Conquest

In 1956, a group of astronauts make a voyage to the Red Planet.

Strange white men came in from the north today, brandishing tools and trinkets of the like I have never laid eyes upon. Some even say they even fell from the sky in the bellies of great silver beasts, riding on wings of fire. Wings of fire? The sky? The scum who live in the northern cities must be bewitched, for what sane man would such ludicrous things? These strange men are nothing more than men, and when the moons rise again I will venture into the city to prove just that.

                                                                                               

            Starship Ventura, Captain’s log-Earth date 4/30/56

            Today is a great day, one that will go down in history as one of the greatest feats mankind has ever accomplished. Today, our rockets finally scorched the dusty red of Mars after decades of planning and preparation. It was surprising, of course, as natives greeted us, although our plans remain unshaken. It appears to be nothing more than a fledgling world with few tools and simple buildings, nothing bigger than any modest Earth home. Also, many of the beings appear to display only the simplest curiosity and intelligence, though further study shall be required.

                                                                                               

            The white men came into the city exactly two time-marks after the sun rose over the horizon, riding inside strange chariots of green metal that produced great noise and clouds of black smoke. The city is in quite a state, rushing to and fro to accommodate these strangers with the utmost care. From our underground passages we spring the finest food and precious water, and for whom? Strangers who simply fall from the sky? There is one, wearing layers of dark fabrics and glistening metal adornments, who seems to lead the band of strange pagans. I reached into his mind, and discovered that he is quite mad. He believes himself not only a spaceman (ludicrous), but from another world altogether. Hah! Every Martian knows that we are the sole world in this infinite universe capable of sustaining life as we know it. And yet the city stirs with excitement at their arrival. However, they have only convinced the weak and simple-minded, so I pray there must still be sense left with the Counsel. If not, I fear that our world is headed for great tragedy.

                                                                                               

            Starship Ventura, Captain’s log-Earth date 4/31/56

            Today we arrived at another city, this one exactly identical to the first, with more squat and simple buildings. We rolled in with quite a show, engines revving and horns blaring. It caused quite a scene too; the natives were scuttling back and forth between their hovels, bringing food and drink, which we did not dare to sample and politely refused. They still seem, for the most part, a simple people. They were easily impressed by some rather ordinary trinkets we had brought along (glassware, golden medallions, lighters). However, there was a single individual who did not move, and simply stood glaring with his arms crossed, apparently unmoved by the clamor and chaos. I had seen one at the first city as well, though because he appeared no physically different than the ‘normal’ ones I disregarded him. They seem no threat to our expedition, though further inquiry may be required.

                                                                                               

            My observations in the city today have granted me solace, though also uneasiness. They appear to be no more than a simple people; they communicate with crude gestures and sound waves, so their brains must not be developed enough for, or even capable of any higher levels of conveyance. However, they have succeeded in appearing from nowhere, which is an astonishing feat in itself. This may prove to be the product of some intelligence, though I can make no sense of their mental capacity with my limited abilities. I have sent a notice to the Counsel for further consideration.

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            Starship Ventura, Captain’s log-Earth date 4/32/56

            A company of engineers was dispatched today to inspect the latticework of ‘canals’ that astronomers have discovered with advanced telescopes in recent years. Surprisingly, they are certainly artificial, constructed of a concrete-like substance, though they are long dry, perhaps remnants of an ancient civilization, certainly not the product of these pre-industrial natives. One must wonder, however, where they acquire their water. The only logical explanation is that it comes from the poles, though how they transport it is certainly a puzzle. In the meantime, we shall erect temporary shelter to ward off the chill-it becomes dreadfully cold during the night.

The End

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