Story summary.US & USSR not only are constantly at each other's throat, they also have independent programs to send people to Mars. An India-mediated joint expedition to Mars might hopefully help understanding & ease tensions - so the ship that goes there contains an equal number of Americans & Russians but with the condition that Americans will only speak Russian & Russians only English during the expedition.
On Mars, they'll find a vast & ancient underground city - still kept alive by machines though its inhabitants are long dead. Human explorer to the city will return infected with a highly contagious (via breathing) bug, & quickly infect the whole expedition. They'll nearly die out, but there is a miracle waiting - both for their personal sickness, & of humanity's sickness back on earth...
- William Tenn's "Time in Advance".
Fact sheet.First published: Infinity Science Fiction, November 1955.
Related: Stories of William Tenn.