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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Middle Aged Mus Musculus of Mars (A Tale of Earth 52.5)

Eight long whiskers split evenly side to side
With the second to the bottom one on the observed left being a hair shorter than the rest
Centered by a pert pink nose with tiny nostrils that flared in rhythm to life's steady beat
Topped by two beautiful evenly spaced black shining eyes
All just barely visible over a small mound of rust colored soil in the furthest corner of the decagon shape walled town center

All the human activity was reflected in those twin intense black orbs
As twin crystal balls capturing the present for consideration
One man shouts something
Causing a twitch to the left whiskers
And an involuntary flinch of the eyes
Though they still observed unblinkingly

In this virtually predator-free environment
This particular mouse was practically royalty
Being of the five hundred and sixty first generation spawned from the first seven grey mice to stow away in a crate of supplies just over one hundred years ago
Surviving that seven month trip in storage locker 15F of the rotating habituation ring

If he had been human
There would have been no doubt much consternation as to how many generations exactly counted towards his personal total
And for the purposes of discussion we will say that the generational count began when the crate of flour and sugar was placed upon the high orbit transport at the Ecuadorian slingshot facility
(This of course all taking place before the Enrichment Facility Disaster of 2575 which rendered most of that country uninhabitable)

Upon landing and unloading at the first permanent colony of Homesport just West of Arcadia
Those several hundred initial mouse pioneers made their way onto a brave new world right along with the humans
Whose efforts to eradicate the mouse colony during the flight had served only to maintain a slight holding action at best
As told by the only modest increase in their population numbers in-transit

In all of this particular mouse's one hundred and twenty days
He hadn't seen activity such as this however
With sixty-two of the humans gathered within the town center
Surrounded by the ten sided walls of brown stuccoed black rock that was all too typical of post-Martian town infrastructure across the planet

The one human upon the raised platform directly opposite of the mouse observation point was making much louder mouth noises than the rest of them
Who were all facing him in a semi-circle
And clustered closely and comfortably in that mouse's opinion

Just as the small creature was considering losing interest in this decidedly non-food event
One more human entered the enclosed area just to the left of his corner
Drawing the whisker-nose-eye assemblage to bear upon this new intruder
Who was wearing a much bulkier set of outer covering over his body than any of the other humans in attendance

Screaming the loudest this mouse has ever heard
The new human blurted out a short burst of sound which meant not a thing to the mouse
But sounded like this:

Almost at the same time the hundreds of nerves at the base of all six vibrasse tingled in exactly what fans of a certain vintage comic book hero would call "Spidey Sense"
Causing the mouse to demonstrate one of the unusual facets of their existence upon Mars
And the source of much consternation amongst the human scientists

The fact that the mice of Mars did not suffer the same reduction in strength versus their Earth counterparts that the humans did

Pushing off as hard as he could from the firm mound of dirt he had been resting upon
The small quadrupedal body shot backwards into the only crack in the walls of the town center walls
With a speed that would have astounded his home world ancestors
Immediately whereupon the same mound of dirt was blown backwards as well
Stuffing the crack in the wall with its mass almost all the way to the back reaches of the void
Leaving our small observing protagonist face to dirt and rump to stone
With only six millimeters of breathing room

A small drop of blood formed upon the mouse's left earlobe
Leaking from the ruptured ear drum on that side
Finding gravity at last to fall from the still quivering pointed furry head
To the dry red hard ground
Beading like water upon a waxed surface momentarily
Before finding fissures upon the surface and being drunk eagerly by the suddenly vampiric planet

Leaving our mouse friend to gather his wits and escape somewhat unsteadily down the mouse size passage that would lead him back outside the walls
Adapting quickly already to only having one inner ear to steady himself
And thinking of a small bakery he knew of that usually had bits of bread under the cutting table to eat

Forgetting already of whatever that was that had frightened and injured him only minutes ago
Moving forward and living in the moment
In a now virtually human-free town