The Last Martain
REPORT FROM DR. WILLIAM BRENT - JUNE 2, 2029
Howard Kramer called me from the security vault. It was 2:47 a.m., March 3rd, 2029. "Bill," he said, "I think we've got I took yesterday's printouts home and found a match. I had to check it for myself and it's true. We've got the first few letters translated and, in less than a week, I'm sure we can crack this thing wide open." One week later, Howard was dead.
It really began some thirty months ago with the combined Soviet/American expedition to Mars. While there, the explorers discovered what appeared to be an inscription on the rough face of a rock cliff. After four months in quarantine aboard the SpaceLab, this curious, red rock was brought down to Earth to be analyzed and, hopefully, deciphered by the staff of the Robinson Institute. As the Chief Administrator of this group, I and my staff had been trying for sixteen months to translate and read the message. The stone itself lays quietly in the security vaults below the Institute's main complex.
Some innate sense of duty and professionalism requires that I give a crude but full accounting of that amber rock's grim message:
We were here before you for ages. We have watched helplessly as your obscene culture grew. Our world lies crumbling beneath a terrible virus that attacks and destroys all metallic molecular structures. One hundred of your planet's rotations have passed since our buildings began to disintegrate and our tools fell to red dust. Our society crumbled. Where once billions lived and harvested fibers and crystals, now only a few scavenge what they can from the underground storage halls, until even that is gone.
Today, I am all that is left of a once proud and dominate race. Under different circumstances, we could have crushed you, but for those deadly radio waves that leaked from your planet and mutated our fungus, until it destroyed the very fabric of our civilization.
I know are coming for me. It has taken many months to inscribe this message. Even as I take my own life, I hate you.
The Last Martian
Today, more than half the Earth's population is dead from a serious virus of our own, which totally defeats the human body's immune system. Speculation is that we will all be dead in five months.
I'm convinced this is the result of that damn Martian rock, but what good is it to know that now?
I am using a handheld laser to inscribe this message on a block of titanium steel. Ironically, the Martians and we will go hand-in-hand into extinction, without ever really having met.