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. If you’d like to read it from beginning to end (70,000+ words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.
On a long stone table stood three squarish, smooth slabs of Martian stone. On each, Paolo Marcillon could see some sort of pattern. Nothing that would suggest letters or images or hash marks. But they had been marked.
OrcAH, a small, blue man who had either been allowed to age as a Natural or had been taken from the vat looking like a wizened, Earth fantasy dwarf, said, “We have studied these three – we call them the Stele – by exposing them to the entire length of the EM spectrum. But there is only one kind of energy that reveals what are admittedly ancient marking. Even under this energy, they are barely discernible…”
“Ultrasound,” Paolo whispered.
Without missing a beat, OrcAH whispered, “Ultrasound.” He paused, “How did you know?”
Paolo paused, took a deep breath, then told how he’d come across both the satellite and the bones. OrcAH interrupted, “What bones?”
“In my travels, I came across The Cydonia Fellowship of Free Martians. They had incontrovertible proof that something had lived on Mars and left its complex bones behind – something that had a…a…side fin,”
“It’s called a pectoral fin,” OrcAH said.
“A pectoral fin, like that of an Earth dolphin. There haven’t been oceans on Mars for three and a half billion years. Given that the Solar System was only four or five billion years old, there’s no time at all for complex life – let alone intelligent life – to have evolved on Mars. The Free Martians believe that the dolphin-like bones had come from somewhere else.”
OrcAH paused before saying, “So, you think this satellite might be of alien design.” He gestured to the Stele, “You believe that the Stele might hold some sort of secret about this satellite you’ve discovered?” Paolo nodded slowly. “What makes you think that?”
“I was studying it…”
“You have a lab?”
Paolo laughed, “No. I was studying it in the airlock of my marsbug.”
“So, you haven’t really studied it and you have no idea what you really have?”
He shrugged. “None.” He lifted his chin in the direction of the Stele. “But I do want to see what these look like under ultrasound.”
OrcAH had been leaning, staring closely at the Stele. He stood up abruptly, “We will not allow you to do this.”
“These messages – from the aliens – they belong to Mars.”
“Mars was the god of war. The aliens belong to the god of war?”
OrcAH nodded. “We are the children of this world, more than you who were Naturally born. We were created to serve you, but we were created here and are the real natives.” He paused, then smiled before saying, “Though you kindly refrained from adding an extra pair of arms.” He paused. “We also have some reason to think that the swimmers were some sort of watchers and were here at the time Mars was covered with shallow seas. A time before the shattering of the spheres.”
“The spheres of the solar system were shattered by some immense force which also ripped away the atmosphere of Mars, leaving behind oceans that boiled away into space.” He gestured to the Stele. “We think that some of that story is on the Stele.” He looked up, blinked, and said, “That is why we cannot allow you to decipher them, nor can we allow you to decipher the markings on your satellite.” He stepped closer. “That is why we will take the satellite from you. Now.”