Rhonald got as close as he could to the heater, his sleepy hands were practically stuck to the grid of the device, the battery had almost run out; by the time this happened, only his thermal suit would protect him from the freezing temperatures of the Tetis polar ice cap.
An extensive layer of ice covered the north pole of the planet, by the inclination of the axis of rotation, this part of the globe, did not receive light from the cold red dwarf, during the whole year, reason why the ocean was frozen up to several tens of meters of depth.
Rhonald, pilot of a small exploration spacecraft, had fallen on the polar ice sheet of Tetis, during a mission of reconnaissance and monitoring of the terraformation systems, which were then adapting the planet for its habitability.
Completely alone, five light years away from the nearest emergency station, it now depended on the terraformation systems to detect its last emergency transmission and the IA to act by sending an information packet to the station to send a rescue mission.
Ten days after his accidental descent, his ship crumbled during the impact, leaving his remains scattered along two kilometers on the white ice layer. Fortunately, he was able to rescue the mission supply packs and the emergency heater, but after ten days, the heater's batteries were almost exhausted and the food had run out.
For the second time, he hit the grill of the appliance, uselessly hoping that it would cause it to emit more heat. His fingers, numbed and bruised by the cold, began to feel more like pieces of dead flesh than as part of his hands. He had not removed his boots since he arrived in that frozen hell, but he felt that, on his feet, something similar to what he could see in his hands was happening.
The thermal suit no longer seemed to be working, apparently, the few photons that arrived at that place, were not enough to recharge their batteries, so their dynamic air conditioning system had stopped working, and only the layers of insulating fabric that formed it and were insufficient to keep it warm on their own.
Now, with no source of heat and apparently no hope of receiving help, he felt that everything had come to an end, with nothing more to do, shaking violently and with all his muscles contracted, he stood up and began to walk from one side to the other aimlessly, simply trying uselessly to warm up his body. A great sensation of tiredness and drowsiness overwhelmed him, but he knew that he could not be overcome by sleep, not before finding how to warm up.
He walked along the line of impact, hoping to find something that would help him, when he arrived at the beginning, place where the ship hit the ice for the first time, he could find one of the small chemical fuel rockets, which were still used to slow down the escape capsules when he got to land, in some strange way he had gone to have there.
He leaned back from a large fragment of the fuselage that had remained in place and began to remove the thermal suit, for some reason that he did not know, he felt that it began to burn the body and it seemed to him that it would also be a good object to burn with the fuel of the rocket.
Dressed now only in his thin underwear, he placed the thermal mamluk on the ice and with his hole knife the fuel tank of the rocket, spilling the fuel gel, which even at such a low temperature, remained fluid, then, with the battery of his useless communicator which he had removed from the mamluk, before leaving it on the floor, and a couple of cables that he had difficulty pulling out of the circuits of the rocket, he managed, with difficulty, due to his hardened fingers, to ignite the fabric impregnated with fuel.
-We found him, sir, but his body was completely charred, -said the cadet, pointing in the direction of a large piece of fuselage from the sinister ship.
-How did it happen? -asked the leader of the rescue mission.
-It's hard to say, even his remains are smoking, -said the young man making a gesture of displeasure -. Apparently he tried to light a fire with fuel from a booster, and spilled it on him, when he lit it he burned himself. We found the rocket tank pierced. That seems to have happened a few hours ago.