The truck bounced over the desert. “There it is,” said the Sheriff, indicating the huge silver dome coming into view. It had to be bigger than a jumbo jet.

“How many are in there?” Asked Tom.

“We’ve only seen the one,” reported the Sheriff.

They passed the cordon and stopped. Standing there at the bottom of the ramp, the alien smiled an uncanny smile. Tom got out and approached. He’d seen videos of the thing shaking hands, but that didn’t prepare him for how it felt, like a pair of broccoli crowns. It offered Tom a transparent plastic sheet covered in writing. Tom glanced at it, and then paled.

“My god,” he gasped, “how did you get this?”

A synthetic voice responded. “From the Interplanetary Internet.”

“It didn’t make it there before she…” Tom trailed off.

“Yet you continue to send it.”

“Hope beyond hope,” Tom sighed.

“I am touched by your dedication. I will take you to her.”

“To the dead outpost? On Mars?”

“No, to heaven.”

Tom smiled. The Sheriff, and the world, watched in awe as they departed.

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