| "La Différence" |
Set in the Future
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Nationality:||French citizen of United Europe|
|Date of Birth:||21st century|
Renée Messier was a crawler pilot at Sengen Base on Io when war broke out between Japan and United Europe. She and Alec Hall were the only survivors of the surprise attack on the base because they were forty km away on a geological expedition. When they learned of the attack, they immediately drove for the surviving Loki Station but the Japanese had landed two crawlers from their Lunar Farside Base which gave pursuit.
While the two had a good lead, they had to find the path between boulders and "hotspots" where liquid sulphur boiled up from the interior. The Japanese merely had to follow their trail in the sulphur dust which their tires left and which wouldn't be covered for years. As such, the Japanese slowly gained.
When the gap had narrowed to 10-12 km, the Japanese radioed a demand for them to surrender. As Japan had re-adopted the traditions of bushido, they refused. The Japanese then launched two missiles. The first exploded ten meters away, which while showering the crawler with rocks and sulfur chunks, did not damage it. Messier immediately applied emergency power and dashed to a nearby cliff overhang which blocked the second missile.
When the sun was eclipsed by Jupiter, Messier was elated at first as it would slow the Japanese pursuit. However she soon realized that she had less experience driving in true darkness than the Japanese as they would face it for two weeks in every four on the Moon. Although slowed they continued to close as Messier was slowed more.
Suddenly, Hall came up with a desperate idea. He suggested that they drive as close to a hotspot as they could and then back away from it again and circle it to the other side. They would leave the crawler there and EVA back to the straight track to sweep clear the side track. As it was true dark, they need clear only a few meters so the Japanese headlights would not spot it.
Messier agreed and carefully drove to the edge of the next large hotspot they came to. She then equally carefully reversed back in their tracks and then circled the hotspot. She left the crawler circling on auto-pilot and the two of them EVAed to sweep away the side track. They then hid behind a nearby boulder to watch. As they had hoped the Japanese drove straight at the abandoned crawler and broke through the thin crust covering the hotspot, destroying themselves.