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.
DaneelAH nodded to the extremely tall young man and held out his hand. “DaneelAH, forensic xenoarchaeologist for Malacandra Mayor Angalese Turin.”
“My question has always been: Why use does a Mayor have for a forensic xenoarchaeologist?”
HanAH rolled his eyes and said, “Because he’s a closet Facer.”
DaneelAH winced. AzAH and MishAH gasped. AzAH punched him in the shoulder.
The tall man smiled and said, “While I agree it’s not widely known, it’s hardly a secret that your owner believes that the Face is a promise from Humanity’s architects that they will one day return.”
“You make it sound perfectly sane,” said HanAH. “But I can ruin it by adding, ‘…and reward the faithful.’ Hardly sounds like UFH doctrine.”
The man gestured for them to sit at the low table and said, “I thought the UHF was merely a Human philosophy shorn of religious symbolism and divisive tradition?”
As they sat HanAH snorted derisively and DaneelAH and the others smiled. MishAH said, “The truth is somewhat less plain, Dalai Lama.”
The three artificial Humans – Daneel, Han, and Az – stared in open-mouthed amazement. Finally AzAH said, “I thought the Dalai Lama resided on Earth?”
The man smiled, “He did – until recently.”
“What?” DaneelAH said.
MishAH said, “More than anything, the Dalai Lama and the office of the Dalai Lama are a concerted attempt for Tibetan cultural survival. The Dalai Lama is regarded as the principal incarnation of Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion and patron deity of Tibet.”
“My name is Dorje Gyatso.”
They watched him as he sat, gesturing again for them to sit. He added, “My goal has been to use peace and compassion in my treatment of the Buddhist population of Mars as well as my oppressors – in this case the Mayors of the Domes.”
DaneelAH sat finally and accepted the cup of tea. He drank. AzAH sat, then MishAH. Finally Dorje said, “I have no doubt that you’re wondering what you’re doing here.”
DaneelAH set his cup down and nodded. “The thought has occurred to me, at least. The marsbug we were riding in was programmed by a man named Paolo. His public file makes it quite clear that he’s a Christian evangelist.”
Dorje nodded. “And you’re wondering why you’re here instead of there?”
MishAH snapped, “Stop playing word games! You and this evangelist aren’t even the same religion – why would you have anything to do with each other?”
“My guess is that you’re trying to provoke me into screaming, ‘Those damned murderers!’” The Dalai Lama leaped to his feet, kicking over the table, tea and cups and screamed, “We’ll kill every one of those lying bastards! We’ll kill one for every Buddhist that died in the Dome Holing! During a Festival no less! Dirty, filthy, going-to-hell-reincarnated-as-dung-beetles-Christians!’” He sat down slowly on his cushion and lifted his chin.
Twenty other young men scurried out from airlocks on two sides of the room, quickly cleaning up the mess without interacting with the four artificial Humans. When the floor was spotless, a second wave brought in a table, reset it and refilled all of the cups with steaming tea. The Dalai Lama lifted his cup to the stunned visitors and said, “But to say all of that is a lie. I don’t hold anything against the Christians, just as Paolo has counseled the Christian community on Mars to forgive the Buddhist community just as Christ would also forgive them.” He sipped, then said, “Our greater terror is the Mayors and a growing pogrom. It will not be against the Jews only this time. The Mayors will direct it at anyone who disagrees with them; anyone who refuses to conform to the philosophy of the United Faith in Humanity.” He paused. “That is what you should fear as well.”