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 (60,000+ words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.
MishAH, one fourth of Artificial Human Vat Issue 12254 nodded slowly, “I’d normally agree with you, Sister. But the Mayor’s got himself a new Consort.”
The three older vatmates snorted as one. HanAH snarked, “That’s hardly news, MishAH! He changes women as often as the rest of us change our underwear!”
She nodded, lifting a hand to concede the point adding, “The pattern is clear to me, as well. But this time he’s chosen a Consort who has his chief of security obviously upset.” The other three gave her their complete attention.
The marsbug started moving, rolling over the lip of the crater and into Burroughs proper. DaneelAH glanced through the forward window the back at the rest of them. He nodded to the Dome looming ahead of them. “What is it about this new consort that’s different than all the others?”
MishAH pursed her lips then said, “I dug into the Dome’s database a bit and found out that she’s a commoner.” HanAH shrugged. Even AzAH, usually siding with her sister against the two “boys”, looked unimpressed. “But that’s not all. Her father is someone named Abedne Halle-Theilen.”
She paused. After a moment, HanAH’s eyes grew large. He said abruptly, “The man’s high on the list of Christians under surveillance by Inter-Dome Security!”
MishAH lifted her chin. “I thought that name might catch your attention, Brother. She is not as radical as her father, but is a well-known sympathizer of his Christian beliefs. Worse yet, it’s fairly certain that the Mayor himself knows about her connection to her father.”
Her brother looked up from the marsbug’s computer screen and said, “He does, and in a public statement he made shortly after he took her to the Pylon, he mentions that while some may find her support of such radical religiosity repugnant, he does not believe that she, herself is a christian and therefore sanctions against christians, molesters, jews, rapists, buddhists, murderers, muslims, thieves, hindu, embezzlers, and…” always the drama king when he suited him, he paused for effect, then said softly, “us.”
DaneelAH scowled. “You’re trying to tell me that this Paolo has our best interests at hand – just because we happen to be on the same list of proscribed entities legally included in the term ‘non-human’?”
She shrugged, “I cannot go so far as to say that we should make common cause with the man, but he does seem to have similar goals as we do.”
DaneelAH shook his head and said, “I’ve been reading the file of holy books the Dalai Lama of Mars gave us.” AzAH raised a deep purple eyebrow. He sniffed, “They are instructive if for no other reason than to give insight into the reason Mars outlawed all forms of devotion but to Humanity…”
AzAH added, “Which notably does not include us.”
The ‘bug accelerated once it reached the floor of the crater, moving in a long curve to the center. Outlying warehouses, power plants, industrial manufacturing facilities, straight-up factories, and power generators whose sole intent was to manufacture greenhouse gases to build up the Martian atmosphere lined the road and grew thicker the closer they got to the entry airlock.
DaneelAH said, “I don’t have any sympathy for religion, per se. I do object to the exclusion of any group merely because someone has decided to exclude it.”
HanAH said, “What about Earth rules regarding genetic manipulation?”
MishAH laughed, adding, “I’ve read that they’re considering legislation that declares anyone who is less than some percentage of something they call ‘Original Human DNA’ will be tossed into the category we live in.”
“They’ll be declared slaves?” AzAH said.
“They’re only rumblings of a few, sweet sister. But for now, we have a problem.”
“What?” AzAH and MishAH said together.
HanAH lifted his chin and said, “We’re here.”