Muller and Smith had hit a bit of strife, just metres away from the peak of Mount Gravatt. Tethered to one another, it seemed they had each fallen prey to separate gravity wells, and were now being pulled apart in a tug-of-war. Muller with his heroic moustache tried to coordinate a double-self-rescue with Smith, but their voices were being snatched away in the freezing wind.
Muller had his climbing axes buried as deep as he could in the ground, but Smith had lost his into the gravity well behind him. If Muller crawled his way out, Smith would be lost for sure. If Smith tried to pull himself up on the rope, Muller might lose his grip.
It was just then that Muller spotted Earl coming over the ridge with that ridiculous helmet of his, and a smug grin plastered on his face. As if things couldn't have gotten any worse.
But then Earl noticed the serious predicament of Muller and Smith, and his smile turned to intent seriousness. He dropped his pack quickly and rummaged for some spare rope, shouting redundantly at them both to "hang on".
Earl the Mountaineer tied the rope around a sturdy-looking stump to anchor it, and laid one end aside for Muller before tying a climbing axe to the other end and lowering it slowly and carefully towards Smith. Smith gratefully took the axe and, with a deep *thunk*, sank it as far as he could into the ground, then held on for dear life.
With Smith secure, Muller began a slow crawl out and away from his gravity well, and Earl began pulling Smith to safety. As soon as Muller was upright again, he assisted, and Smith was free of the anomaly.
And there they sat, out of breath, rivals for the peak, but brothers in strife. When Muller had recovered enough, his gruff pioneer's face returned, and he bid Earl a curt farewell before heading off with Smith again. Smith, considerably more grateful, gave Earl a heartfelt (but silent) gesture of thanks, to which Earl responded with a modest hand wave of his own.
And though both Muller and Earl did reach the peak of Mount Gravatt and both braved the gravity wells to return home again, neither could be coaxed to say who had reached it first, for the rest of their days.
Mokalus of Borg
PS - That's the most respect I could imagine either character giving the other.
PPS - Next week's suburb is yet to be decided.