The Mad Scientist and the Snooty Professor
Professor Scrumtumbler lifted a handful of red sand to his nose and smelled the heavy scent of iron.
“I think I know where we are,” he said.
Professor Limefellow had wandered a few steps farther into the desert and looked towards a ridge of sheer rock that extended straight out of the surrounding sands for what might have been hundreds of miles. Far, far beyond that, a bulging, cone-shaped mountain projected to dizzying altitudes in the pale gray sky.
“Our location is impossible to determine,” Limefellow concluded. “We could be anywhere on Earth.”
“Wrong,” Scrumtumbler dropped the sand and wiped his hands on his filthy lab coat. “We are, in fact, on Mars.”
“Preposterous,” Limefellow said perfunctorily.
“Look at the moons,” Scrumtumbler pointed up at two glowing shapes in the sky. They appeared to be the same color as the Earth’s moon, but these were lumpy and misshapen like pock-marked potatoes.
Limefellow gazed at them for a moment before shaking his head. “A trick of the light,” he said. “An atmospheric anomaly.”
“Look over there,” Scrumtumbler pointed to a glittering circle of light at the base of the rock ridge. “There are lights over there. Civilization.”
“It’s a long way,” Limefellow said. “And the natives might not be friendly.”
“They never are,” Scrumtumbler said. “But just think of it: every step takes us closer to fame, fortune, and discovery.”
“Every step takes me closer to exposing your fraudulent claims to the whole world.” Limefellow retrieved a canteen from his briefcase and took a drink of water before handing it to Scrumtumbler.
Scrumtumbler took a drink and handed the canteen back. “If this really is Mars,” he said. “You’ll have to discredit me on two worlds.”
Limefellow nodded. “That shouldn’t be too difficult.”