Vision Quest On Mars

Pa’ah stopped walking and took a seat on a piece of the rubble that once was a great Martian city, and now was only a pitiful ruin.

It had been days since he left the caves. Days since he’d eaten a full meal or drank as much water as wanted. He slipped the pack off his back and set it down in the cracked and blistered soil.

He could hear the Great Leader’s voice in his head.

“You must go out onto the barren surface of our planet in search of a vision.”

He remembered balking at the suggestion and even dared to question the Great Leader, who knew all, saw all, and ran the whole show. The candles in the cave flickered under his growing wrath and Pa’ah changed his tune quickly.

He’d be honored to be the first vision quest seeker to go back to Mars ancient past (above ground), he assured the venerable one.

“Yes…what a great opportunity for me to serve our people,” he humbly said, after dropping to his knees. He was just being stubborn, he told himself.

The thought of wandering around the barren dunes and wastelands of Mars wasn’t very pleasant. But, what if he did come up with a vision on how to save the whole race? He’d be a hero.

He would have to survive first. The rough landscape and rolling dunes went on forever, with very little variation. Some dunes had jagged rocks jutting out of them that formed odd shapes that reminded Pa’ah of the toys he played with as a child. Their spidery silhouettes seemed to dance in the heat and growing shadows.

Dotting the forbidding landscape were ruins of cities that once stood proud in an age of enlightenment. In an age when Martians could freely roam the surface of the planet. In an age when Martians weren’t warlike.

The time came when technology that was used for peaceful purposes became perverted by corrupt Martians who wanted to conquer other worlds. To colonize the universe. To be the masters of the universe.

The resulting war between the worlds nearly destroyed the universe however. Planets like Neptune and Jupiter were obliterated, while others suffered damage that would take generations to repair.

There were no winners. Only losers. The survivors on each remaining planet were thrown back to primitive existences.

Pa’ah reflected on all of this as he shaded his eyes and looked off into the distance. His normally pale skin had turned mahogany in a day. There were patches of red sunburn on his high cheek bones. His normally black hair, was bleached white almost overnight.

The bright sun caused him to squint, narrowing his usual bulging eyes into slits.

The vision came to him the next day while he was walking through what was once a massive arena surrounded by rows of shattered seats sinking into the hot sand.

In the vision

Pa’ah is showing his people how to make space ships. He is the Great Leader now and his knowledge of everything that will take them to another universe to start over in a promised land. To a land of milk and honey.

When Pa’ah finally returned to the cave entrance his supplies were all gone. He was barely able to keep walking, but some inner strength kept him going. He had to share his vision. For the good of all Martians.

When he appeared before the Great Leader and his Council of Twenty-four, Pa’ah was tired and weak, but he didn’t hesitate to speak. He told them that he could guide them in building ships that would take them to  new worlds. This newfound knowledge was branded into his brain he explained.

Sadly, everything Pa’ah said was interrupted by the Great Leader as treason and insanity. He led the people! Not this burnt husk of a Martian who obviously had gone mad in the deserts above.

Because the Martians didn’t believe in killing lunatics, Pa’ah was locked up in a cell. To keep him quiet, his jailors provided him with means to write and draw things. This he did for many years before quietly dying in his sleep one night.

The collected works of Pa’ah were stolen shortly after he died. There was a lot of finger-pointing and accusations, but they never surfaced.

The ritual of vision quests continued, but no one else ever went to the surface again. Not surprisingly…no one has ever had a vision since Pa’ah’s.

But, a Martian did come forth the other day bearing promises of salvation and space ships. For a price!

As It Stands, there are no saints, just survivors.

Secret Missions in Space

The Explorer’s Log – Captains Report – 3122

National Space Agency Security Memo:

Interview with Franklin Aigstar, sole survivor of Mission 239

Evidence of Intergalactic Invasion via new weapon. Tele-Transporters? Three dead Martians in ship’s cold storage lockers. Crew’s bodies stored in secure, and climate-controlled, capsules in the ship’s hold. Blood traces found in numerous locations.

Interview Room – NSAS – Earth

“Can I call you Frank?” the detective asked, after sipping his coffee.

“You can call me whatever you want,” Franklin grumbled.

“Is this the way it’s going to be?” the detective inquired with a sigh.

“Listen. I’ve already talked with three other guys and you know what? They all asked the same questions! I gave them all the same answers. And now, I’m supposed to sit here and be civil for the fourth time around?”

“How do you know I’m going to ask the same questions?”

Pause. “Okay. Ask away.”

“How many Martians did you kill when they attacked?”

“Really? Like I told the others, I killed one of them. Crew members killed the other two. So much for asking something new,” Franklin added with a tone of disgust.

“We’re just trying to find out everything we can. This was the first time the Martians attacked us like this. We can’t leave one stone unturned. High command is in contact with our genius pool, with orders to come up with a defense against this type of attack.”

“I understand how serious this is. I’m lucky to have survived, like I told the others.”

“Let me review my notes for a moment. Okay. You didn’t see how the other two Martians were killed. Right?”

“That’s right. When I heard someone shout my name, I turned a saw a Martian coming at me with that long blade you have on the table here. I was able to turn this blade into my attacker, gutting him in the process.

As for the other two Martians; I found one in the kitchen, surrounded by dead cooks and support staff. It was chopped up pretty good. The other was in the engine room. It’s mangled remains were also surrounded by dead crew members,” Franklin explained.

“I searched the rest of the ship and discovered I was the only survivor. That’s when I sent out the intergalactic SOS,” he testily concluded.

Ignoring Franklin’s impatience, the detective said, “You were a crew of twelve right?

“Oh come on! You know the answer to that. Why ask me?”

“You know why Frank, the ship’s manifest lists twelve crew members. You make number thirteen. How do you explain that?”

“That’s easy. I wasn’t a crew member. I was a passenger.”

The detective’s eyes opened in surprise.

“What were you doing on a secret government mission?

“I’m a translator, and only one of three humans on earth, able to understand and speak Martian.” 

“I’m impressed Frank.”

“Can I leave now?”

“Not quite yet. I have a couple of more questions. Are you getting hungry? I can order some takeout if you’d like.”

Franklin shifted uneasily in his chair. He seemed to be wrestling for an answer. 

“No. I’m fine. Just tired of sitting in here.”

“I can assure you I’ll do everything in my power to hurry this investigation up. Okay? I have a question. I just got a call in my earphone. One of my assistants has finished calculating how far the Explorer flew before turning back to earth.

“Do you know how far it is from the earth to Mars?”

“I have no idea.”

 “Well, here’s the thing; the ship’s readouts show it went to Mars, and then came back here. Did you actually make it to Mars? It’s time to tell the truth Frank!”

In Martian…

“That’s enough you stupid earthling! I’m also here on a secret mission. To conquer the earth!”

With that, Franklin jumped up, reached across the table and choked the detective to death before his body hit the ground!

As It Stands, secret missions make good stories to share.

A Cautionary Tale: Immigrants From Earth


When the first of the immigrant ships from Earth arrived on Mars there wasn’t too much concern on the inhabitant’s part.

There was plenty of room on the planet. The Martians themselves were a peaceful species divided up into tribes that answered to a Supreme Council. The leaders of the Council met with the earthlings shortly after they landed.

The Captain of the ship, Lance Elliot, told the Martians that Earth was no longer safe to live on. It was badly polluted and climate change was creating havoc on every continent of the world.

Volcanos, earthquakes, drought, flooding, and wars were killing millions of people every day Captain Elliot explained.

We are immigrants who just want a chance to live in peace,” he concluded.

“What of our atmosphere? It’s deadly to you earthlings,” one of the leaders asked.

That’s true, but we have brought materials, and the technology, to build a dome with an ecosphere we could live in,” Captain Elliot countered.

Let us meet again tomorrow at this place. We must go home and discuss this matter further now.”

The next day.

Once the translator transmission signal was established between the two groups again, the Supreme Leader spoke,

We have given much thought to your request. We have been aware of your activities for hundreds of years. We don’t want the same scourges to destroy our world. Having said that, we have decided to let you stay for a trial period of twenty years.

You will be required to clean up your own messes and not pollute our planet. No military weapons will be allowed. We hope you will be good neighbors, and you can count on us to do our best to have friendly relations.

Know this, we are two different species, and the chance for misunderstandings is great. We must be honest with one another. We will leave you now to build your new home. You can always reach us through the communications signal we have established.


Captain Elliot and his officers returned to the ship and gave the order to start unloading their supplies.

More immigrants continued to arrive on Mars. They were from nations around the earth. They all accepted the terms the Martians presented. Each new community selected a leader whose task was to maintain good relations with other immigrant communities and the Martians.

Deep below the Martian crust, there were three immense cities housing millions. The one thing the Martian leaders were adamant about was there would be no contact between themselves and the earthlings.

Only leaders, would meet with their leaders in pre-arranged spots on the surface. The two populations weren’t going to mix. The earthlings were never going to see where they lived.

Years passed by peacefully. The great experiment, as some leaders called it, was going very well. Better than expected. Millions of earthlings relocated successfully there.

One day, a dome community that called itself Little Italy discovered a network of tunnels just outside of the dome area. Two miners went deeper underground than was agreed on in the Mining Provisions for Natural Resources Act signed two decades ago.

The miners didn’t have to go too far into the main tunnel before they stumbled upon ancient Martian funeral artifacts. Statues, fine pottery, and solid rock coffins were all carefully arranged to celebrate the dead.

When the two miners returned to the dome they brought death with them. Deadly ancient spores clung to their spacesuits, even after the decontamination process. The next day when people started dying, the leader of Little Italy went to the nearest dome community and warned them about a mysterious sickness that struck them.

That warning was passed on to all of the other communities by their leaders. Within two days every earthling on Mars was dead, thanks to the leaders who unwontedly spread the invisible death.

When the Martians saw what happened, they weren’t surprised.

As It Stands, mankind didn’t deserve a second chance after destroying the earth.