Deserts of Mars Spoiler: OOC OOC thread: https://www.theexpanse-rp.com/threads/deserts-of-mars-ooc-thread.229/ MCRB Persephone Sol peaked above the great dunes on the horizon, bathing MCRB Persephone in a warm orange glow. The base was stirring, it’s population of hard working Martians going about their morning rituals, some starting their shifts, others finishing them and collapsing into their bunks for a well earned rest. It did not take long for the whole base to be bathed in the morning sunlight, and when the last wisps of the night faded to oblivion the morning reveille sounded across loudspeakers, in quarters, echoing across the three airstrips that dominated the base and bouncing off the great barrier walls that surrounded it, keeping the encroaching sand at bay. Karen Ashoka also stirred from her meditation, sitting cross legged on a mesa a few hundred metres from the base’s main gate. Even in the thin (but not as thin as it once was) atmosphere of Mars, her ears could pick up the distant rousing tune of the reveille, drifting over the dunes towards her, beckoning her to return. She sat for a few moments more, taking in the sunrise. She hated being indoors, under domes, in tunnels. She tried to get out of the structures her people had built as often as possible, preferring to spend her time amongst the landscape of her homeworld, watching storms roll across the plains, storms that one day may bear rain, watching the dunes grow, shift and collapse in the ever present breeze. Always watching. There was a peace to this place, an emptiness. Only the sounds from the nearby base and the occasional roar of an aircraft or starship broke the serenity. Karen had been told and shown, many times, the cramped squalor her distant relatives lived in, across the great expanse of space, back on Earth. She remembered clearly the videos in school of verdant green forests reduced to giant favelas as far as the eye can see. She remembered broadcasts of ecological collapse, replayed on their terminals through high school, the oceans going sterile through constant acidification, the destruction of their rainforests, the melting of their polar ice caps leading to the flooding of thousands of cities across the globe, resulting in mass migration, famine, war. Mars was different, Mars was a blank slate on which her people had decided many years ago to grow a garden. The terraforming effort had dominated their culture, until Earth finally unified under the banner of the United Nations and turned its eyes to Mars. The years following the second rise of the UN were overshadowed by the constant fear of war. Earth crept ever closer, leveraging its enormous population and resources in the construction of a fleet capable of subduing its wayward colony. The Martian Congress saw this for what it was, an attempt to scare them into towing the line, in response the terraforming effort was put on hold to the despair of the majority of the population. The atmosphere was still not even close to breathable, one could inhale a few breaths but would not be able to stand afterwards, there was widespread outrage and anger, anger which the Martian government successfully harnessed as it put it’s industry on a war footing, using the hate and fury of its people to build its own navy, one capable of withstanding not only the UN, but any future aggressor. The result was that generations later Mars was still a desert, its people still lived under domes or in tunnels. The great sea of dunes stretching to the horizon in front of Karen was testament to that, to her it should have been grassland, the sky should be blue, she should be able to breath without assistance. But all these thoughts did was fuel the hot, angry feeling that sat at the bottom of her chest the moment she learnt about what Earth had done to her people. Over the years, many factions had risen on Mars, a population of 9 billion people will eventually splinter as priorities change. The great deserts were said to be home to thousands of people, those who had forsaken the terraforming effort, the domes, and chose to live a nomadic lifestyle, away from their militaristic brothers and sisters. Karen patrolled for this very reason, every day she flew across the deserts, but they were always empty short of tire trails in the dust. Secured over her mouth and nose was a semi-transparent breathing apparatus, linked to a breathable atmosphere bottle stuffed into her rucksack that sat on the rocky ground next to her, along with several other empties. She had been out here long enough, it was time to return. With a shiver she climbed to her feet, the great heavy poncho she had slung over her shoulders crumpling to the ground around her boots, the Martian night was deadly if you weren’t prepared. Karen did this often enough she had a kit of items that helped her survive. Her trusty respirator, a box full of valves and adaptors meaning she could extract breathable O2 from many man-made sources, her heavy heated poncho which she now stuffed into her rucksack, a standard issue Martian sidearm, a large water bladder, several packets of MRE’s and other odds and ends. The pack was heavy enough that it made it a challenge whilst she climbed up and down the mesa every few days but it didn’t slow her down, she was in her prime. Slinging the bag over her shoulder she approached the edge of the mesa and leaned over the edge, picking out a route for her descent. Without a moment's hesitation she spun around and began the slow climb to the base of the rock formation.