It was about 8 am when they started picking up the transponder signals: the series of small beacons which directed approaching vehicles down a safe route from the plateau of the Arabia Terra Highlands, and down towards the edges of the Acidalia Planitia. It was here that Fafnir Base was located.
After an hour or so they could glimpse the base several hundred metres below them: a typical M Class Base, with circular domes linked by enclosed corridors. They established radio contact and proceeded forwards. As they did so Jonas reviewed the personnel files they had been provided with.
Dr. Juan Wilson was the station director: a 43-year-old climatologist, who had been part of the Mars Terraforming project for the last nine years. Before that he was on Earth, doing climate-engineering research. Apparently he had a stirling record, and used to compete in long-distance cross country bike races on Earth.
Dr. Vladimir Esposito was a meteorologist,and a bit of an odd fish. 70 years old, and born on Mars in one of the original settlements. His doctorate was awarded by a college he helped establish, long after he was widely recognized across the Solar System as an expert on planetary climate modeling and manipulation. Fafnir Station was a semi-retirement position for Esposito; he drew no salary and payed his own expenses.
Dr. Yuki Kirishima was the station hydrologist. Kirishima was 36 years old, born on Earth. She came to Mars at age 19 and since then has studied the development of the planet.
Anais Saint-Cyr was the base biologist. Saint-Cyr was 32 years old, an ecologist by training though without formal acaedemic status. She has worked for the Mars Terraforming Consortium since she was eighteen however.
In addition to the four base scientists were two research assistants. These were:
Parvati Souza, 22 years old, and recently graduated from college and working toward a graduate degree under the supervision of Dr. Esposito.
Ares Jones, 23 years old, and educated at home by his radical parents, now studying hydrology with Dr. Kirishima. He was Martian-born, from a tiny colony in Elysium, possibly much like the one they had discovered at Croatan.
Finally there were four base support staff.
Miranda Knudsen, the general services technician was 31 years old, and born on Earth but a resident of Mars since age 11. She grew up at a remote mining camp near the Argyre basin and had no formal education at all, but was a self-taught expert on just about all kinds of mechanical and electronic systems.
Karl Rotmann, the life support technician was 26 years old, and a native-born Martian from Mariner. His dossier indicated that Rotmann had been working at Fafnir for three years. He graduated from Mariner with a degree in Complex Systems Theory.
Doug Ybarra was 28 years old, a Martian from Pharoah. He had a degree in programming from Mariner Technical School, and four years of experience working for the Terraforming Consortium. He had been at Fafnir only a year now.
Yu Sung, supply manager and chef was 37 years old, and emigrated from Earth 12 years ago.
The two staffers currently away from the station were Martina Halaby, a research assistant working with Dr. Wilson who had taken medical leave after falling into a crevasse and breaking eight bones; and Bernard Kerr, an ecology research assistant who was working with Ms. Saint-Cyr until he resigned and left to get a job running a hydroponic farm. Ms. Halaby was still getting back on her feet, but planned to return to Fafnir and complete her studies in a few months time .
The group had decided that their deception would be threefold.
The first team would consist of Marcus and Jake (his head still wrapped up like a radical Shi’ite) conducting a brief physical examination and interviews, posing as a standard medical/ psychological interview, but of course trying to glean any additional information.
Meanwhile Doc. Orlov and Spyder would access the experimental and monitoring data and try to establish any patterns of misuse or unusual trends.
Finally Jonas and Paul would run through the base physical inventory, counting and in fact checking for physical sabotage.
This process would likely take a couple of days at least, hopefully leaving them additional time for visits to some of the more remote stations and locations, if necessary.