“Single-called Martian organisms exist in the polar ice cap; analysis has been attempted several times but each subsequently resulted in contamination with human DNA. The current quarantine protocols were written to prevent any possible mutation or spread of the resulting organisms.”

“What about decontamination,” Ashtar said. “Kill all the…hybrids…or whatever.”

“Decontamination protocols exist,” the database replied. “But they are expensive, time-consuming, and have a high barrier of absolute secrecy.”

Those rich bastards hadn’t been going off-world, Ashtar thought. They’d just been decontaminating.

“Is there…a record of known infections?”

“Affirmative.”

With trembling fingers, because she couldn’t trust herself to croak the name, Ashtar entered her brother’s name.

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