Dear Sirs/Madam,

We did not have much time here on Mars before the virus took hold and we began to exhibit symptoms. As you know from our communications, this happened almost immediately.

Within our second week most of us were unable to perform the functions for which we were sent. Just writing this letter is incredibly tiring; however, I am doing it in spurts. I rest, write and rest some more. I’ll be done soon.

There are a few technicalities you need to be informed of, and not communicated over the airwaves.

First, the virus is not of the same type of organism we find in Earth’s atmosphere. We’re not completely sure how it transmits from one individual to another, but we know it is not through the air and because of precautions we have taken, we also know that it is not spread biologically. Therefore, we are only left to
assume it has a different form of communicating itself to host organisms that we are unaware of.

Second, symptoms begin immediately. As I said previously, we were only within our second week when we found ourselves unable to perform our duties. But it was within the first week that we knew we had contracted the virus. First symptoms are known through the incredible variance of colors we now see.

These are unlike anything seen on Earth, and explanations or describing verbally would do them no justice as they are so incredible. These are vibrant, lively colors that take on movement. If I did not know better, I would think I was in the fourth dimension. Surely, if there is a creator, she/he would make color the fourth dimension. The sensation, or symptom; whatever you choose to call it, is not unpleasant. In fact, just the opposite is true. We have enjoyed this very much.

Symptoms range, as you know, depending on the individual, from quite pleasant to nearly ecstatic. Though we may be on our way out, we’re having a great time of it. Though Captain Taylor was placed in isolation, because his symptoms took a different turn. His constant, hysterical laughter disrupted our ability
to perform our duties. So though we disliked excluding him from our midst, it was necessary to perform some of the duties charged us.

This said, be aware we understand hysterical laughter is not a good thing. The hysteria is a symptom of our former understanding of death and from the terror it inspires. Most of us now believe our infection or virus, first attacks the brain stem, moves into the pain centers to block the pain and then infects the rest of the host.

The organisms you will see on the martian terrain will no longer be human, but martian. They will be performing as humans normally do, but are much different. Already, my thoughts lean in the
direction of my martian counterpart and I can tell you, they have no love for the human species.

The settlement here has been completely taken over with the virus. It is one-hundred percent fatal. There will be no human survivors, though the body survives and acclimates.

The part of me that remains human believes my superiors knew of this virus and sent us here anyway. We were the guinea pigs, though there were other ways to study this phenomenon; the space program chose to play with our lives because it took less time and cost to see the results.

I am also of the understanding that with the overabundance of human life on Earth, the life cost is minimal to the program and the species. Unfortunately, we have lost the ability to value what life truly is; because we have that cost/value issue haunting us.

What is the value of one human life to the cost of a billion dollars in program funds?

An understandable dilemma in human terms. In martian terms, it is not so clear. Life is life. You cannot put a value on it, because it is priceless. It should be so with our species.

So, given this information, I have taken the liberty of sending this letter within the escape shuttle you now have in your possession. As I communicated over the airwaves, I have included all documentation that is required. No other explorers will know our little secret.

Also included with this letter and within the shuttle is the virus this mission has been infected with. If Earth’s atmosphere has not killed the organism, I’m sure you’re already appreciating this fact from the wonderful range of colors you are currently viewing.

Perhaps all of humanity will not be infected. Perhaps there will be some who have an immunity, but I hope not. I expect all human life to become extinct within the next three weeks. And if so, it will be a great thing for the universe; as a species that has no respect for life, should not exist.

Goodbye, good luck, see you on the other side.


Shanna Lee Bannon, former exo-biologist, Mars Three Mission.


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