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The Martian Hypothesis Part Two

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									     The Martian Hypothesis : Part Two
                                By Gerry Forster

                                  Chapter Six
      An Ancient and very Hypothetical History of Mars.
         We have already looked at the major features of Mars, and its general
statistics, along with some initial thoughts about the possibility of human life perhaps
having begun there. Or possibly on the parent Planet V - or Astrida - to which Mars
was once possibly gravitationally attached along with several others, as a satellite, by
the apron-strings of a gravity perhaps four times that of Earth. Now, let us look a
little deeper and imaginatively into this concept of an ancient Mars being a planet
much less than Earth-size, that once had a dense atmosphere, and considerable
expanses of ocean. One that was the once the home of an abundant variety of life –
not unlike those of Earth today – with Homo Aresensis (Mars Man) at the very apex
of its mammalian animal lifeforms.

When we look at Mars today, and we see a totally devastated planet which has
obviously experienced a major catastrophe in the past hundred million years. It has
no surface water, and only the thinnest of atmospheres and the cataclysm has left the
planet branded with such huge scars of unimaginable wounds, that one wonders how
it has still remained whole and orbiting the Sun in much the same vicinity as it
originally did.    Whilst the northern hemisphere of Mars appears to be relatively
smooth and only slightly pockmarked by small craters, the southern hemisphere
presents a completely different picture. It is covered by a miles-thick deposit of
rocky detritus, which bears thousands of impact-craters of all sizes, varying from a
few yards to a thousand or more miles across! Also its surface bears a strange array
of cracks and rifts as well as many ancient watercourses and channels, which appear
to be the multiple beds of dozens of long dessicated riverbeds! The planet’s magnetic
field is very weak by Earth standards, and it seems now to have lost any
magnetosphere it may once have possessed. Its polar regions however, still bear
sizeable traces of water-ice and “dry ice”, which could be a useable sources of water
should any Earthman astronauts ever set foot upon its forbidding red soil, which is
nothing more than ferric oxide – or common rust!

        NASA’s orbiting cameras and laser altimeters have provided the world with
enormous enlightenment as to finer details of the Martian surface. And as their
technical expertise becomes ever more finely honed, we are able to distinguish more
and more and close-up views of amazing unnatural-looking structures in the
photographs now being taken and digitally relayed to Earth.          From these latest
pictures we are able to deduce quite conclusively that Mars is not yet the totally
waterless frozen desert it was previously thought to be.
        Despite earlier information to the contrawise, there are now plenty of signs of
water being discovered by NASA’s orbiting cameras in many scattered regions of the
planet. In some blow-ups of sections of photographs it is possible to see that runnels



                                          27
of water are flowing out from subsurface strata down the sides of craters and actually
pooling in their bottoms. In addition, there are signs of still-damp riverbeds leaching
up to the surface of the desert itself, where water has clearly flowed or seeped along
ancient channels! It appears that beneath the superficial few metres of permafrost
there still exists a liquid water table across much of the plainland of Mars, which
should prove easy to tap into for the sustenance of Earthman explorers. So it would
seem that Percival Lowell was not so far off the mark after all, when he claimed to see
canals or channels on Mars, at the turn of the 20th century! His once-besmirched
reputation as a dedicated Mars observer appears gradually to be recovering
respectability in astronomical circles – especially among those whose special focus of
interest is upon the Red Planet! I for one, am very glad to see this turn-around in
scientific opinion, as too many modern scientists tend to sneer at those who first
pioneered the way to the stars, and belittle their great efforts, however erroneous these
frequently turned out to be. At least enthusiastic and imaginative people such as
Lowell captured the public, political, and most importantly, financial interest of
ordinary people and governments alike, which eventually led to the establishment and
funding of such great space agencies as NASA and its European and Asian
counterparts! However, to return to our primary subject!

       In the first chapter, I have already outlined the principal features of Mars as we
see them today, and hinted at the great catastrophe which originally caused them.
Now let us briefly look at the catastrophe itself, through the mental eyes of some of
the world’s best known and more imaginative astrophysical authorities, as well as my
own entirely imaginary interpretation of that literally world-shattering event and its
consequences!

        Some of these scientists are prominently featured on the Internet, so the
reader, if he or she so desires, may refer directly to their writings for confirmation if
necessary. Firstly, there is Dr. Tom Van Flandern, who besides being a highly
respected powerfully qualified and eminent member of the American astrophysical
community, is also a lateral-thinking and imaginative researcher in his field. Then
there is Donald W. Patten, renowned scientific philosopher, writer, and author of
several books on a variety of interdisciplinary studies, and graduate of the University
of Washington, who has made a special study of “The Scars of Mars”. These two
brilliant scholars may differ on some points, but the fundamental sum of their theories
has proved very helpful. Together with a modicum of inherent commonsense and the
knowledge I have gleaned in my own studies of the solar system, their beliefs lend
invaluable support to the platform on which my speculations are partly based.
        Here then, without further ado, is my own entirely speculative sci-fi
hypothesis on the possible ancient history of Mars, our Moon and possibly ourselves,
too – not to mention the end of the dinosaurs, and the strong likelihood of planets
being hollow!

            Silent Witnesses to the End of a World
        To begin with, I must ask you, the reader to imagine yourself joining me as an
invisible and incorporeal spectator, suspended in space somewhere adjacent to the
present orbit of the main Asteroid Belt at the scene of a great cataclysm. One which I
suggest occurred somewhere around 60-70 million years ago. Instead of the band of


                                           28
asteroids, we see a large planet, several times bigger than the Earth, rolling around its
orbit between Earth and Jupiter. It is the planet Astrida, obviously home to a rich
variety of life forms.
        As we study it with our spiritually-enhanced telescopic vision, we see that it
has a rich, virtually Earthlike atmosphere, and its surface is composed of a deep
freshwater ocean interspersed with sprawling, mountainous and luxuriously vegetated
land-masses. Whilst the ocean is filled with fish and other water-dwelling lifeforms,
the land, too, is exceedingly rich in animal life of all kinds.

         Many of the land creatures we might recognise as being vaguely familiar,
bearing many similarities to those we currently find upon the Earth, though perhaps
differing in certain odd respects. This is because these lifeforms have developed
upon a planet which has a much greater mass to our Earth, and in order to compensate
for the much higher gravity, they are far smaller and much squatter than our own
terrestrial animals. Even the fishes and aquatic creatures share this difference, but to a
lesser degree, since part of their greater weight is offset by the fact of their bodies
being supported in water.

        However, despite this particular difference, we can see that the processes of
specialised development have been at work in both sea and land creatures, producing
all sorts of marvellous variations upon the same basic DNA theme, in order to suit
them to their particular niches in their world.          We can see that, among the
mammalian animals, a group of hominids have become the dominant species, by dint
of their highly developed brains, their erect, bipedal body-posture, and the consequent
specialised development of their forepaws. These were long since freed from the task
of supporting half of their body-weight, and able to be employed for other, far more
useful and intricate purposes. It may well be that some similar species have arisen
among the sea-dwelling lifeforms, but we shall not search for them now. Our interest
is focussed more closely upon these land-dwelling humanoid species.

        Living as they do upon a planet some 42 million miles further away from the
Sun than the Earth - which is still in its Mesozoic era, and is thus a torridly steamy,
swamp-ridden planet – they have had to adapt to a much colder climate. Even if on a
planet that still features and is atmospherically warmed by, a great many active
volcanoes and thermal springs. Hence, they are largely covered in thick but fine body
hair, which, coupled with their small and very stocky build, gives them an uncannily
simian look, not unlike obese chimpanzees! Have we somehow stumbled upon the
“Planet of the Apes”? No. For these are not apes, any more than human earthlings
are. Instead, they are more than likely to be the remote and highly sapient ancestors
of creatures like us!

        Despite their hairy and rather ugly, squat, gnome-like appearance they have
already acquired a level of technology which far exceeds our own of the 21st century.
Their neat clean and compact cities and spaceports evidence this. As do the transit-
tubes which connect them in an almost invisible spider-web network all around their
huge planet. They have no atmosphere-polluting automobiles or industrial plants
belching dirty steam, laden with evil chemical fumes into their rich atmosphere, or
dribbling noxious chemical bi-products from dirty drains into their pristinely
sparkling oceans.



                                           29
        True, there are quite astonishing jets of steam shooting high into the air, in
many places around the planet, but these are natural geysers and hot springs, so can
hardly be described as sources of pollution, nor really can the extremely lively
volcanoes which proliferate among the mountains. They are all purely natural
phenomena, and help to keep the planet’s atmosphere at a pleasantly tolerable
temperature, as well as provide natural power to drive their massive dynamo-turbines
for electronic power. Their technology, although based upon a rather similar form of
electronic particle excitation to our own somewhat cruder electricity, has taken a
different track to our own modern Earthly form. Its processes and operations were
conceived right from the beginning with the precious and delicate environment of
their homeworld firmly borne in mind. Thus, we see a world that has retained all the
finer aspects of a vast and unspoiled wilderness and a protected game reserve, all in
an almost Eden-like state of natural beauty and balance. A paradise only spoiled here
and there a little by the frequent eruptions of innumerable large volcanoes and the
constant tremors of earthquakes.

       But these too, are surely natural features such as we find upon our own planet,
and hardly likely to wreak the terrible polluting havoc which we have created by our
chemical-intensive industries and wars upon our long-suffering Earth? Besides, the
Astridans have erected beautiful protective translucent domes over their cities, which
stand upon tremor and shock-absorbing platforms, so that the natural writhings of
Nature do not disturb the even tenor of their largely academic lives.

The Unstable World of Astrida
        But what of the actual planet Astrida itself? Is it really as stable and peaceful
within as it appears on the outside? Through our marvellous all-seeing visual senses,
we peer a little more closely at its geological structure. Alas! We find that all is not as
ideally balanced or as steady as it seemed to our first superficial glance. The many
active volcanoes on the outer crust, the thermal springs and marvellously high-jetting
geysers and constant earth-tremors are only outward symptoms of the horrendous,
seething cauldron which boils and fumes within its double shell of rock.

        Astrida is a hollow planet, as are they all, including our own Earth and Mars –
and its 2,000 mile-thick carapace sandwiches a thick belt of white-hot molten lava
between its inner and outer crusts. This is now at a perilously high temperature, hence
the increasing proliferation of lava-suppurating volcanic“boils” on both outer and
inner surfaces of its shell. Fortunately for the lifeforms and vegetation upon the outer
surface of the planet, the heat they generate rises swiftly through the atmosphere into
the stratosphere where it is dissipated away into the icy cold of space, after passing
some of its warmth to the air. But not so that which is vented inwards. The enclosed
super-heated steam has steadily accumulated and built up over many millennia to the
point where the interior is like an enormous pressure-cooker.

         Though both inner and outer shells have already cracked under the tremendous
strain in thousands of places, the overworked boiling thermal springs and spectacular
geysers which they have created can no longer provide sufficient release for the pent-
up internal steam and gas as quickly as it is being produced by the hidden internal
volcanoes.
         This mighty planet Astrida has now finally become a colossal “bombshell”
that is rapidly approaching the point of a gigantic, shattering explosion!


                                            30
        Now that we know that some terrible doom hangs over the giant planet, we
turn our attention to the little family of moons that orbit around it. Most are plain
battered-looking barren planetoids like the Moon which circles the Earth, but there is
one which almost resembles our home planet, even down to the misty envelope of an
oxygen and ozone rich atmosphere, through which we can perceive verdant
landmasses and deep blue oceans.          This is a much younger planet Mars, as it
appeared in happier times.

Mars, The Satellite
        We focus closely upon its surface searching for signs of life. Very soon we see
them. They are there, grazing upon the rolling grassy plains and foraging among the
tall forest trees. But these animals are giants in comparison to those on the parent
planet, Astrida! And even to those on our Earth! Many are of similar builds to our
giraffes, very tall creatures with long spindly necks and legs, but even so they remind
us of similar animals we find on Earth, except for their large size and vertically-
stretched appearance. Oddly, we see no reptiles among them. Perhaps the Martian
climate is a little too cool for cold-blooded creatures to have developed successfully?

       Then, suddenly, we see a momentary glinting reflection of the muted sunlight
upon something among the rocky hills toward the northern polar region. It disappears
– then suddenly we glimpse it again. Something is moving down there. Something
which reflects like metal or glass! What can it be?

        As we focus our long-range vision sharply upon this mysterious object, we
realise that it is a machine – almost reminiscent of our earth-moving equipment back
on the Earth! We zoom in close on this fascinating object, and – Yes! It is some type
of gigantic digging or boring machine, working within a large circular excavation -
and, more importantly, there are men operating it!

         These are different to the men of Astrida. They are more like ourselves, only
much taller and very delicately built. In many respects, we are reminded of some of
the pale-skinned, fragile-limbed aliens we have seen in science-fiction movies. But
these are real humanoids, and giants at that! Their bodies are sheathed in silvery
tight-fitting coveralls with only their hands and faces exposed to the elements, but
these glimpses of skin show us that they are not hirsute like the Astridans, nor are they
dwarfish - but like them - these also show distinctly humanoid features.

        Though their bodies, skulls and limbs look very narrow and fragile, their
chests appear to be massive, and from this we can only deduce that they are adapted to
a much thinner atmosphere than that of Astrida.        Can these men be the original
Martians, we wonder, or are they perhaps descended from the Astridan pioneers who
first ventured into space aeons before? Visiting and exploring their planet’s satellites
before venturing further afield toward other planets – perhaps even as far as the
sweltering Earth? We don’t know, though they bear little real semblance to the squat
and hairy Astridans.
        As we shift our gaze across the planet’s surface, we spot other shining objects,
which resolve themselves into what look like transport vehicles and even some sort of
aircraft – no – they look more like shining metallic flying-saucers! They could even
be spacecraft! Does this mean that the “men” we see are actually aliens? Obviously


                                           31
they are very technologically advanced people. Perhaps they are on some sort of
mining expedition from another of the satellites, or even from the mother-planet.

        No! They are clearly native to Mars, but are used to travelling among the
other moons of Astrida. If they were to land upon Astrida, they would surely be
crushed by their own size! Suddenly, we realise the one thing that ought to have
occurred to us at the outset. Perhaps they might be from the interior of Mars! This
would explain the saucer-shaped spacecraft. There must be apertures on Mars, just as
there are on all the hard-shelled planets. It is possible that they are mining minerals
and metals that are depleted in the inner crustal surface.

        There are signs of antlike, humanoid activity everywhere we look. Mars must
indeed be a busy planet, as the Martians seem to be working extremely hard – almost
feverishly, one might say - as if to meet an unknown deadline. Then we see that many
of them are busy rounding-up and capturing all kinds of wildlife and are even netting
birds, then loading them into their ships. Why? And why all the feverish urgency?

        We shake our heads in puzzlement and turn our attention to the deep oceans
that take up more than half the Martian surface. These, too, are alive with aquatic life
and we are again astonished at the basic similarity of the fish and other water-
creatures to those of our own planet. Again there are curious elongations and size-
differences between those of Earth, and even more so those of Astrida, but the same
fundamental forms can still be distinguished, including many cetaceans and other sea-
mammals. Like the land-animals, they are all variations of the same basic structural
themes we find upon the Earth. Also there are great flocks of wide-winged birds with
elongated delicately fashioned legs and necks, gliding lightly and effortlessly with
astonishing grace through the thin Martian air. There were birds on Astrida, too, but
they were little more than clumsy waddlers in its dense atmosphere compared to these
aerial Martian ballet-dancers! The difference is like that between the dodo and the
flamingo!

The Monoliths of Mars
        Our attention idly returns to the land surface again, and as we allow our all-
seeing eyes to range over the plain country, we notice that there are several small
monolithic mountains set almost in a tidy arrangement in the region of the Martian
equator. Whilst there are several scattered mountain ranges in various parts of the
planet, we are surprised to find that these particular giant rock-formations are
individual, strangely familiar geometrical shapes. Several of them have taken the
forms of variplaned, distinctly pyramids – we see that one has three sides, another
four, and yet another has five sides! We also notice that they are standing like islands
in the shallows of a great ocean.

        Together, they seem to form a sort of citadel or fortress of some kind. There
are several of these curious monoliths, but surely the most amazing one of them all is
one that is shaped in the form of a hominid face! Whether it is the face of a human
or an ape is hard to distinguish, due to the weathering of long ages, but it is quite
distinctly anthropoid! We look more closely from a better angle, and discover that
this amazing face appears to be surrounded by a raised symmetrical headdress – not
unlike that of an Egyptian pharaoh or high priest! Surely this cannot be! And yet it
is! So many of us always believed it to be just pure imagination!


                                          32
        We find ourselves staggered by this utterly incredible find. And yet the more
we gaze upon it, the more we can see that it is patently not some freakish work of
Nature, using the slow tools of wind and weather to exercise Her often uncanny craft.
This head, and the strangely Egyptian pyramidal hills of living rock, is clearly the
work of intelligent beings.     Could they have all been shaped by the same race of
beings we have already observed at their mining activities – if such was the aim of
their labours?     What could their purpose have been in fashioning such amazing
monoliths? Religion or the need to leave some sort of evidence of their passing! We
simply cannot tell.

        However, one thing is apparent. The Face, in particular, was certainly meant
to be visible to those beings living on the giant planet close by. It, like the others, is
set upon the equatorial belt of a planetoid revolving in a satellite orbit that follows the
same horizontal plane as that of the big planet, in much the same way the Sun’s
planets circle around its solar equator. Perhaps it was intended to be a perpetual
reminder of some grand God or a mark of a past technological greatness – like the
Sphinx of Giza in Egypt – but on a far grander scale! The giant Face of Mars is
easily a mile and a half in length and a mile wide, and it rises to at least a thousand
feet high above the floor of the plain!

        As we continue to observe all the frenzied activity upon Mars that has been
going on for many days, we notice that the Martian ships are now lifting off the
surface everywhere, and are flying toward the northern polar region. We follow them
with our marvellously enhanced vision as they speed along and see them dart, one
flight after another, straight down into the barren polar plateau! We are staggered by
what appears to be some incredible, lemming-like, multiple kamikaze death-dive.
Then, as we peer more closely, we see that a great circular opening has appeared in a
large, frosty bowl-shaped hollow, and the ships are flying down into the yawning
well-like chasm it now reveals. Scores of them follow, flight upon flight - until,
suddenly, there are no more.

         Then, before our unbelieving eyes, the huge circular hole begins to close like
the iris of a gigantic camera-lens! We watch spellbound as it seals tightly, wondering
why the ships and their occupants have so suddenly left the scene. It is softly glowing,
pearly morning on this side of Mars, at such a distance from the Sun that it has only
two-thirds of the radiance we see and feel on Earth. Then we notice that all
movement on Mars seems to have come to a halt, and that the remaining animals are
standing in tremulous, huddled groups gazing fearfully skyward. We look back at
giant Astrida, looming huge in the sky, in time to see the first violent convulsions of
impending death begin shaking the mighty planet. Astrida’s time has come, and the
final cataclysm is at hand!

The Death of Astrida
       Although there is no sound in the near vacuum of space, here in our
incorporeal state as ethereal witnesses to the terrifying events unfolding before us, our
psychic senses permit us to hear the catastrophic clamour of a world in its death-
throes of self-destruction. With a sudden thunderous roar, the throats of a thousand
volcanoes suddenly burst forth as one into shattering violent eruption. Unimaginable
volumes of mephitic smoke and fumes mixed with superheated sulphuric steam blast


                                            33
up into the Astridan atmosphere, carrying with them sky-filling swarms of rock and
still-molten gobbets of lava and pumice which immediately blacken the skies of the
doomed planet.

       At the same time, the roaring thunder of the volcanoes is joined by the shrill
screaming whistles of all the geysers and hot springs as they jet enormous fountains of
scalding steam, boiling water and lava thousands of feet high into the already hellishly
polluted atmosphere. As we watch, the appalling disaster seems to be occurring in
slow motion.

        Now, a great spiderweb network of crust-deep cracks open up as if by magic,
all over Astrida’s surface, as the tortured shell of the planet is riven apart by a million
massive earthquakes. Trees, animals, people and even cities are instantly vapourised
in the holocaust of terrible heat and blast which bursts forth from the planet’s interior,
and the crazed network of cracked crust is now lunge into space in a myriad flying
fragments, like the shrapnel of a gargantuan grenade. The oceans are blown away
even before they can vaporise and with them goes an unimaginable slathering shower
of splattered sedimentary matter, both from without and within the bursting globe.

        Suddenly, after an eternity that, in reality, has lasted but a few seconds, the
whole tremendously huge explosion is ended, and all that remains of the once
magnificent world of Astrida is the fading orange-red glow of a vanishing globular
cloud of rapidly disappearing gas, fragments and dust. Within a few brief moments
of time, mighty Astrida has vanished, as if she had never existed. Even her little
circling retinue of moons and planetoids has been blown away, some into complete
oblivion due to close proximity to their parent. Other, slightly more fortunate outer
moons have been blasted from their orbits by the terrible explosion, and among these
is the heavily battered and half-denuded remnant of a once-beautiful Mars.

         Like its remaining sister and brother satellites of Astrida, Mars is now flying
out upon a tangent away from the explosion-site. But although smashed and battered,
it is at least fortunate in that it has been impelled in the direction of the orbital path
that poor Astrida was following around the Sun. It is accompanied by a smaller sister
moon, which has also sustained enormous damage, its surface being ravaged by a
million impacts. Thus neither it nor Mars have suffered the dire fate of some of their
sibling planetoids which are now heading toward a fiery death-plunge into the Sun, or
out toward the great gas-giant, Jupiter, and beyond. Two satellites have been blown
almost free of the Sun’s gravitational grasp and are heading into the black void and
vastness of outer space. To journey upon enormously long and lonely elliptical orbits
which will take thousands of years to complete before they ever feel the warmth of a
star again…

The Glory that was Once Mars…
        But we cannot concern ourselves with them. Our silent unshed tears are for
Mars, which is now wobbling along, closely followed by its new, equally ruinous
companion, upon an erratic course which will carry it roughly along Astrida’s former
orbit. We stare in sadness and pity at Mars, as we follow the savagely wounded little
planet in its staggering flight from the scene of such sudden unimaginable disaster.




                                            34
         A closer inspection of Mars now reveals to our appalled gaze the enormity of
the terrible damage it has received. There are at least two gigantic holes torn through
its battered shell where larger chunks of Astrida have penetrated to the planet’s
interior, and embedded themselves in the inner crust on the opposite side of the globe.
One of these, a huge solid lump of Astridan crustal matter, has pushed out a great
uplifted bulge in Mars’ flexible shell, and has caused four gigantic volcanic abscesses
to arise, spurting huge gouts of upwelling molten magma from inside the fractured
double-crust of the bulge. In millennia to come, this great lava-vomiting, six miles-
high hummock will be named the “Tharsis Bulge”, and the largest of its four giant
volcanoes, towering 15 miles above the now empty ocean floor, will become
“Olympus Mons”, whilst the two huge entry-wounds will become the Hellas and
Argyre Craters. The projectile which caused the latter crater-wound, has also sired a
fifth great volcano, which will be later named, ironically, in Latin “Elysium Mons”-
the “Mountain of Blissful Rest”!

        But our principal amazement is focussed upon the six-mile thick deposit of
rocky detritus that was flung out during the initial outburst from Astrida, and
splattered like thick, wet concrete over that hemisphere of Mars, which was turned
toward the luckless parent at the instant of its demise. The sudden added weight and
mass of this material that once formed part of the outer crust and ocean of Astrida, has
seriously unbalanced the little Mars, which is why it is tottering and reeling drunkenly
along, fighting to regain some sort of equilibrium. And even as we watch, the
maimed planet heels over a full ninety degrees from its former vertical stance and
Mars’ polar regions automatically shift to new locations as a new axis of revolution is
formed. All planets must revolve or face a slow death of stasis. The axiom for all
celestial bodies seems to be: “Move or die!”

        (The planet Mercury is an example of this – even though it could be
technically claimed to “revolve” around the Sun. But it nevertheless has perforce to
always keep the same face turned toward our solar star. This has resulted in a
dichotomy of planetary surface conditions. One side is perpetually roasted by the
merciless glare of the Sun’s blazing heat and light, whilst the other hemisphere is
permanently turned away in stygian darkness and the frigid sub-zero coldness of
space. If any life at all were to be found upon Mercury, it could only exist on the tiny
rim of half-light that marks the slightly variable terminator around the edge of the two
hemispheres. However, it would have to be a lifeform that can exist without air, but
we cannot say the same for life possibly existing within the planet’s shell!

         There is no reason why the interior of Mercury need be regarded as inimical to
life, although, if any apertures occur at its poles - which also are situated in its
terminator-zone - great care would be required to prevent voiding of inner atmosphere
into empty space! One must imagine any Mercurian inhabitants to be sufficiently
technologically advanced as to have devised efficient air locks around such
apertures!)

        However, our concern now must be for Mars, and his smaller sister satellite,
Luna, which is gradually catching up along the same wide orbital path once occupied
by proud Astrida. Time flies past on wings of lightning as we wait and observe what
happens next. A thousand years pass by in an instant, and we see that Mars and his
sister have now become a little binary system together, with Mars and Luna rotating


                                          35
around each other. Rather like a couple of children holding hands while they whirl
around in a circle together, except that the hands in this case are replaced by bonds of
mutual gravity.

        We have seen something quite astounding, too, in that time!              We have
watched the iris-like portal - which we last saw the Martian ships enter hurriedly just
prior to the catastrophe - open up again to allow a lone craft to exit. Tall, space-suited
figures emerge briefly from it to take readings with various types of instruments, and
survey for the first time the mangled ruins of their planet. They stand forlornly upon a
tall mound of Astrida’s outflung rocky detritus and survey the heartrending scene of
utter desolation. Could this be the place where gentle animals once roamed among
the prairie pasturelands and the verdant forests, and where blue waters ran down in
meandering rivulets into a vast freshwater ocean? And where has all this new rough
mountainous highland appeared from, which now covers half their world to a height
of over six miles?

       Surely this cannot be the same outer world their ancient ancestors wrote of so
glowingly and lovingly? We can see despondency in their slumped shoulders as they
turn away toward the brightly-lit opening, and re-enter what is evidently an airlock
leading into the still-habitable interior of the planet. But not before they have shown
some animated interest in their planet’s new partner, Luna, and made a very carefully
study of it as it circles with Mars in their now-familiar orbital waltz around the Sun.

        We wait and watch as yet more fugitive centuries flash by. As we wait, we
look back to the region where the great explosion took place, and are surprised to find
that whole shoals of small fragments of the late planet have begun to loosely
congregate together along a new orbit. An orbit that lies somewhere between that of
the former Astrida - now followed by Mars and Luna - and that of the great gas-giant,
Jupiter, clearly visible in the black sky of space. Not all the fragments are here, of
course. Many vanished into the inky depths of space – to return thousands or millions
of years later as meteors and comets – some to collide with other worlds and their
unprotected moons. Some to simply disappear forever….

         Then comes a truly unforgettable day. The aperture at last spins itself open
again on Mars, this time the iris opens much wider than before, to permit several of
their circular, dish-like craft to emerge. Clearly they are not airborne craft, since they
are capable of flight in the almost complete absence of any noticeable atmosphere.
Sadly, most of the Martian atmosphere, together with its abundant ocean, was blown
away during the cataclysm, and the only traces of water left are not those of Mars’
own seas, but a swiftly-vanishing remnant of that which was splattered out of the
dying Astrida. The terrible bitter chill of space is steadily turning the blast-cleared
ocean floors of Mars into solid permafrost, several yards deep already, and the new
polar caps of both planets are now painted a brilliant white with frozen carbon dioxide
and water ice.

        We continue watching the aerial craft, and can only guess that they have must
operate by means of some antigravitational propulsion drive-system, as they
manoeuvre quite freely and easily, climbing, hovering perfectly still here and there,
then speeding on swiftly to another place of interest. This time they circle every
sector of their battered planet, presumably making some kind of visual record of what


                                           36
they find, with some kind of inboard imaging-gear. Then, as we watch interestedly,
several of the craft shoot off into space - out toward the ravaged little grey-white
companion of Mars. This is something that we have forgotten, even though it should
have occurred to us much earlier. These people, or rather their ancestors, had already
conquered space-travel eons ago. We note, too, with astonishment, that the trip
between the two planets has taken their amazing craft barely half an hour, rather than
the several days we had expected, and now, as they swoop toward the surface of
Luna, we descend with them. It is time for us to study these amazing Martians at
closer quarters!

An Ancient Moon Landing
        For some time the spacecraft circle all around the moon, obviously examining
it for any signs of major damage, such as severe breaches of its crust. But, although
Luna has suffered a great deal of serious surface damage by way of intense cratering
by flying rock fragments, it is mainly superficial. However, we do notice that there
are places where the surface has been subjected to such intense blast and heat that it
has been scoured smooth. And in some of these areas we are astounded to see the
occasional dull gleam of bare metal here and there amid the debris of pulverised rock
and dust! It is at one of theses sites that one of the spacecraft pauses in mid-flight,
then descends swiftly and vertically to the moon’s surface.

       The occupants emerge, and after bounding about agilely in the low gravity of
the small planetoid, looking for something on the ground inside a crater. They soon
gather around one small area where there is a 400-foot circular depression in the
smoothed surface and make a close examination of it. Some of the crewmen return to
the ship and come back armed with power-tools and other equipment. The area is
soon cleared completely of all rocks and detritus, and now we can see what they were
searching for.

        It is another large metallic hatch, or lid, over two hundred feet in diameter -
not unlike the one we saw on Mars. It can only mean one thing. This moon then,
must also be a hollow sphere! Leaving them to work upon the circular hatch, that is
apparently, though not surprisingly, jammed tight, we leave the crewmen and go in
search of the other two spacecraft to see what they have discovered.               In our
incorporeal form, we can move at the speed of thought, and in an instant, we discover
that they have located what appear to be very large bore metallic tubes protruding
from the floors of small craters, at different points on the planet’s surface, each with a
thick protective cap over its end. The crewmen mark these with flashing-light
beacons, and seek out more of the tubes.

         Before long they have uncovered thirty or more of them, four of which have
been severely damaged by flying rock. Of the remainder, we notice that twelve are
grouped closely together within about a radius of a mile or so. We leave these men to
their work of affixing signal beacons to the capped tubes (which, for some strange
reason, remind us of the muzzles of gigantic cannons) and go back to site where the
first craft landed.

        The crew of the first craft has now succeeded in opening the giant circular lid,
which has now been somehow retracted or slidden back beneath the surface, to reveal
a metal “iris-shutter” closure very similar to that which we saw on Mars. One of the


                                           37
crew, who appears by his general mien and spacesuit insignia to be the commander of
the craft, now bounds across to a small open circular hatch some yards away, and
operates some controls inside it. At once the iris begins to unfurl, revealing a circular
vertical air-lock chamber-shaft of gleaming silvery metal. Its diameter is easily 150
feet or so! It is one of the entrances (for we will later find that there are several) to
the interior of the hollow moon – which we now realise can be nothing less than a
gigantic spherical spaceship!

        It may once, indeed, have been simply a small, naturally formed planetoid, but
at some time in the distant past, it has been marvellously engineered and modified into
a huge, driveable and steerable craft! The thought of the technological skill and
engineering ability that such a feat must have required makes our senses reel, but here
is the proof, right before our ethereal eyes and beneath our incorporeal feet!

Inside Luna…
         Then, as we marvel at this, several of the crew, at the behest of their leader,
have entered the air-lock chamber, and a diaphragm of thick metal has closed over
their heads. The commander now operates the iris-closure controls and the shaft is
sealed. The expeditionary party is now descending into the spaceship’s interior.
Taking advantage of our insubstantial forms, we join them in the lighted air-lock
elevator, and after a two-mile descent the elevator stops. We notice that the crewmen
have kept their airtight helmets on during the descent, even though there appears to be
adequate air-pressure inside the elevator-chamber. No doubt they cannot be sure that
the air inside the ship is breathable after several centuries of disuse!         However,
whoever designed and fashioned the interior of the moonship, must have designed it
with a very lengthy time-frame in mind, for after the elevator comes to a smoothly
effortless stop, an instrument set in its gleaming metal wall indicates that the “ship’s”
atmosphere is safe and clean to breath. Nevertheless, as the chamber door glided
silently open, none of them attempt to remove their helmets until the squad-leader has
carried out a second air check with a hand-held instrument of his own. Now we are
at last able to study the Martians at close range, and hear their voices for the first time.

        They are men and women, very like Earthlings, but with much larger cranial
capacity and rather big eyes with widely dilated pupils, that have no doubt developed
to accommodate the softer, much more subdued lighting within their home-planet’s
interior. Their facial features, in keeping with their attenuated physiques, are long and
narrow, with relatively smaller mouths and nostrils, but larger ears, in comparison to
Earthlings.
        They possess pallid white skin and fairly fine head-hair and eyebrows, but the
males appear to be free from any beard growth – unless they shave their faces in the
same manner as modern humans. Otherwise, if placed among a crowd of average
humans and similarly clad, they might pass for extremely tall and thin people, such as
basketball players! The only things that appear to be variable apart from obvious
gender differences, are their eye and hair colours. The former varying between pale
blue through violet to brown, and the latter between pure white and golden yellow.

        As for their voices, they speak in a rather sibilant, clicking tongue, and there is
no noticeable difference in vocal timbre between male and female. Their language
bears no recognisable relationship to any known Earth language, although there is a
faint suggestion of similarity in their soft clicking speech and that of Africa’s Kalahari


                                            38
bushmen. Otherwise, apart from these few noteworthy differences, they are clearly
related in general terms to our own species, although considerably more highly
developed on the mental plane. In short, they appear to be what we humans might
become in a few thousand years. Homo Sapiens Novus or Homo Sapiens Anticuus?

        We follow as they traverse scores of concentric deck-levels within the moon-
ship. All is gleaming and spotlessly clean as though the craft had only just been built
instead of being scores of centuries old! The light-sources are concealed but the
whole of each deck we pass through is softly but perfectly illuminated. There are all
sorts of different areas in the giant craft, each obviously designed to fulfil a specific
function or meet a special need. We are totally astounded at the sheer enormity of
this vast planet-sized ship and all its marvellous hi-tech equipment, so clearly far in
advance of any Earth technology, that our poor human endeavours in this field in the
remote future 21st century looks positively archaic and primitive in comparison.

        Finally we come to the vast “engine-room” of the huge spherical ship, which
lies close to its central core - which we later learn is a huge spherical reservoir of
water, four hundred miles in diameter!         Here we discover a perplexing array of
gigantic machinery that is so titanic that we find it hard to conceive how it could have
been built with hands! The vast bulk of the main drive, reminds us of a colossal
dynamo, a row of monstrous turbines and an enormous cyclotron all assembled
together into a single mountainous arrangement of brightly-shining titanium alloy.
From all sides tubes of great diameters curve away in different directions. This huge
chamber, four levels deep, is a giddying sight!
        But as we hover above the ships mighty, sleeping nuclear heart, we notice that
a separate bundle of these bulky tubes twelve in number are directed out together
through the rear wall of the gargantuan engine compartment. These must connect to
the same tubes we saw projecting from the surface craters under protective caps. The
main thrusters of the craft!      The rest must connect to directional thrusters for
manoeuvring the ship and correcting course. We notice that there are capacious
gleaming tanks along the sides of the mighty engine from which translucent tubes
filled with a clear liquid curve overhead to connect into the engine’s casing. Could
this futuristic plant produce simple steam? The fluid resembles water, and the engine
has some features of a mighty steam turbine!           But no! We must be mistaken!
Perhaps it is a hydrogen drive of some sort?
        But we can’t help wondering if these people of the future have pre-discovered
the powerful thrusting power of high-pressure steam - but simple steam, nonetheless!
Alas, we can only wonder, since, being invisible to the crewmen, and not conversant
with their strange clicking tongue, we can hardly ask them! And how do they know,
anyhow? They have only just emerged for the first time from the interior of a planet
where their fathers and their forefathers must have been raised for generations without
even seeing the outer shell of their world, let alone learn how to operate machinery
such as this!

         Then it occurs to us that they must have a truly vast library of books, charts,
diagrams, blueprints, manuals and digital videograph records of all this type of
technology inside Mars, and that these Martians have most likely been trained from
childhood to understand it all. We marvel at the foresight of the ancestors of these
beings in preparing for such an appalling event as that which overtook Astrida and her
little family of satellites, and muse gloomily upon the total lack of any such


                                           39
preparedness of 21st century Earth against any similar disaster. If only Earthmen
could unite as one race in the face of the million unknown and unguessed-at threats
they faced every day from space and even from their planetary neighbours, what
mighty defences and shelters they could build to protect themselves and even their
environment! But alas for poor Earth! The greater population of the planet is in
total ignorance of that great inner world which lies between 600 to 800 miles below
their feet!

A Sad Reflection
        True, there were certain wealthy western governments who had been covertly
aware of this concealed new planet-sized world for years, and had even prepared
secret access-ways to the interior. There they now had palatial homes ready and
waiting for themselves and their families, and roomy barrack-style accommodation
for their army of bodyguards and servant-workers. As well, there are many other
comfortably appointed dwellings for a large number of highly favoured, rich and
influential friends and their families. Not to mention huge storage warehouses filled
to overflowing with foodstuffs and provisions of all kinds. But this was not primarily
a defence-shelter against any threat of global warming or of a possible meteoric
bombardment from outer space.

        It was to be their “safe haven” from the looming and final Armageddon-style
battle that had been steadily brewing up for decades between the war-mongering
superpowers of the world. That, and the massive, uncontrollable atmospheric, soil
and oceanic pollution that was about to overwhelm the outer surface of the Earth,
through shockingly bad management and stewardship by its governments. But the
ordinary citizens of Earth went on as usual about their mundane daily affairs, in
complete and blissful ignorance of this appalling, ultimate betrayal by those whom
they had elected to serve them and protect them against such evils!          Alas! Such is
the greedy, selfish nature of mankind – the self-indulgent streak and general
carelessness that would inevitably lead to its downfall and extinction. The world had
been given many warnings and had seen many examples of untrustworthiness among
its governments and their leaders, but it still chose to follow the line of least resistance
and to tolerate gross inefficiency by those who held its very future in their clumsy
grasp! Let Humanity’s fate be upon its own head! The Earth would be well rid of
this destructive parasite - Man!
        But we must not waste too much time here on Luna, astoundingly interesting
as it may be. We must move on ahead in time and space. We take a final speed
through the remaining “deck-levels” or divisions of the moonship – noting that there
are literally hundreds of such decks (if on can call these vast, almost cavernous
spaces - many of them miles wide and long, and hundreds of feet high – simply
“decks”! They are all accessible via vertiginous, wide vertical shafts - besides many
large elevators, too, which appear to be pneumatically operated. Where, we wonder,
does all the air come from? It is perfectly fresh and clean, even after being sealed in
for many thousands of years!

A Marvellous Discovery!
        But we are far more amazed to discover vast park-like areas down in the lower
levels, some of them over a hundred square miles in area and half a mile deep! These
have thick, landscaped earthen foundations, upon which grow lush grassy meadows
and dense forests of broad-leaved, earth-like trees in abundance. They even have


                                            40
meandering streams, lakes and hills, and also generate their own rich atmospheres,
weather, and ecosystems. These massive chambers are provided with life-giving (if
artificial) muted “sunlight” by a clever system of huge, actinic lighting arrays
suspended from their lofty ceilings. Diurnal changes between “night’ and “day” are
simply simulated by automated time-switches. There are also many small
unidentifiable animals to be found scurrying among the forest trees and dwelling in
burrows in the undulating grasslands. Even colourful wild birds fly overhead and
hop, chirruping and singing, among the branches of the forest trees. To the wild
creatures, these domains are their own very real worlds.

        It is a magnificently engineered undertaking. And it has all been entirely self-
regulating for many centuries – probably many millennia! The whole scene is truly
a wonderful and breathtaking spectacle to behold! We simply cannot imagine the
incredible amount of effort that has gone into the internal construction of this
moonship, or who carried it out. But at least, we have now also found the solution to
the riddle of the ship’s air-supply. The overflow of air from these atmospheric-gas
propagating park areas is circulated throughout the ship, giving it a constantly
renewed supply of naturally produced fresh air, entirely free from any artificial
gaseous or chemical additives.

        We realise now that these vast areas were also provided for the recreation of
the thousands of people who must have once crewed this amazing ship, as there are
paved pathways, dotted with occasional shelters with seats, criss-crossing each “park-
area” (or should that perhaps be “country” instead?) There are buildings, too, hidden
among the trees, the functions of which probably relate to general maintenance
supervision or to the animal welfare of each domain. No doubt we would also find
some equivalent to our Earthly “golf-buggies” in there, too, if we looked! But time is
short, and we have much more to see before our incorporeal trip is over. We have to
move on.

        Before we depart, we notice that the “floors” between the concentric “decks”
are composed of a solid rock-like substance, hundreds of feet thick, each providing a
vertical and natural gravitational effect for the chambers above it. The roof of each
level appears to have been covered by an anti-gravity shielding material, which
prevents two-way gravitational effects and “free-fall”. We also discover that all of
the outer deck-sections are relatively small in area and height, and are heavily
separated from each other by extremely thick walls. Again, we discover later that
these are precautionary safety-bulkheads against any accidental irruptions through
collision with meteorites or other spacefaring bodies. That these do occur, and with
great frequency, is obvious from the artillery-bombarded appearance of Luna’s outer
crust - upon which we are now standing!

Return to Mars: The Loading of the Ark
       We glance back across to distant Mars, as it continues its wheeling “Ring O’
Roses” dance with Luna, and as they both rush on along Astrida’s ancient orbit
around the distant sun.      With the merest flicker of a thought we are instantly
transposed to its surface, and slip like ghosts down through the large, sealed iris
entrance-hatch into its interior! And what tremendous new visions of wonder greet
our dumbfounded stare!



                                          41
        We have entered a brand new world! One hitherto unseen by ordinary 21st
century Earthmen - although it has been guessed at by some! We find ourselves
suddenly standing upon the threshold of a completely different world to any we had
ever believed in our wildest dreams could possibly exist! Surely we have somehow
discovered Pellucidar – that wondrous inner-world which originated in the fertile
mind of one of Earth’s greatest visionary writers – Edgar Rice Burroughs! The
densely- wooded country, rifted and punctuated by great chasms and mountain ranges,
slopes away into the blue distance before us, in the hazy, soft light of a gentle sun, but
the distance is not bounded by any visible horizon-line. Instead, it inclines away, ever
upwards until it is lost to our sight under the inverted softly curving edge of the light
gossamer coverlet of cloud that envelops large areas of the sky.

        The sky! We stare upward toward the sun, which is hidden behind a bank of
cloud, but there – where the cloudbank ends - we can faintly discern something so
incredible that we both gasp in complete amazement! Far, far above our heads, we
can dimly make out the delineated shapes of actual, faint green-brown landmasses
surrounded by what can only be a deeper bluish ocean! True, these forms are much
as one might see them through a thin haze of wood-smoke, but they are sufficiently
distinct for us to know that they are real! We have no choice but to accept the fact
that we are inside a hollow planet!

        Gradually, the idea begins to sink in as we gaze all around at this exciting new
prospect. Our minds are abuzz with wild thoughts and questions. This is where the
Martians and their ships full of surface livestock came to, but we can see no sign of
any habitations, or of their circular craft, either? Filled with a mixture of wonderment
and concern we allow our invisible ethereal forms to drift out from our entry-point
across the treetops, and as we do, we begin to observe signs of life.

        The trees are alive with animals and birds, but, as we saw on the surface so
long ago, the birds are large, delicately built, stork-like creatures. The arboreal
animals look similar to Earth’s spider monkeys or lemurs, very slender, elongated in
their limbs and equipped with large, staring eyes. Dense foliage makes the tall trees
shadowy and dark.
        As we drift onward, we get occasional glimpses of the ground and see large
animals like elks and deer, but with a hint of the giraffe and okapi in their forms, too,
as they roam through the tall grasses and reeds that seem to cover most of the
clearings. We see other vague but large animal forms, too, beneath the shadowy
fringe of the giant trees, but cannot entirely make them out. We wonder if there are
any carnivores or giant reptiles down there, lurking in wait for the seemingly tame and
harmless herbivores browsing and grazing in the clearings…

        Then, quite suddenly, we find ourselves hovering over the brink of a deep
chasm or gorge, clearly gouged out by the river that flows along its floor. However,
our immediate attention is drawn to the beautiful almost pyramidal temple-like
buildings that perch upon the steep sides of the gorge. At last, we can relax! We
have found the signs of habitation we sought! We swoop down for a closer look and
see that each of these seeming temples is, in fact, a domicile, a Martian family home!
We can now see signs of life as tall figures come and go along their spacious stepped
balconies and patios. Children play among the vinelike creepers that grow over these
outdoor areas. They, too, are tall like the adults, but it is refreshing to see their


                                           42
happiness and to hear their laughter as they play their games just like Earthling
children do.

         Here and there, we observe groups of Martian men and women working
together at some physical task, such as extending a patio or erecting a vine-trellis,
laughing and joking among themselves as they work. We wonder why they don’t
utilise their high-tech tools and equipment instead of doing such work manually, until
we grasp that they are simply enjoying the exercise together. They are not so
different from Earthmen, now that we have seen them out of uniform and relaxed.
Mostly, they wear light tunics or togas, and none of them wear headgear of any kind.
The inner sun of Mars is not like that raging star outside, nor does it emanate any
harmful UV or gamma rays. The climate is ideally temperate, like that of northern
Europe, and gentle breezes waft pleasantly through their open-plan homes, for we can
perceive no glazed windows or shutters on their homes.
         It is an idyllic world – now! But we cannot help casting our minds back to the
terrible havoc that was wreaked upon Mars only a couple of millennia ago. What
chaos must have reigned here inside this very same planet as it was buffeted around
violently by the explosion of Astrida, and subsequently reeled away drunkenly, trying
to recover its equilibrium! What sort of effects must have been felt here within, as
the inner oceans were flung back and forth over the land, leaving repeated carnage
and destruction in their wake as they advanced and retreated time after time. How
could any living creature have survived within Mars during such a protracted ordeal,
lasting probably for years?

        Then the answer came into our minds. They must have prepared watertight
caverns within the inner crust, in which they were able to survive the horrendous
chaos. Perhaps the latecomers we had seen just prior to the holocaust, who must have
made it inside by the skin if their teeth, had to remain aloft in the turbulent air, all
through that period? But since we know nothing of the flight-durability of their craft,
except what we have seen externally, we cannot answer this, except to guess that if
they are capable of long-range space flight, it is likely they survived the long
tribulation in reasonable safety.
        Nevertheless, the fact is that they obviously did survive, as did their biological
environment – and very successfully, too, judging from what we have seen thus far!

        As we continue to glide along over these rather craggy gorges and mountain
peaks, we wonder at their unweathered appearance compared to those on the outer
surface, and to those on our own Earth. But it occurs to us that possibly this inner
world is not a place where severe storms or howling winds can rage so freely as they
do on the exterior of the planet – or perhaps we should say – as they used to rage! In
Mars’ present condition, there is no atmosphere left on the outer surface to speak of,
to feed storms, or even winds of any great consequence – except perhaps some mild
turbulence caused by its heating and cooling by day and night. What little atmosphere
there is left out there now is largely carbon dioxide, and even that is relatively
negligible!

        However, there has been no shortage of rain here in the interior, since we find
that the air is rich and moist, and there is plenty of overhead cloud. But this is much
lighter cloud than we ever saw on Earth, for Mars having considerable less mass and
therefore a far lower gravity than the Earth. And, in addition, here within the inner


                                           43
shell of Mars, the gravitational effect is less than that on the outer surface simply
because there is so much less actual area of the mass of the planet’s crust beneath
one’s feet!

       For example, if we were to stand on the outer crustal shell of Mars, we would
have the entire spherical mass of the crust of the planet beneath our feet. Whereas,
here on the inside of the shell, we have only a small portion of the crust directly
underneath us, so that is the only area of the shell-planet’s mass which affects us!
There is simply no further mass beyond the area of crust directly below us. To
understand the gravitational effects within a hollow shell-planet, it is of great
importance that we grasp this concept.

        (But, of course, we must be also remain mindful of the fact that, in our present
insubstantial, immaterial form as ethereal entities, we are not affected at all by
gravity. Therefore we can move around as free as thought itself, wherever we wish,
completely untrammelled by it or any other such physical laws!)

        But to get back to our point. It should be obvious now that there cannot be
any great erosion by water and wind if the wearing-power of both is lessened
considerably by this lower gravity. The same is true of the very mild thermonuclear
“sun” within Mars – and within all of the solid-shelled planets. (We cannot speak so
surely for the gas-giants, but we would hazard a strong guess that the same might
probably be true for them, too. It would depend upon the size and radiative output of
the inner “sun” in every case).

         Speaking of this inner “Sun”. We can only imagine how it is actually
activated. But it would be fair to assume that it would no doubt be similar - though on
a very much tinier scale - to that which fires the Sun. And it is probably also fuelled
by light flammable gas, such as hydrogen, which rises above the dense inner
atmosphere, and is drawn into the central atomic “sun” furnace. Our own Sun burns
brightly by the thermonuclear conversion of hydrogen into helium, so there is no
reason why the inner suns should not do the same – but, as mentioned above, on an
extremely minute scale.
         The output of ultraviolet and actinic radiation must be maintained at a fairly
harmless level inside such a confined system, by natural forces and laws, in order for
life of any kind to flourish. However, all life upon the exterior of the Earth has had to
adapt very considerably to quite lethal and carcinogenous levels, and yet, although
often burnt and scarred by this ferocious radiation, we naked-skinned Earthlings are
still there to tell the tale! Perhaps these “suns” may simply be the result of the
constant burning of incandescent gases as they rise above the atmosphere, and thus
pose no radiative threat at all. But what happens when such gases cease to be
produced? Are these inner worlds, then, finally destined to be plunged into stygian
darkness, without even a single star to light the central sky?       More than this, we
cannot begin to guess about these “inner suns” which light the interiors of shell-
planets. So let us now move on in our study of Inner Mars!

       We come upon many other groups of palatial dwellings, shaped like miniature
pyramids, snuggled within the shelter of similar valleys and fiords as we traverse this
inversed world, and wonder why they are not, instead, situated upon the highest ridges
and mountain tops of this beautiful word. Surely, there they would catch every


                                           44
vagrant breeze, and be much better able to see the wondrous views that can be
enjoyed from such elevated vantage points? We ponder upon this puzzle for some
time, before finally deciding it is simply because the air is denser and more breathable
in these lower regions, and the rivers and lakes are more easily accessible.      There
certainly doesn’t seem to be any obvious threat of great storms or devastating winds
in these highlands, as the unweathered sharpness of the stony ridges and pinnacles
clearly indicates.

        Then, our attention is caught by the sudden appearance a flight of the same
type of saucer shaped spacecraft we have already seen before on the outer surface of
Mars, and on Luna, whirring almost silently by over our heads toward the… what?
We suddenly realise that there is nothing in this enclosed world to give us any sense
of direction whatsoever! In the absence of a rising and setting Sun and Moon, and
even stars, we really cannot judge South from North or East from West! Nor can we
sense any rotation of the planet itself about its still rather wobbly axis.

         Not, of course, that we could ever sense such a movement by any other means
than our eyes and the apparent movement of celestial objects across the heavens, even
upon Earth – despite the surprising fact that it rotates about its axis at a thousand
miles an hour! Mars rotates a little slower - perhaps six hundred miles an hour -
since it is only two-thirds the diameter of Earth, yet it takes the same time to complete
a rotation.

        We watch the squadron of circular spacecraft as they follow the upcurving
landscape and dwindle gently upward into the pale blue haze of distance, until they
are lost behind the clouds. The cloudbanks will have to be our substitute horizon
whilst we are within this world. There are many strange things to get accustomed to
inside Mars!

        As the flight of spacecraft vanish from our sight, we ponder upon how they are
powered, and wonder why our modern Earth scientists haven’t yet perfected this same
form of propulsion. But maybe they have – and all the saucerlike UFOs are from
Earth!
        As we think about these things, we find ourselves drifting ever further afield
above the astonishingly dense rainforest below, but we are higher now and can take in
a much wider view than before. Below us and curving upward and away in all
directions are the fertile landmasses and the living transparent ocean.

The Oceans of Inner Mars
         Because it is fresh water rather than salt, the inner ocean waters of Mars are
infinitely clearer than are those of the Earth, and we are able to see without difficulty
the life that fills it. There are fishes and crustaceans of all imaginable kinds, some of
which look almost identical to those in our own Earthly seas. And there are even a
vast number of cetaceans, which range from familiar whale and dolphin-like forms to
astonishingly hominid–looking aquatic animals, which forcibly remind us of the tales
our grandparents told us of fishtailed mermaids and tritonish mermen – part human
and part piscine. We wonder if these could perhaps be some divergent aquatic types of
our own species, and if they possess similar intellects?




                                           45
        There are also many aquatic creatures here that are totally new to us, and
confound our abilities to describe them adequately in mere words. The far lower
gravity of Mars appears to have permitted lifeforms to develop that could never exist
in our Terran oceans. They drift around haphazardly, almost like clouds of amorphous
transparent matter, virtually without any real form at all, and beside which, our
jellyfish and other coelenterata would appear almost opaque and solid. Yet they are
quite capable of wreathing themselves around their prey like a swirling fog, and
absorbing it into themselves in some mysterious fashion.

        Others resemble nothing so much as the microscopic plankton of Earth’s seas,
yet here they are enlarged a thousand times those of Earth. They resemble animated
jewels or tempting, living candies in brightly-coloured wrappers, as they paddle, whirl
and flagellate their way through the pristinely pellucid surface layers of the inner
Martian Oceans.
        Yet other lifeforms still, appear to be rather like giant corpuscles, cells and
viruses such as we might find in our own bloodstreams, but again enormously
magnified by the considerable reduction of gravitation. It seems that the low gravity,
especially in Mars’ inner ocean, is conducive to a far wider array of water-life than we
find in Earth’s seas!

       Not that all is peace, sweetness and light among the wild life of Mars, any
more than on the Earth. Even in this demi-paradise, on both land and sea, the large
and strong prey upon the small and weak – as they must do all across the universe.
Even the law of the jungle - “Eat or be eaten” - is an immutable Law of Nature.

         As we traverse at the speed of thought across the concave surface of this
amazing world within a world, our eyes constantly wander to its other, antipodean
aspect, spread like a page from an atlas, high upon the other side of the sky. This is
truly the most wondrous and uncanny feature of the concave world, and we find that
the soft glow of the inner sun does not blind us unduly to the view, as our Sun
certainly would up on the surface, if such a wondrous sky were to exist there!

         We can descry details far better now in that hemisphere above us, since we
have moved high above the haze of the atmosphere, into the rarefied near-vacuum
which forms the central void. Between us and this indistinct ball of radiative energy,
lies an invisible and intangible ocean of ether that conducts its light and warmth down
into the atmosphere. In return it carries up the inflammable gaseous byproducts of the
perpetual chemical processes of decay which consume all dead organic material
below, to be re-processed again and again into warmth, light and energy. Thus we
find ourselves within a perfect ecosystem, where all of Nature’s perpetual processes
of life and death are in accurate balance with each other, and decay is recycled into
new life by this gentle inner star.

        We recollect sadly that our own planet once operated just as smoothly before
modern Man arrived upon the scene and began his interfering affronts and outright
meddlesome assaults against Nature – with consequential disastrous results for the
Earth. At least, the Martians have not subjected their inner world to such indignities.
They have accepted their world as it is, and have striven to leave its running to its own
natural mechanisms. If only our own forefathers had had as much reverence for
Nature!


                                           46
The Portals of Mars
        As we continue our peregrinations around this interior world, we notice that
there are three or four large and barren, circular dish-shaped areas at extremely
widespread distances across the rocky terrain below, which appear peculiarly smooth
and free from any overgrowth of plants or trees. They remind us of something
familiar, and after a few moments of thought, we realise that they resemble the great
dished crater-like entrance out of which we had first emerged into this place! It had
been so large, that, as we had materialised filled with wonder at the inner world before
us, we had failed to notice it as being in fact, a giant bowl-shaped hollow, hundreds of
yards in diameter. Now we comprehend that it was the corresponding inner twin of
that same outer-surface aperture through which we had first seen the Martian
spacecraft entering and emerging on previous occasions!

        It occurs to us that, according to our past theoretical studies of shell-planets,
two of these apertures or “holes” must have occupied the original polar locations of
the planet. Since the crust is always thinner at the axial points of a shell-planet due to
its rotation and thereby its centrifuging effect – the thickest material is deposited
around its equatorial fastest rotating circumference and the thinnest – if indeed any at
all – over its slowly–turning axial zones. However, we know from our own witness of
the events, that the planet has experienced at least two polar “flips”. The first occurred
during the disaster itself when the planet received its huge half-coating of slurried
rock and other matter from the exploding Astrida, which coated more than one entire
vertical hemisphere, and sent it bowling away upon its tottering and tumbling wild
course.

         The second had been a ninety-degree tilt, as poor wounded Mars endeavoured
valiantly to readjust its axial balance by repositioning its axis, so that this weight of
debris would be arranged as evenly as possible around one of its poles. In order to
achieve this, Mars had to shift its axis whilst still rotating! This wrenching feat had
created enormous stress upon the tortured shell of the planet, and could very well have
torn it apart. But somehow, Mars survived the experience without any greater damage
than some great stress-fractures in its outer shell - the largest such breach forming the
three thousand-mile long wound that is now called by Earthmen, the Valles Marineris
chasm.

        We understood now that at least two, if not three, of the valve-like openings in
the Martian crust might well be permanently covered and sealed by the four-mile
layer of Astridan debris! Our imaginations are again staggered by the thought of the
chaos such a pole-shift may have wrought within the inner shell of Mars, and we
marvel that any life, animal or vegetable still remains here! Yet it does! And even
though we cannot yet understand how, we are thankful. And at least one portal is still
functioning!      As to the amazing engineering feat of it being fitted with the
mechanically-operated, “iris” gateway device, we feel nothing but awe at the
technological skill and ingenuity of these Martians – if such they really are!

       After seeing the amazing enormous works that has been performed inside
Luna, we have wondered, more than once, if perhaps these people were not adapted
migrants from Astrida, but humanoid beings from some other part of the universe.
Beings who had traversed the immensity of space to finally park here and take up


                                           47
their abode upon Mars. Could this really have happened? We will probably never
know, but we can still speculate upon such an occurrence. Speculation is Man’s
unique prerogative in the absence of certain knowledge, and most of his greatest
scientific achievements have been founded upon nothing more than pure intuition and
assumption – plus a lot of sheer serendipity! In any event, if Man’s own rapidly-
developing high technology and knowledge continues to expand and grow at its
present exponential rate, perhaps He himself might one not-too-far-off day conquer
planets of some other distant sun, out there in interstellar space!

        Our silent discourse is interrupted suddenly by a most extraordinary sight. We
have come upon a region of what appears to be open pastureland, and have spotted a
fleet of the circular Martian craft resting in a clustered group upon the grassy surface.
They are surrounded by a large milling host of the same cattle-like and deer-like
animals and all the lesser creatures we once saw being rounded up and loaded into
similar craft just prior to Astrida’s terrible demise. Now the same thing is happening
again!

        As we draw swiftly closer we can see that these are not the same sort of
animals as those we have watched roaming the forests of this inner world. Where
before they had seemed tall and attenuated by Earth standards, here they now appear
almost the same as our own Terran grazing animals, stocky and sturdy in comparison.
They appear to be quite docile and are ambling placidly up the ramps into the Martian
craft, only requiring gentle persuasion by the crewmen. We wonder what they intend
to do with them. Are the poor creatures destined for some inner-world slaughter-yard,
or are the Martians going to attempt to reintroduce them to the outer surface again?
Surely not! There is not enough air to for them to breath out there, let alone a single
growing plant of any sort for them to feed upon!

       We float above the curious scene completely mystified, watching this baffling
loading-operation through to its final completion. How we wish we were also gifted
with the ability to at least understand what the Martians are saying - let alone read
their minds!      But we have to wait in growing impatience for the answer to be
revealed. Finally the last animal is loaded aboard the last of the spacecraft, and, as the
Martian crews now enter their ships, the ramps slide inboard and seal off the hatches.

         A moment or two later we are speeding along in the wake of the squadron of
spacecraft as they flash swiftly across the inner sky toward the site of the aperture
through which we had first entered this hidden world. As we approach the aperture,
its inner iris-gate – presumably under remote control - uncurls before us and the ships
tilt sideways and dive, one after the other, into the tubular shaft which has opened -
and we exit with them!

Back to Luna
        We had expected the craft to land on the exterior surface of Mars, but to our
surprise, they don’t. Instead they zoom away across the brief gulf of space towards
Luna, the moonship as we have come to think of her. Here they quickly locate the
entry-hatch and circle around it whilst one of the ships lands and some of its crew
emerge to again operate the opening controls. Apparently, there must be some fault
with the automatic remote operation of these – or possibly they were never equipped
with them, as the Martian openings were. Whatever the case, within moments the


                                           48
circular vertical airlock shaft is revealed, and the fleet of ships are taken down, one by
one, inside the capacious air-lock elevator.

         It is now very evident that the Luna technology was not so advanced as that of
the later Mars, and we realise that it must have developed much further after Luna had
first arrived in orbit around Astrida, and joined her family of satellites. Once again,
we get the strong conviction that these Martians are descended from an alien people
who didn’t originate upon Astrida, but arrived here inside Luna. And that all of
Astrida’s unique population of squat, dumpy lifeforms – hominids, animals, fish, and
birds – was extinguished completely and forever with Astrida herself. It is a sobering
thought that a world which must have developed gradually over billions of years, and
spawned so many varied lifeforms, could end with such astoundingly instantaneous
abruptness and finality!

        However, we don’t spend any more sad thoughts upon the vanished planet.
For having now accompanied the last of the Martian craft down into the interior of the
vast moonship, we watch with interest as the ship manoeuvres out of the airlock’s
sliding doorway then glides slowly along the wide galleries toward one of the internal
elevator shafts.    Now we realise that these shafts are nothing more than shining
vertical tubes, designed specifically for the circular ships to descend or ascend
vertically under their own power. Which is precisely what happens next.

        Through our ethereal state of being, we can sense that the craft is descending
rapidly to a great depth, even though the inboard gravitation-field of the ship gives no
actual awareness of this to its other occupants – humanoid and animal.              The
crewman who is operating the controls can only tell where the ship is by indicator
panels on the console of elaborate instruments before him. Now he flicks a thumb
over a particular level-indicator and the ship stops almost instantaneously in its
descent. The large hatch in the ship’s wall slides back to reveal a similar hatch in the
shaft wall - which opens into that same incredibly vast landscape of rolling
countryside we saw on our last visit to Luna’s interior! At the same time, the ship’s
loading-ramp slides silently forward through the hatchway to create a wide bridge
from ship to land and the crew begin shepherding their cargo of animals across it, and
through into the parkland.

        So this was what this wonderful idyllic country within Luna had been created
for! Now we can see that this entire lunar planetoid must have been originally
engineered to become an enormous “Noah’s Ark” to carry a great refugee cargo of
lifeforms from a terrestrial-type planet of some alien sun, far out across the enormous
ocean of space!

        Perhaps their home planet may have begun to show signs of inevitable
collapse or explosion in much the same manner as Astrida, but its inhabitants had
received sufficient warning and time to prepare a “lifeboat” to escape the approaching
disaster? Or maybe its star-sun had begun to display signs of increasing dangerous
instability, as our own sun appears to be on the verge of doing, and they had decided
to leave whilst there was still sufficient time? I feel more inclined to favour the latter
scenario, since it would have been much more predictable for a far longer period, than
the former. But we will never know the truth of this, nor, alas, the actual origin of
these Martians. We can only continue to conjecture.


                                           49
        Another thought that occurs to us is that of Astrida’s interior. Could that have
been a populated world, too? Then, as we reflect grimly upon the manner of the great
planet’s passing, we realise that, if it once had been filled with burgeoning life - inside
as well as out - the inner lifeforms must surely have perished long before the
explosion. Killed by the enormous internal pressure of gases that would have been
building up long before its double shell finally burst asunder and shattered into
smithereens. We try to eradicate that terrible concept from our minds and return to
the scene before us.

The Game Reserve of Luna
        We see that, beyond the gateway, the previously empty pastureland of our
former visit is already alive with animals, many already grazing happily upon its rich
grasses and
flowering plants, whilst others are rambling away, gambolling playfully off into the
distance, where the woodlands begin. But, no doubt, after being bred for generations
among the luxuriant trees and foliage of internal Mars, many of them will prefer the
shadowy shelter of the trees, where they were able to sleep out of the sunlight which
perpetually shone down on them there. However, they will get a pleasant surprise
when the automatically controlled sunset begins bringing their first experience of
nightfall!

        We had also expected the animals to exhibit some strange side-effects from a
possible change in the gravity and density of air, but this must have already been
allowed for and adjusted, for they all seem to be perfectly at ease.           We will,
nevertheless, be very interested to witness their reaction to the coming of the darkness
of night, a phenomenon that they have never before encountered!

        We decide to remain here to observe the beasts during this novel transition
from day to night.      It is not long in coming. Almost imperceptibly, the hidden
lights begin to fade, at first unnoticed by the unsuspecting herds and flocks. But as a
pinkish glow starts to suffuse the darkening sky, some of them look upward in mild
surprise. Soon the pink turns to mauve, and then to indigo. The darkness is now
obliterating the forms of their companions, and a few of them make nervous lowing
and bleating cries. Then the miracle of genetic memory begins to occur – some of the
animals kneel quietly in the familiar fore and aft manner of Earthly quadrupeds, and
settle down into the soft grass.

        This is a signal to the more nervous animals among them and they cease their
cries of alarm and follow suit. Even the perching birds from Mars have found
themselves comfortable branches in the trees, and their previously incessant twittering
and screeching has died down to a mere occasional quizzical call, as if questioning
this odd disappearance of the light which, before, had always been their ever-present
companion. Although the onset of the artifical “night” is now complete, it is by no
means a stygian blackness. We can still vaguely discern the bulky forms of the larger
dozing beasts, quietly chewing the cud in dumb acceptance of this new but somehow
very acceptable relief from the ever-shining inner sun of Mars. Soon, all is quiet in
their new world, as the animals fall into the deepest and most restful sleep they have
ever known.



                                            50
        Now it is time for us to leave, and see what is happening elsewhere in this
amazing planetary “Ark”. We flit swift as lightning to the upper levels, and find that
the former crews of the shuttlecraft, are now busily engaged upon many assorted
tasks, and their hustle and bustle tells us that Luna is being prepared for imminent
departure. Their craft have now been parked in a large hangar-deck, where they stand
deserted. Every crewmember is now fully occupied with his or her allotted task. We
glide swiftly down to the massive “drive” chamber that we have visited once before.

The Departure of Luna
          If it looked huge then, it is now a veritable hive of industry as the tiny antlike
figures of the engineering crew toil at readying the massive engine for what must be
its first start-up in thousands of years! A sudden shuddering vibration rocks the very
air of the mighty chamber as its internal workings awaken into pulsing life, and a faint
cheer arises from the workers at their success in arousing the sleeping giant so easily!
Now the pulse begins to beat more swiftly until it becomes a continuous buzzing
sensation that is rather sensed than actually felt. As it gains full power, even this
diminishes into a smooth and quiet hum that even we can only faintly discern between
our ears. This great power-drive has withstood the passing of countless centuries in
perfect condition. A wonderful testimony to its anciently remote builders!

        We have no idea of the moonship’s destination, and wonder if we are about to
be transported out into the black depths of space. We glide inquisitively around the
decks to see if there is any navigation deck where we might find charts or some other
indication of our objective. It is by pure chance that we happen upon the main
control-deck of the moonship, and find the captain and his officers intently grouped
around a large console desk, above which is mounted a long, horizontal viewing
screen.

        Upon the screen we see a large coloured animated diagram displayed, and we
are able to distinguish at one end, the twin white disks which represent Luna and Mars
whirling slowly in their waltz around each other. We can identify their solar orbital
path that is shown as half of a flattened red elipse. But beside it, there is another long,
yellow, tangentially curved line that cuts across from their red orbital line to connect
neatly into the smaller blue orbital elipse of another white disk, closer to the Sun, that
appears at the farther end of the long screen. We can see at a glance that this next
sunward circle must represent our own planet, the Earth! Two smaller dotted orbits
and disks closer to the Sun, inside that of this third disk confirm that it is indeed the
Earth, and the yellow line is equally clearly our intended transorbital path! Our
planetoidal spaceship is bound for the planet Earth!

         But wait! Something is surely missing from this diagram? We suddenly
realise that no Moon is shown circling around the Earth! What can this mean? Has
our own familiar old satellite also exploded since we last saw it? Or has some rogue
meteor destroyed it? We have no way of knowing. It seems as though a billion
years have passed since we were back there on our own world. We have witnessed
so many amazing and terrifying sights since we were projected in our astral forms into
this incredible epoch, that time has lost all relevance completely! We are not even
sure if we are in the past, present, or future any more! All that we do know know for
certain, is that we absolutely must continue to follow this adventure right through to
its ultimate conclusion - no matter what the cost may be!


                                            51
        At a final order from the captain or commander, the senior officers and
navigation crew move away to their own consoles and command-positions, in
readiness for the long-awaited order to “Take-Off”. The commander barks a few
incisive words into what closely resembles a chest-microphone. His voice can be
heard echoing around the wide corridors of the spaceship, and everyone waits tensely
for the first hint of movement. But the commander has his eyes firmly upon the two
revolving circles upon the giant animated diagram, as they dance around back and
forth across the orbital line, then just as the smaller one swings toward the point
where the yellow curve leaves the red orbit line.

        Clearly, his next move must be timed to a split second or the whole exercise
will have to be postponed for two long years before another opportunity presents
itself! He gives one final brisk command and presses his hand smartly down upon a
large square button on his console-panel. Other officers make simultaneous moves
upon their own consoles, and all eyes now swivel anxiously toward the lighted
diagram.

        At first nothing appears to have happened, and the whole control-room is
deadly still and silent as everyone holds his breath. This is obviously a very crucial
”Make-or-Break” moment in the “Launch” manoeuvre. Then as we all watch the
image of Luna on the long screen, it slowly begins to veer away from the red line onto
to the yellow one. And as it continues to do so, we see Mars swing quietly past behind
her, and continue alone along the red orbital track.      It has worked! Suddenly
everyone is cheering and shaking hands with one another. Luna is now heading upon
its own lonely path toward a rendezvous with the Earth!

        We ourselves still continue watching Luna’s disk move almost imperceptibly
along the yellow path that the commander has ordained her to follow, and we are
amazed that she follows it without the slightest digression. In the meantime Mars has
now moved several inches along his orbit and is still endeavouring to describe his
circular dance, but without a partner. Eventually when we later return for a look at
the giant diagram, we will find that his the circle of his dance will have steadily
narrowed until it has tightened into a faster revolution about his own axis.

        We understand the reason for this curious phenomenon as we recall a verbal
and physical demonstration our old physics tutor once tried to give us, in which he
likened a revolving planet to a spinning ice-skater. She revolves slowly at first with
her arms widely outspread, but as she draws her arms in and folds them closely across
her chest, her rate of spin increases greatly. We’ve all witnessed this at some time!
(Sadly for our rather old and frail professor, he spun just a little too fast and ended up
flat on his back upon the classroom floor! Nor was that the end of the matter, as he
succumbed two days later to a severe stroke - from which he subsequently died.)

        Now that Luna is under way, we feel a great urge to see for ourselves the
mighty propulsion unit in operation - from the outside! Again at the instant speed of
thought, we find ourselves poised in space behind the moonship, as she appears to
hang poised and unmoving against a background of jet-black sky spangled with
brilliant, unwinking stars. We can only tell that Luna is moving by the fact that the
stars appear to be sliding past, if there were no stars, she would appear completely


                                           52
stationary in space. We are following her at the same speed, but being merely
insubstantial wraiths, we can detect no movement. To verify that Luna is in fact
moving, we shift our position so that we can see the great thruster tubes protruding
from their cluster of craters.

        Now we can see a faint mirage-like shimmering of enormous blasting heat, as
from the engines of a jetplane taxiing on an airport runway, which distorts the forms
of the lunar surface on the centre-rear section of the cratered surface. We had
expected jets of visible steam, but this is far too hot and tremendously forceful to be
seen as such in the vacuum of space. Although we know that in our current
immaterial shape, nothing can hurt or harm us, we instinctively keep a very safe
distance away from this gigantic blast zone. It will continue to blast until the
moonship is travelling at the required speed to cover the curved tangential course, in
order to bring it into the Earth’s orbit at precisely the right moment. Then the twelve
great thrusting jets will be shut off, leaving only the widely spaced attitudinal jets free
for use in maintaining course.

        As if our thought is their command, the great jets abruptly cease. The correct
speed has been attained and they won’t be needed again until we reach Earth orbit,
when the planetoid will be turned around by the attitude jets and these same giant
thrusters will be used briefly as brakes.
        There is nothing left for us to see out here, so we transfer ourself instantly
back inside the mighty ship. Not that there is much happening there now! The only
people who still have to concentrate closely upon their duties are the navigation crew
and the drive-engineers. The commander is now relaxing in his quarters after the
tense moments of the launch of Luna out of Mars orbit. And most of his officers are
touring the ship upon routine rounds, pausing here and there to speak to subordinate
departmental chiefs and their crewmen, and to inform them of the complete success of
the launch.

        We are interested to discover how the navigation crewmen are able to keep a
forward lookout along the course that the moonship is now following. Whilst the
diagram screen is very efficient and has already proved itself to be so, we feel sure
that there must be some other more direct means of seeing forward. We don’t expect
to find a ship’s bridge with windows, of course, but there must surely be something a
bit more tangible than the electronic diagram! A remote-scanning apparatus of some
kind, perhaps? Otherwise, the ship is flying blind into space! What if the main
diagram-panel were to suddenly develop an electronic fault?

The View from Luna
        After a great deal of searching, we finally discover a compartment in which
we find a group of four officers watching a large curved screen that occupies the
whole of two walls of the compartment. It is not unlike an ancient Earth television-
projection screen, except it curves around over 180° and thus covers practically all of
the viewer’s field of vision. It is just like a huge crystal-clear “window” upon the
universe, for upon this screen we can see a real view-time of what lies before the
mooncraft! The stars appear huge and we realise that the view has been greatly
magnified in some way, as if we are looking through the eyepiece of some
astronomical telescope – which we later discover is virtually what we and the officers



                                            53
were doing! For the benefit of the technically minded, allow me to briefly explain
how this miracle of technology was achieved.

       Essentially, the mechanism was operated via a type of combined set of long-
range laser-scanners and video cameras, strategically positioned around the forward
face of the planetoid, only these receivers were far more technologically advanced
than either of the Earth or NASA’s versions of these instruments. The received
imagery then passed through an electronic unscrambling device and was projected
from six electronic video projection units so that they created an invisibly overlapping
mosaic of images. This combination of laser-scanners and video cameras permitted
the viewer the option of being able to switch to either true real-time images or false-
colour scanned data-imagery of the objects scanned. It was from this source also that
the diagrammatic navigation screen in the main control-room received its schematic
images.

         However, we are not concerned any more with the technical means of
obtaining the view we are seeing, so much as its wonderfully breathtaking content.
We can single out remote star-systems with incredible clarity, and can even identify
the planets Venus and Mercury, which fortuitously both happen to be in view in the
same sector of our vision. This is truly a marvellous system and gives a far better
view than even we, in our disembodied form, could expect to obtain by projecting
ourselves out before the moonship! Even during our last venture forth to see the
thrusters in action, the view of interstellar space had not been this sharp and brilliant.
Perhaps our incorporeal eyes were no better than our physical ones? Who can say?
We remain there in the viewing compartment as if transfixed, for some considerable
time, perhaps hoping to see the Earth appear from one edge of the screen, but it must
be still far away along its orbit, from the planned point of encounter with Luna.

        We do however, see the Sun creep into view at the left of the screen as our
ship follows its curved conjunctional path around sufficiently to bring it into visual
range. But, happily, we are not subjected to any eye-searing, instantly blinding glare
of its magnified awesome light. A circular black disc is automatically superimposed
over the precise diameter of our solar star, and tracks across the screen in perfect
synchronicity with it. Because of this, we are treated to a superb close-up of the
brilliant rays of the solar corona and the gigantic solar flares of blazing gas which leap
millions of miles into space from the Sun’s blazing surface! (Later, we discover that
this same imagery is being relayed simultaneously to smaller receivers in every
manned sector of the ship, so members of the crew can witness the whole passing,
brilliant spectacle for themselves.)

         We continue to watch, until our eyes begin to tire. There are still many
mysteries that bother us, and we want time to try and reason them out. This lengthy
trip to rendezvous with the Earth seems like a good opportunity to catch up with our
racing thoughts and try to find some logical answers to them. The principal enigma
among these is the latest mystery of all. Why have the Martians gone to all the
trouble of loading all these one-time surface-animals and birds into the moonship, and
why are they heading towards Earth?           Surely the animals would have become
adapted to life within their planet, even if they were never able to roam its exterior
plains and forests again?



                                           54
         We endeavour to work out a time-period for what we are seeing now. Being
in our present timeless, disembodied state has its drawbacks as well as its advantages.
We believe from astronomical theories and conjectures regarding Planet V or Astrida,
that its destruction occurred somewhere between 15 to 65 million years ago, and we
estimate from our own observations that perhaps a few thousand years have flashed
by since we first arrived on the scene. This would place us at approximately the
same time as the Cretaceous; the end-period of the dinosaurs was drawing toward its
close upon the Earth!

        Another thought that bothered us was the strange omission of the Earth’s
Moon, from the control-room diagram. Could this have been just a deletion because
the Martians regarded the Moon as being of little importance, or had the Earth
actually been without a moon at that point in its history? Although we had always
understood that the Moon was as old as the Earth, closer recent examination of its
surface appeared to indicate that it was actually considerably older than Earth.
Therefore it could have been a wandering planetoid from outer space that had been
captured by the Earth’s gravitational field! The evidence certainly pointed toward
the latter case being the correct one. It was definitely an improvement upon the
concept that the moon had been torn out of the Earth itself as its crust was solidifying
and the scar it left behind is what we know today as the Pacific Ocean! I had never
subscribed to that theory, especially after the presentation of the Expanding Earth
hypothesis, which accounted for every square mile of the planet’s landmasses having
once completely covered the much smaller Earth completely with a solid crust!
Therefore, it was clear that the Moon was not part of the Earth, nor had it formed at
the same time. The heavy surface burden of rare metals, such as titanium, zirconium,
yttrium and beryllium, not to mention rustless iron, spoke volumes for its wide
difference to the Earth in general composition. In fact, there are scientists today who
are prepared to accept that the Moon might actually be an artificial satellite of some
sort…and then it struck us, like a forcible, mental blow!

        What if we are - at this very moment - riding within the same moon we have
always accepted as Earth’s daughter-planet, to be present at Luna’s first meeting with
her future foster-parent! No! It couldn’t be! The whole idea is totally preposterous!
No doubt, very soon now, we will see our dear mother-planet approaching, with her
lifelong handmaiden Moon circling around her, held closely by the apron strings of
gravitation. With an oddly strenuous effort of will, we both resolve to put this foolish
notion out of our minds, and await events. We seek some diversion from these
disturbing thoughts.

A Walk in the Park!
        We make a rapid flight upon wings of ether down one of the vertical shafts to
visit our most favourite place of all in this huge mooncraft – the vast parkland that is
the size of France! It is now daytime here, and all of the animals appear to be
perfectly happy and content in this new and constantly changeable environment.
They appear to have settled down quite easily into the regular diurnal 12-hour
alternation between day and night, and some have already begun dropping their
young. We don’t recall seeing quite so many calves, fawns or lambs when the larger
animals were first released into their new home, and the same thing is true of the
lesser woodland animals – and birds, too!



                                          55
        As we stroll unseen and unscented among the widely varied trees of the great
forest, we are astonished to see just how many species and varieties of wild life have
been collected. And even more amazing at how closely they seem to resemble the
animals we still have on our own Mother Earth!            Oddly, there seem to be no
carnivores among these gentle animals - though perhaps they are lying up in their
hidden lairs asleep and sated after a good night’s hunting! Somehow, this idea repels
us. Do we really need beasts of prey?

        Perhaps it is true after all, just as I, among many others, have predicated – that
the Universe probably abounds with hosts of very similar lifeforms, all in accordance
with a Creator’s ordained Blueprint, and all bearing very similar DNA strands and
molecules within their makeups. I had never been an advocate of “panspermia” – the
concept that the microscopic seeds of life drifted throughout the ether and settled to
develop wherever a planet’s environment met with the necessary six-fold criteria:
right planetary size and gravity; right atmosphere; water; carbon-based crustal surface
geology; right speed of rotation - and above all – the right proximity to a benevolent
star. Oh, yes! And perhaps a moon (or two) to set the useful rhythmic pulse of
oceanic tides and breeding-cycles!
         In my view, it is simply a matter of pure, unadulterated Nature – as laid down
by the Almighty – that wherever planetary conditions are amenable for the
development and growth of life, in any or all of its myriad pre-ordained forms, it will
appear! Not by the aeons of painful and tediously slow evolutionary change
propounded by Darwin and his supporters – but quite spontaneously, and fully-
equipped with its own specific and unique genetic double-helix of DNA links. Every
creature appears already fully provided with all the necessary genetic plans to develop
and grow into a particular predestined form. Darwin’s “Evolution”, as far as I am
concerned, has already been found sadly lacking and has already been abandoned by
thinking men of science. However, these are simply my own thoughts. My readers
must decide for themselves which is the right concept!

Earthrise!
        As we return to the moonship’s interior, we find an air of suppressed
excitement pervading the control-room (or “bridge”).        A quick glance around the
faces of the duty-officers tells us that something of great moment has begun to
happen. All eyes are trained upon the big diagram-display panel above the main
console, and, following their gaze, we see that a new diagram has appeared upon it.
The scale has now been greatly enlarged to give a closer and more accurate picture of
the conjunction-point between the curved yellow tangential path of Luna and the blue
orbit-line of the Earth. We see at once that the gap between the white three-
dimensional mesh sphere which now represents our planetoid spaceship, and the
Earth’s orbital path is rapidly closing. And over to the right of the screen we can now
see another, much larger diagrammatic sphere approaching slowly, in second-by-
second increments.

        It is the Earth - and it is alone! Our earlier misgivings about the earlier non-
inclusion of Earth’s Moon are now confirmed! We are actually riding the real Moon
to an intended tryst with its future guardian – Mother Earth! This we must see in
every detail – and we know where we can witness this great moment best! The real-
time optical-scanning compartment! The tense atmosphere in this room is every bit
as great as in the main-control room, and we find the Captain is here, chatting


                                           56
seriously with the other four officers, and observing the approach, before returning to
the main console and placing Luna in her appointed orbit around the Earth! There is
evidently no great rush, as we are still at least two or three million miles distant from
the meeting-place.

        But we realise that this will soon begin to dwindle fairly quickly at the
combined approach-speeds of both Earth and Luna. The Earth is travelling at an
orbital speed of 66,600 miles per hour around the Sun, and Luna is approaching along
its tangential path at something close to twice that speed, according to our own
observations of the diagram- panel. Even we - although entirely ignorant of what is
being said or planned - can see that this is going to be a very close-run thing, and that
the moonship must begin losing a lot of her speed very soon!                After a few
interminable minutes more of close observation, the Captain murmurs something to
the screen-room officers, then, as they salute him, he strides out into the main control-
room. We glide out swiftly and unseen behind him.

        The Captain now begins issuing rapid commands to several of his assembled
controllers and a new diagram flashes up on the big screen. Now we can see a
schematic view of Luna’s sphere with the main drive and attitude-thrusters clearly
highlighted. What will happen next, we wonder, anxiously? Will he have to rotate
the ship around upon its axis so that the main thrust-jets face the direction of flight,
then fire a salvo of prolonged blasts from them? We wait expectantly, as the Captain
sits back in his great executive chair gazing fixedly up at the screen. We notice now
that two panels, like digital clock-faces, have appeared upon a vacant area of the
screen and that they are both slowly counting down toward some time limit, but at
separate rates.

        Suddenly, the Captain barks out an order, and one of the operators presses a
pad on the console. At once we see upon the diagram, red arrows shooting from
several of the forward-pointing attitude thrusters, and they continue to do so for
several moments until we see that the time-panels have nearly synchronised their rates
of countdown. It is then that the Commander snaps a few more rapid orders to his
controllers. And, as the two counters finally indicate identical countdown readings,
the diagram again changes to show the paths of the two bodies in a plan-view, with
two white circles moving together in increments along the long oblique arms of an
elongated “Y”-shaped junction.

        However, as we anxiously watch them slowly creeping toward certain
collision, the Captain, who has now risen and is leaning over the console smartly
thumbs another touch-pad. At once, upon the diagram, the attitude-thrusters upon the
side facing the Earth burst into a very brief emission of red arrows, pushing the
moonship slightly aside from the Earth’s path. Another very short burst of only one
opposite thruster corrects any veer away from the now parallel course, and then all at
once, both Earth and Luna are moving along side by side together! The two planets
are now separated by only fifty or sixty thousand miles, and within seconds we see the
diagram of Luna begin to be drawn toward that of the Earth as she falls under the
larger planet’s powerful gravitational attraction.

       At this point, the Captain, by means of his touch-pads, makes a complex series
of short bursts upon both of the main-drive and attitude thrusters, his hands flying


                                           57
over the pads like those of a concert pianist. Slowly but surely, Luna is coaxed into a
precise, gravitationally balanced orbital path around the speeding Earth! We realise,
with a growing respect for the Captain’s consummate skill that the Moon (which Luna
has now become) is having to travel at two closely synchronised speeds
simultaneously! She is not only hurtling with the Earth around the Sun at 66,600
mph, but she is also moving upon her own 1,500,000 mile orbit around the Earth at
2,300 mph - all at the same time!

        Curiously, because the Earth is rotating upon its axis at 1000 mph as it orbits
around the Sun, the Moon is now orbiting the Earth, with one side permanently turned
toward her new mother-planet, at a distance of 240,000 miles. This is an orbit which,
from now on, will take 27.3 earth-days to execute. And as they both go around the
Sun in their joint orbit, the Moon will have to perform a peculiarly serpentine “dance”
in and out, to either side of the Earth as each succeeding circular lunar orbit around its
parent is completed! We see this strange lunar dancing pattern displayed in fast-
motion on the diagram-screen. Like most of the control-crew, we find it amusing,
too, but we also find it amazing, for we know that the Moon will continue her
weaving dance around our Earth and around the Sun in perfect, unfaltering, sinuous
rhythm for many millions of years into the future!
        Joyfully, we hasten swiftly to the outer surface of the Moon, and gaze
wonderingly and wistfully toward our home-planet. It looks like a blue-green jewel
upon a black velvet drape that is spangled with a myriad brilliant diamonds, and we
suddenly feel a great yearning to go Home. However, as we strain our strangely
enhanced powers of distant vision homeward towards Earth, we notice with some
great surprise that the oceans have somehow almost disappeared! The Atlantic
Ocean appears to be little more than a wide blue rift between two huge continents that
are largely of a rich green shade! Then we realise something else. The continents
seem strangely misshapen and far larger than they should be! What can have
happened in our absence?

The Earth that Was…
        It almost appears to us that the Earth has shrunk since we left upon our
tremendous voyage of discovery into the cosmic past…. THE PAST! Suddenly it
hits us! We have forgotten that we are STILL IN THE PAST!        The Earth that we
are now staring at so concernedly is nearly SIXTY-FOUR MILLION YEARS
YOUNGER! For a long moment we are both appalled at our situation, and feel as
though we are trapped in some weird timewarp. Then it occurs to us that we are still
merely travellers within our own imaginations, and are free to return Home to the
world we know at the faintest flicker of a mental wish.

        This realisation brings us back to our senses, and instead of gaping in
something akin to terror, we now eagerly scan the archaic Earth with our wonderful
mental telescopic vision. Although we find even this has its limitations - but I suspect
these are really only the limitations of our own credibility!

       However, we find that we can make out the green regions as being the tops of
vast canopies of rainforest that almost completely cover the recently-separated
continents, apart from volcanoes, which seem to protrude above the canopy
everywhere we look. There are also mountains and occasional whitened salt flats, as



                                           58
well as large stretches of marshland and deep rivers. But apart from these, the dense
rainforests lie thick and luxurious over most of the landmasses.

       As we strain our mental sight ever harder, we can begin to make out moving
forms among the shadowy trees, and out in the great swamplands. There can be no
doubt about it - these are dinosaurs!

         We had imagined that they would have long since vanished from the scene –
at least according to many of the textbooks we had read – yet here we can still see
plenty of the gigantic dinosaurs. Giant beasts such as the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex
and diplodocus, the hypsilophodonts, stegosaurs and hadrosaurs of all kinds,
protoceratops and even tricerotops are still ranging quite happily across the land.
And up above them we can also see giant birdlike creatures flying, batlike, over the
high rainforest canopies, and swooping to catch small prey that they devour on the
wing. They also soar over the oceans and lakes, snatching up large fish from the
waves without missing a wingbeat – although they occasionally find themselves being
plucked unceremoniously from the air by long-necked sea-going saurians, such as the
giant ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs!
        They are the pterosaurs - giant leathery-winged flying dinosaurs, and some of
them must be close to thirty or forty feet across from wingtip to wingtip! We never
realised before that these flying saurians were so huge! Among these state-of-the-art
pteradactyls, two species seem to have attained Olympian standards – pteranodon and
quetzelcoatlus! They are extraordinarily large yet amazingly agile in flight. This
whole scene is something we hadn’t expected to see, and it leaves us quite staggered.

        However, we find ourselves wondering what life must be like for the smaller
creatures of Earth. The little furry mammals and other small denizens of the deep
forest twilight, and the narrow rocky caves, we once learned about in natural-history
class, who can only come out to feed after dark, when the cool of the night makes
cold-blooded reptilian carnivores too sluggish to hunt for prey! It must be a life of
perpetual terror for them, especially when the lightning-fast velociraptors are out
hunting in packs!

         Even the true, warm-blooded birds must go in mortal dread of the pterosaurs,
with their elongated, snapping beak-like jaws, filled with rows of razor-like teeth!
We pity any such poor mammalian creatures, yet we admire their plucky survival
skills, since we know that they are destined to outlive the dinosaurs – which must
surely now be on the very brink of their extinction? However, from what we see
below, that event must still be a thousand years away yet - if not several!

“Repair Ship!”
       Suddenly, we realise that we are not the only ones observing the Earth. Whilst
we have been absorbed in viewing the dinosaurs, a trio of spacecraft have emerged
from the iris-hatch, and are parked close by whilst their spacesuited crews have
emerged, bringing assorted optical instruments with them. Now they, too, are deeply
engaged in studying the Earth’s surface, and are speaking animatedly to each other
over their suit intercoms.

       We are rather surprised that they haven’t shown any surprise at the giant
dinosaurs - which they must surely be able to see easily through their high–tech


                                         59
optical instruments - roaming around the landmasses of Earth.        In fact, from our
observation of the general matter-of-fact demeanour of the crewmen, everything
appears to be pretty much up to their expectations. Then much to our further surprise -
after a reasonable period of time spent viewing the Earth – they begin unloading a
great pile of curious equipment from their ships, and assembling all the numerous
parts together. Much as one might assemble a model from Meccano – and also as a
road-gang on Earth might prepare to do a spot of road-repair work! They work with
amazing speed and alacrity, and the task is completed within a matter of hours!

        The finally assembled result of their labours is quite hard to describe, so I
won’t attempt to go into any detail here. Suffice to say that it embodies some of the
characteristics of a large mobile highway-surfacing plant to which was attached a
capacious “heating unit” or gas-cylinder, (something like a giant horizontal water-
boiler). And that it is all connected together into an astonishingly huge combined
piece of equipment from which long metal tubes or jet nozzles and even longer, heavy
armoured flexible metal hoses protruded. The whole thing is mounted upon giant
multi-sectioned wheels, which moves in the manner of a track-laying machine such as
a bulldozer or an army tank, by placing one sectioned facet of each wheel’s multi-
faceted circumference flat upon the ground at a time, as the wheels rotate. With such
wheels, the whole rather clumsy and cumbersome mechanism appears capable of
proceeding at quite an even, “stepping” pace even over quite rough terrain.

        A small crew of Martians then clamber aboard the curious contraption, and it
trundles steadily off in the direction of a badly–eroded area of the lunar surface, which
has been scoured right down to the bare metal of its underlying sphere by the action of
showers of meteoric particles.          We have already observed many such areas,
especially in the smooth “maria”, or “seas” of the Moon, and it is evident that the
Martians intend to do some kind of repair-work in a sector fairly close to the great
entrance hatchway.        As the great lumbering Heath-Robinson “steam-roller”-like
machine rolls away, with its boiler-trailer in tow, the remaining crewmen re-enter
their ships and return to the interior.

        Keenly interested in this curious piece of “road-repair-plant”, we follow in its
wake until it plods to a halt near a large patch of bare shining metal some miles away.
Here, some of the Martians clamber down carrying some sort of ray-gun-looking
device between them, and also hauling along one of the long flexible hoses, which are
of quite large calibre. It has a curious nozzle one its end, not unlike an oversized
vacuum-cleaner fitting! At a signal to the squad leader on the machine, who starts
up some sort of motor, this gun-device is aimed at a large heap of broken moon-rock,
and we are almost blinded by a dazzling spurt of bright blue flame which suddenly
jets forth upon the rockpile. Then, to our amazement, the rock speedily begins to
melt and run like molten lead, and, as it does so, the wide suction nozzle begins
drawing the liquid melted rock into the tube, and from thence, into the great
cylindrical boiler-heating apparatus.

         Meanwhile, wearing thick, protective gauntlets in fire-brigade fashion,
another group has hauled out another flexible metal hose to the edge of the scoured
metal area. At the touch of a lever, the “hosepipe” begins spouting forth a lava-like
jet of the molten rock on to the bare patch. The three Martians holding the nozzle
move it adroitly this way and that, and the deep cold of the frozen surface causes the


                                           60
lava to set smoothly solid almost as soon as it splashes upon it. Within half an hour,
the entire bald patch of perhaps a couple of acres is coated over with a six-inch layer
of dark grey rock. But this is only the start. Soon other ships return with more sets
of this equipment, and before long there are several of the quaint, but highly-efficient
“fire-engine-road-layers” operating together in unison on other, quite extensive,
meteor-scoured areas!

        We wonder why the Martians are going to so much trouble to cover the bared
metal, but it eventually dawns upon us that they are not only preserving the metal
surface, but are also quite unwittingly “camouflaging” it under a coating of smooth
rock. At some far-future time, the coating will be mistakenly thought to be the
outflows of sub-surface lava by Earth’s astronomers! However, they are probably
only concerned at this juncture with protecting the metal from further damage and
erosion. Judging from the vast extent of these smooth dark-grey “maria” (or “seas”)
that are visible upon the Moon, this repair-work must have been done very frequently
during the moonship’s incalculably long history. Rather much as many a seagoing
ship of Earth’s oceans will require frequent scraping and repainting of its hull, to
preserve it from corrosion, rust and barnacles in millennia to come!

        Needless to say, this work takes quite a lengthy period of time, and we spend
much of it in observing activities, both animal and geological, upon the Earth. There
are many mighty and horrendous battles between the mighty dinosaurs to witness, and
scores of spectacular volcanoes to be seen in full eruption, at any given time! Also,
with our super-enhanced vision, we have a ringside seat to watch the magnificent
celestial displays presented by distant stars and nearby planets. It is during one of
these stargazing sessions that we first notice the approaching meteor.

        At first, we take it for some wayward satellite that has strayed out of its orbit,
but, as time passes, we can see that it is moving toward the solar system in a wide
parabolic path along the plane of the Sun’s equator. In short, it is heading upon a
possible collision course with one of the planets – or even the Sun itself! As it
steadily approaches, we observe that it is also accelerating ever faster as it is
succumbs to the Sun’s gravitational influence, and that its path is upon the same plane
as the orbits of the inner planets! Soon, it is so large and bright that the Martians
notice it, and they emerge in force to study it with their optical instruments. It
obviously has them deeply concerned, and we wonder if this concern might perhaps
cause them to power up the moonship ready to move it from Earth orbit and out of
harm’s way.

        Now the meteor is no longer moving across the sky in a curving path, but
instead, appears now to remain in a fixed position as it grows larger and brighter with
every passing hour. This can mean only one thing! It is heading directly toward us!
Yet still the Martians make no effort to move the moonship! Has the mighty engine
failed to start? We shoot swiftly down the entry-shaft and enter the control-room.
Surely the Captain must have some contingency plan for avoiding such an
approaching impact!

        But as we enter unseen into the control-room, our eyes fall upon the diagram-
display, and we see why he hasn’t manoeuvred the Moon to safety. The path of the
intruder is aimed directly toward Earth itself – or where Earth will be along its orbital


                                           61
path, within another hour or two! Also, the meteor is displayed in close-up, and, in
comparison with the Earth it is only about the size of Iceland.

        Whilst this is heartening news to us, we have enough scientific comprehension
between us to understand that its impact will nevertheless be extremely devastating –
whether on land or in the sea. A land impact might cause incredible crustal damage
at the speed the meteor is now travelling, whilst an ocean-impact is bound to cause an
enormous tidal wave or tsunami, which could very well sweep around and across
much of the Earth!      However, since our moonship is orbiting at a distance of almost
a quarter-million miles away from Earth, she is quite safe – provided that she isn’t
passing between Earth and the meteor at the crucial moment! But again we see from
the diagram-panel that we will be well out to one side and heading toward the rear of
the planet!

The Deathly Blow!
        In a flash we are back upon the outer surface to witness the second terrific
celestial accident of our etheric space-voyage. We watch in growing horror as the
great white-hot meteor rushes at enormous speed toward our beautiful unsuspecting
homeworld. There is a sudden blinding flash as it ploughs through the dense
atmosphere, followed immediately by an enormous explosion as it crashes into the
coastal shallows of an area of the American continent that will one day be the Gulf of
Mexico.
        A gigantic column of superheated steam and vaporised rock mixed with
molten lava bursts forth toward the sky, like an unimaginably gigantic and hideous
flower of brilliantly dazzling white and yellow flame, followed closely by a vast,
writhing, almost solid column of pulverised rock-dust, soil, smoke and seawater!
With our supernatural senses we can feel the enormous impact, the jolting giant
upheaval of the ground, and the tremendous booming, thunderous roar of the totally
deafening ongoing explosions!       It is a dreadful and frightful sight to behold! We
continue watching, spellbound by the sheer shocking awfulness of it all as the heavier
portions of masses of upflung rock and water rain back down in a deadly and
drowning deluge of chaotic destruction upon the isthmus which joins the two large
landmasses of the Americas.

        Momentarily, the entire Gulf of Mexico is emptied of ocean, leaving a vast,
steaming pit, thousands of feet deep and 700 miles in diameter, and the Yucatan
peninsula disappears into a welter of falling debris, steam and mephitic smoke. All of
the volcanoes in Central America burst forth in a shattering chorus of ear-spitting
thunder, and the ground ripples and shakes with rolling earthquakes. As the Atlantic
waters roll into the yawning chasm left by the mighty explosion, a semicircular ripple,
created by the impact begins racing out across the Pacific, bringing huge tidal waves
even to the far-distant shores of Japan, China and Australasia. This is a cataclysm of
giant proportions!

        Most of the lush vegetation in Mesoamerica and the surrounding edges of
north and south America lies flattened, either under the merciless rain of rocks and
debris, or by the powerful, continuous quaking of the earth they grew in. But this is
just the prelude to a far greater ecological disaster – probably one of the worst the
Earth has ever known since it became the rich abode of life.



                                          62
       Though a great deal of the heavier matter that has been flung skyward falls
back almost immediately after the meteor buries itself deep into the shelving seabed
off Yucatan, the larger portion of it remains high aloft in the upper atmosphere. There
it forms a dense cloud of pulverised rock and dust particles intermixed with thick
sulphurous smoke. At first this remains as a discrete black cloud mass, but as the
swirling winds of the disturbed stratosphere begin to blow turbulently, it is carried far
and wide by their currents until it encircles the bulk of the Earth like a deeply
shadowed, ever-widening belt of sun-blocking shadow.

        Soon its deadly pall shadows the entire Earth, and the first casualties of this
deprivation of lifegiving sunlight are the lush, wide-leafed tropical plants and trees.
And, as the Sun disappears, so the temperature of Earth’s hot and humid atmosphere
begin to fall and dry out at an alarming rate, bringing snow and frost to regions where
they had never been known before. By now, most of the richer vegetation has fallen
and died either from lack of the Sun’s light for the life-giving photosynthesis of
carbon dioxide into oxygen, or from the sudden climate-change. Now it is the turn
of the already terrified and freezing animals to begin to die.

         Ironically, it is the largest dinosaurs who are the first to go, because they
require so much more warmth and oxygen that the smaller species. But these, too,
soon begin to follow their giant cousins into rapid extinction. Before long, all that
are left on the land of this once mighty dynasty of the great saurians, are a few small
lizards, snakes and amphibious reptiles, such as the crocodiles and iguanas. But
some of the seagoing dinosaurs, such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, will be able to
continue on for a much longer time in the comparative warmth of the oceans, where
their food, the fish, is still very abundant. The fish, in fact, hardly suffer at all, during
this appalling decades-long lack of bright sunshine, apart from those that feed on
upper surface plankton.

        Being in an incorporeal and timeless state, we are able to witness all this
devastation as if through a “fast-forwarding” video projector. We see the day arrive
when the cloud cover finally thins and disperses sufficiently to permit the first wintry
rays of the sunshine to fall upon the ruinous snow-clad surface, and we watch it as it
daily gains in strength and heat. At last, the long-dormant seeds of plants and trees
begin to sprout anew, but many of the more luxuriant and exotic varieties died before
they could produce or scatter any seeds, and they, like the dinosaurs, are lost forever.

         However, for some strange reason, many of the smaller insects have managed
to survive in their archaic, primitive forms, although most of their giant
representatives – like the great dragonflies – were among the earliest casualties.
There are also a few of Earth’s first primitive mammals among the survivors, too, but
most of these have only survived by eating each other. They are the carnivores. Most
of their natural prey, the herbivores perished very soon after the vegetation had begun
to shrivel and die, and the fight was then on among the carnivores for the survival of
the fittest. And it is still on!

The Biological Renewal
       Much time has now passed as we await some sort of action from the Martians
within the moonship. But, apart from the continuing repair and maintenance work
being carried out on the lunar maria by the “road-gangs” and their peculiar resurfacing


                                             63
equipment, they seem to pay little further heed to the situation down on the Earth.
True, a crew of observers do appear from time to time to survey the latest
developments on the mother-planet, and to make assorted surveys and assessments,
but nothing much seems to come of the reports they turn in to their superiors. We are
amazed at their indifference!

        As for ourselves, we still continue to maintain our own watching brief upon
the planet’s surface, but it appears to be taking a very long time to regain its mantle of
greenery. Although it is coming back, painfully slowly, and it is possible to see a
noticeable difference almost every day now. We can also still find some signs of life
down there if we focus very closely. Most of it is concentrated in the ocean, where
we frequently see plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs in hot pursuit of large fish – and of
each other! But on the land we still get occasional glimpses of small reptiles, such as
snakes, iguanas, turtles, tortoises and crocodiles, small amphibians, birds, and a few
of the smaller furred mammals. These latter, appear to be mostly rodents, and are
preyed upon by such few larger carnivorous mammals as still survive.

        However, we cannot estimate the numbers of mammalian carnivores since
most of them are nocturnal hunters that rest up during the daytime. How long they
will be able to hold out before they too become extinct is difficult to say, but without
the larger hoofed mammals - the heavily fleshed ungulates that were formerly their
prey - we feel sure their end cannot be long in coming.       Still, several years have
already flashed by since the catastrophe, and the carnivores are still managing to by -
so who can say?

        Not that we personally would care greatly if all the carnivorous beasts were to
vanish. The world has had enough savagery under the terrible 150 million-year reign
of the flesh-eating dinosaurs, without the carnage being perpetuated. But we also
recognise the harsh fact of nature that if the rodents are allowed to breed without
check, the world and its recovering herbage will soon be in dire peril of being overrun
with them. Thus carnivores would appear to be a necessary evil, if only for the
wellbeing of the entire planet’s biosphere and ecology!

       More time wings by, and we have now begun to see a very distinct recovery of
the Earth’s vegetation. The planet is returning to its old verdant green and
aquamarine hues at an accelerating pace, and we notice that the birdlife is once more
abundant, despite the heavy inroads being made by some of the rodents into their eggs
and chicks. We have also noticed a lot more observational activity by the Martians,
who have begun to take a growing interest in these new developments on the Earth. A
new, younger captain emerged yesterday, accompanied by his senior lieutenants, and
spent some considerable time both viewing and discussing the Earth quite animatedly
with them.

        We frequently go back inside the Moon to keep ourselves abreast of any
changes in activity on the part of the crew, and today, following yesterday’s show of
interest, we decide to pay them another unseen visit to see what they are planning – if,
indeed they are planning anything! Lately, we have begun to think that the Martians
simply placed their moonship into temporary orbit around the Earth whilst they
carried out the requisite repairs before commencing some lengthy journey across the
depths of interstellar space!


                                           64
       But when we arrive in the main control-room, we are surprised to find that
they are studying a wide assortment of animal images on their diagram-screen. They
appear to be paying particular attention to certain species and varieties of those
mammals and birds we have already walked among, in the great artificial parklands
down in the lower section of the planet’s interior. Though we still do not have the
vaguest inkling of the Martian tongue, we cannot help but discern that they are in the
process of making some sort of selection from the animal varieties they have rescued
from Mars. Could it possibly be that they have brought them to the Earth in order to
release them upon its surface?

        It soon becomes all too evident that this is exactly what they intend!
Obviously, they would have done so long before this, had it not been for the Yucatan
catastrophe, which so fortuitously wiped the Earth clean of the monstrous saurians!
Then we find ourselves wondering if they could possibly have had some
foreknowledge of that disastrous event? They certainly have no shortage of amazing
celestial instruments and the skill and ability to use them effectively. Perhaps they
had sighted the meteor long before it was visible even to our own presently enhanced
senses, and had correctly predicted the outcome! We have no way of knowing for
certain that this was actually so - but we hope that it was!       Otherwise, it was a
marvellously – nay - miraculously happy coincidence for the animals concerned!

         Within a few hours, the commander and his officers have reached some sort of
decision, and it soon becomes apparent that a survey-expedition is to be mounted to
visit the Earth. And we shall be going with them – as unseen stowaways! Of course,
we could have gone by ourselves at any time without the aid of spacecraft, in our
incorporeal form. But we have striven hard not to anticipate these events as they have
been unfolding, otherwise we would have missed out on a great deal of the excitement
and interest of seeing things from their perspective!

        In the meantime, while preparations are being made for the reconnaissance
flight, we decide to visit our favourite sector of the ship and spend some time with the
animals. It is tremendously uplifting and refreshing to our spirits to once again be able
to commune with these sensitive creatures, who seem somehow to be aware of us.
Despite our being incapable of detection by scent, sight or sound, they appear to
possess a “sixth sense” which is more of the spirit than the flesh, for they react in
some strange though docile, unafraid manner, to our passage among them. They even
turn their heads and eyes toward us, as if straining to physically study us. This
curious extra-sensory perception has been noticed before on many occasions in
animals, so it comes as no great surprise to us that they are apprised, in some singular
way, of our presence.
        For us, this is a real bonus and a delight, and we feel less alone as we pass
through their midst, and run stroking, but unseen hands over their furry backs and
heads. As we do so, we study them closely. They look quite familiar to us, even
though we are temporally separated by millions of years. This one is clearly a deer,
even though his antlers protrude lower down his skull – almost like tusks rather than
horns. That one is a goat of sorts, although he is much larger than any goat we ever
saw on our own modern Earth. Many of the animals, especially the mastodons, and
the cattle, such as archaic bison and other bovine creatures are already within our
range of recognition, and, although they have still to undergo much more adaptation
and specialisation, we already feel that we know them like old friends!


                                           65
         There are so many very familiar-looking mammals here that we find it almost
impossible to believe that they were not originally produced upon the Earth! And yet
we saw them roaming the ancient forests and grasslands of Mars, before the
catastrophe in which Astrida scoured their homeworld into an almost airless and
waterless red desert!
         One thing that strikes us as we study these animals is this. If their species had
ever originally roamed the Earth before the coming of the dinosaurs, the fierce
saurians must have driven them into near-extinction, leaving only the strongest, the
fastest, and the most able to fight back to continue on against the voracious dinosaurs.
Perhaps we should include the smallest mammals, too, since they were able to hide in
crevices and burrows where the dinosaurs - even the smaller and more agile warm-
blooded raptors - were unable to reach them! This was “Survival of The Fittest” in
its purest form!
                                       - Interlude -
                                     A Brief Digession Regarding Darwinism.

          As I have stated earlier in this work, although I was once a keen protagonist of his works, I no
longer support Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory, simply because it is full, not merely of gaping holes, but
of great yawning chasms in its general logic and cohesive reasoning – or lack thereof!           Charles
Darwin, who had been a great admirer of his gifted naturalist grandsire, Erasmus Darwin, began
concocting his theory, based upon the writings and philosophic ideas of his grandfather. Later he was
influenced by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist, and also Charles Lyell, a noted geologist,
whose book:”Principles of Geology” he read whilst lying seasick at the beginning of his long voyage
on the “Beagle”.
          His theory was not solely formulated, as many believe, just to tear down his father’s strictly-
held religious Creationist concepts - even though he had come to regard the Genesis story as so much
theistic nonsense. He had simply absorbed his grandfather’s ideas and writings too deeply to meekly
follow his father’s edict that he become a Church minister, and thus embrace the ridiculous idea of
Divine Creation!
          However, in my humble opinion, the final, completed theory that he submitted in its place, is
far more nonsensical in many of its sweeping assumptions and ill-founded notions! If he had spoken of
adaptation* to environment and circumstances, instead of evolution, I would probably have continued
to support his basic findings, but the concept of a species changing itself genetically into another,
entirely different one is, to say the least, quite implausible and totally DNA untenable! Alas, Darwin
suffered severely from “tunnel-vision” on this aspect of his theory, and refused point-blank to amend it
in any way.
            *(Sadly, even the word “adaptation” has become a synonym for “evolution” among Darwinists of late, in a bid to
regain lost respectability. However, I use it here in its purest sense and connotation .)

         About the only part of Darwin’s work I find myself able to agree upon with any degree of
conviction is the section which deals with the “survival of the fittest”**. But even in this far more
credible part of his work, Darwin’s ideas are seriously flawed by his failure to adequately address the
most important aspect of this natural rule – the ascendancy of the cleverest – not just of Man, but of
other species, too. Without his superior intelligence, Man is but a feeble weakling in the animal world,
and could not survive in the wild by purely physical attributes alone.

         This is also true of many other animals, which have developed cunning and mental superiority
as a substitute for their lack of brute strength and natural weapons of defence or attack. Rodents are
notable masters of so-called “low animal cunning”, just as foxes are regarded as pastmasters of
craftiness and guile! But this “quick thinking” is still the product of intelligence. Man has simply
refined these same mental skills to a much higher degree, and, by also developing his manual dexterity;
he has now ascended to the top of the biological “survival” pyramid.
           **(By “Survival of the Fittest” I understand Darwin - and hopefully his disciples - to mean this phrase to describe
those creatures which succeeded in producing offspring for the next generation, and nothing more. Basically, the ones that
have best adapted to their environment can be regarded as “fit”. This particular phrase is one of the most misrepresented and
misunderstood in Darwinian philosophy) GF



                                                             66
                                Chapter Seven
                    Our Hypothetical Journey Continues
Operation “Replenish”.
        Our pleasant interlude among the quiet woodland glades and lush meadows of
the Moon’s interior and our silent communion with the sensitive creatures that inhabit
this wonderful, if artificial world, is suddenly interrupted. One of the large, circular
Martian spacecraft has descended the deep shaft and its crew has quietly and
unobtrusive entered through the shaft portal.          We realise, without needing to
understand their soft, sibilant conversation, why they are here. The final decision has
clearly been made to take some of the gentle beasts down to the Earth’s surface. We
can only guess that this is going to be a preliminary experimental trial of their ability
to withstand the somewhat different conditions, which prevail there. So only a small
number of “guinea-pig” beasts will be taken on this first journey.

        However, the Martians seem to have some kind of mental or psychic rapport
with the animals. They have little trouble selecting and rounding up several small
representative groups of each species, which go along with them in an extraordinarily
docile and calm manner, to be guided across the ramps into the craft. Even the small
arboreal creatures and birds, clamber or fly down to them when they are called! We
are once again pleasantly astonished at the amazing communion and gentle, passive
attitude of these tall, rather fragile and delicate-limbed humanoids toward the animals,
and their obvious care and concern for them.

        We accompany them into the roomy ship and watch with interest how the
Martians direct each group into grilled metal pens that have already been carefully
prepared for them. They even gather bundles of green fodder for the larger beasts so
that they will have something to occupy their attention during the quarter-million mile
trip, beside assorted seeds, fruits and nuts for the small woodland mammal species
and the various birds. This is the first time we have ever seen the interior of one of
their spacecraft, and, since we are invisible and unsubstantial, we decide upon a whim
to go along for the ride!

        The interior of the ship is very spacious; not at all what we had imagined it to
be like. We had expected to find the inside divided up into many bulkheaded
compartments, each filled with assorted technical paraphernalia, such as the control-
panels, switches, fuseboxes, conduits, buttons, dials and screens which usually fill the
cluttered and cramped accommodation one associates with 21st century Earth
airplanes and spacecraft.

        But there is virtually none of this, and the whole interior seems to be designed
in a concentric circular layout, with only the central section specifically laid out as a
piloting and navigation area in two levels. The upper level being crowned by a large
plexiglass-like dome, Beneath which the pilot and navigator sit, inside the upper
portion of the control-cabin, surrounded by their very simplistic instrument panels.
        A circular corridor separates this control-cabin from the large cargo area that
now contains the animals. And adjoining this are three other areas, one being a
compact kitchen-dining-cabin, another contains sleeping-cubicles and personal


                                           67
facilities for both crew and passengers, and the third is a general relaxation space,
complete with comfortable, ergonomically-designed reclining seats fitted with swing-
away keyboards and viewing-screens. “All the comforts of home!” we think - even
though some of the appointments and fittings are totally strange to us!

         We are rather surprised to find there are no handholds or grab-rails in any part
of the ship, nor can we see any signs of an engine-room or a propulsion mechanism.
It’s not until later we discover that the main-drive of the ship lies under our feet below
the deck and that there is no engine-room as such. The antigravity drive is a totally
fail-safe, self-contained system, from which the crew have to be permanently
shielded, due to the extremely powerful electromagnetic fields it produces. When
engaged, the drive sets up a multidirectional external anti-gravitational field, that is
controlled and directed by something very like a computer-game “joystick” held by
the ship’s pilot-commander.

        Because the ship provides its own internal gravitation, none of its contents,
including the crew, are affected by external gravity sources, or any other kindred
physical effects, such as centrifugal force. Thus, even if the ship were to make an
abrupt high-speed right-angle change of direction, the crewmen could not be thrown
of balance by it. They would feel absolutely nothing. For all intents and purposes,
the normal laws of physics are suspended within these amazing ships. The only
effect the ship’s artificial gravity has on them is like that which we feel when standing
upon solid Earth – only a little lighter!

        A full-wraparound digital screen running around the entire inner cylindrical
wall of the control-cabin provides an all-round, 360-degree, independent and wide
field of vision. Also, circular tridimensional screens, set into a central console, give
the pilot and navigator both upper and lower hemispherical views of the space above
and below them.
        This is necessary because the clear astrodome needs to be darkened by
molecular-shading when operating close to a star, like the Sun. However, the
astrodome can be used for direct star-navigation when travelling across the perpetual
night of outer space. The other two control-crew members are responsible for the
mechanics of the ship and its communications, and occupy separate console positions
on the lower control-level. Apart from the stewards, the rest of the crewmen are
basically supernumeraries in a normal flight, unless some sort of emergency occurs.
However, on this particular flight, most of them will be kept occupied in keeping the
animals calm and quiet.

        Monitor-screens are located at strategic points around the craft’s interior so
that the crew and passengers are able to see where the ship is heading or has been, and
whatever sights of interest they happen to be passing. And it is through one of these,
idly operated by one of the crew, that we are able to observe with amazement the rear-
vision spectacle of the Moon already receding in our wake! We had not even been
aware of leaving the shaft yet, let alone exiting the Moon! Then, as he changes the
setting to forward-view, we are equally amazed at the hugeness of the approaching
Earth!
        These saucerlike spacecraft are certainly capable of an incredible turn of
speed! Judging by the steadily swelling Earth view, we will be there within a mere
hour or so at this rate! Which means we are travelling at a speed of at least three or


                                           68
four thousand miles per minute! And yet we have absolutely no sense of motion
whatsoever! Somehow, we guess that this is probably merely a normal cruising
speed for the craft – Heaven alone knows what speed the craft might attain if the pilot
were in a hurry!

        It occurs to us that these same characteristics of flight are those that were
always attributed to the UFOs and “Flying Saucers” of the 20th century, and we find
ourselves wondering if these same Martians ships were frequent visitors to the Earth
back then! If only we were able to speak to them! We have a thousand questions but
no means of posing them! All we can hope to do is to observe closely, assess
carefully, and draw our own best conclusions from what we see.

        As we continue to watch the Earth rapidly growing larger on the monitor
screen, we also find ourselves observing the Martian who is operating it. A long-
overlooked idea occurs to us simultaneously (for such is the nature of our present
disembodied state that, not surprisingly, being on the same ethereal wavelength, we
think the same thoughts in complete synchronisation). Thus far we have been so
intrigued by all the events which have occurred, and the saving and transference of the
Martian animals, that we have not given even a passing thought to the absence of our
own species, Homo Sapiens, or their likely origin!

        Surely, we Earthlings are a very far cry in, cosmic time, from this fragile,
elongated and spindly Martian humanoid before us! Even if, by some magical trick of
evolution – to which neither of us subscribe – the painfully slow process of physically
adapting and accommodating his species could be enormously accelerated to allow
him and his kind to become sufficiently physically metamorphosed to cope with
Earth’s massive gravitational force! Not to mention its stifling greenhouse heat and
humidity, due to a much closer proximity to the Sun! Even sixty-odd million years
seems far from long enough - if we are to believe the sort of staggering timescales
assumed in Darwinian evolution!         And yet, here they are, obviously bent upon
subjecting their Martian animals to precisely those identical overwhelming
conditions!

        It is a totally baffling conundrum, and we can do nothing but wait and see
what happens when the craft lands upon the surface of the Earth - as certainly appears
to be the intention of the Martians!

        Soon the Earth has grown to such enormous proportions as to more than fill
the monitor screen, and we see that the crewmen are now becoming excited at the
prospect of touching down upon its surface. We can now clearly see details of
mountain ranges and rivers. And as we approach ever closer, the craft slows down its
vertiginous descent and begins to slide into a more sidelong approach-path until it
finally levels out into a far slower horizontal motion, some few thousand feet above
the ground. The visual sensors are now adjusted to a closer focus, so that much
smaller details can be easily distinguished on the monitor-screens.

        The crewmen are now clustered together around the video-monitors, eagerly
pointing out every new object that is revealed to their excited gaze. In our view, it
looks as though we are flying low over the top of a tropical jungle canopy, and we can
clearly see feathered birds, both large and small, gliding among the treetops, and


                                          69
fluttering down to their nests. There are also many arboreal animals leaping around
among the branches and vines, and eating the fruits of the trees. It is almost as
though we are flying in a silent, glass-bottomed helicopter across the Amazonian
rainforest!

        Large muddy-brown rivers dissect the dense jungle, and we observe large
creatures wallowing in their steamy shallows under the shade of overhanging
branches that appear to be heavily fronded like palms or cycads. The scene looks
dazzlingly bright, and judging by the steamy mist that pervades the trees and shrouds
the rivers and swamps, it is obviously stiflingly hot, too!       We feel momentarily
relieved that, if the ship puts down in such a region, at least we will not be subjected
to the muggy torrid heat of this primeval rainforest! However, these archaic animals
and birds do not appear to be suffering unduly.

        Yet even though this is now an Earth from which the great dinosaurs have
been largely obliterated, we can still see their last and lucky survivors swimming in
the shallows of the fast-flowing rivers or basking upon the sandbanks. Crocodiles are
now the reigning monarchs of the reptile kingdom – at least, upon the newly separated
continents. However, their sea-going cousins, the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, still
ply the oceans, just as freely as they did before the great cataclysmic stroke which
wiped out so many of their saurian kin on the land.

        In some ways, we fervently wish we could have come on this journey before
that event took place. We would then have been able to compare in much fuller detail
just how closely the archaeologists of the 21st century had been able to visualise the
actual appearance and colouration of the dinosaurs! Still, from what we had been
able to discern during our earlier remote observations from the Moon, their guesses
were not too far off the mark!

        However, our immediate concern is why the spacecraft has not yet touched
down, since we have seen plenty of likely looking clearings and even the occasional
stretch of almost savannah-like country, as we have been flying across the land. But
now we are almost at the coastline and can see the ocean appearing before us in a
wide blue-green curve, so it looks as though the captain of the craft is not satisfied
with what he has seen thus far.      Just what landmass we have been flying over
remains a mystery, since, despite our good knowledge of 21st century geography, we
have not yet been able to identify any major landmark or configuration of coastline.
Obviously, the Earth still has plenty of geological shaping-work to do before it
becomes the one with which we are familiar!

       Now that we know we are flying very close to the surface, the whole scene
looks infinitely more real. Details are much more sharply defined than they were in
our earlier, long-range projected visions of the dinosaur-dominated Earth, and the
subsequent dreadful catastrophic scenes we had observed from the Moon.

        There are still a vast number of active volcanoes to be seen in practically any
direction we – or rather the crewman who is operating controls of our particular
monitor - care to look! (It appears that the visual equipment of the ship also allows
multidirectional viewing on these monitors, in a similar way to the cylindrical 360-



                                          70
degree screen in the control cabin. We conclude that both are probably seen through
the same photo-imaging source.)

        A thought occurs to us. Are we perhaps crossing over what is one day to
become southern or Central America? Volcanoes still abound there, even in our own
day, sixty million years ahead into the future. It is extremely strange to be travelling
in the past – and also extremely confusing, too. However, we are rapidly coming to
mental grips with our situation, and are learning to make the appropriate allowances
for this curiously elusive timewarp we are currently caught in. But we don’t want to
escape from it just yet awhile, especially after having already come so far with it.
There are still far too many mysteries waiting to be solved!

        Now we are scudding along at a much lower altitude. In fact it looks as if we
are barely skimming the foaming wavetops, judging by the images we now see on the
monitor! If it were not for our insubstantial forms, plus the fact that the craft is
totally devoid of any sense of tangible motion (unless one happens to be looking out
through a viewing-screen) we could quite easily start feeling queasy! However, we
feel no more actual movement than any 21st century television viewer would, whilst
watching a filmed storm at sea on his home screen!

        Whilst there seems to be a heavy swell on the sea, we can see that we are
heading into even worse weather in the distance, as the clouds are gathering for a real
storm, and already the lightning is flashing brightly in its midst. As we approach
closer, we see that the storm seems to have formed just in one single area of the ocean
– on either side, and all around, the sky seems clear and blue! Strangely, the storm
seems to be localised under a large lens-shaped cloud, and the surface beneath it is
milling itself into a white foam of swirling water, which is creating a sort of whirling
cross between a tornado and a minor hurricane!
        But strangest of all, our pilot, who is also the commander of our craft, appears
to be heading directly toward this weird area of turbulence, as if it were not there! We
feel a wild urge to shout a warning, but of course, we have no way to make ourselves
heard.      Then we hear the commander’s harshly sibilant voice suddenly echoing
sharply through the spacecraft. He is clearly issuing a command or a warning – or
perhaps both – as we can see that the crewmen are suddenly all paying attention to his
words. What a pity we cannot understand their curious tongue!

        Then, entirely without warning – at least to us – we are in the midst of the
storm and our craft stops absolutely dead in mid-flight! In any Earthly form of
transport, such a sudden and total stop would have sent us all hurtling into – or even
through - the nearest bulkhead at a thousand miles an hour! But we have forgotten
the uncanny internal gravity of the craft. Not a man among the crew even so much
as lurches as the ship comes to an instant standstill! Obviously the commander must
have warned them of this coming maneuver. But he must have added another
warning to that one, for all at once the ship swings instantly forward and up until it is
poised, standing upon its edge, rock still, in mid-storm. This, despite the threshing
whirlwind-waterspout, of which we are now in the heart! Then, after one age-long,
heart-stopping moment of complete stillness, it plunges vertically downward into the
tumultuous swirling waters beneath! We feel sure that the motive power of the craft
has failed, and this must be the end, and for a second forgetting our ethereal state, we
are gripped by the icy hand of terror.


                                           71
        Then, realising that neither the crewmen nor our animal cargo are displaying
any signs of unease or distress, we see that this is a deliberate dive under the waves!
For what reason we cannot guess, but we at least know that the craft, being a
hermetically sealed spaceship, is in no danger of sinking or even springing a leak! If
it can cross the near-complete vacuum of space between Mars and Earth, it will surely
take a submarine dive in it stride without the slightest danger! The monitors, much
to our astonishment are still fully functional, and we are treated to an underwater view
of a maelstrom in full force. The water is whirling around a great vortex, like a
continuation of the aerial vortex above the surface, and we can even see fish and other
sea-life being carried helplessly around in its watery walls. It is then that we grasp
the fact that we are not under water at all, but are flying sideways down a wide funnel
of clear air at the centre of the vortex! This is one of the most astounding experiences
of our lives!

        Now the swirling funnel turns swiftly as black as night, and we wait for our
craft to slam into the seabed – but amazingly, it doesn’t! We appear to be still flying
vertically downward without any slackening of speed! What on earth is happening?

        For what seems like an eternity of time, we continue our downward plunge
into what must surely now be the crust of the earth – yet still inside the tube of the
vortex of water. Then, totally astoundingly – we are free of the ocean and are shooting
vertically upwards into the sky again, amid a frothing burst of spray and foam! The
vortex must have somehow performed a U-turn, but how this could be possible is
totally beyond us! However, we are safely out of both the waterspout and the storm,
which is all that matters to us right now, and are again coasting along above a much
more placid ocean surface.

        The relief of our escape from what had seemed to be certain disaster
momentarily distracts our attention from the screen. But when we look at it again,
we again receive a shock of disbelief. At first we see the sea and what appears to be
the sky, but then it swiftly dawns upon us that something is amiss with the scene.
Where has the familiar sharply–etched line of the horizon gone? All we can perceive
upon the monitor is an oceanic surface of wind-blown waves which blurs away into
the bluish haze of distance in an upward curve, entirely filling the screen! We cannot
see any actual sky at all! There is no sign of any horizon! Even the formerly
dazzling sunlight seems to have become muted and softened into a pale almost wintry
glow.

         Then, as we stare at the monitor screen in growing disbelief, we see a faintly
distinguishable edge of a darker hue creeping down from the top of the image. It is
very indistinct at first, but, as our craft continues to race forward, it steadily resolves
itself into a ragged stretch of surf-pounded coastline. It is land! But again we ask
each other: “How can this be? Surely an approaching landmass should have appeared
to rise up over the horizon – not to descend from the sky as this is doing?” We
begin to doubt our own sanity – or perhaps it is some optical-illusion effect caused by
some weird malfunction of the camera equipment on the craft?                 However, the
illusion is not dispelled, nor do any of the crewmen appear phased in the slightest
degree by this maddening spectacle!



                                            72
        We remain nonplussed by this uncanny visual aberration, yet at the same time,
it seems strangely familiar. But since we cannot quite recall where we saw such a
sight, nor physically do anything about it, we simply have to accept it, and keep on
watching.

       Now we are over the land, and notice that its general appearance is quite
dramatically different to that of the continent we crossed earlier. Here the vegetation
is much taller and thinner than the luxurious tropical jungle we have previously flown
over, and the actual landform itself – where it protrudes above the treetops – is much
more jagged and pinnacled with sharply pointed spires of reddish rock jutting
upwards everywhere. The rocky crests look totally new and unweathered by the
elements! Again we are filled with a sense of unreality – as if we are the helpless
witnesses of some strange dream sequence. This simply cannot be real!

        It is at this point that the Martian crewman makes an upward adjustment to the
viewing-angle of the monitor, and we are now able to see the sky above our craft –
and immediately this new scene clarifies all of our previous misgivings. Above us
stretches a washed-out, robin’s egg blue sky, from which a pale, opalescent wintry
sun glimmers softly down. But it isn’t the softness of the sunlight that grasps our
attention. It is what we can see beyond it! Far, far away, in the shimmering mists of
distance on the other side of the sky, we can dimly make out what appears to be an
inverted hemispherical view of a globe of the world, spotted and blurred here and
there by what can only be scattered banks of cloud! Suddenly, we remember! It is
almost the same scene we saw when we followed a spacecraft through that great
portal to the interior of Mars!

       Our own home-planet, Earth, is hollow, too!

        This sudden realisation is almost too much for our feverishly overstrained
minds to cope with, and for some time all we can do is blankly stare at the scenes that
unfold before us as the crewman quickly flicks the view angle from one sight to
another. Here we see animals running or grazing upon the prairie lands that
intersperse the forests and mountains. They look much more stocky and familiar to
us, even though the interior of the Earth is probably like Mars, and is subject to a
lesser gravity than its exterior. We also see birds of all sizes and forms as well as
unidentifiable flying animals, gliding and fluttering about in the apparently much
denser air, than that we noticed inside Mars.

        There is certainly some slight attenuation of these inner Earth lifeforms, but to
nothing like the same degree as those of Mars. However, these animals and birds are
only lightly furred or feathered in comparison to those we have seen on the external
surface, and we attribute this to the much softer, benevolent radiance of the inner sun.
From what glimpses we have had of this “sun” – it does not appear to have the same
ball-shaped appearance that the solar Sun has. It seems to be more of a diffused
“cloud” of softly radiative material that has come together at the Earth’s inner focus
of gravitation. The very fact that we were able to look directly at it without being at
least temporarily blinded, testifies to the difference between it and the true outer Sun.

       However, it clearly appears to generate sufficient benevolent life-giving
radiance to permit photosynthesis to work quite successfully in the plentiful


                                           73
vegetation of the Inner Earth. Also, the scanty covering of the animals and birds
testifies, in a similar way, to the lessened effect, if not total absence, of the more
dangerous elements of actinic radiation. We can only assume, from what we have
now seen here, and within Mars, that this same internal arrangement must be common
to all planets – and even stars – right across the entire *universe!
        (NB. *Readers who wish to pursue this particular concept further, should read my work: “Is
Our Earth Really Hollow?” for further detailed explanations. GF)

         The general geology of the inner Earth’s surface in many ways mirrors that of
the outer surface, except for that curious lack of weathering which I mentioned above,
and the fact that its valleys and ridges are somewhat more vertically exaggerated in
comparison to those of the exterior. We consider this difference, and we conclude
that, because the inner surface is concave, the valleys and mountain ridges tend to be
compressed together by the inward curvature, whereas those on the outer, convex
surface are spread apart and opened out by the outward curvature.

An Earthwork Orange…
        For example, if one were to take a top to bottom vertical segment of orange
peel and cut or score a number of roughly parallel V-shaped notches across its inner
thickness, one could then observe this exact effect by alternatively flexing the
segment of peel inward and outward. All one need then imagine is that both surfaces
are similarly notched and scored, and – Voila! One has a classic model of the inner
and outer crustal features of the Earth!    Like the orange (preferably a thick-skinned
Jaffa or Californian “navel” variety of around 80mm or 3" diameter), the Earth, (and
presumably all the other “solid” planets to scale), would have a thickened, shell-like
crust similar to the peel of the orange (which is around 8mm or 5/16" thick). Bearing
in mind, of course, that since the 80mm diameter of the orange would represent the
8000 miles diameter of the Earth, so the thickness of its peel would represent the 800
miles-thick crust of a hollow Earth!

       In addition, to further help this simple demonstration. If we consider the hole
or “navel”, at the bottom of our orange, and imagine there is also a second, similar
“navel” at the top, and that both penetrate right through the peel, we have a classic
example of the “polar holes” that seem to occur in all hollow planets. Similarly we
can consider the central “pith” core of the orange, as representing the polar axis
around which our “navel orange” Earth rotates. The “pips” area is the region of its
“sun”! Thus, in a simple orange, we find an excellent demonstration model of a
hollow planet – but without the actual orange-flesh left inside it!

Polar Tumbles.
        Of course, there are other aspects that cannot be demonstrated quite so simply
in a mere orange. For example, from time to time in a planet’s long history, it may
experience what are called “poleshifts”. These are actual realignments and
repositionings of the planet’s axis due to it becoming unbalanced through excessive
deposition of polar ice off-centre from its axial rotation. It is believed that this is the
cause of the Earth’s axial precession or “wobble” which creates the remarkable
change of seasons in temperate and polar climes. It is though in scientific circles that
the lack of balance in the Antarctic polar icecap, and/or the huge mountain of solid ice




                                               74
which covers Greenland to a depth of several miles are the main culprits for the
Earth’s current axial wobble.

        One has to imagine that our planet is a huge ball-shaped child’s spinning-top,
suspended from nothing in empty space, and rotating around its axis at 1000 mph. If
a large blob of Plasticine is flicked on to the side of one of the poles, it will gradually
lose the battle to continue revolving about its present axis, and may soon topple over
to either a major or minor extent in order to redress its balance.

        Sometimes this might perhaps be a ninety-degree topple, which would
instantly change the positions of the poles to new locations on the former equator,
which, in turn, would now be vertical instead of horizontal to the Earth’s plane of
rotation. This would result in those two sectors of the ex-equator immediately being
plunged from the torrid heights of tropical heat into the frigid depths of intense polar
cold. The previous poles would now become part of a brand new equator and would
begin melting instantaneously - with many and varied consequential results for all
parts of the globe! The entire world sea level would immediately begin to rise
catastrophically, and would inundate seaports and seaside towns and cities all round
the planet. Other frightful consequences are not too difficult to imagine, so I won’t
enumerate them here!

       Sometimes, the topple might be a nearly full roll-over of say 100 to160
degrees, in which case the poles would almost exchange places, and we might find
Greenland’s giant ice-mountain occupying the Antarctic region, and the heavier
portion of Antarctica sitting directly on the site of the North Pole! This would have
no effect on the Earth itself of course, since there is no “up” or “down” in space. The
concepts of North and South like East and West, are merely human conveniences to
give us some concept of global direction. However, such a roll-over would be even
more catastrophic for all life on the Earth, since all the Earth’s oceans, being fluid,
would arise up from their beds under this disturbance of their resting balance, and
would sluice across the landmasses in the form of gigantic swirling tidal waves. The
consequences for all life on the planet can only too easily be envisaged!

         But, there would be some biological survivors, such as aquatic creatures,
birds, some plants, and myriads of seeds that would find new footholds in strange new
locations. Certainly many people might also survive such an experience - if they
happened to be airborne in high-flying aircraft, or on board some of the few well-built
ships that miraculously remained afloat throughout the ordeal! Even top-security
personnel in deep watertight secret Government installations within mountains, might
also easily survive such an experience. But what sort of God-forsaken world they
might encounter after they finally emerge, I can only leave up to the reader’s
imagination! But we must now return to our adventure in the Inner Earth.

        From what we have seen thus far, it appears that the gravitational force inside
the Earth, whilst being obviously weaker than that of the outer surface, is still a deal
stronger than that of the interior of Mars. We can see the evidence for this in the
general physical build of the animals and birds - especially in the smaller size and
larger wings of the latter, in comparison to those the Martians have brought with them
from the Moon. However, we have been more concerned about how the Martian
creatures will possibly cope with the outer surface gravity, which would certainly


                                            75
place quite a substantial burden of extra weight upon them. The birds, for example,
may not even be able to fly, and their eggshells may prove to be too weak for the
increased weight of their contents!

        Similarly, we are concerned that the larger animals, the elk-like beasts and the
Martian bisons, might be unable to travel at more than a slow plodding pace when
pursued by the sabre-toothed carnivores, and will thus vanish virtually overnight!
Surely one might have expected these intellectual Martians to realise this! No doubt
the largest beasts, such as the pre-elephantine mastodons, might be able to give good
accounts of themselves in such a confrontation by using their long tusks, but the tall,
thin, graffiti- okapi-like tree-browsers would soon fall easy prey to the Earth’s
powerful predators.

        It is whilst we are thus engaged in our gloomy cogitations upon the likely fate
of these poor beasts after we return to the outer surface, that we notice that there is
some bustling activity around us, and that the craft appears to be about to land.
Below us we can see an open stretch of savannah woodland, almost reminiscent of the
type of country one finds in the Australian outback, except that the occasional stands
of trees are somewhat taller. In the distance, we can also see what can only be a
village or small town of some sort, comprised entirely of stone buildings – and there
are a number of what can only be human beings emerging from it, and heading toward
our landing-site!

       We are totally staggered!       According to modern Earth science, there just
weren’t any humans, or even apemen, upon the Earth even a paltry two million - let
alone sixty-odd million years back! Yet the naked people who are now approaching
our craft, appear very much like ourselves – or like we appear in our physical,
embodied state! What is even more amazing is the fact that they appear to be quite a
cultured and tall race of people – nothing like the brutish, furry anthropoid parodies of
dwarfish early men whose false images slouched across the pages of our anthropology
textbooks in college!

        Now the ship has landed, the Martian control crewmen are checking some
instruments on the central console, and we note some vague semblance between these
and earthly pressure gauges of our own time. They are testing the outside pressure
against that inside their ship. Our guess is soon proved right, when a valve is opened
and a slight hissing sound tells us that they are balancing the pressure of the ship to
match that outside. It is the work of a few seconds, before the pilot-commander
barks a harsh order, and two of the crewmen begin operating a mechanism similar in
many respects to those we see on the insides of the doors of modern jet-liners. There
comes a final gasp of inrushing air and the large curved hatch in the craft’s circular
wall begins to slide open and the ramp begins to extrude on a low angle to the ground.
And at long last, we can actually see for ourselves the inner world of planet Earth!

        There is a momentary hiatus, whilst the Martians rest themselves, priming
their lungs with the rather denser air that has now filled the craft. But none of them
appear to be any more adversely affected than a resident of La Paz or Lhasa might be,
upon being transported swiftly to the lowlands of Bolivia or Nepal in an airplane.
They soon begin to move about the ship, and some descend the ramp to greet the
welcoming humans.


                                           76
        It now becomes quite apparent that this is not the first time a Martian ship has
visited the inner Earth – something we had first begun to suspect from the pilot’s
uncanny pre-knowledge of how to enter this eerie hollow world. He had obviously
known the precise location of the submarine entrance “valve”, the opening of which
had caused the peculiarly isolated cyclonic storm. Somehow, the recollection of that
curious event rings a faint memory-bell in our minds – but we can’t quite remember
what it is….

The Release of the Martian Animals
        But our thoughts are disturbed by the bustle of activity that has broken out
around us. The Martians have now concluded what we can only imagine to be a
lengthy exchange of presumably telepathic conversation with the human inner
Earthers – for not a single syllable seems to have passed between the two groups -
even though they both parties have spoken audibly among themselves. Now the focus
of attention is upon the penned animals, which are still behaving in quite a docile
manner, although obviously extremely interested in the scents and sounds of the inner
world, wafting in from outside.

        As the Martian crewmen begin to unlock the pen gates, we move outside for a
better view of the release of the animals into this alien environment. We wonder and
worry about their future welfare and how they will cope. Can they digest this Earthly
grass and herbage? Will they be able to move around properly? How will their
systems adapt to this new environment in which everything is heavier - even the air?
These worrying questions gnaw at our minds, but we can only wait and see…

         Yet, look! The first of them are already coming down the ramp, and without
even a stagger or a stumble! They seem to be far too happy and excited to notice any
change in body-weight or richer air! Perhaps the denser, more highly oxygenated air
is compensating for their sudden increase in weight? Who can tell? The main thing
is that they appear to be entirely unaffected by the change! What a relief! Even the
willowy, wispy Martians seem to be coping quite well with this new environment,
although they do move a little slower and breath a little carefully – almost like our
Earthly asthmatics of our own time. (Maybe there’s some sort of ancient hereditary
connection in this?)

        But our attention is really upon the animals – and their new Earthling
shepherds, who are now befriending them by stroking and patting them, and speaking
softly into their ears. This is a real delight for us to behold! The animals are already
rambling around the landing ground and the younger ones are already gambolling
friskily about like newborn lambs! Our fears and forebodings have thankfully been
in vain!

       It now becomes clear to us that the Martians are intent upon transferring many,
if not all, of their animal charges to this pleasant hollow world within the Earth.
While we have no knowledge of what their actual motive might be in doing so, but
from what we have seen of their general demeanour and gentleness toward the beasts,
we can only conclude that they have brought them here as an act of pure kindliness
and altruism. Perhaps it is in order that Martian wildlife do not become extinct
through overcrowding?       We recall how abundant with animal life the interior of


                                          77
Mars was, and that it was only a small planet compared to Earth, so perhaps they have
tried to spread the burden of their accommodation between the two.          But what
happens when they begin to fill up the interior of the Earth? Where will they go
then…?

Questions…
        But another more burning question gnaws at us. How did they know that the
Earth was also hollow? Have the Martians visited the Earth before – during the long
peaceful eons before Astrida exploded? It’s obvious from their use of the disc-like
spacecraft that they have long been a spacefaring race, and again we find ourselves
wondering where the Martians could possibly have originated? Clearly they were not
of the same race which had populated Astrida, so it seems a fairly safe assumption
that they arrived here in our Solar system from somewhere else! The very fact of
them knowing sufficient about the Moonship to be able operate it, clearly indicates
some fairly recent memory, at least in space-time terms, of their forefathers’ arrival
here in the solar system in that same ancient sphere!

       And it was also fairly self-evident that they probably spent many long
generations of time travelling across the gulf of space, before they finally placed their
moonship in orbit around Astrida and settled upon Mars as their future home-planet.
No doubt they must have spent some considerable time exploring the other terrestrial
planets before doing so, but the only possible alternatives to Mars would have been
Astrida herself or the Earth.

        Astrida, as we have already seen for ourselves earlier, was far too large and
gravitationally hefty a planet for such frail creatures as the Martians are, and the
Earth, even only a millennium or so back, would have appeared to be a horrendous,
nightmare world. A world subjected to the torrid merciless glare of a blazing young
sun less than a hundred million miles distant, with a fierce output of heat and dazzling
light. One inhabited by equally nightmarishly savage and voracious giant reptiles,
roaming wildly around a world of dense jungle and steaming swamps. Hardly what
one would deem to be a pleasing prospect for a refuge-seeking race of travel-weary,
fragile beings, looking for peace, comfort, and relaxation after an enormous voyage
across the depths of interstellar space!

        However, it is always possible that they may have also explored the hollow
interiors of several of the solar terrestrial planets, if, as we suspect is the case, all
planets and their satellites are hollow all across the Universe, as probably are the stars
themselves! One cannot expect that the solar system is unique in this respect. Why,
the very term “Universe” itself implies that all natural and physical laws must obtain
and apply universally! So why should our tiny little solar system, near the outer end
of one arm of a third-rate galaxy, be particularly chosen to be different to all the rest?
It doesn’t make any rational sense!        However, it would appear that none of them
were as inviting as Mars. Mars was probably the most closely comparable, in terms
of gravity, to their previous ancestral environment on the moonship. So they made it
their homeworld...

        The Moonship must have been left in a temporary parking orbit around
Astrida, close to Mars, even if only for the convenience of unloading the accumulated
“baggage” of generations of their forebears, including whatever they had salvaged


                                           78
from whichever dying world they had been compelled to leave. Or perhaps it may
have been a happy, thriving world from which they had been forcibly ejected by an
invading race of superior beings? Such an unloading must have taken centuries!
And if the parklands had always been there within the moonship, they probably
brought their own livestock and general flora and fauna with them, as a perpetual
reminder of their lost home! Evidently neither Noah nor Gilgamesh had been the
first to build lifesaving Arks!

        How could we ever know? One thing is very painfully apparent. It must have
been an enormous journey, through many appalling hazards. That much is evident
from the battered and bombarded condition of the surface of the Moon itself! To get
into such a terribly battered state, it must have survived thousands of meteor-storms
and collisions with many clouds of stellar debris, as it sped across the etheric oceans
of the universe.

        And how many false hopes must have been raised on that journey as they
approached promising-looking solar systems – only to be driven away by their selfish
occupants? Many of them might have been humanoid like us, and therefore, distant
kinsmen of the poor space-worn refuge-seekers. It is perhaps better not to dwell too
much upon the many such heartbreaking retreats the Martians had to beat – perhaps
often fired upon by pursuing attack-ships, to ensure that they continued on their weary
way! Given the peaceable and gentle natures of the Martians, it is too heart-rending
a prospect to even think about.

        We turn our attention back to what is, at least to us, in our disembodied state,
“the present”. We observe with interest the scene before us as the last of the cargo of
Martian animals clatter down the ramp and canter forth into the open savannah
country – followed by the encouraging cheers of the Inner Earth folk. Their leaders
are now communing again earnestly but non-vocally with the pilot-commander of the
Martian shuttle-craft, nodding and smiling at him as if being praised or asked to
perform some pleasant task – perhaps to keep a watchful eye upon the new arrivals?

        Then the Martian crewmen give parting salutes to the Earthlings and embark
upon their craft, sealing the hatch behind them, and with a last wave and cheer from
the Inner Earthlings, the shuttle slowly rises vertically into the warm rich air. A
moment later it is shooting off as if suddenly catapulted forward from a standing start,
rapidly dwindling from sight in an upward – and what we calculate to be - northerly
curve, even as we watch. It soon vanishes up behind the clouds. It suddenly occurs
to us as we watch that the Inner Earth isn’t entirely devoid of a horizon. Instead of a
sharp land or sea horizon, it possesses an inverted horizon, created by the cloudbanks
above our heads!

        We have deliberately refrained from returning to the Moon with the ship
because of two simple reasons. In the first place, we have no need to travel inside
any sort of craft, as we have already demonstrated. We could return instantly to the
Moon if we so desired, or even to Mars, in the flick of an eyelid! The only reason we
came in the ship was to observe how it was powered and controlled, and to watch the
interaction of the crew on duty and to discover where upon the surface it would land.
We had certainly received something of a surprise in this, as we had completely
overlooked the likelihood of the Earth also being hollow like Mars!


                                          79
        In addition, it had been very pleasant to discover that the Martians had no
intention of simply dumping their surplus animals upon the outer surface of the Earth,
to take their slim chances with all the manifold hazards that it presented in its current
era! We had pondered this, as we had watched them being released from the shuttle-
ship, and had wondered if the real reason for taking them inside the Earth, might be in
order to give them a period of time to adjust to the Earth’s greater gravity. And also to
develop the requisite skeletal-strength and musculature - perhaps prior to a few Mars
animal trial-subjects being introduced in easy stages to the exterior of the planet?

        This objective might be achieved by taking them outside (via one or other of
several different continental cavernous “portals”) for initially short stays in a
protected area, interspersed with equally short returns inside. Then gradually
extending the duration of their stays outside, if the animals reacted favourably by
becoming hardened to the climate and the external environment. After which, the
now well-adapted animals could be left permanently to their own devices on the outer
surface. Certainly there would have to be casualties as many of their number fell prey
to the carnivores - but they would very quickly develop the necessary senses to make
them aware of approaching danger and the muscular ability to flee swiftly from it!
True, many would still fail, but their survivors would breed ever-stronger, faster and
cleverer animals with the passage of time.

        It seemed to us a reasonable premise for a likely conclusion at the time – and it
later proved to be a correct one - since this was precisely what eventually happened!
And it also proved to be highly successful, too! One has only to look at the present-
day mammalian animal population of the outer Earth to see the living evidence of
this!

Among The Inner Earth Dwellers
       Now we turned our attention to our second reason for remaining behind. The
naked Inner Earth people who are still standing around, watching the last of the freed
animals romping happily across the grassland. They don’t really appear all that far
removed in general appearance from our own modern humans.
       Perhaps they are considerably taller than our own contemporaries, and perhaps
there was is still some elongation of skull, body and limbs, as well as a delicate
general slenderness in build, which their unashamed nakedness reveals to us, that
somehow seems to faintly echo that of the Martians themselves. But apart from these
physical differences, which we naturally attributed to the more attenuated gravitation
within the shell of the Earth, they bear the clear stamp of the species Homo, and
whether they are Neanderthal or Sapiens matters little.

        For some inexplicable reason, an old erroneous quotation springs to our
connected minds: “We have seen the enemy – and they are US!”. Though why these
gentle, kindly and happy creatures could ever be thought of as “enemies” we cannot
begin to imagine. A less antagonistic people would be hard to imagine – unless it was
the Martians!

       Eventually, we follow them as they begin to wander, chatting amiable among
themselves in an incomprehensible but very human-sounding tongue, back to the little
stone-built village we had observed earlier.


                                           80
        As we float along behind them, we find our thoughts reflecting upon the brash,
self-assured pronouncements of past scientists and naturalists about the origins of
humanity lying within the same ancestral tree as that of the monkeys and apes. Even
that the human species were, in fact, descended from the apes!
        At first, we both feel the urge to laugh out loud (if only it was possible in our
incorporeal state) at Darwin’s ridiculous assertions and especially his book-title:
“The Origin of Species and the Descent of Man”. Surely, no matter how sincerely he
believed in his own evolutionary creed, Darwin’s book title ought to have been “the
Ascent of Man”? But then we realise that, Darwin was infinitely more correct than
even he might have intended in the wording of his title, and that, compared to the
actual gentle and caring characteristics of the apes, gorillas and orang-utans, Man has
descended! And to far lower depths, in his human greed, covetousness, avarice, lust
and generally murderous and destructive instincts, than any anthropoid ape has ever
done!

        When we arrive in the inner-world village, we find that it is a meal-time for its
residents who are enjoying a tempting banquet of fruits of all kinds, as well as nuts
and berries. There are no signs of meat or animal bones in their circular stone houses
at all. So our ancestors, at least during this stage of their development, were pure
vegans! We notice also that they drink only water, drawn, no doubt, from some local
stream. The interiors of their circular houses are extremely Spartan and, apart from
perfectly cut stone slabs which serve as tables and seats, they are singularly lacking in
any form of furnishings, apart from a few technological–looking artifacts.

        As we linger to watch, we are reminded in many ways of the sort of communal
living that once existed in the early days of ancient Greece. The people seem to enjoy
nothing so much as lively and animated discussion, both indoors and out, and their
elders – who are of completely indeterminate ages – seem to be held in high regard as
teachers and philosophers by the young people of the village.
        How we wish we could understand their language! What wealth of ancient
knowledge we might acquire if only we could hear the wisdom they are clearly
imparting! But all we see are gestures filled with underlined meaning. Their sage
words are completely lost to our uncomprehending ears.
        Their nakedness is also reminiscent of those dwellers in the ancient warm
clime of the Mediterranean, and although it is of some mild embarrassment to us, to
them it is not so. The rich air of the Hollow Earth, like its pale sunlight, is mellowly
warm and benevolent, so there is no need for artificial coverings, not even for
modesty’s sake, among such an innocent and as yet mentally-unsullied people as these
gentle folk. It then occurs to us that the modesty we contemplate is merely a by-
product of evil thinking

        Their children are much the same as children are today, except that they are
perhaps rather more sober-minded than are most Earth children of today. When they
are old enough to be trusted out of their parents’ sight, they become seriously
interested in the conservation of flora and fauna of their hidden world, and spend
much of their free time tending to the welfare of the precious animals and plants it
contains.

        This we believe, is something that comes naturally to them, and it is a pointer
to their likely origin from the same stock as the Martians, who also exhibit this natural


                                           81
leaning toward conservation. Thus far, we have seen no sign of predators within the
hollow heart of the Earth, such as still exist upon its outer skin. So we can see no
other reason why this urge to tend the animals should be so prevalent among these
people – unless they once had to protect and husband them against all kinds of danger.
It is also evident from our observations that these people possess an innate ability to
communicate with the animals in the same way they do with the Martians – by
telepathic means!

        This interests us greatly, for we believe that this is one of the long lost
attributes of our own distant ancestors – and there are some, even in our own
generation who still display this gift. We think that it remains latent within us all,
and only requires the right mental stimulus to recover it. However, we are the
products of a society that is appallingly noisy, even in comparison to our
grandparents’ generation. The modern accent is upon the raucous, rude, and coarsely
vocal, rather than the introspective gentle and peaceful quietude of bygone eras.

        One has only to compare the beautiful string and woodwind pastoral or
nocturne music of the great masters such as Mendelssohn, Brahms, or Grieg, with the
modern “Heavy-Metal” rock “music”, with its screeching, dissonant cacaphony of
electronic guitars, moog-synthesisers and battering drums. Not to mention the
loudmouthed harsh screaming of rock-group singers!               There is simply no
comparison! Thus it is painfully clear to us that, unless Man can return to his earlier
condition of peaceable tranquillity, he will never regain that marvellous gift of silent
communion with his furred and feathered fellow-occupants of the Earth.

        We shake our heads sadly, as we drift away over the treetops to further study
this amazing world within a world. As I have remarked before, it is difficult for a
newcomer here to orientate himself directionally without a compass or a map to guide
his way. But we are surprised at the way the animals and birds of this uncanny world
are able to gallop or fly unerringly around the hills and gorges of the Inner Earth.
Perhaps they possess the same inbuilt natural “compasses” that guide migrating birds
and animals on their vast journeys across the outer surface?
        We can only assume that the Earth’s own natural magnetic field would apply
exactly the same within as without. And that it must be the same dipolar magnetic
field that produces magnetic North and South polar points within the inner crust of the
planet as it does in the outer crust. But we can see no trace of any frigid polar regions
across the sky of this inner Earth, so, without a compass, we have no visual clue. It is
clear that the contained environment of this world ensures an even distribution of
warmth to all regions of it. The cold of ice and snow must be completely unknown to
its inhabitants.

        It is whilst we are gazing up at the faintly limned concave hemisphere opposite
to us across the blue haze of the sky that we notice something we had missed before.
The darker bluish patches of ocean are far smaller in extent than the misty green and
brown of the landmasses. In fact, after a few moments of study, the general
geography of this inner Earth seems to be virtually the opposite of that of the exterior,
which in our modern world comprises four-fifths of ocean to only one of land! We
can almost recognise some of the ocean shapes as being vaguely similar in basic
configuration to the outer-surface landmasses! However, we cannot be sure, since
we are presently looking at the world as it was over sixty million years ago. The Earth


                                           82
has been steadily expanding since the time of the Jurassic period, that is some 140-
plus million years further back from where we are currently located in our time-
journey. Thus the shapes and spacings of the continents cannot yet be quite the same
as in our own actual modern time in the 21st century AD.

       But the thought raises many interesting questions in our minds. If Mars had
not been so severely damaged by the explosion of the giant Astrida, might not it also
have expanded at a similar rate to the Earth – and thus become much the same size?
As we have noted earlier, Mars is only a little more than half the Earth’s diameter,
with a mass of merely a tenth of Earth’s and a gravitational effect only a half that of
our planet. And yet, Earth itself was less than the same size as Mars is now, 200
million years ago!

        True, there are some notable differences between Earth and Mars, since Mars
orbits almost 50 million miles farther away from the Sun than the Earth does.
However, the daily rotational period is almost the same, as is the tilt of the polar axis
in both planets. And although Mars’ axis has undergone some hefty topples and tilts
following the Astrida disaster – so also has the Earth’s, due to ice build-ups at its
poles, so the odds are thus evened on both sides. It gives us furiously to think!

       Meanwhile, passing over high, unweathered sharp ridges of rock, we can see
many large clefts and cavern-openings in their rugged steep sides, and it occurs to us
that some of these might be the entrances to tunnels that might link the inner and outer
surfaces. Whilst it is true that there is very little weather to wear down the sharp
edges and pinnacles of the hills and mountains, there are lots of rushing streams
running along the maze of deep gorges between them, and it is the action of rivers
which create extensive cave systems.

        Of course, we are well aware of the sheer enormity and unlikeliness of such a
system of caves and tunnels existing that would wind downward and then upward
again through eight hundred miles of doubled-layers of rocky crust. Not to mention
the strong possibility of encountering a region of molten magma at the midway-point -
where the spherical gravitational field of the Earth lies, separating the outer crust from
the inner crust – and “Down” from “Up”! We wonder if anyone from inside has
ever attempted to explore these cave-systems, and if they did, whether they
encountered the region of zero gravity that must surely exist at the halfway point?
It’s certainly an interesting theory, and one that we would gladly have tested
forthwith! But what prevents us, alas, is our total lack of substance. Gravity
wouldn’t affect us, so we’d be unable to detect it!

        Before we leave this haven of peace, we pause to reflect upon what we have
found here. That there is a great similarity between this place and the interior of
Mars there can be no doubt. Both worlds share far too many fascinating features in
common! Like the hollow world within Mars, the inner Earth is a world without
night, but the inner “sun” - unlike that ferociously hot and dazzling ruler of the solar
system, who glares down mercilessly upon the outer surface - is benevolent in its soft
illumination. Both animals and humans can slumber with ease in it soft light without
the need of full darkness. But in any case, the animals generally select sleeping-spots
under the shadow of the dense foliage which flourishes almost everywhere, whilst the
humans sleep inside their houses.


                                           83
        However, few parts of this inner world are illuminated all the time, as large
sectors of the sky are frequently overcast with low clouds of water-vapour, that cause
the scene to take on a soft darkling twilight atmosphere which help break up any
monotony of constant sunlight. There are always clouds drifting gently from place
to place above oceans and landmasses, for in such a closed-system world as this, there
are no extremes of heat or cold to evaporate them into thin air or to precipitate their
waters in heavy downpours or storms. The only rains are gentle, sprinkling showers
that keep the landscape verdantly brilliant and clean, without turning it into a sodden
morass. Drought is unknown here, and the only bare sand is that found along the
ocean shores.

        The oceans here are relatively small, but are well stocked with fish and aquatic
life of every imaginable kind – as well as many totally unimaginable species.
Cetaceans in particular abound in the seas of this Edenic wonder-world, and both
whales and porpoises here are able to communicate easily with humans - not only by
our long-since lost sense of telepathy, but verbally, too. We are thrilled to see and
hear children playing gleefully in the surf with the dolphins, exchanging squeaks and
whistles with these highly intelligent yet rumbustious animals. There has clearly
always been a close bond between humanity and the cetacea and we happily recall
that this psychic rapport exists still!

        There are, of course, no seasons or alternations between day and night here, so
the plant life is able to grow and burgeon continuously in a steadily-repeating
progression from flowers and blossoms to fruits, to seeds, and thence to new growth,
over and over. It is a world of perennially recurrent growth and development for its
lifeforms, all of which are completely freed from the hampering effects of seasons and
nightfall. Because of this life surges abundantly – although not unceasingly, for all
living things must die in order that the new may take their turn in the great cycle, just
as everything in the cosmos is created with an inbuilt “Run-Out” time.

        The only cyclic influence that has been at work here is that of the external
Sun, which creates the ocean tides of both inner and outer seas as the Earth revolves
about its axis toward and away from its relentless and all-pervading gravitation. But
now that giant satellite has been placed in an Earth orbit of only a quarter-million
miles distance, it too, will now make its presence felt in a much-increased tidal action
in accordance with its near-monthly periodicity. And not merely on the oceans, but
also upon those biological life-tides which ebb and flow in the human female
reproductive cycle.

        We gaze in admiration at all the lushly brilliant green of the broad-leafed
plant-life and vegetation, but we are even more fascinated by the animal life, and
consider with great interest its abundance of elegant and delicate multifarious forms.
Apart from the familiar-looking types of animals which will one day leave this place
and adapt themselves to an external life upon the outer surface, we study closely many
other exotic species which will never leave this hollow and hallowed precinct of peace
and safety. They could never adapt to a life of constant anxiety, fear, and flight from
enemies as some of the sturdier varieties will. These are animals that will only be
known in millennia to come by humans of the outer world as creatures of fable and



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legend – the unicorn and the flying horse. For many animals have the power of flight
in the low gravity and gentle breezes of this wonderful, secret inner realm.

        There are even the tiny progenitors of the great dinosaurs to be found here –
but only as delicate, miniature toylike models of the tyrannical saurian titans that until
so recently ruled over the outer world. Some of these little lizards are amphibious,
and dwell equally well in the ocean or the land. Others live up in the trees searching
for insects and grubs, whilst others still, are winged like bats, and flap skilfully around
the forest canopy, pursuing the gaudily-coloured dragonflies, that flit and hover like
living iridescent jewels among the luscious fruits, perfumed blossoms and exquisite
orchids. In this sheltered world the entire animal kingdom is peaceful and contented
since there are no major, savage predators to spread fear and alarm among them.

        The horrible laws of fang and talon belong to the steaming jungles and
swamps of the outside world, where they were first written in blood by the horrendous
tyrannosaurs and raptors that ruled over it in a hundred million-year reign of terror. It
was their fearsome and vicious rule of bloodthirsty tyranny that set the scene and style
for the giant sabre-toothed felines who had now replaced them in cruel dominion over
all other surface-dwelling creatures. But we try not to think of that wild world
outside.

       Strangely we feel, even in our ethereal and insubstantial state, that we truly
belong here in this vast womblike world of peaceful quiet and blessed repose. We
would gladly take up our abode here, if only we could, beneath this gently dimmed
and mellow inner-sun, with the whole world visible above and around us wherever we
care to look! No hidden threat can loom at us from beyond a concealing horizon.
None can exist in this world - neither threat nor horizon! It is a paradoxically secret
world where everything is out in the open, in plain view!

        But, alas! We have our roots in a much uglier, heavier and harsher world than
this softly lit, demi-paradise. All that we love most lies out there upon the battered
and weatherworn outer surface of the Earth - or we trust that it will be awaiting us – if
and when we finally manage to return to our own rightful place in time and space!
Now it is time now for us to leave this beautiful, idyllic inner world and complete our
mission of imaginative hypothetical adventure and discovery!



       This article is continued in “The Martian Hypothesis – Part Three”




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