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 (They are HanAH, the security expert (m); DaneelAH, xenoarchaeologist (m); AzAH, language expert (f); MishAH, pattern recognition (f).) – 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 (100,000+ words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.
As the stuffcapsule slid through the tunnel deep under the surface of Mars, AzAH said, “Stepan can present the artifacts to the Mayors, but we need to get word to people who can help him.”
HanAH snorted, “Like who?”
“Our mystery guide, Paolo. He seems to know what’s happening on Mars. He’s certainly been manipulating us.”
“I don’t trust him,” said HanAH.
“You don’t trust nobody,” said QuinnAH. “‘at’s why we get along s’well.” His street urchin drawl had returned. “I don’t trust nobody, neither.”
AzAH said, “You trust Stepan.”
QuinnAH snorted, then dodging the statement, said, “Sit and take a breather. Once we get back up and into the HOD, we have to pass through it to get to Breachport.”
“We don’t have time to rest. We keep on from here. Once we get to Breach, we need to contact Paolo. He has some kind of plan to gather the artifacts and change Mars,” said MishAH.
HanAH snorted derisively.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
HanAH rolled his eyes and said, “What makes you think…”
DaneelAH cut him off, “Because he keeps pulling our strings.” He paused, then added, “As far as I can see, he’s pulling everyone’s strings.”
“He’s not pulling mine,” said HanAH. “No one…”
“Get ready!” said QuinnAH, then suddenly shouted, “Jump!” They did. All five of them tucked and rolled. Here the floor was clean; cleaner at least than it had been, and it was also a soft-hard floor, absorbing impact by giving. It kept damage to the floor to a minimum by giving way under hard impact. Brushing himself off, QuinnAH said, “All right. You go up from here and you’ll come out in the Freight Station in the Home Owner’s District. I’m gone get you started, then you go up the rest of the way…” HanAH’s arm flashed out to grab QuinnAH – and closed on air. “Nice try, old man!” he laughed as he danced away. “Take yourselves on up, then! Double door portal over there. Only open the left side or you set off deadly security. It’ll scan you as Human ‘cause we got people up top that have changed the scanners. I gotta go back and save preacher man. He need me.”
HanAH clumsily lunged again and laughing, QuinnAH easily slipped away, vanished over the platform edge, and was gone. His vatmates laughed as they headed to the portal at the edge of the tunnel, cautiously opening the left door. HanAH stood, arms crossed over his chest. AzAH stopped, looked back at him, and said, “Coming.”
He angrily shook his head. She shrugged and followed the others.
As they disappeared through the portal, he called, “Fine by me! See if you can make it to Breachport by yourselves!” Either AzAH or MishAH stuck a hand past the rim, waved, and vanished. He stood for a while longer, then with a deep sigh, he followed after them, stomping his feet until he realized he sounded like a child having a tantrum. Muttering, “I was the last one decanted. It’s my privilege to act like this.” They’d vanished up a steep ramp that curved gently into a spiral. Grumbling, he started to jog, following after them.