In the year 2060 the Earth was ravaged by a virus pandemic of a magnitude greater than the Bubonic plague.
The virus spread quickly, those who were infected became something less human, willing carriers of the modern-day plague. Government action came too late, and as the chaos escalated corporate agencies rushed space programs in a desperate bid to evacuate the planet, since a cure could not be found. The fledgling colonies of Mars became humanity's last bastion, and since no traces of the virus was found among the lucky few who boarded the space vessels bound for the Red Planet, it was believed the danger had been averted.
It is now the year 117 AE (After Earth) terraforming is well under way, however during an exceptionally violent storm dubbed The Red Solstice, communication lines between Tharsis, the colony referred to as The Capital and the remaining human settlements of Mars are disrupted. The Elysium Corporation deploys its elite marine task force to investigate what happened to the colony.
THE INITIAL YEARS ON MARSEdit
After the Evacuation of Earth, the survivors fled to small outpost located on Mars. Three colonies were first established on this planet, Tharsis, Arcadia and Noachis. The Tharsis colony was built near Olympus Mons, the biggest mountain in the Solar System, in the Tharsis region. The Tharsis colony was the major landing site for all ships coming from Earth. Later it maintained monopoly over the transportation industry while also developing a strong arms industry.
Arcadia was built at the foot of Olympus Mons because this was a suitable location for magma mining and for harnessing wind and solar energy. With time, Arcadia became the center of technological research and production.
The third colony, Noachis, was built the farthest from Olympus Mons. It was to produce water by means of condensation and also to terraform the region as soon as possible. In time, Noachis became the center of groundbreaking genetic and biomechanical research. Terms such as ‘genetically engineered food’ and ‘stem cell research’ quickly lost their pejorative connotation as adaptation came to be seen as the key for survival on the Red Planet.
THE CRIMSON REVOLUTIONEdit
The first three colonies, Tharsis, Arcadia and Noachis, were politically and economically independent, and could be characterized as being socialist to a certain degree. While this form of government and life was initially welcomed with enthusiasm by many colonists, this lasted for a relatively short period of time. A movement turned political party calling itself the Mars Democratic Union advocated changes which would guarantee democratic possibilities of capitalism. What followed was the Crimson Revolution (34 AE) which brought about political changes that would define life on Mars for nearly a century. Colonists started companies which would later vie for political and economic power on the Red Planet. The voices of those who were against these changes were soon silenced by the majority which approved of the prosperity the competition of capitalism had brought to the three colonies.
Due to rapid population growth, nine more colonies were planned and built. Each of the three initial colonies was to supervise and aid the development of three of these colonies. Casius, Aeolis and Eridania were built on plains that met the highest terraforming standards. Amazonis, Coprates and Hellas were built the furthest away in the vicinity of valuable resources needed for the expanding Mars industry. The smallest three, Cebrenia, Phaetontis and Ismenius, were built near Arcadia and joined in the excavation and research while forming close ties with their mother colony. This economic interdependence was engineered in order to bolster and ensure political unity between the colonies. Although, in theory, a colony could operate on its own for about two months by only using emergency power systems and food supplies.
To make Mars habitable by humans the settlers had to change the very planet they inhabited. They did this by increasing the levels of oxygen in the atmosphere, melting large amounts of water ice below the Martian surface and, what is particularly important, by heating up the planet and conserving the heat already present on Mars.
The New Martian market that was created as a result of the Crimson Revolution was in its initial stages called by many a thing of great beauty, a work of art, because it lent itself fully to calculations, predictions and various changes. However, with time the harsh competition between the most powerful corporations brought about a single winner, the Elysium Corporation. The influence of Elysium grew so strong that it took over most of the assets of other corporations and companies. Those who refused to be a part of the Elysium Corporation continued the existence of once powerful corporations such as Howell-Barrex Inc. and the Condatis Group as small businesses at a fraction of their former power.
Arcadia, Cebrenia, Phaetontis and Ismenius: energy production (thermal, solar and wind energy), air vehicles, high-level technological innovations, research patenting
Tharsis: land and air vehicles, arms production, government sector
Amazonis, Coprates and Hellas: land vehicles, arms production and education
Noachis, Gradivus, Loucetius and Mullo: pharmaceuticals, food products, biochemical weapons, etc.
RESOURCES & INDUSTRYEdit
The region in which the first three colonies were built in (the Tharsis region) is particularly rich in carbon dioxide and water vapor. Carbon dioxide is used extensively for pneumatic (pressurized gas) systems in portable pressure tools and in the robot industry. It is also used in the food, beverage and chemical processing industry. Using large condensers vapor is turned into drinkable water at the Noachis Colony. An important energy source on Mars is magma found underneath the surface of the Red Planet. Magma is mined for its thermal energy, mineral crystals and silica (SiO2), the most abundant element found in magma, used for the production of optical fibers, in microelectronics and elsewhere. All the magma mining operations are run by colonies located near Olympus Mons, Arcadia, Cebrenia, Phaetontis and Ismenius.
On the Kardashev scale, the human civilization on Mars is still a Type 0 civilization in 117 AE, still not having fully mastered the resources available on Mars.
Terms such as ‘genetically engineered food’ and ‘stem cell research’ quickly lost their pejorative connotation as adaptation came to be seen as the key for survival on the Red Planet. Moral issues were largely forgotten during the initial decades of the colonization of Mars and this led to numerous, albeit morally questionable, scientific breakthroughs. One of the first products of the “liberated” pharmaceutical industry were the popular “cures” for sleep problems, the Somnia 1 pill, a potent mix of amphetamine, methylphenidate and other drugs, which cured hypersomnia and relieved the subject of the need to sleep in general. This was a top-priority research issue due to the extraordinary large number of colonists suffering from hypersomnia.
THE POLITICAL SYSTEMEdit
The Consulat, i.e. three consuls at the head of a Senate, rule the colonies. Each of the colonies has representatives in the Senate, but it is the three main colonies who appoint the three consuls. It is no secret that the Elysium Corporation can influence who is given candidacy for the position of consul. The consuls run the colonies, along with the Senate and are the highest ranking military figures. All three consuls have equal authority and can veto each other, which is intended to stop the potential onset of a tyranny. Nevertheless, the title of First Consul was given to the consul representing Tharsis, although with a limited five-year mandate. The titles of Second Consul and Third Consul rotate once a year between Arcadia and Noachis.
The political power of a colony depends on its population. If one of the second generation colonies were to reach a population that is equivalent to one of the three main colonies, it would gain much greater political influence.
THE LEGAL SYSTEMEdit
Crime is abundant in the colonies. Every colony has its own court to handle civil law, but criminal law cases are handled in the Tharsis colony due to the extraterritorial jurisdiction of The Capital. The most serious cases are taken to the High Court presided over by 4 (or 5 judges). The first Supreme Judge to partake in the process is a judge from the colony which the crime originated from and three others from the main colonies (Tharsis, Arcadia and Noachis). Recently, one additional judge was appointed from Hellas, a rapidly expanding industrial colony. This shift in power led to dissatisfaction in the other colonies, but proponents of this change claim that the increase in the population of Hellas justifies these changes.
Criminal law cases originating from Tharsis, Arcadia, Noachis and Hellas require the presence of only four Supreme Judges.
Tharsis is the most populous colony by far, with Arcadia and Noachis the second and third most populated. The population levels of the other colonies are low, an exception being the growing Hellas colony. The population is very heterogeneous, being both ethnically and racially mixed, with the exception of Arcadia where there are relative Slavic and Asian majorities.
THE ECUMENICAL CHURCH OF THE TRINITYEdit
The Ecumenical Church of the Trinity was initially established as a force of unification for all the colonists, no matter what the religion of an individual was, if religious at all. The Ecumenical Church of the Trinity was later criticized for using the word Trinity which alluded to the Christian Holy Trinity. According to the official dogma of The Church, the Trinity represented the first three colonies and in no way referred to the Christian religion. It did not take long for the Church to divide into factions. The Church of the Holy Trinity, The True Ecumenical Church and many other communities were soon created.
The Ecumenical Church of the Trinity is still the most influential religious organization, but its influence is fading as time goes by.
Before terraforming Mars exhibited extreme daily and seasonal variations in temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, and frost. This is why terraforming began on Mars even before the foundations of Arcadia and Noachis were laid down.
TIMEKEEPING ON MARSEdit
Due to the fact that Mars has an axial tilt and a rotation period similar to those of Earth, colonists on Mars experience seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter much like people did on Earth. An average Mars "sol" (or solar day) is only 39 minutes and 35.244 seconds longer than the terrestrial 24 hours. Due to popular demand, timekeeping was adjusted to a 24 hour day, instead of the 24 hour and 39 minutes and 35.244 day. This enraged many physicists, because seconds were the basic unit of time according to the International System of Units (SI). Thomas Palfy, a notable was the most vocal of these physicists, claiming he would burn himself alive if seconds are tempered with.
A Mars solar year is 1.8809 Earth years, or 668.59 sols. The current year (117 AE) is the year 2280 in terrestrial years according to the Gregorian calendar. For most sol-to-sol activities on Mars, the colonists use the Reformed Darian calendar which divides the year into 24 months. The first five months in each quarter have 28 sols. The final month has only 27 sols unless it is the final month of a leap year when it contains the leap sol as its final sol. The calendar does maintain a seven-sol week (Sol Solis, Sol Lunae, Sol Martius, Sol Mercurii, Sol Jovis, Sol Veneris, Sol Saturni), but the week is restarted from its first sol at the beginning of each month. The Reformed Darian calendar differs from the original Darian calendar in the respect that it does not use the 24 provided names (Sagittarius, Dhanus, Capricornus, etc.), but rather numbers the months sequentially, ranging from 1 to 24.
As the operations of colonizing Mars were mostly executed by military organizations, it is no wonder that the military played such an important role in the life of the colonies. During the initial decades of the colonization of Mars, each of the first three colonies had a large standing army of its own, but as time moved on the people decided they did not wish to finance such a large seemingly unnecessary force (the soldiers were mostly used for construction in the beginning, but were later of no immediate use). This is when corporations started to finance the armies, drastically lowering the number of troops, but taking their training to a higher level and using the most advanced technology to equip them. In the year 117 AE the Elysium Corporation has the largest number of troops, followed by the armies of the weakened Howell-Barrex Inc. and Condatis Group and the three local government funded security forces at the industrial colonies of Amazonis, Coprates and Hellas.
Because there are no real wars these soldiers are often seen as nothing more than mercenaries, hired for protection by those with enough money to pay them. This description is accurate for a large number of them.
THE LOST GENERATIONEdit
Although the Crimson Revolution brought about many changes to the colonies, one thing which remained unchanged for many years was the level of freedom in scientific research. During the AE fifties, scientists offered the population a choice never before given to anyone, the chance to insure their children live longer than anyone before with enhanced mental and physical abilities tailored for survival on Mars. This, however, came at a price. These children were denied the ability to reproduce. Still, many colonists felt this would bring their children a brighter future and a more prosperous future for all the colonists. As anticipated, many of these children proved to be extraordinary bright and exceptionally successful athletes, but a greater majority of them were socially inept and often cast out by their fellow peers for being different. This was the primary cause to many suicides by the children later to be known as the “Lost Generation”, and many unexpected side-effects along with some which were expected (such as erectile dysfunction and infertility). These issues were an ill-fated catalyst for an indefinite postponement of the project.
LANGUAGES USED ON MARSEdit
Although many languages spoken on Earth in the first half of the 21th century have been forgotten on Mars, The Red Planet is still multilingual to a great degree. The official language of the colonies is Lojban. This politically sensitive language has as its source of vocabulary: Mandarin, English, Hindi, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. This vocabulary is being expanded with each year by newly coined words. An example of one such word is “aetriden”, meaning “the highest in the chain of command” or “the supreme one”.
However politically sensitive this language may be, it has still not acquired widespread popular support. Lojban is mainly used as a language of politics, law and religion. Language policy is not strict on Mars. Colonies, universities, schools and organizations are free to choose which language they want to use. The security forces of the Elysium Corporation, for instance, use English mostly, while the security forces of Howell-Barrex Inc. use Mandarin, and the Condatis Group security forces use mostly Hindi.
Modern Indo-European has been suggested as an official language of the colonies by the Tharsis Colony, but has not received support from other colonies.