I Found A Dead Alien Buried In The Sands Of Mars.

I found a dead alien buried in the sands of Mars.

No, I said a dead ALIEN. Not a dead MARTIAN. Mars was never capable of supporting life.

Bullshit. Bacteria don't count.

Fine. Mars was never capable of supporting extensive life, the kind of biomass density that altered the geospatial environment the way primordial life on Earth did.

Jesus, do you have to be such a picky asshole? What difference does it make? You know what I'm talking about!

Fine. The arespatial environment. Are you happy?

Well, it must make a difference to you or you wouldn't have insisted on it.

Yes, you did.

Fine. Whatever.

Yes, I'd love to get back to the alien. I was blasting a course for the heatpipe that'll connect Reactor Three to the new dome. This stretch of pipe runs through a long swale near Cravelli Crater.

I don't know. Somebody made the calculation and decided it was cheaper to put it underground than to lay it on the surface.

How should I know? I'm not an accountant. My job is to dig the tunnel, lay the pipes, and make sure they won't leak the molten salt. Another contractor will backfill with the aerogel insulation. I guarantee my work for thirty years. I can't vouch for the insulation contractor.

Because after the new domes at Landing and then again at Expansion grew out too close to Reactors One and Two, respectively, they decided to put Reactor Three way the hell out in the middle of nowhere and pipe the heat into the new dome. One and Two leak gamma rays and fast neutrons, see? So, instead of designing Three so it wouldn't leak, they just put it farther out in the wastes. It'll be safe enough to build, but after they turn it on, nobody is going to be able to get close to it for at least fifteen years.

Like I said, I'm not an accountant. Save on the reactor, spend on the long heatpipes. They must figure that the room for the new dome to grow is worth it. This alien, though... I gotta think that'll screw up some plans.

Yeah, OK. So, anyway, I blasted a course in the rock. It wasn't too bad... loose conglomerate, vacuum welded. It must have been a big sand dune back when Mars had water. Cravelli was a shallow lake, fed by a stream or two. This ship must have landed on the shore of the lake and then been buried.

Because it was a ship, that's how I know. Mars might have had some bacteria, but there was never any higher life here. None that evolved here, I mean. This ship was a product of a technological civilization, buried under a solidified sand dune at least twelve million years old. Just because I lay pipe for a living doesn't mean I'm stupid, pal.


I said, no. As in "no, I didn't blast the door". It was open. When the impact gel charges went off, the rock shiver-fractured, just like it was supposed to. When I first saw the open doorway, I thought it was a cave. Crazy, right? My last job was on Enceladus. You wouldn't believe the kind of caves that moon has got. Like cathedrals, or entire stadiums turned upside down. There was this one -

Well, because that's why I thought it was a cave. That was my first reaction, see? But Mars doesn't have any caves. It was because I spent so much time on Enceladus that I -


No, whatever. If you don't want to hear it, that's fine. I don't give a shit.

Because it looked like a cave, that's why. The open doorway was dark, and the rocks around it made it look like a natural opening. Until I shone a light in, I thought I was going to be famous for being the first guy to discover a cave on Mars.

He was right there, yeah. Sitting in a chair, facing the door.

No, none of the rock hit him. He was too far back.

He was just sitting there. No signs of struggle or fighting. He looked kinda ragged, but that's all.

Ragged, you know? Like he was threadbare. His clothing was worn, scuffed at his... at his... well, I guess where his knees and elbows would be, except he had two knees and a long, curving kinda elbow joint.

They were just worn looking. As though he'd been wearing them to do manual labor for a long time. Like how a farmer's overalls get worn at the knees. Like that.

No, but I've seen plenty of movies.

Fine, not like a farmer. Whatever.

I moved over to him and looked at him. Shone my light on him to get a better look, see? He was completely desiccated. The atmosphere on Mars will suck you dry if you leave your suit open. His helmet dome was on his lap, completely removed.

Hey, I don't judge. If Mr. Alien committed suicide, then that makes him as human as the next guy. It gets pretty fucking lonely out here. I've known guys that couldn't take it anymore and opened a vent. It happens.

This isn't about me.

I'm just saying that he didn't come from Mars, so he had to come from somewhere else, right? He looked like he'd been stuck here a long time. Whether he was marooned or on some kind of an assignment... it can get to you.

No, he was the only one. The ship wasn't that big.

Jesus, I don't know! I found a dead alien buried in the sands of Mars, and now you want me to speculate about how he got there?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. I think this worked out just fine! I'm glad you ran with this, because I would have had to try otherwise.

  2. I enjoy how he (was it male in your head?) tripped over himself, revising minutia while discussing the extraordinary story. A little bummed I missed whatever caused the genesis of this story. I can only imagine it was playing out on social networks while my family was in a maelstrom.

  3. gee he's tetchy, is he being debriefed or interrogated? I'm reminded of road diggers who have to halt their work because they find a skeleton which turns out not to be a criminal murder victim, but some archaeological site and the roadwork has to stop because the archaeologists get given a time period to dig the site for further finds.

    marc nash

  4. Loved this. It was like eavesdropping on someone's conversation.

  5. Enjoyed the attitude of the narrator and fluctuated between feeling sorry for them and thinking they were quite difficult. It was also fun trying to imagine the one asking the questions.

  6. I like to think that part of this is voiced by the Sarcastic Rover tweeter but it's a good train of thought piece.


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