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Mars Settlement

You kids don't remember it -- hell, your parents and grandparents don't remember it -- those day when Mars was bone dry and Earth was months away.  In those days Mangala wasn't a big town, its domes and tunnels stretching across the valley.  It was just a dust-stained outpost, a dirty, dangerous construction site.

When the War came, we thought we were going to starve.  We had one food dome, and it put out just enough calories for half of us.  So we went on half rations, cut back our excursions and stopped construction and waited in our buried tin cans, listening to radio from a hundred million klicks away.

The weak died -- lots of us got sick.  We even talked about whether we should eat or bury our dead.  But then the Truce came, and the overland convoy from Lowell.  It was a year -- a Martian year -- between landings at the shuttle pad, but when those white flames lit up the sky, we knew there was hope.  And we buried our dead up on the ridge.

There are less than a dozen of us left, out of the hundred from before the War, but that long year stays with us in our dreams.  The stones on the hill are a reminder that this red world was brought with red blood.

Now, you can have your fancy glass condos, and some day soon, they'll have open air patios to let in cool breathable air, but move the damn things down a few blocks and leave our dead alone!

-- Arun George, testimony before the Mangala Zoning Commission, 4 February 2222.

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