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.
“The four of you have become a crux.” The Dalai Lama smiled, adding, “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, deep inside the underground tent – the only Buddhist monastery on Mars.
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?”
“I vote for ‘get going’,” said AzAH. “We shouldn’t stay here any longer.”
“Why?” asked MishAH. “I like it here. It’s got a peace I’ve experienced nowhere else on Mars.”
HanAH snorted, “Since when did your mystical gene activate?”
MishAH scowled, “Longer than you’ll ever know. But in general for some time now I’ve been having thoughts I can only describe as ‘spiritual’.”
HanAH turned away and picked up his helmet and put it on. Watching him walk to the airlock and stand, loosed armed, AzAH said, “I guess the discussion is ended.” She followed him, pulling on her helmet.
DaneelAH looked at them, then back to the doorway the Dalai Lama had taken and said to HanAH, “I’m not converting to Buddhism, but what this man has done is amazing.”
HanAH only grunted and put his helmet on, heading to the others. He pushed past them and opened the inner lock door and clumped through. The rest followed him. They all turned at once, fixing DaneelAH with a monocular, gold-plated sun visor glare. Holding up one hand in surrender, the other holding the holy library. He had always had perfect recall and quoted the Dalai Lama, “‘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 been given a holy library. The Dalai Lama charged me to bring people their corrected holy words.”
He put the crystal into a protective pocket and sealed it then put on his helmet. He tapped his radio control and heard HanAH say, “You have a chance here to stop all the other heretical faiths in their footsteps and allow only the true word of God to spread on Mars. What are you going to do?”
DaneelAH shrugged – a huge effort wearing the stiff fabric of the Martian surface suit. “Right now, I’m going to get us out of here. We have a mission on Mars and I intend to accomplish that first. After that, we can discuss a mission to Mars. But the Dalai Lama said that he was set on using peace and compassion in my treatment of the Christian on Mars as well as his oppressors – in this case the Mayors of the Domes. 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.”
MishAH said, “This Lama and the evangelist aren’t even the same religion – why should we have anything to do with either one?”
DaneelAH paused and pulled the inner lock door closed and set it to cycle them out. “If you’re trying to provoke me to anger, I’m of the same mind as Dorje Gyatso. I don’t hold anything against the Buddhists, just as this Paolo evangelist has counseled the Christian community on Mars to forgive as Christ would also forgive them. Our greater danger 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 Unified Faith In Humanity – and as we are not true Humans, we will be swept aside in that pogrom.”
“Then we need to defect,” said HanAH.
“That’s absurd,” said AzAH.
MishAH didn’t say anything until they reached the marsbug. “Well? What are you thinking, MishAH?” snapped HanAH angrily.
She pulled her helmet off, stared at him, then looked to DaneelAH, “I think we have a mystery to solve before we start a evangelizing mission.”
DaneelAH nodded, “Something happened on Mars a long time ago and it’s driving the Mayors – almost as much as the rest of us fighting against Unified. We have to finish that.”
By then, AzAH, MishAH and HanAH had moved to their stations. Again, they all turned to look at him. He took a deep breath and said, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”
Only AzAH, the biological translator laughed. She glanced at the other two, shook her head, “I’ll explain once we’re under way.”
HanAH grunted, but started the marsbug and pulled away from Vogel Station.