Wednesday, 24 August 2011
  • By
  • Jeff Ammons
  • Tags:
  • Fiction
  • Mars

By Jeff Ammons

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There should be plenty of O2 in Seven’s tanks for her to hobble the 2 K up the river bed. Even with a bum knee.

She fished the air hose from Seven and snapped the connector onto her suit’s intake.

She carefully metered out two hours of air.

“I don’t want to put too much in, Seven. I don’t want to put too much pressure on that tape, and if I do spring a leak, I don’t want to lose more air than I have to before I can get another patch on.”

Sarah hobbled back to the fallen chunk of rock that had caused her trouble.

“Not letting this bastard get away,” she said.

Rather than process it on the spot, she decided to bring the whole thing. “No telling how long this patch will hold.”

She squatted and grabbed the rock. It was larger than a softball. When she tried to stand, she nearly fell again. Once on her feet, she shot the locks around her knee joint. That allowed her to take more weight on her hip instead of her knee.

She painfully waddled a stiff-legged waddle back to the robotic mule.

“You know, Seven,” she said. “The only way I could look more like Charlie Chaplin would be with a cane.”

She pulled the long handled spade from Seven’s pack.

“This will do nicely!”

She tested her weight on the handle. It was a carbon composite cylinder with an aluminum core. Very strong and possibly the most expensive shovel ever made.

“Let’s get started, Seven. We have a long walk back to the rover.”

They began the slow, painful hobble up the river bed. Two kilometers had been easy with two good legs, but now each step shot pain from her knee and put odd stresses on her lower back.