Science fiction is a marvelous way to promote interest in science and space exploration. The Mars Society is in the process of creating the Mars Fan Science Fiction page as a way of encouraging its membership and the general public to develop new stories and ideas about exploring Mars. These includes human missions to the Red Planet, long-term human settlement, the search for Martian life, terraforming Mars and many other endeavors.
The Mars Society welcomes any and all submissions (in English) for possible posting on the new Mars Fan Science Fiction page. Please note that stories must be limited to Mars-related themes and consist of no more than 5,000 words. Only original work will be considered for posting on the web site.
Please feel free to submit your story to: email@example.com
Thank you from the Mars Society
“The Truth about Mars”
By Rick NeJame
Tech Valley High School, Spring 2013
Note: Alien dialect has been translated into English from their universal language so that the readers of this short story can understand it.
There is no life on Mars: that’s what they want us to believe. It’s a fluke that Mars produces methane: that’s what they want us to believe. We’re collecting information directly from Mars: that’s what they want us to think.
December 2, 1971
“Look at that little guy,” said a burly alien.
“I guess they noticed our burrowing canals and want to run tests,” said a skinny alien.
“Roswell, should we stop it from landing?” said the burly alien.
Agitated, Roswell replies, “Yes, Galahad; we don’t want those pesky humans finding out that we live here. All they’ll do is ask us questions about how we manage to live underground.”
Galahad replies with conviction, “On top of that, we won’t even understand each other, and in the end they’ll probably attack us.”
Roswell and Galahad get into their MR5042, the most expensive alien surface vehicle, and drive towards the Russian lander.
Roswell and Galahad are brothers. They were the first aliens to invent vehicles that can drive on the surface of Mars. This being a very prestigious innovation, they quickly became rich and are now co-presidents of the G120 underground colony. There are other underground colonies on Mars, located underneath different craters. Each crater has a filter near the top that releases methane from the area beneath it. When Roswell and Galahad created surface vehicles, they became the richest aliens throughout the colonies. Every alien wanted to buy a surface vehicle; however, they are extremely pricey. Every wealthy alien in the colonies bought a surface vehicle from them. The surface vehicles do have limitations and can only be used during certain times and seasons. Normal underground vehicles will freeze up and the glass will crack, causing any alien that went on the surface to die. So during the warmer seasons and times, the wealthier aliens will drive their surface vehicles onto the surface of Mars and enjoy the open area, a relief from the heavily populated and congested underground colonies.
Roswell and Galahad took all the money they made from making surface vehicles and put it into making a single vehicle that can go on the surface any time, no matter the time or season. Even though they successfully built an all-season surface vehicle, no other aliens could have one because they simply couldn’t afford it. The resources that were put into the all-season vehicle are the most expensive in all the colonies. That is why Roswell and Galahad were the only brothers on the surface of Mars when the Russian lander was headed towards Mars. Being the most powerful and well-known aliens on Mars, this left any decision of magnitude up to them.
As the brothers drove towards the target land zone of the lander they fired null lasers at the lander. Null lasers freeze up any electronics, but once the null effect wears off, the device continues to function as if it was never stopped to begin with. As Roswell fired nulls at the lander, Galahad drove underneath it. Once the lander was nulled, they threw it in a containment unit and took it underground to their colony, driving to an underground area that slightly resembled the surface of Mars. They then suspended the lander above their created area, and set the temperature and surface to the climates that were similar to those of the surface of Mars. However the chemical makeup was different: this way, when and if the humans arrived, they would not be properly prepared and more than likely have to retreat if they weren’t killed once leaving a ship.
As the null effect wore off, the lander began to float down on the created surface. Once it landed, a mechanical arm extended and placed the rover onto the ground. Roswell and Galahad looked at the rover through an alien scope; it read “PROP-M.” Galahad said, “This little thing won’t last more than a few seconds in this cold.” Sure enough, PROP-M had hardly begun to take pictures and reading temperatures when it suddenly froze and broke apart.
“Told you,” said Galahad. On that day the Russian rover didn’t collect enough data to be analyzed.
July 4, 1997
“Oh look, here comes another one!” said Galahad.
Roswell said, “It’s a good thing we spend so much time on the surface, or else these rovers might actually collect some data that would allow humans to walk around here.”
Galahad fired a few shots of null into the rover, and it stopped moving. The MR5042 picked up the rover and put it into the storage unit in the back of the surface vehicle. Roswell and Galahad brought the rover to the same spot that they had put the other one. They had removed the PROP-M and dissected it to see if it had any resources worth taking. Being a primitive rover, it did not. Galahad looked through the alien scope and identified the new rover as “Sojourner.”
“Those earthlings have weird names for their rovers,” said Roswell. When the null wore off, Sojourner fell to the surface of the land that Galahad and Roswell had created. Being an improved rover, this one survived for three months. The rover collected data and sent it back to earth. However, this was the false data that Galahad and Roswell wanted the humans to see. Finally, Roswell noticed that the rover was nearing the end of its life. Galahad nulled the rover, and Roswell took it out of the enclosure that they had created. It was dissected and a few parts were taken from it.
January 4, 2004
“They’re getting annoying with these rovers,” said Roswell. The same process they had used to capture the other rovers was used again. Galahad and Roswell brought the rover into the enclosure they had made for the other rovers, except this time they examined the rover for about an hour before putting it in. They realized that this rover would last a lot longer than the other ones. They looked at the rover and found out it was named “Spirit.” They expanded the enclosure so that the rover would keep moving and see different images. The rover would also collect different information along its path, giving the humans the idea that it was moving as they planned. Of course, the data it was gathering was not correct; it was completely different from Mars’s surface. The surface of Mars is a lot colder than the inside of the enclosure.
Roswell and Galahad checked on the rover occasionally to make sure everything was going as planned. They decided it was time to stop the rover on May 1, 2009. They made the soil soft so that the rover would get stuck. They realized, however, that they could not destroy the rover yet. The problem was that the rover was still completely functional; it was just stuck in the soft soil. They waited until the humans stopped requesting data from Spirit. In 2012, Roswell and Galahad took apart the rover and took the resources that they wanted. The humans still have no idea what happened to the rover.
January 25, 2004
“Are you kidding me? Another rover so soon?” Roswell said incredulously.
“Look at that, it’s towards the southern colonies,” observed Galahad. “Well that’s no exception. We will explain the problem to the southern colonies and take it.”
Being a very smart pair of aliens, Roswell and Galahad were easily able to prove to the southern colonies that they should take the rover. They built a new enclosure for the rover to make the humans think that it had landed where they had planned it to land. But the southern colonies possessed aliens that were a little greedier: they told Roswell and Galahad that they would not allow the enclosure to be built unless they controlled it. Having little choice in the matter, Roswell and Galahad agreed.
The leaders of the southern colonies immobilized the rover in 2009, and then cut the radio frequency in 2010. They decided that they didn’t want the humans recording too much information even though it wasn’t the actual data from the surface of Mars. In 2010, Galahad and Roswell found out what the leader of the southern colonies did. They demanded that they leave it be until their notice, or they would wage a war. The leader of the southern colonies agreed because he knew of the skill and powers that Galahad and Roswell had. The rover still remains active in 2013.
August 6, 2012
Roswell agreed. “Indeed they are. Look at the size of that thing! It’s almost as big as an underground surface vehicle.”
Galahad said, “With a rover this big, the humans are expecting this rover to cover a decent amount of ground and send back a lot of data.”
After a pause, Roswell said, “We could just let it stay on the surface.”
“No! If we do that, the humans will be prepared for an expedition to our planet,” said Galahad.
“You’re right,” said Roswell. “Let’s place it in the Typhenex Basin. It won’t be as cold as the surface; it also won’t be as warm as the underground. This will give the humans the idea that they’re exploring a different place.”
So Roswell and Galahad nulled the rover and loaded it into their surface vehicle. They brought it to the Basin and built a wall around it. If the rover were to approach the wall too closely, Roswell and Galahad would be notified so that they could redirect its path.
“Curiosity, what a weird name,” says Galahad. Once the null wore off the rover, they released it and let it explore. Closely monitoring the transmissions it sent back to earth, they let Curiosity gather information from the Basin. The rover read -125 degrees C near the poles during the cold time of night. It picked up the average temperature of the Basin at -60 degrees C. It also picked up information saying that near the equator Mars can get up to +20 degrees C. It read an average pressure of 0.6 kilopascals, compared to 101.3 kilopascals on Earth. Roswell and Galahad allowed the rover to take pictures of the Basin, which appears to be a bright, rust-colored desert because of the iron rich surface of Mars.
The precautions that Roswell and Galahad took ensure that humans will not be able to walk on Mars anytime soon. If they did try, the climate would be completely different from what they’re prepared for. Mars is actually -250 degrees C during the cold seasons, so when a human expedition comes to Mars, the ship and machinery will not work properly. Even if the humans find out how cold it actually is on Mars, they aren’t technologically advanced enough to build a ship and suits that can withstand that cold. Once Roswell and Galahad have died, they will pass on the responsibility of protecting Mars to their kin. Because of this, we will never walk on Mars. We will always collect data and images that they want us to see.
[Images: The charm of light, Martian sands]