The tiny rover sat half buried in drifting red sands,
tilted, almost precariously too far to one side. The roll down into
the crater would be fatal for the antique vehicle as jagged rocks lined
the way down and the fall off of the final cliff would be more than 20
meters to the rugged bowl below.
The quiet of the Martian evening was interrupted by a rapidly growing
rumbling of the ground. Small rocks dislodged and rolled down the
crater's incline, some bouncing off the rover before continuing the trip
down to the crater's bottom.
The rover itself began to shake as the ground's rumbling increased
until, suddenly, it was over. Tank treads that dwarfed the rover
overshadowed it and then pulverized it into the rock and sand as a
gargantuan vehicle tore deep ruts in the surface and threw dust into the
The Mark III Ogre sped around the inside lip of the crater to gain an
advantageous position calculated for maximum firing effect. Loosing a
volley from its secondary batteries, the Ogre vaporized an unseen enemy
beyond the far side of the crater before it could react. The Ogre
rumbled on toward its next target.
The highlight of the second manned mission to Mars in 2014 was the discovery of
large deposits of water under the southern hemisphere's sands. This precious
resource paved the way for colonization of the red planet. The North American
Combine started the first permanent colony in 2021 with 14 people. It quickly
grew to several hundred over the next decade. A few years after that, it was
self-sufficient. The Paneuropeans were not far behind with a base started in
2023 but technical problems and suspicious accidents delayed construction
By 2035, the Nihon Empire and other independent states and private concerns had
small bases dotted across the rust red plains. The Martian population developed
and grew quickly. Growth continued without much help from earth and Mars became
The Terran war of 2070 did not directly affect the Mars colonies mostly because
they chose not to take sides and elevate the conflict on their own turf. The
pioneer spirit of the inhabitants kept them on an even keel throughout the
conflict. Basic survival took up most of their efforts, providing air and food
for the growing population was of paramount importance. Politics were relegated
to the back burner. Overall, the Martians had a hopeful and optimistic outlook
on life. Their population, being made up of the best and brightest the earth
had to offer, had a vision of Mars being new beginning for mankind.
With that aloofness of feeling that war is beneath them and that Martians are a
better lot than earthers, almost all of the colonies ignored orders from home to
go to war. Those few others could do little more than harass the other colonies
from time to time.
Yet even while most of the colonists maintained a cautiously peaceful attitude
while the earthlings blasted each other, the level of mutual trust slowly began
to erode. All of the Paneuropean and Combine bases on Mars secretly start
arming themselves in the late 80's. To overcome the higher production levels of
their competitors, Paneuropean bases stockpiled some of the most advanced
weaponry available to them from earth.
It is now December 2092 and the Paneuropean forces on earth are suffering major
setbacks. The population of the Martian colonies will soon outstrip air and
food manufacturing capabilities. The relatively peaceful political atmosphere
on Mars is rapidly vanishing; the sporadic raids by independent forces are a
major concern and almost all communication from Earth has been disrupted.
Combine forces launch a preemptive attack against a Paneuropean factory and both
sides begin the struggle to control the resources that will keep their forces
viable. Will the survivors have enough basic resources to stay alive? The
Battle for Mars begins!
by Joe Revesz.
* Picture courtesy
Pan Pacific Alliance.