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 (50,000 words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.
DaneelAH pursed his lips, took a deep breath, and said, “There’s nothing else we can do – and I’m interested in what these supposed differences are between the old holy books we’ve had on Mars for the past century-and-a-half, 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.”
She took a deep breath and said, “As much as I’m flattered that you think my skills are preeminent here, I have to point out that we’re not dealing so much with language as we are a mystery. Why would the words of holy books be changed when they got to Mars?” She nodded to HanAH. “A crime to solve, perhaps?” Looking to AzAH, she said, “Pattern recognition will be paramount. Changes in a script, especially old ones, are likely to be clumsy and sound like they are out of place.” She lifted her chin to DaneelAH. “You hang close to keep us all honest. It seems like you’re the one who’s most interested in the Paolo character and whatever it is that’s driving him to send us to the Face on Mars.”
HanAH said, “Hey! No new age woo woo! They were chased out just as vigorously as the Christians, Taoists, and embezzlers!”She shrugged, clearly unrepentant. She added, “What else is there up in Cydonia?”
He opened his mouth then snapped it shut. DaneelAH said, “If this Paolo character wants us up there, then we have more than one question to figure out.”
HanAH cut him off, “We’re just going to do what he says, right? That’s you’re brilliant plan.”
“Unless one of us can reprogram the ‘bug, we’re stuck.”
“I could break into the program. Look at it to see if there are any consistent patterns,” said MishAH, who’d been silent until now.
“Then what?” HanAH snarled. “It’s already been established by our esteemed brother that there’s no way we’ll be able to break the whackadoodle’s programming.”
No matter what he said; no matter his attitude, he had never been able to bother MishAH. She lifted a hand and he flinched away. Patting his cheek was the ultimate in patronizing gestures and one only she could get away with – sometimes. She sniffed, “So that you can find a resonance and disrupt the program. Once you do that, you can reprogram our destination. Or failing that, we’ll go to Cydonia ourselves.” All three of her vat mates were staring at her. Shrugging, “If this is some plot for revolution, then we’re the people on the spot who can interfere with it.”
AzAH caught her breath, then set her mouth in a thin line. HanAH’s eyes narrowed dangerously and as always and without thinking, he crouched slightly, taking on an attitude that Burroughs residents likened to “a hunting North American panther”. DaneelAH’s face was abruptly still; usually the most animated of all of them, when confronted by something novel and dangerous, he lost his normal control and opted for blankness. Seeing them, she grinned, “Ah. Now I have your attention. If we agree with Señor Paolo’s plan, however, we could very well turn him to our advantage in a Martian revolution. In any case, we’re a team capable of altering the course of Human – and Artificial Human – history.” She paused. “I suggest we keep our eyes wide open – and figure out a way to take control of this vehicle.”