The following is a supporting work of fiction for readers of the Martian Symbiont series. The Smart Interface interview program, ezine, its host and guests, are the intellectual property of science fiction author, Phyllis K Twombly.
Welcome to a brand new e-zine edition of Smart Interface. My name is Andrea Smart. Today’s guest is Jerod Ravell, the husband of the Martian matriarch. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by Smart Interface, Jerod.
Jerod: It’s my pleasure, Andrea.
S.I: Jerod, let’s start with a bit of background. You’re obviously not green, and I’d say you’re about average height. What makes you a Martian?
Jerod: We left Earth thousands of years ago but we used Mars as a temporary base before we left the solar system. We assumed the rest of mankind would follow us into space in a relatively short period of time so we took the title of ‘Martians’ to prevent being confused with other humans later on.
S.I: Jerod, you’re practically the main character for most of the Martian Symbiont novels. How do you see your role in the Martian community?
Jerod: I was the youngest of our community to return to Earth after a space virus wiped out our women. We’re a matriarchal culture and the role of leadership is usually passed on to the matriarch’s daughter or another of her female descendants. As the matriarch’s only surviving child, I still wasn’t considered the leader although I was well taken care of. My opinion was held in high regard.
S.I: How do you think you influenced your community?
Jerod: I guess the main thing was that they honored my desire to avoid stealing human DNA. Even though the symbiont kept us from starting a family until it sensed a willing female, I insisted we should wait for it happen even if it meant risking extinction.
S.I: Each of the Martians who came back to Earth had a symbiont living inside of him. Tell us what that is.
Jerod: A symbiont is a life form that lives off the resources of its host. Unlike a parasite, the relationship is beneficial to both the symbiont and the host. We provide a place for it to live and it gives us telepathy and a direct access to certain computers that’s far superior to other interfaces. It’s quite a time saver.
S.I: I guess it would be. How did the Martian community cope without families? It sounds kind of lonely.
Jerod: We didn’t notice the loneliness that much. When you’re telepathic it seems like the whole world is close to you. But not being able to have families was still a problem. When we saw how close we were to extinction we began cloning everyone. With our advanced technology it was a simple matter to give each succeeding clone memory and experience downloads. Then we simply aged each man to appear however old might seem appropriate.
S.I: But if you could clone your population, why bother looking for other ways to reproduce?
Jerod: We found that after nearly a hundred lifetimes of memory and knowledge the Martian brain can’t hold anymore. We risked losing our best and brightest before we figured that out. Besides, we wanted to expand our genetic base. Any society that declares ‘the pool is closed’ when it comes to DNA is in trouble.
S.I: Right. So your time was running out and it seemed the women of Earth weren’t interested in you…
Jerod: Which really puzzled us! There we were, all good-looking, well-mannered, intelligent specimens of the Martian community and the ladies here seemed totally disinterested. We never did figure out why.
S.I: What changed for you?
Jerod: A young lady named Kelly Ravell saved my life. Then she ‘blued’ me and soon became the new Martian matriarch.
S.I: The symbiont recognized her as a ‘willing female?’
Jerod: I don’t think she would have thought of herself in those terms, but yes. She had a desire to help others and make the world a better place. Perhaps that’s what caused the symbiont to respond to her.
S.I: It sound like you’re not quite sure. How can you have had this life form living inside each of you for so long without knowing more about it?
Jerod: The symbiont is not an easy life form to study. It’s in constant motion throughout the circulatory system. It will go to any part of the body the host wishes, but left to itself it’s quite content to roam somewhat aimlessly. Martian bodies disintegrate upon death, so it can’t even be studied in an autopsy.
S.I: What role does the symbiont play in Martian reproduction?
Jerod: It helps a couple recognize they should be together. It temporarily turns the man’s face blue when it’s the right ‘willing female’ for him. It hadn’t happened in so long when we came back to Earth that we always referred to it in the past tense. We called it having ‘been blued.’
S.I: How does it feel to have ‘been blued?’
Jerod: As the first stage of Martian love, it’s absolutely wonderful. The man is given all the memories of his new wife. It’s especially useful if one of them isn’t telepathic.
S.I: Does he carry those memories from then on?
Jerod: Only on a subconscious level. The symbiont will help us remember when there’s something from the past that might affect the new relationship.
S.I: Does the woman’s face turn blue when this happens?
Jerod: Not usually. We call that a ‘double-bluing’ and it’s extremely rare.
S.I: I see we’re out of time and space. Thank you for being the guest of Smart Interface today, Jerod.
Jerod: It was my pleasure, Andrea.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this fictional interview. The next Smart Interface interview will be with Kelly Ravell, the Martian matriarch. Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly