The Hills of Home
"I've changed," he thought aloud. "My face is younger; I feel different."
The keening sound of air over the wings brought a thrill. Below him, a great curving disk of reds and browns and yellows. He could see dust storms raging and the heavy, darkened lines of the canals.
There was skill in his hands. He righted the rocket, balanced it. Began the tricky task of landing. It took all of his talent, all of his training. Ponderously, the ship settled into the iron sand; slowly, the internal fires died.
* * * * *
Kimball stood in the control room, his heart pounding. Slowly, the ports opened. Through the thick quartz he could see the endless plain. Reddish brown, empty. The basin of some long ago sea. The sky was a deep, burning blue with stars shining at midday at the zenith. It looked unreal, a painting of unworldly quiet and desolation.
What is reality, Kimmy?
Steinhart was right, he thought vaguely. A