Drifting to Jupiter




#picturefiction  #flashfiction

Marta felt the pod buck as it separated from the mothership. A short burst of acceleration caused her already painful abdomen to clench, eliciting a small yelp of discomfort. The pod coasted around the keel of the mothership and vectored toward Ganymede.

The computer clucked to itself as it calculated the best approach. In less than an hour the pod whipped around the largest of the Jovian moons and, using the slingshot effect of its gravity, punched into an orbit around Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. The Great Red Spot swung into view and Marta tapped the attitude jets to swing the capsule around. Her view was unobstructed. The largest storm in the solar system was hers alone to view.

She had spent the remainder of her not inconsiderable fortune to ensure that her pod alone would be in orbit for the next 24 hours. It had been her dream to travel the outer system but somehow business had always been more important.

A spasm caused her to thrash against the restraining web. Even after using all that modern science could provide and the vast wealth she had been able to leverage, some cancers were still incurable.

“Ah my beauty,” she whispered. “Just thee and me.”

She tapped the attitude jets again and felt the pod change course. The Red Spot grew imperceptibly as the ship began moving toward it.

“Warning,” the ship’s voice said. “Current course will result in Jupiter impact in nineteen hours, seven minutes.”

Marta silenced the warning and dimmed the lights to better enjoy the view. So beautiful. Soon she would be a blazing star adding her beauty to its own.



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