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. ? z Z
AzAH, first sister of their vat-quadruplets, caught her breath, then set her mouth in a thin line.
HanAH’s eyes narrowed dangerously as always and without thinking. Second brother of the vat-quad, he crouched slightly, taking on an attitude that Burroughs residents likened to “a hunting North American panther”. He rarely accepted anything without suspicion.
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. As First-freed of their quad, both that and first brother, his was deciding argument.
Seeing them, MishAH, second sister, last-freed, and most light-hearted of them all, grinned, “Ah. Now I have your attention. If we agree with Señor Paolo’s plan, 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.”
HanAH cursed then said, “If it were that easy, I would have been able to reprogram this vehicle long ago!” He kicked the airlock.
“Try not to forget that this ‘bug is supposed to take us all the way into the Northern Hemisphere,” said AzAH. Cautious and responsible to the end, hers was always the voice of measured reason. She strode to the pilot’s seat and sat down, hunched over the navigation console, then turned back to them. “We may be headed to Cydonia, but our host and captor hasn’t planned for us to get there without detours. Right now, I’d say we’re headed for Burroughs.”
HanAH leaned over her shoulder then huffed. “What’s in Burroughs that’s worth anything? They don’t make anything – and they’ve got the loosest laws on Mars.” He huffed again, “To say they have laws even, is a minor exaggeration.”
“But you can get anything there,” said DaneelAH.
What would we possible get there?” exclaimed HanAH.
MishAH said, “Maybe it’s not a ‘what’ but a ‘who’.”
“What do you mean?”
She shrugged, “All I’ve got is a bunch of rumors.” Her three siblings all turned to look at her – HanAH’s hostility was palpable; DaneelAH frowned; AzAH studied her older sister with interest.
“Such as,” DaneelAH prompted.
She shrugged again. HanAH sighed dramatically, irritated. MishAH laughed and said, “Oh, all right. I’ll quit teasing. It’s just that there’ve always been rumors that the Hero of the Faith Wars settled in Burroughs.”
“Natan Wallach? He died in the Last Riot of Islam in Opportunity,” HanAH said.“That was never conclusively proven,” said DaneelAH. “Go on.”
“That’s not the best part of the rumor – or in our case, this next bit makes good sense given who’s kidnapped us. Where we’re headed, however…”
HanAH snarled, “Just have out with it! I hate these…” AzAH laid her hand on his forearm and he subsided.
“It’s just that,” MishAH continued, “There’s a persistent rumor that not only is Natan Wallack still alive – he’s a Christian convert.”