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 (7 page)

BOOK: The God Mars Book Two: Lost Worlds
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As for Rios, only the grandchildren of cousins could
be found.

Tru has a similar file: the descendants of a sister
and a few cousins, all her age and older, who only knew her in
stories and old family picture and video files.

In all, nine-hundred and seventeen of us got mixed
news from home, but in only a few cases were there any actual video
correspondences from those relatives, and all of those are very
brief and awkward. Depressing in a different way are files sent to
personnel we’ve lost, including a message from Colonel Copeland’s
granddaughter and one from Lieutenant Carver’s nephew.

There is also a very sparse history of the last fifty
years. Richards and Satrapi were good to their words in sending us
reasonably detailed accounts of the Earthside response to the
bombardment and orbital attack, as well as the Disc “Trojan” attack
on Earth’s orbital facilities. It isn’t as hard to understand their
reluctance to come back for us, especially after reviewing the
video files of the Discs using the surviving ships to kill even
more of us. Otherwise, what we get feels carefully sanitized (made
more suspect by their “securing” of our channels—anything we get
comes from a single “official” source).

The global and political map shifted almost as much
as the economic one in the wake of the horror. There were
demonstrations, riots, revolutions. It looked like the Eco War had
come to Earth with a vengeance, as nanotech producers and vendors
were attacked globally, labs and plants destroyed, products dumped
and burned in raging ceremonies. All space programs were de-funded
and defunct by the end of the ‘60s. Several countries completely
collapsed into near-anarchy, only to revive years later with new
governments and sometimes new names. The so-called superpowers
suffered infrastructure catastrophes as food, energy, housing and
medicine were impacted by the economic fallout of the decapitation
of the chief corporate powers. Unemployment exceeded
all
other depressions and recessions in history, and urban centers
devolved into no-man’s lands while unsustainable suburbia went up
in flames. And in the darkness, people turned back to God in
unprecedented numbers.

“It looks like the Islamic Fundamentalists got in bed
with the Bronze-Age Christian Ultra-Right,” Matthew quips as he’s
reviewing the reports. “Fucking Amish-Taliban Disneyland…”

Entire communities shunned all but the most basic
tech, vilified consumerism, and turned to farming. Even those lucky
enough to still have high tech corporate jobs started shunning them
with the support of their communities, further crippling industry,
and universities were forced to close career programs in certain
sciences.

It became a popular sell among the most vocal new
spiritual leaders to try to convince the people that the Mars
disaster was punishment for their personal sins. As Richards had
said, once they got done with the corporations and the governments,
they could only blame themselves in the cycle of supply and
demand.

But also like Richards had said, it wasn’t all that
extreme, and did have its global benefits. Many political and
economic movements took up the Eco cause, popular demand now
driving a multinational effort to develop “green” technologies and
clean energy, to restore the environment and to take care of each
other. (Just considering that since emigration to other planets was
no longer a practical or acceptable future, humans would now have
to make the best of home.) The downside was that many governments
took a strong religious theme in returning to “what’s important.”
The unexpected upside was that they were remarkably tolerant about
it—though majority monotheist, the ancient differences were mostly
set aside in favor of embracing tolerance for “all God’s creation.”
Or as Matthew put it, even the radical Muslims were bedding down
with the fundamentalist Christians and Jews.

Wars had gotten few, and were usually ameliorated
with a global in-pouring of resources—not much to fight over if
everybody has enough (and gets very publicly shamed about the
sinfulness of wanting more).

As for technology, they had progressed—as Richards
put it—“thoughtfully.” They had willingly sacrificed the miraculous
benefits of medical nanotech for a shorter, more mortal
existence—quality over quantity—taking their time in developing
other means, other cures. And without the military or consumer
demands that often drove technology to evolve exponentially, what
was “cutting edge” back home does not seem so many years ahead of
what we had before we all went to sleep.

(Though this isn’t a universal standard: Anton is
quick to point out that the Lancer’s technology appears to be more
advanced than the current Earth standard, and that means someone is
playing with science that would probably incur the ire of
UNCORT.)

But what strikes me as most stunning: All during this
incredible evolution of humanity, the planet seemed to have managed
to almost completely forget about us.

 

When Richards comes through at 13:05, he looks like
he hasn’t slept since the last time he spoke to us.

“We have reviewed your latest reports, Colonel,” he
begins like he’s spent two days under live fire. “There is a lot of
concern—I can understand your reluctance to send us this
intelligence, despite your obligation to duty… This does change
things, I’m afraid to say. We’ve kept this classified, of course…
But the UNCORT membership is up in arms, and the UNMAC military
leadership has expressed great concern with your withholding of
this information, as well as your reported complacency with the
ETE. There are, frankly, many here that would doubt your fitness to
command, Colonel Ram, but we cannot adequately appreciate your
situation and have few options. I can only hope that you will trust
us and be completely forthcoming from this point on. I would
suggest this is in all of your best interests.”

“Fuckers…” I hear Matthew growl under his breath,
with that same edge that tells me the old scars are aching again.
So are mine.

“Decisions made have been made, for good or ill,”
Richards continues. “We can only move forward from here. We need to
trust each other, Colonel. I’m taking your last report as a sign
that you have dedicated to that, so I’m going to put my faith in
you. You have been thrust into an unimaginable situation, and have
maintained the survival of your personnel commendably.

“I will give you
one
directive, Colonel: We
need you to find out as much as you can about the survivor
factions: Census, structure, resources, technology, placement. I
appreciate that this will entail risk, but the more we know, the
better we can respond with support, and frankly, the more willing
we will be to do so. There are many doubts and fears back here,
Colonel. We
need
to dispel them—to let the people of Earth
know what’s going on up there, to let them know what we’d be going
back to.

“As for the ETE, you are being encouraged to maintain
reasonable diplomatic relations with them in order to ensure
continued environmental supports. Know that this decision is not
based on any apparent trust you have fostered with them, but simply
because we cannot expect you to intervene in the situation
effectively with your limited resources. We insist that you not
provide them any kind of military support or advisement from this
point on. We also insist that—should the opportunity arise—you
provide us with more intelligence regarding their technology.”

He looks down, then to the left and right as if
needing to consider what he will say in terms of whoever is
monitoring and scripting him.

“In this last point, I will tell you that you are not
our only source of intelligence.”

An image appears behind him: A thirty-something pale
oriental male in a black robe, seated in front of a Shinkyo
banner.

“We were contacted after your last transmission by
someone identifying himself as Hatsumi Oda, governor-in-exile of
the Shinkyo Colony. The signal came from inside Ius Chasma to your
west. He knew that Dr. Halley’s sampling of ETE biotech would be
uselessly inert for analysis, and claims to have several viable
samples that he is willing to offer data on. His preliminary
reports made quite an unpleasant stir, Colonel. Further, he offered
to serve as an onsite source of intelligence gathering and—if
necessary—military operations. Given your reports of his people’s
apparently questionable motives, we are considering his offers with
caution. However, I fully expect Command may consider utilizing
them in the foreseeable future.”

He signs off with almost mechanical officiousness. I
close my eyes and breathe into my hands. When I look up, Matthew is
shaking his head like he’s seething.

“The little hilltop tent-show makes more sense now,”
I allow numbly.

“You know, I’ve always thought your average God-Wad
type came across as at least a little stupid, if not a lot stupid,”
Matthew bleeds off a bit of his built-up venom. “Now we’ve got them
running the whole planet. We’re fucked.”

“No hurry to go home, then?” I try to get his humor
back.

“I fully get now why you weren’t gung-ho to get the
call out,” he gives me, kneading his brow with his fingers.

“Amen,” I hear Rick chime in bitterly over the Link
from Candor.

I suddenly need very much to get up and get out of
there.

 

I get back to my quarters at 1800, without bothering
to get myself dinner. I’m sweaty and sore and shaky after doing an
extra spin-session in the centrifuge followed by a hard workout
with my Shinkyo gift. (Everybody gave me a wide berth in the gym—I
expect they could read how I was feeling with every cut I made at
empty air.) The blade felt remarkably good in my hands, as if
telling me where my path should lie. I drilled until my palms
started to blister. Then all I wanted was a shower.

Sakina is in my tiny quarters (as she usually is when
she’s not with me or drilling with Rios’ “study team”), sitting in
one of her deep meditative exercises on her mat, her arms and hands
moving with invisible energies. She only pauses momentarily when I
come in, then she’s back to her exercises, as if she felt it was
best to keep her distance from the issues at hand. I strip like my
uniform hurts. Start the water cycling. Get my head and shoulders
in the flow.

I don’t know how long I just stand in there with the
water running over me, but then I feel her hands on my shoulders. I
can’t help but flinch, but then I allow it, too tired to protest or
even think about what’s about to happen. Then I feel her body up
against mine in the water. She’s as naked as I am.

“What…?” I start to pull away, but her finger touches
my lips.

“Shhhh…” Her hands go back to massaging my neck, my
shoulders, my back. “You never allow anyone to care for you,” she
says softly. “Even steel needs care.”

She reduces the shower to a conservative trickle and
keeps working. Her hands are very strong, but smooth and skilled.
She works down my back to my legs, not saying a word, taking her
time. Then she stands up and turns me to face her, starting to work
on my arms, my chest. She moves in very close to stay under the
water with me.

“What am I to you, Sakina?” I finally ask her. She
doesn’t meet my eyes.

“You know,” she whispers lightly, her hands running
up and down my stomach.

“You aren’t my servant,” I try to tell her. “You are
so much more to me than that…”

“I know,” she says, her mouth curling up into a bit
of a grin. She presses herself closer up against me, her hands on
my hips. I can’t help but look at her. But then I can smell her—the
musk is unmistakable. It hits me like a drug, and my body responds
despite my hesitation. She moves her hands down to take hold of me,
and I jerk back. She has me up against the stall. Reflexively, I
look up at the security cameras that monitor my room. The lenses
have been turned away (not turned off—that would trigger an
alarm—but tilted sideways as designed to allow for privacy in the
bedroom). She puts her hands on the wall on either side of my head
and begins to gyrate slowly against me.

“I know what to do,” she tells me, and then shushes
me again when I try to say something. She turns her face toward
mine, lips parted. I move to kiss her, but she pulls away a bit,
looking confused, then her lips play tentatively with mine. I
realize she may have had or at least seen sex, but kissing may not
be in her cultural experience. What she does do is taste me,
breathe in my scent. Then she drops to her knee and demonstrates
very directly what she’s learned. I’m thinking I shouldn’t be
letting her do this, thinking about what may happen, thinking about
just how frustrated and cut off I’m feeling from the planet I came
from, and then almost immediately musing that I’ve never been the
type to even consider
not
doing what Sakina has so
persistently begun.

I’m not that old.

I pull her up to her feet and put her back up against
the wall. I’m surprised how easily she lets me manipulate her—she
almost melts in my grip, her body vibrating as I touch her,
breathing deep and hard, her dark eyes fluttering.

Then I show her a few of the things I know.

I’m not that old at all.

 

When I wake up sometime that night, I’m confused to
find myself alone in my bed. Sakina is curled up on her roll as she
usually is—I can see her in the dim glow of the readouts that tell
me it’s 24:20. The security cameras are pointed as they usually are
to watch over me.

I wonder if I’ve just been dreaming like a dirty old
man, but then I smell her on me. In the near-dark, I watch her lay
there, breathing softly. She doesn’t move but I think she’s awake,
and though she’s got her back turned to me, I think she’s
smiling.

BOOK: The God Mars Book Two: Lost Worlds
7.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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