I can remember when the first pictures started rolling in, from beneath the crust. They were murky at first, dim blue blobs like you would expect beneath a sunless iced over ocean.

A few days went by, and more details were uncovered by Arethusa V’s many cameras and other sensors. Currents were mapped and the chemical composition of Europa’s oceans were analyzed.

That’s when the mermaid showed up. It didn’t look like a classical mermaid of course, it was multi-limbed and sleek with no discernible humanoid features in its pale amorphous body. But that’s what they called it.

It hovered right in front of the camera, an orifice parted and a tentacle reached out to the glass surface of the lens.

“Did it just lick the camera?” I laughed as I watched, tears rolling down my face as the first extraterrestrial darted around playfully, drifting to and fro in a teasing little dance, images of which reached its audience about thirty minutes later.

Those were good times, before we learned to speak to them.

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