As part of the first manned mission to Mars, Philip knew he would be part of history. But after the accident left him alone, with no way to contact Earth, he assumed he would be not only the first person on Mars, but the last.
He tried to find any way to survive. Most of the supplies were lost in the accident. He had food for a while, if you could call it food. But long-term survival would require some terraforming. He needed to find a water source.
As he arrived at the nearest valley, he examined the surface to see if there was any evidence of past water, and where it might have gone. But what he found was ... curious.
Some fibrous tissue. A rope? No. A net. If he didn't know better, he'd think somebody was fishing here. But, that was impossible. Even if there had been life, including both marine and intelligent land-based life, this net couldn't be more than 150 years old. And 150 years ago, we certainly would've been able to see lakes and villages on the Martian surface. This is impossible. It's something else. A strange rock formation, or something.
He jumped. He hadn't heard a voice for days. Now there was a woman standing right above him.
"What are you doing out here? And in that ancient suit?"
"What? I just got here. Who are you?"
"Alara. Pleasure to meet you. And you are?"
"Philip! How funny! You've got such a silly old-fashioned name and you're wearing that ancient suit, like you see in the movies about the first Martians, and when they settled here. You know, like before they adapted to the climate, and before they destroyed the climate. Your parents must be old fashioned to give you a name like that. Why don't we head back underground together and you can tell me why you're wearing such a silly costume. Are you an actor?"
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