The question of first contact would be a difficult one.  How would a city of monsters reintroduce itself to the humans who’d forgotten they were real?

The Atlanteians had put a lot of thought into the question; some debated whether it would be necessary at all, at least for a good long time—Mars was a big place, after all, and they—we—could probably avoid humans here as we did on Earth.

Of course, this would ruin the point of having the humans there at all; we would, eventually, be detected, whether by colonists or watchers from Earth, so better to have them nearby, so explanations could be done in person, and communicated home with less panicking.

That was the optimists’ plan, anyway.  I knew it wouldn’t work out; human nature is just like everyone else’s.

Still, as the Atlanteian lander waited, invisible, not far from the human settlement that was already calling itself the Martian Research Station, even though no research had quite been done yet, I hoped a little.  Dad would be able to do it, if anyone could.  As long as having hidden wasn’t taken as some kind of betrayal…