Mars Deep Chapter 2

The helicopter reached its zenith and carried on towards the home of his best friend and fishing partner Svend Hansen, who lived out on another island in the cluster of Svalbard Islands, the northernmost inhabited village in the world. Morten was smiling under his green communications headset, he had never been in a helicopter this nice and modern before. The cat that sat on his lap was also smiling. The cat had never been on a helicopter before, ever.

Morton thought it could be scary for the big wise cat, but the cat had never looked happier, it was probably because he managed to get away from his daily failed task of catching mice around the cabin. He was quite horrible at that, thought Morten, he was much better at locating whales, specifically he was most accurate at locating blue whales over any other variety. Morten would back his cat in a bet against any fish finder in the world. Apparently, Morten had grown to be the best whale fisherman in the world, so said the spicy woman in the black jacket and sunglasses anyways. Smiles all around.

Morten continued to smile as the helicopter started its decent in the front yard of Svend’s house. He imagined the sudden thoughts racing through his friend’s head as the helicopter touched ground in front of the shack looking over the sea. They had a narrow place to land as there was only one hundred yards between his front porch and the cliff that dropped off into the sea. As the helicopter prepared to land, its propellers wound down and the intensity of the swirling snow descended to the point where Svend could open his front door and stand there on his front porch in his bright pink slippers and blue housecoat, which had opened a crack near the waist so that the visitors could see all that Norway had to offer.

Svend was seemingly unaware. He wore a fur cap, in the Russian tradition and was swinging a broom back and forth at the helicopter as if it was a dog he could scare off with the jerky motions of his instrument. Through Svend’s thick, glass bottom glasses he saw Morten casually descend from the helicopter as if he was an apparition. Morten’s relaxed manner made Svend relax, he relinquished the grip on his broom and rested it against the outdoor wall of his cabin. He walked cautiously towards Morten and hugged him under the swirling blades of the helicopter. “You know,” said Mortensen in Norwegian, “I think our visitors can see the jewels of Svaldbard” he pointed below. Svend looked down and quickly closed the front of his coat.

From the other side of the helicopter Cohen and Garcia jumped out and while holding their hats, made their way around the other side of the chopper and towards Svend. “Svend Hansen?” asked agent Cohen “Ja, ja, dis is me.” Replied Svend. “Hello, my name is agent Cohen, I have come on the business of the US government and with the help of Morten. May we come inside?” “Ja, ja, please come inside. I was just about to make some tea.”

The four of them walked into the cabin, removed their boots and sat at the kitchen table. Covering the table were all sorts of scientific instruments, high pressure pipe fittings, soldering irons, glowing electric balls of light and metal scraps and shavings which spilled over the side of the table and onto the floor. “What are you building today Svend?” asked Morten. “Today” replied Svend, “I am fine tuning the propellant for our new explosive rocket harpoon, the HARPY system 2.0. So far I have passed the proof-of-concept stage, prototype stage and am wanting the final testing period, which I had scheduled for today at 3 o’clock.” “Listen Svend,” said Morten in Norwegian, “before this spicy tamale of a black parkaed FBI agent does her pitch. I want you to come with me to Mars.” “Mars?’ asked Svend in English, in surprise. “Yes Mars.”

Agent Cohen sat up, “If I may, I would like to say a few words on behalf of our employer.” On behalf of the FBI, I would like to invite you to participate in a mission to Mars. There has been recent activity on the Martian planet that leads us to believe that there is sustainable life there, beneath the waves of a large lake. We have found a source of fresh water and this, coupled with the idea that there may be a sustainable source of food, has green lit a massive mission on an unprecedented scale to land teams on the planet to discover what is under the surface of the lake.

The president himself has taken made this mission a top priority and before the next year’s re-election takes place, he wants to have a space station fit for human life under construction on Mars.” Svend sat at the table blinking. Not saying anything, just blinking. In Norwegian he asked Morten, if what she was saying was true. Morten replied in Norwegian, “Not only is what she is saying true, but we have also been given a blank cheque to fund anything we need while we are up there, fishing for something they found in the deep.

Do you want to develop HARPY any further? No? What about getting laid? Remember sex? After our mission, we would be the coolest guys in Norway. We could go to Oslo, walk back into the Himkok Storgata Destilleri and hold our heads up high. Not like last time. Maybe this time Nora would give you the time of day.” “Nora?” asked Svend as he straightened up in his chair. “Ja, ok I am in.”

“Great,” said Cohen. Grab whatever you need from your cabin, we will most likely be gone for over a year so pack well. Wheels up in five minutes.” She looked over at Garcia. From under his parka, Garcia pulled out another thermos and four stacked clean cups. “You guys still want that tea?” he asked. Svend and Morten looked at each other. Morton said “Ja, he does that.”

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