Capricornus 21, 2077, m249
Mars is vast.
The nearest two MAFL colonies are 2100 KM apart.
The farthest-most is more than 7000 KM, which translate to a gruelling 4-day round trip... another kind of endurance test for MAFL players.
"It's the only way to travel.", says Ferando Anthony, equipment manager of Europa United, "We have a lot of players and a lot of gear to transport, even if it is from the Colony to the local stadium, so it is the most practical means to get around."
Anthony can't say enough about 'Bob', the name of their robot driver. United have a C-Class tractor, originally designed to tow borers and other heavy machinery. On a full charge, Bob can make 800 km before needing to recharge. This is why road trips are scheduled to disembark either in the late evening or early AM before daylight if a substation isn't en route.
It is a necessity of the sport, something club owners, players and staff are well aware of prior to signing on.
"The long trips can be tedious, but it is also one of the great perks.", says Carlinhos Varela, United defender, "We get to visit almost all of the major settlements... That isn't something the average Martian can say."
If you've ever visited VEX or any of the other nomadic explorer settlements, club transports take it to the next level. They are the best-of-the-best when it comes to mobile habitations. These extraordinary vehicles are the heart of a team and are effectively a full facility on wheels.. Not only do they help get a team from point A to point B, they are the locker room, control centre, sleeping quarters, galley, medical bay, and tech shop.
"In an Express Tunnel, Bob can safety achieve 240 kph,", says Anthony, "It will be nice when construction on the Cross Martian Corridor is completed. It will shave off a lot time. We get nailed on surface routes especially when terrain gets rough or weather slows us down."
The triangle section of the Corridor between Marineris, Europa and Al'amal is expected to be open by end of summer, but connections East to Tiangong and West to San Olympus is another matter. The Huacheng Silk Channel Project has 8 robot borers running continuously in an effort to launch the first colony-to-colony hyperloop this mYear. Once open, this will promises a 4 hour direct journey from city-centre terminals, completely avoiding any exterior-hab-activity.
Until then, teams will continue to be shepherded by their robot drivers and traverse Mars in their club transports. Today, according to Bob, the remaining leg to Korolev (about 700 km) will get them in by 21:45, that is, assuming Reinmann's drills don't take longer than the 4 hour recharge cycle.
United face the Dynamos in Korolev's temporary stadium tomorrow afternoon.