by Bill Holbrook
EXPLORATION Samantha finished her first examination of the Martian soil that Luis dug up in the farming section of the base, seeking proof of life. She hoped to find genetic material of any kind but came up…inconclusive. In that regard she was no more successful than all of humanity’s other probes. All that means is that eons of cosmic radiation might have blasted away any evidence of Martian life on or just below the surface. Further down, however, it might be waiting for us. So, the next logical step is to investigate the hole that was spotted months ago and caused us to alter our landing site. Dave and Maria are going to stay behind (with the baby, of course!) while Samantha, Luis, Ming and Jenny investigate. The dodos will remain on the base, too, since this mission will just be for recon. Their starring role will be the follow-up, and will depend on what’s at the bottom of the hole. We’ll also get a close look at the nearby pile of Earth wreckage. For insurance purposes. That was a joke.

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