Marooned on Mars

A-lone-explorer-on-Mars-by-Alberto-Vangelista

It was a scientific mission gone wrong.

The crew of the Planet Chaser, a research ship from Venus, were supposed to spend a week on Mars to determine if there were any resources there that would benefit their planet.

The Institute of Exploration funded the mission.

But there was a problem with the ships landing software, and it crashed near the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano on Mars, and the second-highest known mountain in the solar system.

The only survivor, a scientist named Hei Manz, lay in the rubble for two days before he had enough strength to move around. Luckily for him, Mars thin atmosphere was very similar to Venus.

It took Hei a month to build a shelter near the wreck using salvageable materials. He saved what was left of the portable lab designed to let researchers conduct experiments in the field.

There was enough food and water for a crew of twelve for seven days. It was sealed in metal drums that he rolled over to his camp site. It got harder everyday to go back into the ship, where his comrades were rotting.

One of the challenges Hei faced was that he wasn’t an engineer or computer expert. The chances of putting together a device to seek help were as thin as the atmosphere. He was a scientist who studied the make-up of planets. Nothing more, nothing less.

His biggest challenge was that he only had 84 days worth of food and water.

One day he was testing the soil and discovered it had an alkaline pH and contained magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. His first kernel of hope was when he found that the soil nutrients could support life.

As he studied Mar’s two moons, Phobos and Deimos, that night, he decided that his only hope was to try to find life – despite the risks that entailed. He might have a chance if there were intelligent beings living under the reddish iron oxide surface.

Forty days later he was pulling a crude cart through one of the largest canyons in the solar system; Valles Marineris, with the last of his food and supplies. It was one of the many areas Venusian scientists had mapped out on Mars prior to the mission.

It was hard trying to stay positive when he knew the odds were against him. He dreamt of home and his family. He wasn’t married, but came from a family of nine siblings who were all very close.

He was never alone growing up. Being alone was not something he ever thought about. Between family and friends, he was fortunate not to have had to experience complete isolation.

He began talking to himself out loud after two weeks of mind-numbing travel.

“What will you do if you find a dangerous species that wants to kill you?” he asked himself.

“There’s nothing I can do. I don’t have a weapon,” he petulantly answered. “Scientists don’t need weapons!” he shouted out to the craters, jagged rocks and hills surrounding him.

Eighteen days after running out of food and water, Hei was still walking. The cart was gone. He lost his hat somewhere, and his bald head was burnt to the color of the soil.

Then he saw three Venusian marines on a hill coming towards him! Rescuers! His luck held up! He couldn’t wait to get home and tell everyone his story.

It took the Venusian government weeks to get approval to send a military ship to see what happened to the crew of the Planet Chaser. When the marines landed on Mars they quickly went to the site of the wreck.

The strong winds blew away Hei’s tracks. The marines split up into groups of three and fanned out in all directions. On the 122nd day they found Hei. He was reclining on his side, and despite being exposed to the elements, there was a smile on his face.

The marines took his body home.

As It Stands, I have often wondered how I would handle being marooned on an island.

It’s War! Jupiter’s Moons Defy Jupiter

0dba81d0b70827838d0e6e873da589f6Leaders from 12 of the 67 moons of Jupiter gathered for an emergency meeting. The tension was palpable.

Less than 24-hours ago, three moons; Pallene, Fenrir, and Sinope, were attacked, and overcome, by military forces from the Planet Jupiter.

It came as a complete surprise. No one had ever violated the Treaty of Ganymede since it was signed by Jupiter, and the free 12 Moon Confederation, two centuries ago.

The 12 moons were, Ganymede, Callisto, Lo, Europa, Himalia, Pasiphae, Almalthea, Thebe, Alara, Metis, Leda, and Tayget. The rest of the moons were either uninhabited, or had crude and dangerous creatures that lived primitive lives in harsh conditions.

“Have you heard anything from the attackers yet General?” the Prime Minister of Europa asked.

“No, sir. The Confederation is on high alert. Our hyperlink line of defense in-between moons has been activated.” 

 “Why Pallene, Fenrir, and Sinope? They’re small, and barely inhabited?” Tayget’s President asked.

“I think they were making a statement Mr. President. It was more like a training exercise that they wanted us to see. I’m not sure why…”

A courier ran into the vast room where they were gathered around a round table.

“A message from Jupiter!” He pointed up at the giant monitor overhead.

“Greetings! I’m the new ruler of Jupiter… Cin Dak!”

“I don’t understand…” the Prime Minister of Thebe said. “Jupiter has many rulers.” 

“No longer,” Cin Dak gloated.

“What of the Treaty of Ganymede?” asked the Prime Minister of Metis.

“It’s a new world. Mine! I don’t make treaties. I conquer. Whoever dares to stand up to me will die. I’ll give you 24-hours to pledge your allegiance to me, or my forces will attack.” 

The monitor went dark.

The Warlord of Ganymede stood up and shouted over the din of excited voices, “Friends and allies! Let me speak!”

“This new ruler doesn’t know anything about our defenses, and very little about our technologies. Two hundred years is a long time. The first reports I got from scouts after the attacks was that the technology they used didn’t suggest the same sophistication as ours.”

400 years later…

The old scribe gathered his students together for another lesson on the War Between The Planet and the Moons. He paused for a moment, and looked up at the tattered flag of Ganymede flying on a barren tree nearby.

“All right children! What’s the Book of Common Sense say?”

“No one wins in a war!” they roared.

As It Stands, wars are never started for a good reason, and they always end badly for the innocent.

A Plan Of Disarray Kept The Martians Away

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Listen to this story as narrated by master story teller Otis Jiry.

2088 Earth

Day 19 of the Martian invasion

Major Eric Hammer is passing out weapons to the survivors of the New York City massacre.

That’s what it was.

The Martians agreed to parley with the current American leader, former Speaker-of-the-House, Josh Angler, at Times Square. His predecessors were all killed during the first wave of the invasion.

The Martian Warlord, Nin-el Throth, who was in charge of the invasion fleet, stood in front of his spacecraft in the middle of Times-Square, waiting for the American leader to appear.

What onlookers didn’t know was that it was a hologram of the infamous warlord, and the spacecraft was really a remote-controlled bomb. When Josh Angler appeared the bomb blew up!

In that moment, eighty percent of the inhabitants of New York were vaporized.

Major Hammer, one of the survivors, spent months searching for other survivors. He found them in cellars, and under the debris of flattened buildings – sealed in, and barely alive.

The New York Skyline no longer existed.

In the center of the gutted city a Martian Battlewagon acted as a temporary headquarters. It stood 10 stories high and looked like a metal insect with an attitude. It housed over five hundred Martian fighters.

During his time searching for other survivors, Major Hammer studied his enemies. He watched their tactics and took notes. They patrolled in groups of ten. Surprisingly, they walked, and didn’t use transportation devices.

One day he watched a lone unkown sniper shoot four Martians before their fired back and killed him. He wished he would have found that sniper before he went solo. But he learned a valuable lesson, the Martians could be killed with conventional weapons like rifles.

It took a long time to train the growing group of survivors in urban warfare. Handing a person a weapon doesn’t mean they’re going to be effective with it. That takes time and patience.

He was one of only three survivors who was trained in warfare and weapons. The other two were recruitment officers that were waiting for retirement. The civilians brought other skills that helped hold the group of 145 together.

Constant scavenger parties collected food and other supplies and delivered them to their headquarters underground. They set up living quarters in forgotten old train tunnels below the subway system.

The time finally came when Major Hammer felt his ragtag army was ready to wage guerrilla warfare against the Martians. He’d discovered an armory stocked with weapons and ammunition and supplied his fighters with everything from hand grenades to assault rifles.

Hiding in the rubble of the Empire State building, Major Hammer’s raiders waited for the first patrol to pass by. The Martians confidently walked past the rubble. All ten were instantly cut down in a hail of gunfire and grenades!

Following Major Hammer’s lead, the ten raiders raced back to headquarters and waited to see what would happen. There was no retaliation. The Martians were unable to locate their attackers.

The raiding party waited for three days, and went back out and slaughtered another patrol before they knew what hit them. They attackers faded away like ghosts. The Martian Army Commander withered under Warlord Nin-el Throth’s anger, as he shouted at him from the main monitor on the officer’s deck.

Patrols were doubled. The attacks doubled too. Morale among the Martian’s was starting to erode. What once started as routine patrols were now considered combat missions. Worse, their enemies seemed to be invisible.

They knew humans were behind the attacks even though they didn’t have one body to prove it.

After attacking the second Martian patrol in one day, Major Hammer’s men captured one of the aliens. Using the same voice language software that allowed humans to talk with Martians, and vice versa, they questioned the captive.

After being tortured, the Martian spilled the beans about a major attack that was coming the next day. The Martians were going to launch an all out attack. Apparently a scouting party located human movement underground with ground penetrating radar.

They knew the general area to look in. Major Hammer gathered all of the men and women and told them what was going to happen the next day.

“This is it!” he told them. “We’re leaving now. Gather your gear and follow me.”

It took all night for Major Hammer’s raiders to reach the Martian Battlewagon. They took up positions of concealment and waited for the sun to come up. A slight drizzle coated the fractured roads and the rubble that use to be a busy city.

The Martians exited the Battlewagon shortly after the sun tried to peek out from behind the gathering storm clouds. The entire attack force filed out in neat formations. Major Hammer’s raiders waited until they were out of sight.

This was the moment of truth. In exchange for his life, the Martian captive agreed to approach the ship and seek entry. Tense moments passed before the massive ramp came down.

At that moment, the raiders ran up it and spread out, killing Martians wherever they found them. It took an hour before they had control of the ship. They brought wooden crates of dynamite with them and set time delay charges throughout the Battlewagon.

The commander of the Martian task force was the first to realize something was wrong when he heard the massive explosion that went on for several minutes. His fear was realized when a scout he sent out reported back with the news the battlewagon was blown to pieces!

The Martian Army commander was left with one choice; set up a perimeter, and prepare to die.

As It Stands, I enjoy writing stories of humans fighting back against superior alien forces. Win some, lose some. You never know.