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. They are HanAH, the security expert (m); DaneelAH, xenoarchaeologist (m); AzAH, language expert (f); MishAH, pattern recognition (f).
MishAH said, “I’ve read that United Earth is considering legislation that declares anyone who is less than some percentage of something they call ‘Original Human DNA’ will be inhuman and 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.”
The Rim of Burroughs Dome loomed over them as they approached. They slowed to wait with other marsbugs, vans, and transports, sealed and open to the atmosphere Humanity was building on Mars. After a few moments, the massive airlock opened, the vehicles moved in, the airlock closed, and the pressure outside rose until they could hear the howl of air being pumped in. Overriding the internal communication systems, the Dome Traffic Control said, “All vehicles please proceed to docking ports or inspection points for access to underground ramps and causeways.”
MishAH sat down and gripped the control handles, tipping them forward slightly. The ‘bug moved. “Seems our mysterious host has granted us control again.” He nodded and drove to a parking slot. Once they’d gathered their things, they got out and joined the movement of living beings.
Of course, they weren’t allowed to enter with Natural Humans but were directed through another gate that scanned them for contraband, brands, and ownership chips. The four of them passed easily – they were owned by the Mayor of Malacandra, after all, and their status, while officially below that of privileged Naturals, was considerably above that of Traffic drones like the Natural woman who passed them through once their chips registered.
Once in the transport hub of the Dome, they stopped and huddled. The high-ceilinged hub roared with the reflected and refracted voices pouring them back down as white noise which covered any one, specific sound. Conversations, music, and anything that was supposed to be said disappeared. More than one thief, con artist, kidnapper, or conspiracist had planned their crime under the Dome and the surveillance of countless peace-keepers.
DaneelAH said, “We need to find this christian person.”
“That shouldn’t be hard, he was the Hero of the Faith Wars,” MishAH said.
“He’ll either be easy to find or no one will have any idea what we’re talking about,” said HanAH.
DaneelAH shook his head and said, “We’re emissaries of the Mayor of Malacandra to the people of Burroughs…”
“What message are we carrying to them?” said HanAH.
They all turned to DaneelAH, holding the silence for some time before he said, “The Mayor of Malacandra has a proposition for the Mayor of Burroughs…” he paused.
AzAH smiled faintly, crossed her arms over her chest. “What could the Mayor of Burroughs possibly want from the Southern Wastes?”
HanAH said, “The whole planet is a waste – what would the Mayor of one the Five Domes of Mars, possibly want with…”
“He would want evidence that there was alien life on Mars at one time,” DaneelAH said.
HanAH snorted, “What kind of evidence of alien life did Mayor Turin have?”
MishAH said, “We’ve got patterning evidence of unusual branching, subsurface markings.”
“What?” said HanAH.
“Tunnels,” said DaneelAH.