"It was a big cousin of the biopods," continued Jarvis. "Leroy was quite excited; he figures that all Martian life is of that sort neither plant nor animal. Life here never differentiated, he says; everything has both natures in it, even the barrel-creatures even Tweel! I think he's right, especially when I recall how Tweel rested, sticking his beak in the ground and staying that way all night.

"Comme le coeur d'une fileuse," corrected the little biologist, who was beginning to regain a trace of his usual energy. "Like an old maid's heart!" "However," resumed Jarvis, "about a hundred of the little grey-green biopods had fastened onto the thing and were growing and branching.

But in five minutes, the discomfort passed; they rose and entered the little auxiliary rocket that rested beside the black hull of the Ares. The under-jets roared out their fiery atomic blast; dirt and bits of shattered biopods spun away in a cloud as the rocket rose. Harrison watched the projectile trail its flaming way into the south, then turned back to his work.

But he did hit on a possible explanation as to what they did with all the rubbish they gathered." "Made mud-pies, I guess," grunted the captain. "More or less," agreed Jarvis. "They use it for food, Leroy thinks. If they're part vegetable, you see, that's what they'd want soil with organic remains in it to make it fertile. That's why they ground up sand and biopods and other growths all together.

I never saw him eat or drink, either; perhaps his beak was more in the nature of a root, and he got his nourishment that way." "Sounds nutty to me," observed Harrison. "Well," continued Jarvis, "we broke up a few of the other growths and they acted the same way the pieces crawled around, only much slower than the biopods, and then stuck themselves in the ground.