“If you want my technical opinion mate” said Jake. “The f*****g WTV’s buggered.”
They were all now stood in the cabin of the A Plant WTV. It transpired that Keith et. al. were visitors to Mars, and they were in fact on a pilgrimage to climb The Face. This was not as odd as it sounded, as they might have guessed from the various tourist literature they had been bombarded with since their arrival in Pharoah, that it was a destination for a particular sort of sightseer. Kieth, Candice Marie, Sky and Trixibelle Frou Frou certainly seemed to be that sort of visitor.
Each of them had brought the ashes of a loved one on their journey (a labrador called Biffo in Sky’s case), and it was their intent to climb the Face and have some sort of ceremony up there. Unfortunately the suspension of their WTV was making horrible grinding noises, and Kieth had been pompously declaiming the hire company for hiring shoddy goods to the gullible tourists.
The mechanics in the group held their peace, as a diagnosis had indicated the likely cause of the problem was terrible driving.
“Ten – twelve hours at least” Jake continued. “We’ll need the jacks and the crane arm from our own WTV. We can maybe do a bit of cannibalisation, but mostly a lot of welding and frame reinforcement. Might be able to limp the bloody thing home again.”
“Well then " said Kieth. “Plenty of time for us to make ouw hike up the Face then.”
“Yes Keef” agreed Candice Marie. “It’s very exciting. This is why we came after all.” Sky and Trixibelle nodded in agreement.
“This not good idea” interjected Doc. Orlov ." Is not simple hike. Clearly you are not experienced on Mars. Only six hours air. You will Die."
“Tell it like it is Katrina” winced Marcus to himself. But like Katrina he too was a Martian with experience of the Outback. A 1km climb might look simple on paper, but with the approach, vacc suits and all the rest of it, these idiots were likely to come a cropper.
“Nonsense” blustered Kieth. “Candice Mawie and I awe expewienced Fell Walkers, and we have walked all awound the Lake Distwict and Peak Distwict. I have it all planned out to a tee.”
“Excuse me SIr” said Jonas using that ingratiating manner of his which had been known to melt accountant’s hearts, “But Doctor Orlov. is a native born Martian, and well experienced in leading expeditions both on Mars and on other worlds. In vacc suits. Do you need vacc suits to walk in this Peak or Lake District Sir?”
“What?” stammered Kieth. “Well no. But my calculations…..”
“Your calculations meaningless if you have no experience or data to measure baseline. is not Earth. Is Mars. You have no experience on Mars. Trust me. You will Die.”
“Ouch” thought Marcus. “Diplomatic as ever Katrina.”
There was a long pause.
“Hey!” said Sky. “Why doesn’t the Russkie Mars Doc come along as our guide?”