The savage code of Martians was as ruthless as desert they lived on and more valuable than millions of gems.
“You dirty devil! They'll hang you for this!" Ann Roberts blazed.
"Shut up!" Red Kelly hissed.
"I wasn't talking to you," she snapped, turning an angry face toward him. "I was talking to—to that!" She waved her hand to indicate Knuckles Roker.
"Maybe you weren't talking to me but I'm talking to you," Red Kelly whispered fiercely. "And I'm telling you to shut up. If you call Roker names and make him mad, he'll shoot us instead of marooning us as he intends to do."
"I'd rather be shot than marooned here!" she answered.
The angry nod of her head took in the red sands, the rocky, forlorn hills of the deserts of Mars. Red Kelly knew she was right about that. A slug from the heavy pistol in Roker's hand meant a quick and comparatively painless death. But to be marooned here meant two days of torture and then a slow death. Two days was as long as any human, without adequate supplies of water,, could withstand the blazing Martian sun. And when the sun was gone the deserts plunged from a temperature in excess of one hundred and twenty degrees straight down to freezing. The thin atmosphere held little heat.
"He's leaving us here without water and food," the girl continued. "What chance do we have?"
Robert Moore Williams (1907—1977), was an American writer, primarily of science fiction. Pseudonyms included John S Browning, H. H. Hermon, Russell Storm and E. K. Jarvis. His first published story was Zero as a Limit, which appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1937, under the pseudonym of "Robert Moore". He was a prolific author throughout his career, by the 1960's he had published over 150 stories.