-whale which appears to be attacking the colony.

As Summer’s noetic projection watches the pseudo-whale she becomes aware that the only other wildlife around, large bio-luminescent manta rays, appear to sense her and are trying to interact with her. Up on Ganymede four plans are formed:
1) Lim to teleport Machiko and Jamie directly onto the colony to start triage of both the people and structure.
2) Pyrokinetic Legionnaires to start tunnelling down the collapsed borehole with the mining engineers and mine pumping equipment to remove the meltwater.
3) Ash to take a team to La Furo – the other colony 200 miles away – and use the minisubs docked there to race to La Buraco underwater.
4) The Laser array on the Mafaa-3 to punch a hole 10 miles away down to 3/4 of the crust depth. spotting using a transponder placed by Ash on his way to the base. Then Leah to lead a team of pyrokinetics and cryokinetics (and Calisto station’s only water capable VARG) to melt the rest of the way down.

Once on board La Buraco Machiko makes contact with the scientists still there. With Summer’s observations of the black smoker and the way the native wildlife are acting around them they realise that the faultline is about to blow, causing a massive upswelling of lava and superheated water that will destroy the colony utterly. Within four hours. Ash provides a little more time for the evac by organising the drop of another of the stalatites using mining explosives to release a little of the pressure on the huge magma chamber beneath the smokers.

Jamie starts putting into place a plan to move the colony off the stalactite and up to the orginal borehole by presurising the air in the airlocks to use as thrusters, however Dr Asenjo’s calculations predict an upswelling of such magnitude it will destroy the borehole before everyone can be evacuated. Lt Dioumbe has been swimming around the psuedo-whale which has been displaying playful qualities and has been named ‘Charlie’ by Machiko as she has been watching it’s behaviour. Hoping that they are correct about the beast not being malicious Ash, Jamie, Leah and Machiko get Dioumbe to fashion a bit out of structural girder and, using the pressurised airlocks as stabilising boosters, unhook the colony from the stalactite with the VARG leading Charlie (now wearing the makeshift bridle) to pull the entire colony upright away from the fault line to where the Mafaa-3 laser borehole punched through, getting it clear of the blast radius as the magma chamber erupts a few minutes later – obliterating the site of the stalactite.

As La Buraco is attached to the ice sheet below the borehole (now called ‘Camp Charlie’ by the rescue workers camped at the top) celebrations break out in all the other Jovian colonies. Even more celebrations break out as most of the rest of the Buraco colonists are found with their lifepods huddled in an air pocket 3/4 of the way to Furo, all of them still alive. As Nish hold court in the conference hall dealing with the press who are desperate for interviews with the ‘heroes of Buraco’ Summer hides in Nish’s office quietly falling asleep on the couch and dreaming of swimming with mantas.

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Jashyr

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