Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Featured Writer

Klaxons screamed inside the ship as she plunged into the Sun. The three crew members on the main flight deck were violently shaken in their couches. Their Kevlar straps strained under the onslaught.

“We’re entering the upper photosphere.” That statement could not have been heard above the painful noise had it not been for the bone conductive communicators implanted in their parietal bones.

“What’s the hull temperature,” commander Stanislaw asked.

No reply came.

“Damnit, what’s the reading,” he barked.

“Sorry Mik, my mistake. There are no readings, nothing is working back here. The way I see it, is that when our skin gets a nice brown crispy texture, we’ll know the hull’s been breached..”

“Thanks for that bit of optimism Al. Isn’t anything working?” Mikhail Stanislaw, mission commander, was amazed at how calm the guys seemed despite their impending death.

“I have nothing on my screens Cap,” replied mission specialist Beth Svoboda, “But it sure as hell is getting warm in here.” The sound of her shaking voice coupled with the rumble of the ship reminded Mik of talking with his mother as a boy while the train they rode rumbled across the tracks into Moscow.

A horrendous wrenching noise tore through the cockpit. Al Dane was the first to identify the crash. “Sounds like we just lost the colony pod. There go three hundred people who won’t ‘Enjoy Paradise in the Off World Colonies,’” he finished mimicking the now familiar mantra of the omnipresent emigration ads.

“At least they won’t feel anything. Lucky bastards. Straight from cryo to crispy in two seconds or less, or your next cremation is free.” Beth remarked in her sing song voice.

“It will be the same for us right?” The first quaver of concern was evident in Al’s voice. “”We’ll go painlessly right?”

Mik answered without emotion, heedless or unaware of his comrades fears. “Never fear, ours is a sturdy craft. She can take temperatures far higher than the pod. No my friend, I fear that our end will not come so quickly. The heat will continue to build until we are literally boiled in our own fluids. Then we shall slowly be dry roasted. After that, all that  remains will be three piles of anhydrous powder left to be borne upon the solar winds.”

“Hey, I didn’t sign up for this. I’m nothing more than a glorified bus driver. Who’s idea was it to loop the Sun instead of Jupiter.” Al’s voice was reaching a sharp crescendo.

“Relax,” said Beth in her slow calming voice, “It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing we can do. It will all be over soon. Look at it this way, in a hundred years, who’s going to care?

The ship, if it were possible, seemed to rock more violently. “Well, looks as if this is it. Das vidanya everybody.”

“See you on the other side,” piped in Beth cheerfully.

“Gaack,” said Al.

The craft shook so violently, it felt as if she would b torn apart. Kevlar straps did break. The few instruments that weren’t built into the ship became deadly missiles

And as quickly as it had begun it ceased. No noise, no sense of motion, nothing.

Nobody spoke for what seemed an eternity. Al broke the silence. “So, this is it?”

“Apparently,” Beth responded.

“It’s not so bad.” He sat in thoughtful silence for a moment. “Hey, remember those Orange Julius stands they had when we were kids?”

“Yeah, what about them?” An almost dreamlike mask had descended upon Beth’s features.

“I Think I’m gonna get me one.”

“Hey Al?”

“Yeah Mik.”

“Get me one too.”

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