Part 8: Warren Spector Saves Mars
Warren Spector Saves Mars
As far as I know, the Iolo/Dupre/Shamino counterparts are just that, counterparts. This is a spinoff series, so it's kind of a nod to the main game.
Right, so now we're allowed to mingle with the mostly sane people in Olympus. Time to meet some more famous people!
You see a concerned, slightly plump-looking woman.
"Bonjour. It is very good to meet you. Pardonnez moi, my English is not too good."
"That makes two of us."
"I am very involved in my research, so be not offended if my attention does not seem fully upon you."
"No problem. You are?"
"I would be pleased if you would call me Madame Curie. I like to take the name of my fiance, whom I miss very much. I am continuing my studies in physics, to aid in our escape from this planet in whatever way possible."
"Madame, what is that substance on your worktable?"
"It is radium, monsieur, from the mine at Olympus. Be cautious, it is most hot."
"Intriguing. Madame Curie, are you using this lead case?"
"What? Ah, not at the moment."
"Steve, retrieve that box and the set of tongs."
"While I need no excuse to steal someone's container, may I be so bold as to ask why, Warren?"
"Madame Curie is working with radium, a radioactive mineral. Although it does appear that most Martian technology is coal-powered, from what I have seen I would venture to guess that the Martian civilization was only slightly less advanced than our society today."
"Today 1895 or today 1995?"
"Tomorrow's today. At any rate, should we come across any nuclear technology in our explorations, radioactive material might prove handy, but we'll want that box to carry any such material around. For our safety... and I suppose yours."
"Wait, since when do you know all this stuff about atomic engineering?"
"I'm Warren Spector, Steve."
The Dream Machine building is locked up and guarded. In a manner of speaking.
You see a haggard man with a far-away stare.
"State your business, Madam." You notice his eyes are red from crying.
"Uh, are you okay, Mr. whozit?"
"Legrande Antoine Couillard." He shakes your hand in a peculiar way. "Are you a Mason, Madam?"
"I don't believe so, no."
"Well, no harm in asking, I suppose. Segal makes me guard this Dream Machine." He looks towards Olympus Mons. "But I wish I could search for my brother. Perhaps you could help me."
"Yes. My brother Jean, he is missing."
"I'm afraid I'm not familiar with him, Mr. Couillard. Where is he?"
"I was ordered to guard the machine, but Jean was sent to find iron ore in the Olympus mines." He looks at you hopefully. "Maybe you...? No, no you wouldn't be interested. But perhaps...? You might not be afraid. Could you look for Jean for me?"
"We're headed to the mine at any rate, so I suppose there's no harm in helping look for him."
"They say there are monsters down there: huge worms that scour the tunnels for prey!"
What a big baby. Oh also Thomas Edison is here.
You see a dapper gentleman.
"How do you do? I'll have to ask you to speak up, my hearing isn't very good."
"Who are you, deafie?"
"I said, WHO ARE YOU-"
"That will be sufficient."
"Edison. Thomas Alva Edison." He points to his ear. "Speak up!"
"Holy shit, it's the guy who invented the lightbulb!"
"...you actually got something right for once. I suppose I underestimated your ability to be familiar with the most well-known single inventor of the past century."
"I suppose even the Avatar can have moments of brilliance, Dr. Spector sir!"
"You know if this were Britannia you'd all be in my evidence locker right now."
"You mean the chest where you hide the bodies?"
"What? You knew! You knew!"
"...oh you ass."
"Were you speaking to me? I can't hear you!"
"JUST IDLE CONVERSATION MR. EDISON! HOW IS YOUR HEARING?"
"I had an accident as a youth that severely damaged my hearing. Over the years, it has grown worse and worse. Now I have difficulty hearing anything at all."
"Impressive to consider that Edison invented the record player."
"Has he done that yet?"
"I trust the rest of you not to mention it until it happens, and Steve won't get the opportunity."
"SO WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?"
"I am an inventor by trade. I have been endeavoring to find some means of restoring the power to our settlement, in case it is necessary to finish construction of our space cannon. They've got those blasted towers up as though they'd be able to broadcast electricity from a central station, just like that whippersnapper Tesla keeps saying. But he's crazy, and the towers don't work. Heh heh. Told HIM!" He chuckles, obviously pleased with himself. "Blasted things are somewhere over north of Argyre. Peary's seen 'em. Hmph. There are also certain devices that operate by power stored in radium, but they are much less common."
"Really? As I thought. All of this gives me an idea."
"If it's about shooting Thomas Edison with a Belgian Combine we're really on the same wavelength."
"I fear not, Steve, but my idea is much better. You see, Edison was - and is - incorrect. Tesla's theories about power transmission are certainly possible. It's entirely likely that the Martian scientists were able to implement some kind of transmission system. The towers do not function, but that's because the coal power for the generators is not currently working. If we could get that conveyor belt you picked up repaired, Coker and Stoker could probably restore electrical power, and the towers could transmit it all over the planet. This would be an immense help to our expedition."
"We get to ride around in pneumatic tubes, Steve."
"Oh I am all over that."
"You know, those towers and all that power beamed about the place is probably the very thing that destroyed the martians."
"Yeah yeah, and AC is going to kill all of us. Tesla's smarter than you and better-dressed."
"You have a very strange way of determining the worth of individuals, Madam Steve."
"Never steered me wrong before, Nellie. As far as any of you know."
"I'm watching you."
"ARE THERE ANY OTHER DEVICES WE SHOULD WATCH FOR, MR. EDISON?"
"Yes, actually, the Martians have build some truly fascinating machines! I could nearly spend my entire life trying to understand how they operate. Indeed, the Dream Machine stands out as one of the most unusual that we've encountered." His eyes light up as he speaks. "It was quite beautiful, and was full of mystery! I spend as much time trying to determine exactly how it functioned as I could. Alas, I was unable to complete any serious study before Mr. Segal had it destroyed. It is utterly unusable now. It's just sitting over there in the building with the fountains out front, just moldering away. A shame it is. A real shame."
Wasn't that fun. We'll be back for Edison in a minute. Who else is around here?
You see a beautiful woman with sparkling eyes.
She greets you in a voice filled with musicality. "Bonjour! Please excuse my accent, I have not spoken much English before I come here."
"You're not Curie's sister, are you?"
"Oh, no! My name is Sarah Bernhardt."
"I'll explain later."
"My job, indeed my life has always been the stage. I am an actress, but not on Mars. I have tried to perform to entertain mes amis here in our settlement, but of late I have found more relaxation in pursuing my interests in sculpture and painting. There is much beauty in the works left by the Martians. It is very sad to think that they have passed on." She looks sad and says, "It is a very great tragedy of their loss. I wish that there was some means of saving their race."
"You're also an artist?"
She indicates her room. "I have very few equipments to use, but I have found that I can still render the beauty of the Martian landscape, even with the few colors I have available. Like the old masters, I have gathered berries to crush and make the pigments for my paintings. I have found the berries in Argyre to be the most brilliant. Of course, I cannot get them now. That evil man, Rasputin, has closed the city to all traffic."
Anyway, it's time to meet the jerk who made me go get Iolo's help.
You see a dark, slick-looking man with slightly shifty eyes.
"Well, Nathaniel must have cleared you if you've gotten this far."
"Never be so sure of that. Trust me on this one."
"Welcome to the beautiful colony of Olympus!" He smiles widely, vigorously shaking your hand. "I assume that your appearance means that a ship has arrived to rescue us. This is good news, indeed. If there is any way we may be of assistance, please do let us know. Also, we would appreciate your assistance in locating any other right-thinking humans who may be out there. We'll need all we can find if we hope to make it home."
"You must be Mr. Segal."
"Sure am. Jack Segal. Honored, Madam."
"And you're in charge here, Mr. Segal?"
"Why yes, it is my solemn responsibility to take care of these good people of Olympus. Someone has to watch out for them, you know." You get an impression of insincere martyrdom. "Many of the finest people on the trip have chosen to live here in my fair colony. We have Madame Marie Curie, Admiral Robert Peary, Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, Mr. Thomas Edison, the divine Miss Sarah Bernhardt, Mr. William Hearst, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, Captain Trippet, Nathaniel Peters, and Legrande and Jean Couillard."
"Quite an impressive list. I suppose that's why progress on the cannon is concentrated here, Mr. Segal?"
"Yes indeed, the miraculous vehicle is what we plan to use to travel back to mother Earth. Mr. Carnegie was working on that project, after Lowell went to Elysium. Until we ran out of iron, of course. Mr. Carnegie knows quite a bit about steel, you know, and was helping to build the cannon. You should speak to him about anything concerning steel. You should be able to find him down in the mines. The entrance is on the southern side of the mountain. Take the first left after you enter. He should be down there, working on the project."
You see a man dressed in the garb of a seaman.
He starts as if interrupted from slumber. "Eh, what? What do you want?" He gazes at you, bleary-eyed.
"Just meeting with the, uh, locals."
"Rather a funny way to put it, Madam."
"Yeah that was kind of the joke, Dibbs."
"Apologies, madam. I am British."
"Captain Trippet, ex-merchant marine, at your service. Back on Earth I worked as a sailor, but I was recruited by Mr. Lowell to operate the canal barges. Seemed at the time like it might be interesting work. It's been a dry and dusty couple of years, though. Without any water in the canals, my job consists of sitting on my duff and sleeping." He glances forlornly out at the sand. "They must have been used as a means of transportation, but with no water to fill the canals, they're not much more than ravines." He sighs. "God, how I wish I'd stayed in Chicago." He looks at you enviously. "I'd bet it was green when you left. Ah well. Maybe I'll get back there someday."
"Were the canals supposed to have water?"
"Well, I'm no engineer, but there must have been some method for making and storing water. Could be the Martians melted the icecaps for a source of water. But I guess whatever system they used must not be working, or there'd still be water in the canals."
"Do you suppose that such an operation is feasible, captain?"
"If there was a system to melt the icecaps, it would probably be located near one of the poles. Maybe it'll start working again soon. I suppose part of the problem may be the lack of power, but we haven't found any way to get it working again." He pauses to think. "You know, Admiral Peary just got back from exploring near the North Pole not too long ago. Maybe you should ask him if he saw anything up there."
"One more thing, if I could trouble you."
"Steve, can you show Captain Trippet the conveyor belt?"
"Mr. Trippet is a sailor."
"...Steve, the conveyor belt is made of canvas."
"Still not getting where you're going with this."
"Watch and learn."
"First, I need to see what you want fixed... hmm... kinda like a sail. I think I can mend it." He takes the belt from you and begins to work. Not even looking up at you, he says, "This shouldn't take long at all." He sews furiously on the tear in the belt, occasionally applying hot, thick glue. After a short span, the belt is repaired. "There you are, good as new. Try to be a bit more careful next time, though." He hands you the fixed belt.
"I still don't get it."
The poles could be of interest. Fortunately, Admiral Peary isn't far away.
You see a seasoned-looking man.
He strides forward to greet you. "How do you do? Robert Peary. It's a pleasure to meet someone who shares the spirit of exploration."
"I guess you could call us explorers of a sort, yes."
His eyes shine at the mention of the word. "Ah, what a thrill, eh? You know, I can think of nothing more fulfilling than discovering the secrets held by those places previously unknown." He turns to look north and says, "I have even been to see the polar icecap north of here. it is not unlike our own arctic regions on Earth, but without the proper equipment, I'm afraid my explorations only scratch the surface."
"We'd be interested in anything you did find, Mr. Peary."
"Although I was not able to go far into that territory, I did notice that the ice seemed to be irregular, almost sculptured into its formation. From what I saw, I'm certain the Martians used the ice as a source of water." He turns to face you, saying, "Yes, I would wager that water was produced by melting the icecaps. The volume of water would also easily fill the canal system. But now that I'm done exploring, I have been utilizing my talents in civil engineering to make our stay more comfortable." He gestures about to the features of the building you are in. "I have been employed for quite some time by the U.S. Navy as a civil engineer. When we landed, one of my first concerns was to insure that the buildings used in the settlement were of sturdy construction. I've also been examining the canals and bridges that are scattered about the planet. Their mechanical construction seems quite unusual. If there were any power to operate them, I would very much like to study their design in use."
And of course, it wouldn't be steampunk without a certain man I'm sure everyone's been waiting to see:
You see a broad-shouldered man with an equally broad grin.
He grips your hand a bit too firmly and pumps it up and down vigorously. "I say, good day there! Quite pleased to meet you. Ahem, quite."
"Oh man this is somewhere in my top 5 all-time fantasies. I'm Steve."
"Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. I usually am addressed as T.R., however."
"Yes yes, we all know who you are. Bully, and all that."
"Here on Mars, my duties as a police official are, as you may imagine, reduced. Nonetheless, I am still in the business of solving crimes."
"Wondrous! In fact, I believe I know who was the culprit that sabotaged our 1893 expedition and caused Mr. Lowell's space cannon to discharge prematurely."
"Steve, please, not in front of Teddy Roosevelt."
"I am positive that the Russian holy-man, Rasputin, was the fiend that did this act. I have been able to collect samples of fingerprints in the original expedition's ship. I have endeavoured to reveal the identity of the person who left this incriminating evidence. I also believe that one of Rasputin's troublemakers was behind the destruction of the reflectors used to communicate with Earth."
"So Rasputin's to blame!"
"I'm sure he's the one responsible for launching the space cannon a day earlier than planned and trapping us on Mars. His claim was that visions had driven him to commit his foul deed, but that excuse in no manner absolves him from his crimes and facing justice."
"I'm not sure it's a good idea to leave these two together."
"You have actual evidence of Rasputin's sabotage, then?"
He puts both hands behind his back and his voice takes on the tone of an instructor. "Yes, quite. The technique of lifting the fingerprints is a recent addition to the field of criminology, developed by Jean Vucetich of Argentina. No two sets of prints are hte same, which provides undeniable evidence of a person's involvement. I have been getting a set of prints from everyone in our settlement, and anyone else who will agree to leaving their prints on file. I'm still collecting evidence on that one. He's definitely not to be trusted. And speaking of! Would you allow me to record your fingerprints as well?"
"For Teddy Roosevelt? Anything."
He grins and says "Good! I shall be prepared in a moment." He takes a small pad of ink and a sheet of fine white paper and sets them out. Taking your hands, he first presses each finger into the ink pad, then rolls your fingers onto the white paper, leaving an ink copy of your fingerprints. He hands you a cloth, and you wipe your hands clean. He puts the equipment away, and places the paper amongst his records. "Thank you, Steve. I appreciate your cooperation."
"You also mentioned Rasputin's responsibility for the reflectors being destroyed?"
"Indeed. Those large mirrors were used by Mr. Lowell to send Morse code to observers back on Earth. When they were smashed, we could no longer reply to the messages sent by Mr. Tesla."
Awesome. Totally awesome. Well, that's everything in this half of Olympus. If we travel underground through a Martian maintenance tunnel, we can reach Mount Olympus itself.
Along the way, Warren notices a panel is loose on one of the Martian machines and picks it up. He's got a plan, you see.
"You want me to rewire the panel so it'll work on a Dream Machine? Hmmm. I suppose I could do that." You show the control panel to Edison, who picks it up and examines its interior. "This won't take long to do. Why don't you wait over there?" He gathers his tools and puts on his rubber gloves, then begins his work. A few minutes later, he hands the panel back to you and puts away his tools. "There you are, ready to go. Place it in the correct control cabinet in the Dream Machine and insure the connections are firm. It'll only work in a Dream Machine now. I hope that's what you wanted. I don't hear so well some days, you know."
There's one house over on the other side, and it's... well it's interesting. Full of garbage, but interesting. What kind of loser lives in a house full of decaying Martian crap?
A rich one, that's who.
You see a pale-skinned man with a gangly build.
"Hello. Have you come to barter for my goods?" He suddenly spots Nellie Bly, causing his complexion to redden and his voice to raise in pitch. "What is that... that... woman doing here? She is a spy for Pulitzer! Remove her from my sight at once!"
"Mr. Hearst, please compose yourself. I am certainly NOT here to undermine your expedition. In fact, with the aid of my friend Steve, we are hoping to get us off this God-forsaken planet."
"Why the hell would Pulitzer be trying to sabotage you on Mars? That's the dumbest thing I've heard all day."
Hearst takes a moment to compose himself, then continues. "My apologies. The last two years have been quite trying, indeed. How may I help you?"
"Nice hair. Who are you?"
"I am William Randolph Hearst, editor and proprietor of the San Francisco Examiner. I was the primary backer for Mr. Lowell's expedition in 1893. Sadly, I never envisioned actually participating in the mission. Since my arrival, however, I have taken to collecting and trading Martian artifacts."
"That explains all the crap."
He shifts his stance and you see a gleam enter his gaze. "Yes, I have had the good fortune to have accumulated many fascinating items. If you wish, I could tell you about my collection."
Beaming with pride, he beckons you to step closer. Reaching for a small bag, he says, "Come and see!" He produces a number of small curious-looking items, none of which seem overly valuable. "These items I was able to trade for from that explorer fellow, Yellin. I am certain that once I return to Earth, that I shall become quite rich after my paper shows exclusive evidence of the Martian craftsmanship. Better still, I have come into possession of a number of blue gems that should net a fortune!" Pulling one from his pocket, he says "Look! This stone is an azurite. It was used by the Martians to power some sort of machinery. What a waste! It won't garner much publicity back on Earth, but its value alone should certainly provide me with a substantial return."
The mine is our next stop, to pick up some radium, speak with Andrew Carnegie, and find Legrande's brother Jean.
This is the base of the new capsule, which is still under construction. Eventually we should be able to ride it back to Earth, but we've got plenty to do first.
You see a vibrant man in his 60s.
Carnegie turns to look at you, and extends a calloused hand. "Good day! It's good to see that your journey to Mars was safe. Hopefully you've come with fresh resources from Earth."
"Well, that depends. You are?"
Drawing himself up, he says, "Andrew Carnegie, at your service."
"The self-help seminar guy?"
"Well, you might call me a 'self-made' businessman. I was the founder and chief executive of Homestead Steel. Here on Mars, I was placed in charge of milling steel with which to rebuild a space cannon like the one that brought us here."
"Given the small number of people in Olympus, how are you manufacturing steel?"
"We take iron ore and coal and place it into a Martian smelting machine. It's nearly like magic to watch, because we only have to put the materials in and rolled steel is produced out the other end. From there, we took the steel straight to the project site to be riveted onto the space cannon." Chuckling, he says, "Aye, if I could take that beauty home with me, I coudl replace an entire factory full of equipment with just one of those machines." His face then turns serious, and he says, "But I could never do such a thing. After all, that machine would put hundreds of workers out of a job, an act which I could never condone."
"Yeah sure. So will this thing be able to get us off this rock?"
"The cannon was to be a replica of the one that Mr. Lowell constructed for the exposition in Chicago. Mr. Lowell had everything going on schedule, until the madness affected him." Shaking his head, Carnegie says, "One day he came to the project site, announced that he was now someone named 'Tekapesh,' and was leaving to try to work on replanting the planet, or some other such hogwash. He and the other people who went mad from the Dream Machine are now over at Elysium. As you know, we don't want them around here making trouble."
"It seems you're having a problem with supply, as you mentioned to Dr. Yellin?"
"Yes sir. Once our mine here at Olympus became tapped, we started looking for alternate supplies so we could make more steel. We sent out various search parties, including you explorers, to try to locate more ore. Jean, one of the Frenchmen aboard our capsule, was searching deeper in our Olympus mine, but he never returned. The most promising report was from Major Duprey, who found some at Syrtis Major, but was unable to find a way to transport it here. We only lack one cartful to have enough to finish the cannon! Apparently the Martians used canals as an extensive transportation system, but without water in them they are useless to us."
Off into the mines. There's oxium around, but also ammonites aplenty, and those are the weakest creatures.
I didn't get a shot of them, but there are also worms that eat your oxium. Fucking jerks.
Are these the worms Legrande was worried about? They don't seem so tough...
Loot! And more important, a container!
I finally locate the radium, but there are also these strange yellow worms that crawl around, lag the game like hell, and are really dangerous. Fortunately, they can be attacked at any point along their length, which is handy.
"Steve, retrieve that large block of radioactive material."
"Alright... AHHGHGHGHGHGH OH JESUS CHRIST."
"OH GOD, OH GOD, OH GOD... oh man... holy crap, I think my hands are still burning."
"...that was why I instructed you to bring the tongs along, Steve."
"Why don't you tell me these things!?"
"Hey, there's a guy collapsed over here."
"Not now, Sherman, I think I may be dying!"
"I think he is dying."
"...Please, Madam. Take this to my brother. Tell him what became of me." He presses his Masonic symbol into your hand. His voice is now but a whisper: "...Legrande will need this, he is almost third degree... the worms... damn the worms... God take pity on my soul..." His blood warm upon your hands, he sinks back against you and sighs his final breath.
"Sherman, pick him up."
"Pick up Jean's body - and don't forget his dashing chapeau - and carry it with you."
"Any particular reason for this?"
"I'll come up with somethign while you're carting his corpse around."
The worms die off eventually, but suddenly, bushrat rush!
At the end of it all, the big prize: a fucking ray gun. I'm not quite sure how it works, and I won't get a chance to test it out this update, but rest assured I won't forget I've got it.
"l'Avatar! You have found news of my brother? I hope all is well. Or do you bring back only a sign of his death?"
"Better than that. Sherman!"
"Oh my... my GOD, what is WRONG with you!?"
"That is the greatest mystery on Mars, Legrande."
You hand him the symbol you took from Jean. "Jean's Square and Compass..." Legrande bows his head and tries to keep from crying. He fails. "Give me a moment to myself."
"...kay. You want us to take the body with us?"
"Nevermind. I suppose you want to see the Dream Machine, Madam. Jack Segal smashed it up because it was dangerous. I suppose I could let you have a look, just this once. But promise you won't tell anyone about this."
"I swear on your brother's grave. Which, incidentally, will probably be right around here at some point. You may want to get a shovel."
The Dream Machine is unusual, but thanks to Segal it's completely useless. Not even the panel Warren had Edison rig is sufficient to make it run. However, the headgear is intact, and if we can find a Dream Machine in slightly better repair than this one, maybe we can use it.
Back to McLaughlin to fix the belt. Once that's done, Coker starts to dump coal onto the belt. But before Stoker can get to work, the furnace needs a little kick in the pants.
"Allow me. Please stand back, everyone. Now, Stoker should be able to maintain the system, but powering it on may prove slightly more troublesome. Since he himself is a bit low on power, one of us will need to do it. I don't trust Steve with a shovel or anything that produces flame, so I'm afraid I'll have to be the one."
The underground complex returns to life!
"And there you have it."
"Amazing, Dr. Spector! It seems you've powered up the planet!"
"Not entirely, Nellie. I wanted to confirm something first."
"Overruled. We're raiding the oxium vault!"
Dear diary: Jackpot.
A bag in one of the rooms that was previously inaccessible contains an unusual pair of items. "Ritual pod knife?" What the hell is that?
"If you're done robbing the Martian dead, let's finish the repairs, shall we?"
"Um, okay. What now?"
"Miss Bly, would you please retrieve that large spool of cable?"
"Well, certainly Dr. Spector!"
"Now we have to figure out where the central distribution system is. Let's look deeper in the complex."
"This looks promising. We'd better review those scrolls."
Occasionally the cable in the broadcast system, on a tower or strung between them, will wear out. This presents little problem, as there is some redundancy in teh system. If the system is ever shut down, however, it must be restarted slowly to avoid a surge that would overload the cables all at once. A cable segment can be replaced without shutting down the system, but great care must be taken to insulate the worker and his pliers to avoid electrocution.
"Did you read those instructions carefully, Steve?"
"Huh? Yeah, sure, whatever."
"Would you stop pushing buttons and come over here?"
"Well fine. So what is it I need to do, again?"
"You'll need to climb this tower and use the new length of cable Nellie brought to rewire the distribution towers."
"Alright, let's do this!"
"AGHASHGHASHGHAGHASHDGHAGHAHHAHAHAH OH MY GOD MY HEART JUST STOPPED."
"...Steve. If you use rubber gloves, you won't get shocked so badly."
"Why the hell didn't you mention that before!?"
"I foolishly assumed you weren't a complete idiot."
"You should never, ever assume something like that!"
"Here, Steve, use this pair of mine."
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you did that on purpose."
"Do you honestly think I would do something like that to Steve out of simple spite for her complete inability to function in a society that is, ultimately, barely any different from our own?"
The repaired power transmission system hums quietly.
And that's how Warren Spector fixed the Martian power grid. Now that that works, the various transport tubes and bridge operation switches should also work. That will save us a lot of time. First, let's head back to Olympus and see if Hearst would be willing to part with that azurite he found for anything, since it's almost a certainty we'll need it later.
"You want the stone, is that it? I could never part with it... unless you would perform a great favor for me." Hearst thinks for a moment. "If you could do something for me that would further the circulation of my paper, then I might part with the stone. Snapping his fingers, he exclaims, "I know! I had sent a man to go take a photograph of the new cannon being built on the top of Mount Olympus. Unfortunately, the man never returned; his name, I believe, was Boringstroke. Reginald Boringstroke, if I'm not mistaken. Naturally, I'm quite concerned and worried by the whole affair. You see, that photograph is very important to me, as it represents proof of our travels to Mars. I simply must get that camera and photograph back. Why don't you go climb Mount Olympus and see if you can recover the camera, or at least the photograph?"
The top of Olympus Mons is crawling with strange plant-like humanoids called proto martians. They fling strange projectiles at us, and are extremely tough (not so much individually, but there's about 8 more of them offscreen).
Looks like Reginald didn't make it. I'd order Sherman to pick it up, but I'm already having weight problems so let's just get the camera and take it back down to Hearst.
By the way Olympus Mons is supposed to be the size of Arizona or something, but it's about 100 feet across in Martian Dreams.
Hearst takes the camera and breathes a sigh of relief. "Good! I was worried that something might have happened to the camera after all this time. Now, I need to get the completed photograph from the plate from the camera. If memory serves, there was a Frenchman named Melies, who was living with those lunatics in Elysium. He had quite a background in film, so you can go and ask him to develop this plate inside." He hands you a heavy undeveloped photo plate.
Now to figure out what all those crazy people are up to.