Marcus was waiting to see which vehicle he could stow his stuff in. It was alright for Doc. Orlov – clearly she would be in the lab vehicle, and he noticed she had also added a stowable hammock and set up her own flexi screen and computer peripherals in the lab area. Well that was ok, if she claimed that as her space it would mean more for whoever else would be sharing the vehicle with her.
This was important. The bunks themselves had a curtain, but they were hardly places to relax in otherwise. Any free time would likely be spent in the small table/ dining area near the centre of the vehicle.
As the more experienced drivers he assumed that Jake and Jonas would be split between the two vehicles, leaving himself and Spyder a bit of a choice, as long as there were two in one vehicle and three in another.
He saw Doc. Orlov open the weapon locker in the Science ATV-already stocked with a shotgun, a rifle and a few revolvers, and saw her stowing a pistol and some ammo – an Anvil 12mm like his own.
“Funny” he thought, “An acaedemic type owning such a thing.”
As she jumped out she nodded at him.
“All done?” he asked.
“Da blagodarya”. Impenetrable, as usual. He looked round. She had also replaced one of the vacc suits with her own, he noted. He needed to do that – he certainly wasn’t carting his own back to his digs. Hers was customised differently to his, he noticed. While his own suit was optimised for EVA and working in space, hers looked like more of a ground exploration suit.
“That figures” he thought, “If she was doing ground surveys and stuff.” He had taken the trouble to look up her profile, and it seemed she had written quite a few high profile papers, and written books on Geophysics and stuff like that. It seemed odd to him that she was doing simple bread and butter monitoring work like this. Right now probably wasn’t the time to ask her about it, he figured.
“We’re all meeting for lunch next door at one” he called after her. She paused and turned round.
“Otlichno.” she said. “I will attend.”
“We’re honoured” he thought to himself.
At least he might drop in on a couple of buddies during this trip. Marty Thomas was a fellow homesteader, and after his memory loss Marcus had worked for him for a time, which had helped him to find his feet again. Marty was a real colonist, and had started to complain that the Mariner Valley (with something like 200,000 colonists, and then mostly in Mariner City) was becoming too crowded. He had relocated about as far out as anyone would go: as far as Marcus knew his was probably the last individual homestead eastward along Coprates. His job had been helping him set up his greenhouses and new hab, before Marcus had decided to chip in with a few others and go his own way. He and Marty had parted on good terms however.
The other was Stepan Alenin: Stepan was someone who had actually known the old Marcus in his mining survey days, and Marcus had tracked him down. While somewhat bemused by Marcus’ condition the two seemed to still get along anyway, and Marcus liked the way he sometimes had familiar twinges and a sense of deja vu when drinking in his company. A couple of years ago Stepan had landed a decent job with the Miners out at Presidia, and consequently Marcus had not seen him for some time.
As he pondered he saw Jonas enter the parking compound, just as Doc Orlov was climbing down the ladder.
“Nice,” thought Jonas, ogling her posterior. “Might be time for the Fatherland to invade the Motherland again,” he muttered as he helped her down. She turned round in surprise.
“Gut morning teammates,” he called out as he slung his small bag up behind her into the entrance door.
“You’re late,” snapped Marcus waspishly.
“Hmm, hope he isn’t gay” thought Jonas.
“I vas, ah, delayed,” Jonas replied, wiping a bit of lipstick off the side of his neck. He tipped a wink at the Doc..He held his hand out to her. “Hello, I’m your driver, Jonas Hoffman.” Somewhat mollified, she held her hand out, largely on autopliot.
The big man nimbly climbed into the ground car, eyes quickly scanning the familiar interior. He stuck his head into the lab, and saw that one of the bunks had also been claimed by Doc. Orlov. He made sure he claimed the bunk opposite, and lay down with his hands behind his head.