His maculate origin

Chapter 1

OnceuponatimewhentheworldwasyoungtherewasaMartiannamedSmith.

ValentineMichaelSmithwasasrealastaxesbuthewasaraceofone.

ThefirsthumanexpeditionfromTerratoMarswasselectedonthetheorythatthegreatestdangertomaninspacewasmanhimself.Atthattime,onlyeightTerranyearsafterthefoundingofthefirsthumancolonyonLuna,anyinterplanetarytripmadebyhumansnecessarilyhadtobemadeinwearyfree-fallorbits,doublytangentsemi-ellipses-fromTerratoMars,twohundredfifty-eightdays,thesameforthereturnjourney,plusfourhundredfifty-fivedayswaitingatMarswhilethetwoplanetscrawledslowlybackintorelativepositionswhichwouldpermitshapingthedoubly-tangentorbit-atotalofalmostthreeEarthyears.

Besidesitswearinglength,thetripwasverychancy.Onlybyrefuelingataspacestation,thentackingbackalmostintoEarth’satmosphere,couldthisprimitiveflyingcoffin,theEnvoy,makethetripatall.OnceatMarsshemightbeabletoreturn-ifshedidnotcrashinlanding,ifwatercouldbefoundonMantofillherreaction-masstanks,ifsomesortoffoodcouldbefoundonMars,ifathousandotherthingsdidnotgowrong.

Butthephysicaldangerwasjudgedtobelessimportantthanthepsychologicalstresses.Eighthumans,crowdedtogetherlikemonkeysforalmostthreeTerranyears,hadbettergetalongmuchbetterthanhumansusuallydid.Anall-malecrewhadbeenvetoedasunhealthyandsociallyunstablefromlessonslearnedearlier.

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