Explorers We

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First published in Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan 1959

A crew of explorers returns from an expedition to Mars crash landing their ship just outside of San Francisco. When they make their way into town they expect a hero’s welcome, but instead everyone who sees them flees in terror. 

The FBI eventually shows up and burns them alive with napalm without listening to any pleas from the men who think the FBI must believe them to be Commies. 

We find out that the Mars spacecraft actually crashed on that planet’s surface two years ago and what has been repeatedly returning to Earth, twenty-one times and counting, are aliens disguised as humans (although the aliens clearly don’t know that’s what they are). The story ends with the same Mars crew, thrilled to be arriving back on Earth, again crash landing their craft outside the city. 

Cast of characters

  • Captain Stone, Parkhurst, Barton, Leon, Merriweather, Vecchi – the crew of Mars explorers 
  • Scanlan, Wilks – FBI agents