Part 16: Thanks, Global Warming!
Thanks, Global Warming!
The North Pole has all sorts of strange Martian flora living near it, but fortunately, not too many animals. It makes sense I guess, as most of the plantimals don't look like the sorts that react well to cold.
There are still obstacles though: dust devils that whirl about. They can block your way and sometimes damage you, but they're not creatures and can't be killed. Who would fight a storm, anyway?
The first lens tower is due north of Elysium. The tower itself seems to be in functional shape...
...but the motor that runs it is broken. We'll take it along to get it fixed.
The second tower is off in the eastern hinterlands (but still the North Pole because, well, it's the North Pole). It's covered in vines, and it will be impossible to operate and focus it that way.
This looks like the control system for the greater polar region, so it behooves us to clear that tower.
"Remember when I grabbed that can of weed killer from the space bullet several weeks ago?"
"I was wondering about that. At first I thought it was in case you decided you'd need to eat Nellie or Lt. Dibbs and I'd be required to restrain you."
"Like I wouldn't declare you emergency rations first. But no, this was Avatar intuition at work. Why would weed killer even exist if not for the express purpose of killing some kind of plant?"
"She actually knew that?"
"Do you think she came along just to ruin our enjoyable investigation of Mars?"
"It would hardly be unreasonable for me to think so, would it?"
"Well, of course not."
Bad news at the final lens tower north of Olympus: The motor works, but the lens is shattered. We'll scoop up the pieces, but how are we going to find a replacement lens for an ancient Martian system?
Fortunately, as I mentioned we are north of Olympus. There's a few folks here who just may be able to help us out.
"What's that? You have one of those Martian motors with you?"
"Well, that's just wonderful! Could I take a look at it? Is it functional?"
"Unfortunately, it isn't."
"Ah, broken is it? Even better! Let's have a look. Oh... this is easy to fix. Just a moment." He rummages around, searching through his tools. Eventually, he finds what he's looking for and settles down to work. A few minutes later, he holds out the motor. "There you go. Good as new. Fascinating technology. Not very bright, though?"
"What's that mean?"
"Why, it's Alternating Current, of course! What a ridiculous notion. You'll be lucky if it works as it should at all."
And while we're here, let's drop off something.
You show Hearst the photograph, which he snatches immediately. "Hmmm... the composition is not quite as I had hoped, and the frame is not very dramatic."
"Yeah, that horde of proto-martians ripping the phtotographer's arms off really did a number on the focus."
"However, a bargain is a bargain. My thanks for your part in this, Steve. I hope this azurite is what you need."
"I sense... I sense it shall be."
"Can we please just get to work?"
The good news is, with everything repaired and operational we can just zip back to Elysium and fix some of these towers. But first, we need to know what we're actually doing.
"Ah, Steve. It is indeed good to see you again. Perhaps this time I may be of service to you?" Lowell smiles and kisses your hand.
"Urge to kill..."
"Look, we're trying to melt the polar ice caps. This must sound like an absolutely fantastic idea to you guys but it's highly ironic for Warren and myself. How do we do that?"
"In order for the lens towers to operate, the lenses must not be broken and they must be properly focused to melt the ice. If you tell me exactly what needs to be fixed, I might be able to tell you who to ask."
"Who can fix this lens?"
"I don't know anyone who can fix something like that." (ACTUAL RESPONSE)
"But you just said..."
Fortunately, as you've already probably figured out, Tiffany can fix it.
"Yes, lenses are made of glass, generally. I don't know that I could create one from its conception, but I could probably repair a broken one. I will return shortly." He takes the lens and disappears to another room. Soon he brings back a delicate multicolored lens. "This should do the job."
"It looks a little... different."
"Don't worry, the primary focusing part is intact. I just gave it a little of my own touch."
And now Lowell gets off his ass:
"The lenses on the towers must be focused in order to melt the icecap and fill the cisterns. You must enter the proper alignment coordinates. Controls for such a device normally rely on entering the approximate time of day."
Right then, off to the towers!
First the motor on the western tower.
Next, Tiffany's... unusual lens.
We've already killed the weeds on the main tower, so now we just have to focus the lenses properly.
"My watch says 8:50, soooooooo..."
"You know, now that we've fixed those towers, the icecap should begin melting. We should check the pumping station to be sure that everything is working properly. It's down around 18N 167W."
"I can't help but think, wasn't your pocketwatch calibrated to Earth time, Steve?"
"I sure hope it was supposed to do that."