Sentinel swim in a sea of nitrogen at dawn on Pluto


Sentinel sits on a good firm chunk of ice.
Higher than the rest around, but within footsteps of the shore.
Glancing up at the horizon he sees the mist of dawn,
the reigniting of the atmosphere, warmed by Sol’s radiance.
reclines on the base of mountain behind him,
watching the sun rays rise higher into the sky,
putting his arms behind his head.

A beautiful passionate fragrance fills his olfactory sensors,
the soft sublimation winds lap along his whiskers.
“Ah, nitrogen” he thinks to himself.
The terminator recedeth,
the creator approacheth.

Basking in it’s glory as it sweeps over him,
he is warmed, his shell it creaks.
crisp with the sound of the daylight,
his foot crunches the snow beneath his feet.
Sitting up he examines his exterior;
crushed ice and dirt mar it’s surface,
his joint crevices frictioned by their distortions.

“It’s been a long time” he thinks to himself,
of the climbs, the slips and the falls.
Trekking from base for the colony,
trekking from base for the family.
Now he is trekking for his well earned luxury.

He descends to his hands to the shore,
and scoops some slushy sublimating nitrogen,
it chills his hand so;
evaporating as it does.
he scoops with both hands,
raises them over his head,
and pours in slow motion,
gobs dribble over him,
his head, neck and back,
chills run up his spine.

sympathetic processes kick in,
heaters engage, energy stores primed,
his vision brightens, more electricity flows.
Emboldened he takes a step forward.
“hsss” the ocean responds,
he descends his foot carefully,
then continues on forward,
at his methodical pace.

Alerts begin to pop-up,
his feet are in danger.
the will freeze,
they will seize,
if he doesn’t let up.

“what a wonderful world” he thinks to himself,
“so careful and cautious, ever reminding me,
of the limits of my passions.”

Shin deep, he steps around and faces the shore,
the suns blaze apparent on the ice mountain before him,
looking up at its peak, he marvels at it’s grandeur,
then winces in anticipation as he begins to fall back.

Down, down, down he falls, in the slow motion gravity,
his calves plowing through the ocean of slush,
he softly descends embraced by the cold on his back,
he begins to sink in, clouds of sublimation forming,
clouding his vision in white.

Sinking deeper, the alerts start to hasten,
flashing red in his vision, an audible alarm in his ear,
they wish to alert him, the situation is critical,
his life is in danger, he could die from this romp.

He just smiles and looks up at the suns creep overhead,
he has minutes he knows that for sure,
for he’s done this before,
it’s no big deal,
no, not at all.

The sun disappears, for now he is too deep,
and his descent continues, for more than he’s used to.
A tinge of fear begins to creep in him,
as he reaches down with his hands,
to feel no ice beneath him.
The nitrogen goop, fills in from all sides,
he begins to take action.

He attempts to sit up,
as fast as his cold joints will allow,
pushing through goop, he reaches up with his hands,
he sinks deeper, and his hand meet only nitrogen goop.

The fear brings him back, his brain, that of his fore-bearers,
sub-programs in place, from times long ago,
on planets much different.
he loads up the swim programs of his ancestors,
and adjusts them to the current viscosity,
a breast stroke for now,
that is what he needs.

and so he goes through the motions,
his hands feel the icy shore,
“hoorah” he thinks to himself,
kicking his feet, he crawls back to the ice.
There he collapses, rolls over, and laughs to himself.
The sun now high overhead, trailed by a blue dot,
a blue dot that was his salvation today.

“thank you” he says, reaching up towards that blue star,
“creator, protector and saviour. I love you.”

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