On a well-settled Mars, the five major city Council regimes struggle to meld into a stable, working government. Embracing an official Unified 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.
“Verumi Mawort,” said the Dalai Lama of Mars.
“‘True Mars’?” said DaneelAH.
“In the book, there are copies of rubbings made of incomprehensible etchings found on Earth. They’re typically ascribed to some sort of dead Icelandic dialect – because they were first discovered in Iceland. But they aren’t related to any Icelandic language. They aren’t related to any language known on Earth.”
“What do you mean?”
“While Earth was for all the history of Humanity, the only world we knew, we are here now,” the Dalai Lama said. “Various groups have discovered markings etched in stone on various surfaces on Mars – as well as on Titan and Republicano Moon. Those may be similar to these. But no one has investigated this possibility yet.”
“Why?” asked AzAH. As a biological translator, the challenge of language was the only thing that made her heart race. It was as irresistible as food to a starving man.
“Because the Five Councils have forbidden it.”
“Why would they do that?” AzAH asked.
The Dalai Lama of Mars shrugged, “I may be a holy man, but I am just a man. My has always and only been to bring Holy Writ to Mars. I’ve done that in any way I can.”
HanAH scowled then said, “I’ve never heard of you, and I’m intimately acquainted with the criminal elements of Mars. I work for Mayor Turin of Malacandra...”
The elderly man smiled, “I know. You’ve never heard of me because my mission has always been a quiet one. I am bringing Humanity its spiritual diversity. I am not fighting a war nor am I inciting revolution.”
“You may say that, but Martian law – in this case uniformly across the Five Councils – is clear on the fact that your activity is seditious.”
“I am not inciting anything. If you insist, I’m restoring Humanity’s spiritual documents to a people long separated from them.”
HanAH snorted. DaneelAH held up his hand and said, “You don’t need to harass the man.” To the Dalai Lama, he said, “HanAH is a Christian by choice as well, though I supposed I’d have to concede that he’s a skeptical Christian.” The other artificial human nodded firmly. “He’s also a full-spectrum detective and investigator. He heads up one of the most complex intelligence operations on the planet.”
The Dalai Lama raised his eyebrows and said, “Then my mission to remain invisible has been successful beyond my wildest dreams.”
AzAH and MishAH burst out laughing. HanAH’s face flushed indigo. DaneelAH sniffed and said, “What do you want me to do with all of these writings? I work for Mayor Turin – and I’m vatmate to one of the most powerful enforcers on this planet.”
The Dalai Lama nodded. “Then yours is the most difficult of jobs. These Holy Books will come back to Mars someday. The non-Human etchings will also be investigated one day. I feel deeply that they are related. There may be other events in motion right now that are tied to the etchings as well as the Holy Books of Humanity. I can’t say with certainty, but I feel that by handing them over to you,” he gestured widely to all four, “my part in this is nearly over.” He looked down, “I am an old man. I have seen many things. I have grieved many events both on Earth and here. Things are about to change and for whatever reason, the four of you have become a crux.” He smiled, “A cross if you will.”
DaneelAH shook his head. “You can’t be serious.”
“Why not? You are young. You are excited. You are also skilled in areas I cannot even describe.” The Dalai Lama lifted up a hand in benediction and said, “It’s time for you to go.” He turned away from them and headed back into his quarters.
DaneelAH said, “Now what?”
HanAH said, “You’re the one with the box of religion porn. Should I arrest you now or do you want to get going?”