[It didn’t take long for word to spread that I was looking for stories. Somehow, I had gained the title of journalist, a journalist from Earth no less, a connotation that came with considerable baggage, though I didn’t know it at the time. A man named William came to me, describing himself as an unofficial historian of Mars and Asgard. He sought me out during my shift, demanding that I meet him after work so that he could, as he said, “set history straight”. He claimed that, without knowing the history accurately, all my stories would be tainted by unconscious Earther bias.
We sat down behind the building after my shift to discuss and share a few beers. I told him that my main goal was to report what people said, no more, no less. If there was bias in anything I wrote, then it was from the bias of the people I talked to. I wasn’t about to act like a filter for my own agenda. At that, he seemed to change his tone for the better.]
Good, because here on Asgard, we have a rule of thumb when it comes to Earthers: Earthers always lie. That doesn’t literally mean all people from Earth lie. What I mean is, people who make Earth part of their identity, they lie. Calling themselves progressives or liberals isn’t enough. They want to distance themselves from us as far as possible, and since they don’t really come from counters anymore they call themselves Earthers with a capital E, as if they’re better than all us outside the solar system.
The schools make ‘em that way. The history they teach, about Mars and Asgard, it’s all written to make Earth look like the good guys and us like dumb rednecks. They’ve studied us, psychoanalyzed us, but it’s always in a bad light. According to them, we want to expand into the galaxy because of womb envy, or because we have little dicks. We’re compensating for something, or something like that. Like I said: Earthers always lie.
The actual history is nothing like what they say. First of all, what were you taught in school about Martian colonization?
I was told that a group of radical Christians blew up the portal between Earth and Mars after going through.
And why is that?
To get away from Earth.
Well, obviously, but why that?
I… don’t really know.
Right, well, they weren’t radical, and not all of them were Christians. They left because of what the portals did to their home planet. They basically changed everything. Changed society. Changed politics. Sure as hell changed the economy.
Portals flattened the Earth, so to speak, economically. Equalized the field, so that we all got the same standard of living, because if you can move goods and people anywhere, then you’re essentially living there, and when you split the difference between the first and third world, you get just a half-shitty world.
Things are cheap, great, but you also have criminals stealing those things, so it’s mostly a wash. Most people in the developed countries didn’t like that their jobs went to third-worlders just so they could buy cheap, third-world crap, but a few bleeding hearts thought it was great for the poor, and the bleeding hearts made policy, so, whatever. All the guys at the top loved it too, made a bunch of excuses for themselves, said they could improve living conditions. Better living through economics, but that was all just a cover for them to make billons.
Hayes made a fortune building nuclear power plants in Antarctica. The farming conglomerate made farms and portals wherever you could. Low tier jobs went to developing districts so you could pay ‘em less; high tier jobs in engineering got taken up by insiders. Most people, us in the middle, we couldn’t make it in that environment, but nothing changed no matter how much we voted and protested. There was too much money to be made and no politician willing to listen. That’s why Maynard’s group went to Mars. It wasn’t zealotry or bigotry. They had nowhere else to go.
Who is ‘Maynard’?
That’s Earth for you. He’s our founder, but most of you don’t know who the hell he is. Charles Maynard was the physicist who designed the first portals, and I don’t care what you say about him borrowing designs, or if you say it was a collaboration. That’s all to give some people credit where credit ain’t due. The portals wouldn’t exist without Maynard, so that makes them his portals. The man was a genius, and I don’t care what anyone says about that.
Anyways, he made trillions off the invention, but, unlike the other rich folks in their private islands, Maynard actually cared about people, and not just the lowest of the low, but all in between. According to his biographer, that was why he designed the portals in the first place: to help make the world a better place.
He came up with the idea to go to Mars since I guess he thought Earth was hopeless. You can’t undo the portals. Can’t roll-back progress.
So, he sold his assets, his private island in the Philippines, and bet everything on his space venture. He bought up a few old boats from when they made the Aurora space station and the portal rings. He packed them with enough food and water and other supplies to last the colonists a few years. Then, he chartered all the flights to Mars for the 26th anniversary of the first settlement, put all his friends and allies on ’em, and, when they were all through, he blew up the Earth-side portal. That way Earth couldn’t reach them for a good, long while, up until the 60 Days War.
Now, just wondering, what do the Earth schools say about that?
This was what I was told: after a few years on Mars, the Martian colonists ran out of resources and decided to… basically hold Earth hostage.
Okay, that’s completely false. It’s true that living on Mars was hard. They had to dig deep into the ground to avoid the radiation. They had to take apart all their ships just for basic building materials. It was hard living for a while, but the Martians pulled-through.
Dr. Maynard kept working on portal technology so that each city could be connected, even when underground. They retrofitted some of the shuttles and put portals on ‘em, sent them out to mine the asteroid belt. That gave Mars access to precious metals and other resources. Once they got to Jupiter and could mine some H3, the probes went even further.
Now, all this time, Earth didn’t give a shit about Mars. The colonists blew up the portal and Earth wrote off the whole thing. They taught you kids that the colonists were extremists, and they probably wouldn’t last long, right? Right.
But when Earth saw what was going on in the belt and outer planets, they wanted to stop it. The Earthers’ massive egos made them think that they were supposed to be the center of the human race, the caretaker of the species. They thought they had the responsibility to oversee human expansion. Bunch of manifest destiny crap. Trying to claim what they didn’t earn.
The truth was, the elites on Earth were pissed that a few thousand people on a desolate rock could do more than millions employed in the Federation’s space administration. Maynard solved problems they couldn’t. Mars put a flag on Europa before Earth could. No fiction could have predicted it. So Earth was going to change that.
The Federation of Nations on Earth signed a treaty that all human peoples would be under their jurisdiction, never mind where they lived in the universe. They said it was all to ensure “basic human rights”. Yeah, sure. It was that and not for total control of the species. Earthers always lie.
They didn’t just make a nation state, but a genetic one. That meant Mars was under their rule, according to them at least. Obviously, the Martians disagreed. When Earth built a new portal to Mars, the Martians jammed it. When spacecraft from Earth took the long way, Mars just sent them back. This created tensions, tensions made conflict, and one day Earth just up and declared war on Mars.
Now, if you were to take bets as to who would win, most rational people would put money on Earth. For every one Martian, there were at least one million people on Earth, and that’s no exaggeration. Earth had nukes and enough resources to keep making them for a good, long time. Hell, if Earth could even blow up Earth, then surely it could blow up a few cities on Mars, right?
Except Mars had a few choice advantages. One: Mars was uphill, so to speak, because Mars has lower gravity. A lot lower. Two: Mars could do things with portals that Earth couldn’t do, and still can’t do. And three: Mars had access not only to the asteroid belt and Jupiter, but by then Saturn’s rings, meaning it had a near endless supply of artillery shells.
To send a nuke from Earth to Mars, assuming they were at their closest, cost at least a billion dollars. To send a rock through one end of a portal at Saturn to the other at a probe secretly orbiting Earth took just a few dollars. And you’d think, yeah well Earth could just shoot them down. Except Mars had H3 rockets and Earth was still using solid state, so yeah, Earth had more resources but Mars had critical advantages which gave them enough leverage to put up a fight.
But the powers of Earth either didn’t realize it or they just didn’t care. Being on Earth does have the tendency to give you a false sense of security. When Earth and Mars were approaching their closest point, Earth sent a volley of ships and nuclear rockets at ‘em, knowing they had about 60 Days to pacify the Martians before the planets moved too far to make the war possible.
Now, that salvo had to follow the laws of physics. They couldn’t get there instantly, not like in the movies. So the Martians had at least a few weeks to prepare. Mars brought in their drones from the asteroid field and placed them in the path of Earth’s fleet. When the fleet got close enough, out of nowhere, they met a cluster of rocks portaled in from Saturn’s rings. The ships that didn’t see it or couldn’t dodge in time were destroyed instantly. The nuclear rockets within the fleet were piloted by software, so they avoided the rocks, but it caused them to divert off-course and use up their fuel. Most of the rockets just simply shut down in space because the software calculated it’d be impossible to reach Mars at that point, which just goes to show you that you don’t always need to meet force with force.
Now, a few rockets got by. Couldn’t be helped. They hit Mars, nuked a city or two, but, again, Mars had time to fortify. Their cities were already far underground to begin with. So when the nukes hit, there were a few quakes and tunnel collapses, but nobody died. That left Earth at about two-thousand causalities to Mars’ zero. Earth spent a few billion while Mars spent essentially nothing.
After that, Mars went on the offensive. They sent portal drones to Earth, a few to Saturn, and began to rain down some rocks. Big ones. At first, they targeted Earth’s remaining deserts, the Gobi, Sahara, the Mojave, places where people wouldn’t be. Earth shot a few down, but each missile was a few million dollars and each rock was free, so it was only a matter of time before some got through.
The bombardment wasn’t meant to destroy Earth, like some Earth historians will tell you. It was only meant to send a message that Mars was to be taken seriously, but of course Earth didn’t listen. They planned another campaign toward the end of the 60 days for a decisive victory. If it wasn’t achieved by then, then they’d come back in two years with a bigger fleet.
The Martian leaders weren’t having it. They may have doubted it at first, but then they figured they could make Earth capitulate. In actuality, it only took one rock. When Mars sent a meteor into the Indian Ocean and caused a tidal wave that wiped out a few cities on the coasts, Earth surrendered. They just needed to scare the Earthers a bit. You know, deter them from fighting a bloody war.
Now, Earthers don’t see it that way. They thought Martians were deranged. Extremists. Psychotic killers. In reality though, Mars could have done a lot worse. They could have destroyed every city. They could have blasted Earth back to the stone age, so long as Saturn had enough rocks to do so. But they chose not to, because, ironically enough, Mars, the planet of war, just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know about you, but I think Mars chose the better outcome to level a few huts so that billions wouldn’t die.
I know Earth historians say different. I know they say that the powers of Earth gave up on Mars because they thought Mars was too radical to negotiate or integrate. All your history books say so. But actually, Earth gave up because they knew they couldn’t win. They’d never admit it, publically at least, but they knew better than to tangle with Mars. Like I said: Earthers always lie.
Mars went on to colonize a few of the outer planets while Earth continued to stagnate. Eventually, Martian scientists figured out a way to turn portals inside out and bend the laws of physics. I dunno, that’s just the way they describe it. Mars, not Earth, found planet Asgard, and it was the Martian flag, not Earth’s, that was first planted on this rock. Obviously, they don’t particularly like being cut out of the T2 worlds, but that’s the way it goes when you don’t have the drive to do it. Most Earthers don’t leave Earth. Most don’t even know where out here, living on Asgard.
Why don’t you think Earth has that drive to expand?
My thought is that they’re just too comfy. Space is hard living, and when you have VR porn and all the food you can eat it kind puts people off from doing the hard stuff. Earthers won’t admit it, but that’s probably the case. Earthers themselves say they have a higher moral imperative to take care of the poor, and the environment, give a good standard of living to every human being before they head out to the stars, but that’s just an excuse. After their defeat by a handful of Martians, I guess they figured they’d stay in their little, blue safe-space.