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 and I’m sorry, but a number of them got deleted from the blog – go to SCIENCE FICTION: Martian Holiday on the right and scroll to the bottom for the first story. If you’d like to read it from beginning to end (40,000 words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version. ? z Z
“Mayor Turin sent us, that much is what we remember. But who made him send us? It’s not like this was a usual request,” DaneelAH held up a finger as vat-brother, HanAH opened his mouth. HanAH closed his mouth with an irritated snap as DaneelAH said, “He must have known the ‘bug would come for us. He could have stopped us at any time. If you say that Paolo suborned the system and kidnapped us, then you’re giving him exactly the kind of authority and skill that you’re trying to deny him having.” DaneelAH grinned, adding, “You can’t have it both ways. Either Turin is in collusion with this Paolo or Paolo’s smarter than Turin and has kidnapped us for his own nefarious purposes. In which case, we are exactly what MishAH proposes: we’re being directed by Paolo to someplace to do something.” He nodded in his vat-sister, MishAH’s direction. “We’re on a predetermined path – no matter how random our stops seem to have been. Where do you think we’re headed?”
“Cydonia. This trail we’ve been on obviously terminates in the Cydonian Basin,” she said.
HanAH rolled his eyes, “No doubt at the Face On Mars?”
Abruptly, the marsbug jerked and started to roll forward again. DaneelAH said, “Either that was coincidence or you spoke some sort of activating phrase.” He shook his head, “We’re a long way from Cydonia.”
As the ‘bug picked up speed MishAH said, “This Paolo character programmed us to head straight north. We’re not going to Outpost Holden or Eberswalde.” She shook her head. “It looks like we’re on a beeline course for Cydonia with no stops along the way.”
HanAH turned forward and said, “We’ll see about that.” He hunched over, manipulating the ‘bug’s controls. The vehicle didn’t deviate from its path. Finally he sank back and said, “We’re headed for Cydonia – but I managed to tease out our itinerary.” He crossed his arms over his chest, glaring through the port.
AzAH said, “Are you going to sulk or are you going to share your wisdom with us?”
“My behavior is the only thing I have control of right now, so I’m going to sulk a bit longer, if you don’t mind.”
“I mind!” MishAH exclaimed.
HanAH ignored her until she stepped forward. Then he said, “It’s pretty clear the course Paolo has charted for us misses most of the settlements on Mars now that we got the Dalai Lama’s data chip.” He turned around. “My guess is that this Paolo intended for us to take the time to study the religious book collection. He said that the Koran was there along with the Analects, the Aqdas, the Kojiki, the Tao Te Ching, the Torah, the Tripiṭaka, and the Vedas.”
MishAH said, “They’d all been tampered with he said.”
“Not the ones on the chip,” said AzAH. “The ones we’re familiar with.”
MishAH nodded, “Then I think he laid the job out for us...”
DaneelAH interrupted , “Since when did you decide to do what Paolo wants us to do?”
He bristled, hands curling into fists, then relaxed, saying, “Since he gave us no choice.”
“Yes. He’s set us up for something. The only way we’re going to take back control is to do has he directs – fully aware that he’s manipulating events.” He leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest. “It may be that we’re not the only ones he’s manipulating. He may have far larger plans in mind and we might be simple pawns in his bigger game.”
DaneelAH pursed his lips, took a deep breath, and said, “I agree.” The other three startled, stared at him. He shrugged. “As you say, there’s nothing else we can do – and I’m interested now in what these supposed differences are between the hold books we know and the ones the Dalai Lama gave us.” He nodded to his vat-sister, “I think the one who should be in charge is AzAH.”
Startled again, HanAH nodded decisively. “I don’t usually agree with you, brother, but this time I think that’s the ideal structure for the investigation.” He looked at AzAH and said, “We’re under your direction now, sis.”