Areology and Areography

She was standing near the center of a round room that she guessed to be at least ten meters across with a ceiling between four and five meters above the floor. There were two more doorways, these with closed doors, spaced around the room. Ana’s initial investigations revealed no apparent means of opening the doors. Unlike the walls of the tunnel, the room’s walls were metallic and smooth. Spaced evenly between the doors were three platforms extending approximately a meter into the room, two meters in length and positioned one and half meters above the floor. They too had the odd, rounded style of everything else in the room.

“What’s that?” Andy asked, pointing to a rectangular metal box resting on the platform nearest them. The box seemed incongruous because none of the structures in the room or the doors involved right angles or straight edges and the angles they did have were all rounded so as to appear more like curves. They walked to the platform and examined the box.

Excerpt from Chapter III: Titov Ridge

Christina took them through already well explored portions of the cave pointing out various rock and mineral formations; many of which were of particular interest to Ana, as Areology was a part of her field of study.

“This next part of the cave was just discovered a while back by Mattie. She spotted a small hole and when she moved a couple of rocks, it opened into the passage we are entering right now. Since Mattie and I are the only spelunkers here in the Colony, we are the only ones who have seen this, till now.”

The group moved single file through the narrow passage, sometimes having to duck their heads to avoid low hanging rocks. After about 20 meters, the passage opened into a larger space. Christina entered first, then Ana, followed by Bob and Andy. They looked around them, the room dimly lit by only their helmet lights. Many of the rocks in this space seemed to have sharper angles, more like big crystals. Christina switched on the lantern she had been carrying.

Excerpt from Chapter VII: Lowell Station

Illustrations by Joe Hardwick

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