The landing on the green planet, Koosh told himself in satisfaction, was one of utmost perfection. Not that that made it unusual, since the Martian craft all but handled itself and invariably performed almost one hundred per cent flawlessly. But Koosh did feel that this landing was a little, just a little, better than average, and his ability as pilot had made it so.
Thuko apparently thought the same, for he touched the other on the back of the neck in brief compliment.
Twirling his eye-stalks in pleasure, Koosh pressed a button on the control panel and arose to follow Thuko to the opening airlock, hopping on one leg, which happened to be all that he or any Martian possessed.
They emerged into warm, late summer air. For a moment they stood, filling their lungs, reveling in the rich, heady atmosphere that was so unlike their own.
“Wonderful, Thuko!” Koosh enthused. “And to think we have a full year of it ahead of us!”
“You are no less pleased than I,” Thuko agreed. “But we must take care that nothing happens to the ship in that time. Loss of it would mean the end of all this.”
He did not need to mention the reason. Koosh knew that it was because the small craft was the only one in existence. At least, as far as Mars was concerned. And of course that was because—well, actually it was not a Martian ship.