Snippet #7

   Victor Tscheneko paced about the bridge of the Deimos, for the last 20 hours he had not seen or detected any movement upon the surface other than four crawlers, all of which had been identified and two shuttles leaving Mars base, one flying to the vent complex and the second one entering orbit to repair two of the damaged satellites. There was no sign of Gelokova or D’Au or of their shuttle. Since they had left Nikki, they could be anywhere on the planet. His ship’s sensors could pick up the heat signature of a man standing on the surface from twenty thousand kilometres, and he had nothing.

   Khris Rogers on the Piazza was orbiting on the other side of the planet from the Deimos and he had detected nothing either. He thought to himself that the missing craft could not have crashed because some sensors on one of the ship would have picked up the explosion or at the very least the tell-tale signature of the heat and vapour from the crash. The only plausible explanation he could think of was that they had landed and parked in a deep crevice or canyon and were under an overhanging rock, and on Mars that could be one of a few million places.



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