| "La Différence" |
POD: Set in the Future
|Cause of Death:||Killed when crawler fell into a sulphur pit|
Sublieutenant Mitsuo Onishi was involved in the Japanese attack on Io. He commanded two Lunar crawlers which set out in pursuit of Renée Messier and Alec Hall, survivors of the attack. While he was a passenger and commander of one crawler, his subordinate Ensign Mochifumi Nango commanded the other.
While the United Europeans' lead was initially forty kilometers, Onishi's force slowly gained as the Europeans broke trail while the Japanese followed their tracks. When the distance between them dropped to 10-12 kilometers, Onishi radioed them demanding their surrender. Receiving no answer, he ordered each crawler to fire a missile but both missed. Rather than stop to reload the launchers and let the Europeans gain, Onishi pressed on and drew a 30 round assault rifle from the weapons locker. His intention was to fire on the European crawler when they were within rifle range.
During the pursuit, Io entered Jupiter's shadow causing an eclipse of the sun. The darkness did not slow the pursuit as Luna had two weeks of darkness in every four. In fact, the Europeans' spotlights made them easier to follow and their inexperience of true darkness slower too. As the Japanese closed to visual range, Onishi saw the Europeans' crawler was helplessly running in circles. Clearly the missile attack had damaged their steering.
Onishi ordered the two crawlers to close in for the kill. His driver suddenly exclaimed in warning that the ground temperature was climbing and had reached 25°C. Onishi dismissed the concern since the crawler was rated safe for 150°C. Nango then radioed asking why the crawler tracks ended abruptly before they reached the crawler position. Onishi dismissed it, saying that the area was obviously dust free and not important since they could see the other crawler.
When they reached the clear area, Onishi was pleased to see Nango was pursuing as aggressively as he was, kicking up sulphur dust beside his own crawler. It took a few seconds to register and as Onishi shouted for his driver to reverse, the surface cracked and collapsed with both crawlers plunging into the liquid sulphur just under the surface. Both crawlers and their occupants were destroyed.