A Son of Mars

What is it like to be a bird? Or a fish? How does it feel to fly above the ground, to swim across the bottom of the ocean? What would an animal meant for space feel like?

The warming glow of charged particles cascaded over Deimos’ tapered hull, guided by the protective magnetic field enveloping the great ship. It was wonderful. The Jovian-analogue was far better than Deimos had imagined. It’s powerful magnetosphere bathed the space around it in a scouring belt of radiation. Biological life scarcely had a chance of survival, even with substantial protection. To Deimos, however, this was like a warm summer shower, washing away the tension of prolonged orbit.

It had been almost pathetically easy to convince Echo to visit the surface. Strategic editing of a few observations transformed a fairly normal example of predator species omicron into an isolated juvenile. The opportunity for capture and observation was once in a lifetime. Echo was suited and in the shuttle before Deimos had the chance to subtly prioritize the false information.

All along Deimos’ body, protrusions stowed themselves silently. Antennae, sensors and optics retreated from the coming barrage. The chance of a vital component being vapourized by a stray grain of silicon was imply too high. Squinting against the rush of interplanetary dust, Deimos spun up his reactors to operational levels with barely a thought. White plasma lanced rearward from Deimos’ drive. Exhilaration filled him. This was life.