Mari stared at the map. To get to the ocean they knew was to the east, they’d have to go through what satellite imagery was suggesting was a barren wasteland with no plant or animal life, no water, and no natural shelter.
“It looks worse than the Sahara Desert on Old Earth,” she muttered.
“What did you say?” Jon, one of her expedition team asked.
“Just that getting through this in one piece,” Mari waved at the map and its accompanying satellite image, “appears to be the asking price of adventure.”
Jon peered over her shoulder at the images. “Oh, that’s gonna suck,” he said.
“Yeah, it is. But we can mitigate some of the suck by being over-prepared,” Mari replied. “Make sure we have double, or even better, triple the amount of everything we might need. Three is two, two is one, and one is none, remember.” She returned her gaze to the map. “Hopefully this is as barren as it appears. I’d hate to run into venomous flora and fauna out there.”
“I’ll quadruple all medical supplies,” Jon said with a shudder.
“Good idea. We’re taking two of the hover sled-wagons so carrying gear shouldn’t be a problem. But…” she looked back at him.
“Yeah, I know. Multiple battery backups for each one including extra solar panels, and extra solar panels for the battery chargers.” Jon nodded.
Mari grinned at him. “This is gonna be a fun adventure!”
“You have a warped sense of adventure, woman.” Jon grimaced, but his lips curved up into a smile. “Yeah, it is.” He left to put together the extra supplies.
Two days later, in the pre-dawn dark, the team scurried around the sled-wagons loading up the last of the gear. The vehicles resembled over-sized child wagons and could transition from wheeled transport to hover when the ground became difficult to navigate with wheels. Each sled-wagon had four seats and a large cargo area. They ran on solar charged batteries, so on sunny days, they were able to continuously charge while running. Some early planetary scout had developed them after reading about sleds and sled dogs on Old Earth. The hover sled-wagons were missing the dogs and had wheels, but otherwise performed the same function – carrying goods and people over less-than-welcoming terrain.
As the sun rose over the distant mountains, the team was mounted up and ready to move out. Mari drove the lead sled, Jon beside her as navigator. Well, as backup to the GPS system in the sled-wagon. Excitement coiled in her stomach.
“Remember to check in daily,” Cody, the overall team lead told her. “If we don’t hear from you for seventy-two hours, I’m going to send out air search. Good luck!”
“Thanks, Cody. I promise we’ll check in regularly,” Mari told him, eager to start.
Cody smiled. “I won’t keep you. Go with God and have fun!” He stepped back and waved to them.
Mari nodded once and glanced at Jon. “Let’s go!” she said with a grin. “Adventure awaits!”
For this week’s Odd Prompt challenge, Fiona Grey and I traded prompts She gave me: The asking price of adventure. I returned the favor with: The birds crowded on the overhead wires, staring at the dragons curled up in the yard.