It's amazing how much you can learn about absolute strangers if you just stop to think about the kind of an animal they'll put in a test rocket...
ight about a whiskey bottle, the bottle the doctor always had in his desk but never brought out except when he was alone, and waited for Captain Baird to ask his question. Captain Baird turned at last.
"They are our markings?" Captain Baird asked. It was not the question. Captain Baird knew the markings of the Rocket Testing Station as well as the doctor did.
"Yes," the doctor said, "they are our markings. Identical. But not our paint."
Captain Baird turned back to the window. Six months ago it had happened. Ten minutes after launching, the giant test rocket had been only a speck on the observation screen. Captain Baird had turned away in disgust.
"A mouse!" the captain had said, "unfortunate a mouse can't observe, build, report. My men are getting restless, Johannsen."
"When we are ready, Captain," the doctor had said.
It was twelve
A short, simple story with a one-twist ending. Earth sends a rocket to Mars with a mouse and misses the planet. Then a much larger copy of the rocket comes back to Earth.
You can almost hear Rod Serling's voice saying, "Witness, if you will . . ."