HanAH stared into his teacup for a moment then looked up and said, “So you believe the United Faith In Humanity is a political tool rather than an attempt at religion?”
Dorje Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, looked up from his own teacup and said, “That is exactly what I believe. It is a tool that the Mayors are now prepared to use to bring all of Mars under their united control.” The Dalai Lama was regarded as the principal incarnation of Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion and patron deity of Tibet. What exactly he was doing on Mars was anyone’s guess. He looked directly at HanAH and said, “I have come to Mars to prevent that. If it means that I forge alliances with Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus, then it is what I must do.”
MishAH shook his head, “Most people believe that anyone with religious beliefs belongs in the same category as child molesters, rapists, murderers, thieves, and embezzlers.”
AzAH pursed her lips and said suddenly, “And Artificial Humans.”
No one said anything for a while until DaneelAH spoke up. “Why are we here, Sir?”
The Dalai Lama took a deep breath and said, “I have something for you.”
DaneelAH frowned. “For who?”
AzAH, MishAH, HanAH, and DaneelAH all said at the same time, “DaneelAH.”
Dorje nodded, saying, “Your names are all based on the characters from the Ketuvim book of Daniel.”
“Of course,” said AzAH. An organic translator, her brain had been designed for compartmentalized memory. She could consciously translate between four and sixteen languages simultaneously, depending on how closely they were related. “All of them are plays on the character’s name and the initials for artificial Humans.”
“Then you’re familiar with the story, correct?”
“I’m surprised you are,” said HanAH, crossing his arms over his chest.
The Dalai Lama smiled and stood in one fluid motion. Though he looked old, he behaved young. He laughed at their surprise, “Remember that I was born and raised on Earth. I’ve only been here for a single Martian year. The gravity here is very comfortable for me. I can do things again that I haven’t been able to do since I was thirty years old.” He disappeared into a tree and the four artificial Humans startled.
He came out a moments later with a crystal player. “Didn’t my young aide mention that we had botanists, environmental engineers as well as artists who work in several media – including holography?”
He walked back to the tree and passed his hand through it. “This isn’t real – obviously – though it looks as solid as you and I.” He looked at all of them, adding, “Which is a parallel to you and your friends, Daniel. You know what happened at the end of the story?”
“Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den,” DaneelAH replied.
“What happened later?”
None of them spoke until suddenly, HanAH said, “They were executed in a monstrous furnace.”
“That’s what you’ve been told?”
DaneelAH nodded. The Dalai Lama held out the crystal and said, “This is a Bible I brought from Earth. It contains the complete Book of Daniel – as well as the rest of the complete Bible.”
MishAH scowled. She’d remained silent as usual. Agricultural secretaries didn’t have much intrigue to deal with on an average day in a Dome. She said, “We don’t have complete Bible’s here?”
He shook his head. “No one on Mars has a complete holy book. The Koran here has been tampered with as have the Analects, the Aqdas, the Kojiki, the Tao Te Ching, the Torah, the Tripiṭaka, and the Vedas. Others less well known but just as important to their adherents have also been tampered with.” He held up the crystal, “I’ve come to Mars with a holy library. I’ve come to bring you your words.”