Read The God Mars Book Two: Lost Worlds Online

Authors: Michael Rizzo

Tags: #mars, #military, #genetic engineering, #space, #war, #pirates, #heroes, #technology, #survivors, #exploration, #nanotech, #un, #high tech, #croatoan, #colonization, #warriors, #terraforming, #ninjas, #marooned, #shinobi

The God Mars Book Two: Lost Worlds

BOOK: The God Mars Book Two: Lost Worlds
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The God Mars Book Two:
Lost Worlds
by Michael Rizzo
Copyright 2013 by Michael
Rizzo
Smashwords
Edition
Smashwords Edition, License
Notes

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of this author.

 

 

 

 

Table of
Contents

 

Part One: Land of the Lost

 

Chapter 1:
Abandonment Issues

 

Chapter 2:
Mortal Sins

 

Chapter 3:
Here There Be Monsters

 

Chapter 4: No
Quarter

 

Chapter 5:
The Road to Hell

 

Chapter 6:
Unacceptable Losses

 

 

Part Two: What Is and What Should Never Be

 

Chapter 1:
Post Traumatic

 

Chapter 2:
The Shadowman

 

Chapter 3:
“He today who sheds his blood with me…”

 

Chapter 4:
Conversations with Friends and Enemies

 

Chapter 5:
Brimstone

 

Chapter 6:
Stormcloud

 

Chapter 7:
Hero’s Death

 

Chapter 8:
The Devil You Were

 

Epilogue:
Cenotaph

 

 

Map of Melas and
Western Coprates

 

 

Part One: Land of the Lost
Chapter 1: Abandonment Issues

 

30 January, 2116:

 

The window is closing.

This is the sixtieth day of transmission.

 

My report hasn’t changed: No reply.

And that’s become soul-crushing. Sixty days of
calling for help across space and not even a ping back from
Earth.

I know it’s been fifty years since anyone back home
has heard anything from this planet, that they’re sure (or
convinced themselves for their own closure) that we’re all dead,
that the only life on the surface of Mars is a nightmare plague of
rogue viral nanotech and bio-engineered horrors.

But we’ve been calling to tell them otherwise for
sixty days straight.

Our signal should be clear enough to be heard. Anton
and Rick continue to alternate taking shifts at the Candor
transmitter site, switching every time a relief flight goes out,
still insisting on monitoring the equipment personally despite the
cramped accommodations and the maddening silence. They keep
assuring the rest of us that the salvaged and cobbled equipment
is
working, that our message should be getting past the ETE
atmosphere net. It’s not a strong signal, and it’s likely
beyond-primitive compared to whatever Earth has developed during
the half-century we slept, but it’s at least as strong as what
sufficed for the early rover missions. If anyone was paying any
attention at all…

 

In the absence of knowing, we can’t help but spin
scenarios that range from ugly to tragic to explain why there’s
been no answer:

Maybe the “planetary quarantine” we’ve heard tell
about has created a totalitarian ban on communications (a ban that
would have to control all civilian listening posts as well).
Perhaps they believe that even making remote contact with the
nanotech they think has overrun this planet will somehow hack them
through their signals and take control of Earth’s networks, even to
the point of hijacking manufacturing facilities to re-create
themselves and infect the world.

Maybe the backlash against technology (that we’ve
also heard tell about) caused by what they think happened here all
those years ago has made them turn their backs on the technology
that would hear us.

Or maybe the human race is dead—or barely
surviving—the planet already taken by a worst-fears nanotech or
biotech plague, and the unintelligible background chatter that
we’re managing to pick up isn’t actually human in origin. (We’ve
been assuming the signal noise bleeding off the Earth is just too
deeply encoded for our gear to decipher, either because of some
totalitarian regulation on communications or just simple fears of
competitor hacking. But what if it it’s really the chatter of
something that’s replaced us as the dominant species?)

Rick set up one of the better field telescopes from
our minimal astronomy lab to watch the Earth edging closer to us as
our orbits fall into conjunction. He’s given us some beautifully
clear pictures, which mostly served to make us all homesick, but
they also let us know that the planet still at least looks pretty
much the same as when we’d last seen it. But that’s about all we
could tell from over fifty million miles and without the benefit of
a single astronomer in our number.

(The on-planet specialists were all working projects
at the colony sites or up on the orbital facilities when the bombs
fell and the Discs shredded everything in orbit. There was no need
to have a proper science contingent taking up space in an
already-crowded military base, which means all we have in terms of
scientific talent is what we needed to maintain our facilities,
aircraft, systems and weapons. The ETE might have whatever their
version of an astronomer is, but they’ve become even less social
since they decided to take on the role of planetary police.)

 

At least there’s been no further human interference
on-planet, no sign of the Zodangans or the PK or the Shinkyo or
even an opportunistic scavenger anywhere near our transmitter or
relay sites, not since the first few weeks. The ETE have apparently
made it clear to all that they will enforce their new “no conflict”
policies. We still see their Guardian teams making occasional runs
in their silent shining ships, both toward the PK Keeps and toward
the Zodanga-controlled Northeast Rim. (Or
formerly
Zodanga-controlled, now that the ETE have put their technology to
more aggressive use.) There have even been sightings in the
southeast around Melas Three, likely due to the activities of our
local Nomad competitors, who haven’t given up their designs on
taking our base for themselves despite the ETE’s devastating
advantages.

Wherever the ETE were going on these flights, it’s
always been too far off to get a look without burning fuel we can’t
spare, but the echoes of small arms fire and explosions have been
registered in the directions they’ve gone. We have no idea if these
apparent skirmishes were to deter actions against us, or if the ETE
have been enforcing their will over the more militant factions’
other activities. The ETE themselves have been frustratingly silent
about their activities since they declared they would be
maintaining the peace from now on.

 

While we wait, I find I have little to do with myself
but try to plan for a completely unimaginable future (no matter how
that future goes). Our bases are secure enough, and there have been
no further attacks, likely something I should be thanking the ETE
for. I can also thank the ETE for being gracious enough to supply
us with a few simple essential materials from their Station
factories: panels for our growing greenhouse farm, new filters for
our recycling systems, gifts of surplus food from their processors
that they encourage us to share with our allied Nomads or anyone
else we “might peaceably encounter” (but most of that accumulates
in storage as the Nomads don’t trust ETE gifts and we haven’t met
anyone else yet that hasn’t promptly tried to rob and/or kill
us).

So we’re eating better, breathing better, spending
more time topside, and we’re not nearly so worried about the
longevity of our resources. We’re even building something for a
better future (and one we can share with the few friends we’ve
made). It all makes our cramped concrete bunkers somewhat more
bearable to live in, but they still feel tomb-like—more so with
each day that we don’t hear a word from Earth.

But the bottom line is we are okay for now: almost
twelve hundred men, women and children, all healthy despite our
unexpectedly (and still unbelievably) extended Hiber-Sleep, and now
under the “protection” of a functionally immortal group of
scientists with the technology to manipulate matter at the
molecular level.

So as a soldier, I have nothing to do but play
administrator over this base while I wait for something to change,
good or ill.

I envy some of us who have a clearer direction:

Doc Ryder and Tru have done wonders with the
greenhouse project, which is now almost twice the size it was when
the Shinkyo threw their dirty bomb at it three months ago. And we
finally have crops that look likely to sustain us. We’re now
regularly trading with Abbas’ and Hassim’s tribes, and several of
the Nomads appear to have at least temporarily given up their
traditions of wandering and hiding to work our gardens with us as
residents (though they still insist on dwelling in surface
shelters, refusing our offers of unused bunker sections). Even the
ETE seem impressed, regularly sending botany specialists to analyze
our plants and provide new hybrids from their own gardens.

Ryder seems to be mostly over the depression that
made her dare that Shinkyo bomb. I think holding the ceremony for
all those we lost during the so-called Apocalypse—even fifty years
late—has helped her move beyond her husband’s most likely fate in
orbit. And she has Rick, who still fawns over her like a man in
love when he’s not out in Candor.

Lisa has taken over as acting CO of Melas Three,
which Sergeant Morales has turned into an aircraft factory, taking
her team beyond simple salvage. Morales is trying to modify what
little she’s got to work with to best use towards our hope of
further exploring Marineris. She’s also made a “hobby” out of
tinkering with the wrecked Zodangan pirate flyers we salvaged from
the ETE-preempted battle of the Candor Gap, so far managing to get
one back into flying shape. (The basic design is somewhere between
hang-glider and ultra-light, nanocarbon for frame and fabric, with
very simple hydrox or solid fuel jets for thrust and maneuvering,
and electric motor fans for sustained cruising).

The materials from the captured gliders do indicate
that the Zodangans have maintained their manufacturing facilities
all these years, maybe even managed to expand them. And the
composition of their solid rocket fuel—a metal oxide mix—tells us
they’re also mining and refining, possibly extensively, probably
somewhere deep in the Northeast Rim cliffs out of sight of
competitors and the ETE. (This also tells us they’re a lot more
than just thugs and thieves—Zodanga Colony had some brilliant and
creative engineers before the Big Bang, a legacy that’s apparently
been passed down.)

 

I could just as easily have assigned Matthew to Melas
Three instead of Lisa, but I felt that he’d make the place more of
what it was built to be: a hardened fortress against a dangerous
world. Maybe that would have been the appropriate decision, given
the quality of too many of our encounters with the survivor
factions. But I believe putting Lisa there makes the base feel like
more of an outpost for exploration, to build for the future. And I
have no doubts she can handle a fight if one comes her way.
Thankfully, we haven’t had any further trouble with Farouk’s band,
which I assume is probably thanks to the ETE’s zeal at policing the
valleys. (Melas Three
is
conveniently close to the ETE Green
Station.)

On a personal note, I find I do miss Lisa’s presence
here. She always seemed to keep us (me—especially me) grounded and
objective, always had a feel for the bigger picture.

Conversely, I’m perfectly happy to have Matthew here
in my old position as Melas Two Military Operations Commander,
because despite the ETE’s rather haughty assurances that our guns
will no longer be necessary, I still see the real possibility that
we may need Matthew’s strength in a fight, and Melas Two (with its
greater assets and civilian population) is in closer proximity to
what I still consider significant threats.

Matthew hasn’t complained about my decision, but he
has been quite vocal about a number of other concerns, specifically
those still-potential threats. The unresolved conflicts with the
Shinkyo, the Zodanga, the PK and some of the Nomads (he freely
admits he trusts
none
of the Nomads) remain hot-button
topics for him. But his biggest concern has been about the ETE, and
what their pledge to “keep the peace” for us might herald. I
certainly don’t disagree with him, but I don’t believe we’re in any
position to actively take control of the situation. Our
self-proclaimed enemies still have weapons, resources and positions
to cost us dearly if we decided to try confronting them again (at
least as far as we know, depending on what the ETE have been up to
on those mystery runs). And the ETE… We have no defense against
their technology, no more than any of the other survivor factions
do. And for my part in that, I realize I’ve helped create a
potential monster, and a potentially unstoppable one.

BOOK: The God Mars Book Two: Lost Worlds
13.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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