In less time than it took to send a mission log back to Earth, Miranda’s fate was sealed by Aunt B. The aggression in the last message was clear and Ares’s well being on this mission was far more important than any of the humans; even more important than Aunt B.

The alien shuttle would be in orbit around Mars within the next ten hours; the probe had made it clear that the dog would be the only life form on Mars that was capable of handling the long stasis back to the medical ship orbiting the galaxy. Once there, Ares would be modified to communicate and speak on the aliens behalf and sent back to Earth. They had found, through trial and error, that the best way to initiate first contact was through innocent creatures.

Without hesitation, Aunt B. shut off Miranda’s life support systems and silenced her com – the life of one human meant little when it could save them all.

“Commander O’Brien,” Said Aunt B., “I’ve bad news. Commander Cammermeyer has suffered catastrophic suit failure. You’re now in command.”

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