Cookoff on Ice: From the Journals of Samantha Bloodworth (Walking on Mars Serial 2)

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Samantha Bloodworth is still stationed at McMurdo, Antarctica, waiting for her next writing assignment. She smells a fun story being cooked up when some of the guys from the motor pool challenge the neighboring New Zealanders’ to a chili cook-off, with a group of Korean pilots as the judges.

Just as the first batch of chili is being judged, an explosion occurs near the party. Burning debris rains down on the party goers. The volcano that looms over McMurdo has chosen this unfortunate time to lob some lava bombs.

The commander of McMurdo orders everyone over to the New Zealanders’ base on the other side of the hill. For three days, the Americans, the New Zealanders and the Koreans are jammed into the smaller space. The taunting that had started during the cook-off continues and tempers flare. Initially, a winner was to have been crowned during the cook-off, but soon Samantha just hopes that everyone can survive the ordeal of living in a sardine can.