It was a bright night in a cold town and we were sitting in a darkened bar. An odd assortment of shady characters and old sleds hung about.

Shady McMurdo characters

I was carefully nursing my glass of vintage 2000 Bordeaux when three people from the limno team slipped in - like a bad taste in my mouth. The team kept to themselves, pounded down some drinks, and slunk out. Not too long afterwards, we left the bar too. The sun was still shining, the shadows were long, and the limno team had vanished without a trace into the night.

Ostensibly the team was a bunch of limnologists on continent to study the lakes of the Dry Valleys. But I had heard things. They made me think otherwise. The team members didn't sound like the stereotypical scientists that you see in movies or on television.

"Jersey Mama" Jill Mikucki, I was told, had a smart mouth, a bad ass attitude, some seriously scary driving tactics she didn't hesitate to use if anyone dared get out of line, and little sympathy for those who would voice their discomfort at suffering cold or injury.

She would bat her big blue eyes at them and whisper "it's a harsh continent" unnervingly in their ears.

Jill Mikucki - Up to No Good

"Joking Mad" Joel Moore seemed nice enough when you met him, knew how to make people laugh, but it was all a front, they said. He played dirty, real dirty. And you never knew what would set him off, make him go crazy - a look, a comment, some sand in his hiking boot on a clear, sunny night.

Joel Moore - Hey I'm a nice guy - really

"Krafty Meistress" Kerry McKenna claimed to be different than the others. "I'm a computer modeler," she would insist. But a wickedly mischievous smile belied her angelic demeanor. And she appeared slightly delusional, kept talking about some badger in the valleys - not the whole badger, just the head. Seriously, as if there were badgers on the continent.

Kerry McKenna - What's behind that smile?