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.
The guardian of the Martian artifact named 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 or made us green.” He paused. “We have reason to think that the swimmers were some sort of watchers and were here at the time Mars was covered with shallow seas – some hundred million years ago, 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. We cannot show the Stele to you.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
OrcAH glared up at him then finally said, “Won’t.”
“I may be the only other person on Mars who understands what these might represent.”
“What do you think they represent? Little Green Men who lived on Mar, built the Canals, and…”
Paolo cut him off, saying, “That’s absurd. Your Stele – if you are and the rest of Artificial Humanity are true Martians – represents incontrovertible evidence that Mars, Earth, and probably Venus, were being observed by some sort of extraterrestrials in the neighborhood of sixty-five million years ago. That was also the time-frame of the meteorite impact that initiated an event completing the demise of the dinosaurs; finished tearing away the last of the Martian atmosphere; and might have tipped Uranus on its side, reversed the rotation of Venus, and launched its moon into a Solar orbit.” OrcAH gaped at him. “What?” Paolo snapped irritably.
The little blue man cleared his throat several time, walked up to the Stele and tapped the transparent case over them. A faint shimmer passed over it. Protected by a rare, power-hungry force shield, the extravagance made Paolo whistle in surprise. OrcAH turned slowly, then said, “A remarkably…speculative…scenario, Sir. But I find myself still hesitant to illuminate the Stele with ultrasound.”
Paolo pursed his lips, touching them with his right index finger. He said, “Your security check shows that I’m a wanted man, correct?”
OrcAH shrugged. “Less that than the warrant says that you are a Christian extremist.”
Paolo nodded. “I am a man of faith, but having a religious faith doesn’t mean that the rest of my brain is dead. I’m faithful, not stupid; you’re a blue man, but not a slave.”
OrcAH snorted at the nuance, adding, “Let me give it some thought.”
“I won’t be staying long enough for the police to get here.” The muscles around OrcAH’s eyes tensed briefly as he continued. “Remember that I have two other artifacts I’d as soon you had control off. Along with the Stele, they might add weight to your argument that you are truly original Martians. Many have lived her – only you were born here.”
The blue man nodded slowly, making a subtle gesture with his left index finger. “I will give it some more thought. Where might I find you?”
Paolo said, “Around,” pausing, he added, “But don’t wait too long, I’ll be leaving soon.”
“As soon as I figure out someone has betrayed me.” He turned and walked out of the museum. He expected to be grabbed by the Dome police or a band of rogue Artificial Human. When neither appeared immediately, he started back down the corridor leading to the Grand Plaza.