Captain Longyear came from a long line of pilots.
Her Grandmother was a pilot, her Aunt was a pilot her cousin Lane was a pilot, and Sunny had flown the same path- but in her case, this time she was flying to Mars.
Sunny’s last trip had been to Callisto.
Callisto was supposed to be a lifeless hunk of rock but it wasn’t and when Sunny came back her entire crew had been infected by Callisto and within a days they were dead.
Callisto just spun around and as it did it reached into their heads and shut their neurons down one at a time.
It’s what Callisto did and it was lesson learned and nobody ever went back there again, but they did continue fly to Mars, to Venus and Pluto and landed something on every single asteroid that was dumb enough to get to close to Earth.
Humanity couldn’t stop once they got out there into the System. They were all over the place- planting flags, mining, and on some of the Moons they were even farming in domes and sending submarines to explore Oceans on moons that weren’t technically alive and could shut your brain down for the hell of it.
This trip to Mars was supposed an easy one. It was one of those feel good missions- use the budget or lose it so someone came up with the great idea of collecting the best of human culture, stuffing it into a box and burying it on a radioactive world.
She guessed it was in case anything happened one day and all that was left of humanity was going to be safe and buried on Mars.
Only Sunny figured if there was no Earth the chances there would be a Mars to was slim to none but what the Hell.
There were four passengers on this flight. Sunny’s crew of 2 and a robot cat and a robot dog because about 100 years ago it was the only way to get people to agree to 10 year missions – they could take a pet.
They had been on Mars for a week and Sunny watched with infinite patience as the four passengers and two of her crew carefully packed the best of human culture in airless glass boxes- in the random collection were pictures, musical instruments, wine, books.
Sunny was stunned
It looked like a garage sale down in the cargo hold.
One day Sunny grabbed a survival pack, a shovel the dog and a cruiser and began to disappear for about three hours a day.
She came back in just before sunset and upon each return she was always in a better mood then the day before.
” What are you doing out there?” Daisy Farmer one of the Humanity Reps asked her as she was getting read for her daily trip out.
” Oh, communing with nature.”
” Mars has nature?
Sunny tapped the side of her nose, whistled for the dog and this time she took the cat too.
It was Daisy who followed Sunny out on the eve their last day on Mars.
Sunny was leaning against a rock and the dog and cat were doing what all robot animals do when Daisy found them.
” I’m just curious Captain, what you do when you come out here.”
” Do you know what I learned on Callisto?” Sunny asked
Daisy shook her head.
” I learned that when you did and drill and force things into shapes and to look like something they are not, sometimes Daisy they say ouch. And then they kick your ass all over the Solar system. Not very humane of us is it? Torturing some poor planet and then cutting it open and shoving our crap into its carcass.”
” I suppose not” not Daisy said while wondering if Captain Longyear was sane or not.
” Well, I’m just trying to balance things out, come one I’ll show you.”
Daisy followed Sunny over a ridge and down a hill and the cat and dog ran ahead and then Della looked to where Sunny was pointing and she saw the six empty graves.
And then the Martian sky seemed to turn black and Daisy Farmer fell into eternity, a true representative of human culture