The cabin was really rather overcrowded, well, four is quite a crowd when you’re in the gondola of a not so very big Zeppelin. They still had a long way to go; first they had to make a stop at a group of manmade contraptions. Laying, or standing in the regolith field dead ahead.
“Dee! Get at the guns control, Bo checklist, Full Stop. We’re going to try once more. Bo wind?”
“No wind, nothing. Temperature… It’s really hot down there… minus 15 centigrade. Air pressure 6. Wolfs, Far Out, get the nose in the sun? Computer voice: control off. OFF Kangaroo”
“Bo, Annie, Aft harpoon away, Bow away, going to shoot me a planet”
‘”Hope she gets the right planet this time”
They were going to get equipment for the expedition to Gussev crater, (yet an other crater), but this time at the flip side of the planet, where Mars One, should have been, and where their return vehicles were resting in the dust, or maybe rusting. The wind had had plenty of time to start eating away things.
Oudemans a huge circular plane, surrounded by the Rim. Just off the center, in the middle of a vast emptiness, the Second Mars expedition had landed. After which they’d traveled to The Labyrinthus, using the Zeppelin, but that’s an other story. They even got one of the pieces of Mars two over to the Base at the end.
The plan was, after much discussion and several “Roll Call” meetings to get to Gussev crater as said, check out if everything was in order, there should be an enormous amount of rocket fuel, and everything needed to fly back to earth. The only problem, every thing was very old by now, probably unsafe to use. What ever… they weren’t planning to fly off. This was a reconnaissance, and salvage operation.
“Tension? Bo are we level, we should be, Annie?
“Stop bothering me, every think works out fine, you trained us yourself, so no let us put this here Baby on the ground”
They called their “Baby” Eolus a name used before, some 200 years before, but Bo didn’t know that. After two harpoons were shot at the Regolith field, to be used as anchors, the Zeppelin pulled itself down to earth, let’s call it that. They were at walking distance of the Landers, so no problems. No need to detach the gondola, and turn it into a Rover.
“Suits, we are almost there, put your helmets on folk”.
Dee was working to the left, Annie at the front controls, one person could fly the Zeppelin if needed, but to work it well, eight hands work faster than two hands.
“Engines full stop and off. We stopped at 50 L, now at 5. Legs. No wheels this time. 4, 2. Dee, do tell the computer to make us heavy. Get your brother on the phone, and lets go and check our stuff.
The Zeppelin came to rest in a little cloud of dust still settling back to the ground.
“This airlock smells, dead fish…. Bo?”
“Yeah, just like home isn’t it. Whole machine smells like that, after the helium accident and the decompression. Well, you know Wolfs here he likes to store food items. Regular squirrel”
“Bo! is this thing level? Annie lets move, Dawn, Bo: Utchuck! Forward!”
They had walked over to the Lander, a big silo kind of thing on six legs, or maybe eight. The top part was supposed to get them back to Earth. The bottom part had contained the stuff they were moving over to the base.
“Woo, this isn’t really a cathedral kind of a place isn’t it Well the rest is still in Orbit. But anyhow, how many people can it bring back to Earth? Not enough, I know. Good. Tuna?”
“Yeah, fiskja I am. Fram himma nu manne siud nutans. We’ll catch man from now on. Get me the info on our position. Is this Rig level? Bo get home base on the phone, see if the line’s clear”
“Roger. Annie, I'll be needing the seat. Thanks. Power, On. Channel. I get the Zeppelin all right, now I’m switching… Jake calling Elwood… Jake calling Elwood… “
“Jake this is Elwood, (what’s with the call signs?) Signal is fine. You’re in the Tuna can now? Yeah, Harm just left. This is Red. Arigato gozaimasu. Muryo desu. Can I be of service, I’m reading a book you know…”
“Wolfs tea time ….. The water doesn’t contain anything like fish for example?”
“The sky is turning purple, we better hurry it up, sun set in a proximally one hour, well, and things are getting, how you say it? Fra slindan, the day has been eaten”
“Yeah, well there could be more bits and pieces laying around. We still have some light left the probe scattered all over this gravel field”
They were looking for, basically nuts and bolts of an exploded 19th century Russian space probe, Wolfs insisted it was actually a 20th century probe, well who cares. Thus far they found about 20 or more pieces, and several nuts and bolts, which are worth looking for. The equipment to make nuts and bolts was about 150 million clicks away from where they were now.
That’s why they always looked for parts of old probes.
“We’re going to get some clouds, get the cameras ready Dee, they want that, the weather guys”