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12th February
posted by amber

Martian Invasion

Off in the hills where the ancient highway curved, there was a motion, a dim light and then a murmur. The second Martian invasion had begun.

The first time men came, there was nothing to conquer but the planet – its hostile climate, its lack of air, its lack of anything to sustain human life. But conquer we did, backed by the only entities on Earth able to finance such an undertaking – corporations. MarOpp and Solar Explorations divvied up the planet and extracted mineral wealth as quickly as they could, aware that planet-loving ideologues were sure to rise up here as they had back on Earth, hampering their wanton ways.

For decades, the only settlers allowed were employees of the corporations. At first they lived in metal hives, then they dug into the mined out shafts and created underground cities. In the past 30 years, they’ve domed some valleys and created sunlit resorts for the very wealthy.

Me – I came to be a waiter in the Adirondack Lodge. No Martian miner would stoop to holding such a menial job, however well-paid by Earth standards. I intended to go home after my five year stint, but my family died in the Water Wars, so now Mars is my home.

But Mars has always been water-poor, relying on ice asteroids and comets for its supply. And lately we’ve had to take aggressive action to defend our supply. The Water Wars have come to us.

We stand at the window of the Lodge, staff and customers and refugees from all over the planet, every one of us clutching our masks, just in case. The invaders’ tank crawls along Highway One, the first resource road built on Mars. Our fighters scream by overhead, their bombs not able to make any impression on the tank.

It’s time to head into the tunnels, although I know that will only delay the inevitable.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

This is the first story of Bradbury Week, featuring stories with lines from Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles.’

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