June 28, 2012

MARTIAN HOLIDAY 31: Stepan on the Rim

On a well-settled Mars, the five major city Council regimes struggle to meld into a stable, working government. Embracing an official United Faith in Humanity, the Councils are teetering on the verge of pogrom directed against Christians, Molesters, Jews, Rapists, Buddhists, Murderers, Muslims, Thieves, Hindu, Embezzlers and Artificial Humans – anyone who threatens the official Faith and the consolidating power of the Councils. It makes good sense, right – get rid of religion and Human divisiveness on a societal level will disappear? An instrument of such a pogrom might just be a Roman holiday...To see the rest of the chapters, go to SCIENCE FICTION: Martian Holiday on the right and scroll to the bottom for the first story.

“The HOD!” Stepan exclaimed. Looking at Blue in the dim warehouse light, he could make 
out the boy’s smirk. “How exactly could I get into the HOD?”

Long pause, then Blue said, “There’s ways to get anywhere in the B.”

“You’ve been to the HOD?”

Longer pause. “Maybe.”

“Because you wanted to do…what?”


“Ah.” Neither one spoke for a long time then Stepan said softly, “If I get caught in the HOD, I might go to jail?”

“If you call from the HOD and don’t get caught your cred on the Rim’ll flicker high enough to 
get a meet with the Mafioso.”

“Not who I’m called to talk to.”

Blue snorted. “You make one of your church things and they’ll be wantin’ to talk to you.”


“Mafioso – ‘e own ebbyting.”

“Mafioso don’t own Jesus Christ. He owns them.”

The boy looked up at Stepan, studying him then said, “You really ain’t afraid of the ‘So?”

“The God I serve is greater than anything made by Humans.”

Blue grunted and said, “Couple years ago, one of the old men found a broken antigrav plate. 
It’s just a piece, but OM Gillad hooked it up to a new power cell and got it to float. People borrow it alla time.”

“You know him?”

“I can. OM Gillard, he’ll let me use it. He says he’s been saving it for something special. Seems like you want to do something special up on the roof.” He paused. “You got seeds?”

“In my back pack.”

“You didn’t bring a back pack.”

Stepan laughed. “I’m a believing man, not a stupid one.”

Blue nodded, saying, “Nicely played, mister.”

“Should we go to the HOD?”

“Sure. We’ll pick up the antigrav plate from OM Gillad on the way back then we can go up to the roof.”

“Maybe we could ask your friend if he has any rope so we can make a ladder and don’t always have to use his antigrav and its power cell.”

“Let’s go,” Blue said. Stepan followed Blue. Outside of the warehouse, they headed for the center of Burroughs Dome.

“Are we just going to hop a train down to City Halle?”

“More ways than that to get into the center of the Dome,” said Blue. They walked some distance before they came to a closed up, windowless column.

“Isn’t this a seismic station or an atmospheric monitoring pod?”


“You can’t,” Stepan began, following Blue around the curve. He almost tripped over the boy who had dropped to a squat and was flinging aside dust and debris. “What are you doing?”

Blue ignored him until, squirming like he was trying to reach a handle underground, he grunted. Straining upward and groaning, he kept at it until a seam appeared. The pitted, filthy surface slid up then stopped with a shriek of metal about sixty centimeters from the bottom. Blue looked up at Stepan and grinned, saying, “We’re gonna take the subway.

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