TITLE: Darkness in Mind
GENRE: Science Fiction
Brian brought his face close to the ship’s tiny porthole, fogging the space-glass as he looked out. He steadied himself in the darkness, gripping the wall bar to support his weightless body while he wiped the window with a sleeve. Outside, the forbidding world of Mars floated beyond his one-man craft—a red marble of desert rolling against the black felt of space. It looked so innocent.
“Maja!” he whispered, fogging the glass again. His gut tightened at the old name of the planet that held his ship in its grasp. On Earth that name had long since become nothing but a curse. It had been two centuries since the self-proclaimed Righteous escaped the devastation of the Tumult, carrying away Earth’s precious resources to found their Mars colony Maja Arkanis—their Kingdom of God. It would take more than two centuries for Earth to forget.
He wiped the glass again, searching Mars’ mid-northern latitudes for some architectural trace of the Martian theocracy’s sand-shielded walls and thick bio-domes. He knew the colony would be impossible to distinguish during the day, but still he searched. He was the first Earthan ever to set eyes on Mars since the Kingdom’s founding. He wondered if he would also be the last.
He forced himself to take a deep breath, tried to relax. Back on Earth he’d laughed at the irony of the government using Mars—the old god of war—to slingshot his ship into the outer solar system on a mission of peace. He wasn’t laughing now.