Alex Brunner was standing on the surface of Mars. It was amazing. What was more amazing was that he had survived the worst landing ever. The chutes fired on time, but their reentry track dropped the ship into a dust devil a half a klick across. Most folks think that they are harmless. For the most part they are, but not when you’re descending at Mach 3.
“Any sign of a rescue, Alex?” asked a female voice over the comms.
Looking around carefully, Alex scanned the sky. “Nope,” he said in the Mare Tranquility drawl. “Nothing as far as the horizon.”
Climbing out of the capsule, Raquel Zorento swore as she somersaulted to the dusty red soil. “Frak. I hoped we got that mayday out before we turtled. The others don’t look too good. Brian’s leg is broken, and Keiko is still unconscious. Sid… we need to bury him or something.”
Alex looked to the West and the lowering sun and said, “Lowell City is that way, we overshot them… by a bit.”
Looking in that direction, Raquel frowned, and asked, “When you say ‘a bit’, do you mean a few klicks?”
Musing on that question, Alex replied, “Maybe a hundred-two hundred kilometers. Give or take a couple of klicks. Get the capsule’s oxy tanks, make a sledge. Make it inna week, week anna half.”
“You’re not suggesting that we walk to Lowell City?” exclaimed Raquel.
So how would continue this story? Some questions to consider:
- It gets bitterly cold in the Martian night. How do they keep warm with what they can drag between the two of them?
- Do they have some sort of airtight shelter? If not, eating and maybe drinking could be difficult to do.
- Are the people of Lowell City searching for them?
- Even with the lower Martian gravity, dragging a sledge through the red sand is going to be tough.
- Who’s left behind?
Time to get your imagination going!
Written by John Reiher
Image: Abandoned ‘Mars’ ©2014 LMorse