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 (70,000+ words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.
Martian society needed to be responsible for lifting Artificial Humans up. In fact tolerance in Martian society had vanished at some point, replaced by a harsh ideal that every person must agree in all things – or there would be a chaos of different opinions.
Aster had the chance to change all of that. FardusAH, with her network of assistants to all of the other Mayors of Mars, was a powerful ally. The – literally – underground society of Artificial Humans were a power far beyond any that Naturals imagined.
The Orphans Ball might very well be the crux by which Martian society might return to one that allowed all beings a voice. A place where none were silenced and all were welcome to speak.
The slithering person of vo’Maddux was a different issue. In that creature’s mind, the Mayoral Consort should stay in the Pylon. But the “blue-collar” workers and FardusAH’s allies, the Natural and Artificial men and women who listened to her dad, attended his secret Christian church needed to know that what Aster had planned wasn’t “a stunt” by the Mayor’s Office. A union of Martians, is what she wanted – a union against the current power structure – and was something she was ready to work for. She suddenly realized that she wanted to do it, no matter what it cost her. Up to and including her life. She explained the Orphan’s Ball, then added, “After that, our intentions will be public knowledge. It will be impossible for Naturals to ignore the fact that Artificial Human families are as vulnerable as they are. It’s clear that the true enemies of all commoners both Natural and Artificial lived in the highest classes of Naturals; those who made their homes in the Owner’s District. She said, “We must make sure that those in the HOD come to the Ball.”
One dark blue arm lifted. Aster nodded. A voice thickened by many years of use; distinctly neither male nor female. It said, “You bring the HODders there and mix in blue’uns and you get yourse’f a shoot.” The hand dropped down.
Aster scowled. The accent and the slang was virtually impenetrable to her. A younger inti stepped forward, letting her see him full on. He couldn’t have been more than thirteen – though she knew full well that Artificial Humans were manufactured at whatever age and size required by the purchaser or the job. Still, he looked young. He said in clear SpanDarinGlish (a creole of Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and English), “She means to say that if you throw this Ball of yours and we come in, the HODders will call out the guard and it’ll be a massacre.”
She nodded gravely. “True. But I will also have invited those among the other influential – those in medicine…”
Someone from deeper in the dark laughed and called out, “They cut us open like rats!”
Aster, Escort of the Mayor of Opportunity snapped back at him, “And some have answered to me that they deplore the practice and have sued for change! I am the Escort of Mayor Etaraxis!” Her title rang from the high ceiling of the underground intersection. She let it for a moment. Then she said, “I have been delivered into this peculiar bondage and have kept a timid post. Until now. I will cease to live in the shadow of my captor. I will direct a modicum of the power that streams from the Mayor to my own use. I will direct to Mars; to free all Martians, to create the society my father and those with whom he came to this Newest World envisioned.” She stopped, hands held down, before her, chin up.
There was silence for a time.
Then the gender-neutral voice called again from the darkness, “You watch that witch by ‘is side, girl! She be evil with flushin’ slime! We watch fo’ ye, girl. I watch fo’ ye! Mark me wor’!”
The intis began to leave. The young man stepped up to her and said, “Great-Great said that you need to watch vo’Maddux. That she was a slimy evil.” He leaned closer, “We will watch for you, your Majesty. We will watch and protect you.” He added, “Great-Great also told me that you should pass on to the Mayor that there is a different snake in his castle.”
Aster frowned. “I know, vo’Maddux…”
The heavily accented voice called again from the darkness after it let loose a long cackle. It said, “vo’Maddux’s just a pit bull, Deary! The real power behind her is dark; he’s been plannin’ ‘is from the Landin’! He be ready to move soon, whennuh high’n mighty Mayor is in his tower and thinks e’s safe! Warn ‘im, Deary! An’ ye watch yer own back, girl! Watch yer back. Your daddy, he knows the name! Ask him the name and the time!”
The looked he fixed on her made her want to shudder. Instead, she nodded slowly and said, “Go, then. When the moment is right, I will give the signal.” He grinned, turned, and ran into the darkness.
A moment later, Aster was alone.