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April 14, 2003
On the first day of every month, we assemble and give homage to those who saved us. All of us meet in the gardens of Old Mars Dome One in the Valles Marineris: the Grounders, the Bots, the Diggers, the Brains, and the yet-to-be. Each rank takes its turn. Each memorial service tells how we came to be, starting with the Correspondents and ending with the Vestiges. We learn it so each generation can never forget, each generation must always remember, where we came from, how we got here, and why it happened, for if we don't, we might destroy mankind again. Our leader, Lupe' Tzinguini closed the memorial service with the customary words from a twenty-first century literature. The memorial always concludes with words chosen from the literature of old earth. Countless electronic books brought to Mars by the survivors as they fled death, some, giving their lives to save the best of the Old World so that the New World might live.
After each memorial service, we all try to drive home at the same time resulting in an old-fashioned, twentieth century traffic jam.
"You're the history buff, Donal. Tell me: Are crows and ravens the same things?" Dakota asked as he released the wheel-brake and flipped on the anti-gravity switch on the bash-and-crash vehicle.
"Crows and Ravens were both big black birds. Crows were scavengers and made funny "cawing" sounds. They lived around farms and farmlands. Ravens were silent, black, and foreboding. They were considered spies of the gods and harbingers of fate," Donal replied. He reclined the passenger seat and fastened the safety restraints.
"And cows, do you think any cows still exist on the earth?" Dakota put on his crash helmet. He engaged the auto-controls and prepared to enter the traffic stream.
"No one has enough evidence yet to make a determination. Some say that all mammals died in the plagues. Others say that some could have survived. They just don't know," Donal said putting on his helmet. The vehicle lurched forward and slammed into traffic. Bashing and crashing into walls and other vehicles.
The Brains used magnetic sensors as guides to control each car's speed, direction, and destination. What they couldn't control was the bumper car effect of several thousand vehicles trying to move at one time. The movement of the cars was based on the scientific principles of synchrony, but they never "sync'd" and consequently, when several hundred bumper cars tried to leave the assembly each month they "bashed" and "crashed" into each other creating one large traffic jam. Unable to fix the design, the Brains made everyone strap in and wear helmets as a workaround the problem.
It took about an hour for Donal and Dakota arrived at their dwelling in the north wall of the Valles Marineris along the steep slopes of a chasmata. All Martian dwellings were cut out of solid rock by laser cannons that fused the walls into airtight silica ceramic. Iron and steel from the oxygen generators supplied steel to support the ceilings and build the furniture. More steel brought heat and hot water in pipes from geothermal converters set deep into the molten core of Mars.
Donal and Dakota's dwelling was the sixth and last identical dwellings at the end of a tunnel. It consisted of four rooms: a bedroom-bathroom combination, a kitchen-dining room, an electronics room for their studies, and an entrance area where the airtight doors opened.
Dakota opened their e-mail and started to read the news and work assignments aloud as Donal heated some food.
"A survival pod crashed near the south pole today," Dakota yelled from one room to the other.
"Really! A popsicle or a corpse?" Donal yelled back. The earthlings used cryogenic freezing for long-term space flight. In the final days of earth, many men froze themselves and using gravity orbits tried to reach Mars using minimal fuel. Most died when their electric power failed. A few dozen succeeded in making it to Mars alive. Over the last two centuries, the Martians colonists collected everything that fell from the sky in hopes of finding one more survivor, one last vestige of the planet earth.
"Popsicle! The pod was nuclear powered and they were only able to revive one of ten crammed into makeshift cryogenic tubes," Dakota continued reading the story.
"Wow, ten men! That must have been a huge pod. Anything else with them," Donal said as he removed hot food from the heating unit.
"What are we having for dinner?" Dakota yelled as he entered the kitchen scaring Donal.
"Don't sneak up on me that way!" Donal laughed at his reaction. "Was there anything else on the pod that they could salvage?"
"Just old stuff, I didn't mean to scare you. Sorry for yelling," Dakota mused and then added: "What are we having for dinner?" Donal put his hands on his hips and sighed at the question.
"I love it when you ask that. We're having what we have every night, you muscle-bound moron! What do you want? Duck al l'Orange? Pressed duck under glass? Boeff Bourguignon?" Donal smiled.
"Oh No! You mean we have R&R again! R&R! AGAIN! How am I going to grow up and be a big, strong boy, Mommy?" Dakota whined piteously and flexed his muscles pretending he was puny. Donal just sneered at his antics.
"You'll never grow into a strong, big boy. You'll always be my little pussy boy, you dumb jock! And I'm your Daddy, not your Mommy. Sweeeeet-thing! Eat your stew and like it!" Donal jibed back as he set the iron plate on the table with a loud metallic clang. The food steamed in the middle of the plate.
"R&R, R&R, R&R, that's all we eat! R&R," Dakota whined as he cooled the food and shoveled it into his mouth.
"Was there anything else in the pod you forgot to mention?" Donal said as he ate.
"Yup! However, I forgot what it was! Me just big, dumb, muscle-bound, jock," Dakota leaned on his elbow, flexed his bicep and rested his hand on his head. His eyes twinkled and sparkled at Donal. All the time he kept shoving stew in his mouth.
"OK, OK, what was in the pod that you're hiding from me?" Donal asked. Dakota turned to him with a gleam in his eyes and a smile on his face.
"The popsicle has been assigned to us for debriefing! Lupe' arranged it personally," Dakota smiled and smacked Donal on the shoulder. Donal lit up with the news. Both Donal and Dakota would get to debrief the Popsicle and prepare the historical reports of his knowledge. For Donal, who was studying to be a Brain-historian, this was the chance of a lifetime.
"Great, fantastic, when is he due to arrive?" Donal asked thrilled with the prospect of learning about old Earth from someone who lived there.
"A week if he clears quarantine," Dakota replied.
"Are they going to give us new quarters or enlarge this?" There were only two chairs and two computer stations in the dwelling.
"Just enlarge this. It's really big enough for three. Tomorrow they'll bring new furniture, bigger bed, bigger tables, three chairs, another computer terminal, all that stuff and they'll hook it all up. The extra space will be storage for the memory discs and computer files he brought with him," Dakota continued shoving the stew into his mouth. Donal was too excited to eat.
"I can't wait to see what's on all the CD's he brought with him. I wonder if it's new. Are we getting our own memespace?" Donal said not at all interested in the food on his plate.
"Yes, yes, and yes, again! Now eat brain-boy! Eat!" Dakota ordered. "I don't want the roaring of your empty stomach to keep me awake all night."
"Ok, ok, ok," Donal replied and ate the stew on his plate.
MARS - PART 2
Donal and Dakota woke on the new bed. It was comfortable sleeping on such a wide and spacious bed. The sheets and blankets were soft and new and neither of them wanted to leave the comfort of the bed. Today, at 10am, the Vestige from the escape pod would arrive. He and his possessions had cleared quarantine. The Minister of Health, Yujiro Oonishi, would drop him off at Dakota and Donal's dwelling for historical debriefing.
Dakota rolled over onto his back, scratched his cock and balls, and slipped his muscular arm under Donal's head. He rolled him over onto his chest and jostled him awake: "Time to get out of bed sleepy little man, your Vestige is due to arrive in an hour," Dakota kissed his forehead and Donal's eyes popped open in surprise.
"An hour? But, we gotta eat and get dressed and get ready and, and," Donal sat straight up.
"We have plenty of time to eat and bathe," Dakota said as Donal jumped off the bed and went over to a large whirlpool bath. He stuck a hand in the water to test the temperature and then lowered his body into the warm, bubbling water.
"I hope the bath's hot, if not we're screwed. I don't want to meet a Vestige smelling of cum, sweat and your drool. He is after all from old earth and I want to make a good impression," Donal chattered on nervously. Dakota stretched his arms and legs wide as he lay on the bed. His cock stood up with morning wood.
"Stop showing off your giant manhood and get ready. Please behave for me, Dak, please behave, for me," Donal pleaded.
"We're going to live with the guy, he'll figure out were slobs and he'll figure out we got cocks and balls. But, but, but, but, but, I promise, I'll behave today. No more silly stuff," Dakota got off the bed and into the whirlpool with Donal. He wrapped his arm around Donal's shoulders. Dakota was a good eight inches taller and 30 Mars-pounds heavier than Donal. They were genetic twins when they were born, the Martian name was "vitro-mates," but drugs and training made Dakota larger and more muscular than Donal. Vitro-mates lived together until inducted into their final professions.
"You want me to scrub your back?" Dakota said as he lathered up the soap and spread if over his body.
"Yes, sure, sorry I snapped at you. I'm just so nervous. All that history to learn about, the responsibility of it is just dawning on me, and when I get nervous, I get…" Dakota kissed Donal cutting off his last words. The two held the embrace for a moment and then broke. Dakota soaped both their bodies. They stood up and let the water drain while the hot air jets dried them. Filter in the air and in the water collected any carbonaceous material.
The most precious element on Mars was carbon. Carbon was life. More to the point, "fixed carbon" was life. The early military settlements discovered that they could quickly deplete the Martian atmosphere of carbon dioxide. Carbon limited growth on Mars. Consequently, they had to import carbon from earth. Plants and animals "fixed carbon" from the atmosphere and provided food to the settlers. The iron and steel mills created more than enough oxygen. Carbon sustained life on Mars: as the population of Mars grew larger, the demand for fixed carbon in the form of food and clothing. The last shipment of carbon from earth arrived with the Vestiges, the last men to escape the dying earth.
"I feel so much better," Donal rested his head against Dakota bulky muscles and hugged him. Dakota returned the embrace. He loved the feel of Donal's body against him.
"Good, I'll make breakfast and you get dressed. I can just imagine what you would be like back on old earth with all their fashions and different types of clothing. Probably never get out of the house," Dakota teased as he got more R&R from the food storage and placed two portions in the heater.
"What's for breakfast?" Donal asked with a smile on his face. That was usually Dakota's question.
"Why it's French toast with blueberries and a side order of bacon," Dakota replied as he took the hot food from the heater and placed it on the table. It looked exactly like the stew from the night before.
"Food of the gods!" Donal proclaimed and sat down on the cold steel bench and ate the stew. Dakota sat next to him in silence. In the early days of Mars, just after the fall of earth, there were other animals, but the most efficient at creating protein with the least carbon demand was the rabbit. Besides, all the other animals died in the long trip to Mars, even the sheep died. Mars raised rabbits for food and then used the rabbit fur for clothing. Natural fabric's, Cotton, wool, and linen, were displayed in museums as ancient artifacts of a long gone civilization. Mars lacked sufficient carbon to make polyester, rayon, nylon, and the other synthetics. Everything soft on Mars was made of rabbit fur. That wasn't much; mostly sheets, blankets, and clothing were made of rabbit fur.
"Is the Vestige going to wear his own clothes or are they parading him naked through the halls?" Donal poked Dakota in the ribs, they both laughed.
"No, they told me that they fitted him in a proper outfit and his cryogenic suit was sent to the museum. They kept him unconscious during the quarantine. He's only been awake from yesterday," Dakota shoved his elbow against Donal's shoulder nearly knocking him off the bench.
"Ow! How much have they told him about life on Mars?" Donal asked trying to poke back at Dakota. Donal wasn't weak or scrawny, he had an athletic build, broad shoulders and solid arms and legs.
"Not much, other than he was going to live with us while he was debriefed. I don't even know if they explained what a Vestige is to him. I guess we better dress," Dakota slid off the bench, went back to the bedroom, and pulled on shorts and a tank top. Donal donned a similar outfit. They both sat at their electronic consoles and browsed the news ass they waited.
"It's strange sitting here in clothing," Donal remarked. No one on Mars wore clothing inside their dwellings. The heating system kept the dwelling warm and cozy.
The Minister of Health showed up a half-an-hour late with the Vestige surrounded by four grounders as guards and a trail-cart holding all the information from the escape pod. The Minister entered the dwelling and two of the guards stayed outside in the corridor with the Vestige standing in the middle of them. The other two started unloading the trail-cart.
"Minister Yujiro Oonishi, it's a pleasure to meet you today. I see you've brought our guest," Donal said politely.
"It's so nice to see the O'Brien brother's again," the minister's voice dripped with sarcasm. He didn't like Donal and had never me Dakota. Dakota insinuated his body in from of Donal so the Minister had to look through him to see into their dwelling.
"It's so nice to meet you Minister Oonishi. That's such an odd name. Are you one of the Oonishi's from West Virginia?" Dakota asked. Two of the guards unloading the cart dropped bundles of CD-ROM, computer discs, and tapes while trying not to laugh.
"No! My family was never in West Virginia!" he said in very haughty tones. He turned and addressed Donal trying to ignore Dakota.
"Here is the surviving Vestige who landed in the pod and his records. He is your responsibility now," Minister Yujiro Oonishi's nasal whine irritated Dakota who was helping the guards carry stuff into the dwelling.
"Is it possible you're one of the Oonishi's from Bratislava?" Dakota interrupted. Donal swatted the back of Dakota's head as he walked past. This time all four guards broke up in loud and raucous laughter. The minister ignored them.
"Mathias Slooper Kjeldahl of the 21st century, meet Donal Maguire O'Brien. You be living with them. Donal is responsible for your debriefing and historical records. Dakota is responsible for nothing more than his mouth." Mathias raised his eyebrows at the insult and held out his hand. Donal shook it and said:
"Nice to meet you, Mathias Slooper Kjeldahl." He was shorter than Donal and more muscular. His skin was pale and fair, nearly translucent from the cryogenic preservation, his hair nearly white, his body covered in wispy, pale brown hair. He looked good in black rabbit fur. All that he managed to say was a soft hello. Otherwise, he was silent.
"And I'm Dakota Buckley O'Brien. I'm in charge of the floor show," Dakota stood a head taller than Mathias did. His big hand swallowed Mathias' smaller hands. The guards finished loading his meager belongings into the electronics room and left with Minister Oonishi who acted happy to leave.
"This must seem very strange to you. You're the only survivor from the escape pod. You been in space for two hundred years, and you're on Mars in the dwelling of two strangers. That has to be daunting. This room is an entrance foyer," Donal took Mathias' arm and led him into the rest of the dwelling, the kitchen-dining room, the bedroom-bathroom, and finally the electronics room where an extra terminal and lots of new electronic equipment was at their disposal. Mathias stayed quiet all through the tour. Finally, the three men sat down at the kitchen table. Dakota served Martian coffee.
"This is the first coffee I tasted in three hundred fifty two years, or so they tell me," Mathias said rubbing the edges of the furry outfit.
"One of the early missions to Mars brought seeds for coffee beans," Dakota set the pot on the table.
"Three-hundred and fifty years ago places your departure from Earth at about 2020," Donal said.
"Very close, We left in 2022 and we were one of a few independent spaceships to leave earth. We didn't have enough fuel capacity for a short trip so we used cryogenics and put ourselves into a slow orbit to Mars. We never thought it would take three hundred fifty-some years," Mathias sipped the coffee slowly and then drank the entire cup. Dakota Donal heard the man's stomach roar with hunger.
"I didn't realize how hungry I am. I could eat a horse," Mathias blushed. He had just entered the home of two complete strangers and demanded a meal.
"We have the Martian favorite, R&R. It's a stew of rabbit and roots. Everyone eats it and everyone calls it by its nickname of R&R," Dakota said as he got some from the food unit and started to heat it.
"I'm afraid, I must be impolite, are you really brothers?" Mathias asked surprising Donal and amusing Dakota. Donal hesitated a little and then answered:
"Uh, we're genetic twins cloned from the same donor cell and sperm. The impolite term is "Vitro-mate" meaning you came from the same test tube," Donal answered.
"But you don't look like twins. Back on Earth, you could pass for brothers, but not twins. They told me Mars has no women but they didn't tell me why," Mathias pushed for more information. Dakota set the plate of steaming hot stew in front of Mathias. He gently tasted it and added salt.
"They built the first Martian settlements on the surface never realizing that the radiation levels were too high. The women suffered first and became sterile. When they finally moved everything underground, it was too late to reverse the damage. Now, everyone lives below ground to protect themselves from UV and radiation exposure. But when they first moved underground, the clone wars were raging on earth and women were forbidden from leaving. Before the final conflicts, the Founders, sent everyone they could to Mars in an attempt to preserve the human race. They would have sent women, but, like I said, the governments forbid it. One of the Martian scientists developed a cloning technique using epithelial cells and sperm. That was three hundred years ago. Dakota and I are the fourth generation of Martians created and raised on Mars without women. From about 15,000 men to reach Mars from the earth, there are now over 300,000 of us living on Mars," Donal took a deep breath and stopped talking.
"How old are you two gentlemen," Mathias asked slowly eating the R&R.
"We are eleven years old in Mars terms, that's twenty years in earth terms. In a few months, Dakota will become a member of the Robots and I'll become a member of the Brains. You'll have to make a choice to join one of the four professions. How old would you be if you hadn't been in cryogenic suspension?" Donal asked.
"You have to explain Robots and Brains. I don't understand those terms. Why did the Minister call me "vestige," Mathias finished his portion of R&R, wiped his fingers on the bowl, and licked the remnants off them. Donal's eyes nearly popped out of his head and Dakota turned away desperately suppressing his laughter.
"Well, it's been over three hundred years since I ate a good meal and that tasted rather good, a little like chicken. It could use some hot sauce, though," embarrassed, Mathias turned a bright shade of red. He pulled at his clothing. It tickled his skin. Donal and Dakota suppressed their laughter and were leaning on each other shaking with the rampant giggles. Mathias beamed like a little boy proud at doing something wrong.
"No, really, it was very good. They didn't feed me solid food in quarantine and I suppose you would lick you fingers too if you hadn't eaten in three hundred fifty two years," Mathias laughed at himself. Donal smiled and chuckled softly while Dakota laughed heartily.
"Where did you grow up, what cities, what countries?" Donal asked.
"I was born in Brooklyn, second generation American, my grandparents were Norwegian emigrants to the United States. I went to the City College of New York to study history. The year I graduated was the Second Gulf War, I got married, had children and then got a job at the United Nations right in New York City. A year later, North Korea collapsed in hunger and starvation. I became a diplomatic attaché after the mobs pushed the UN out of New York City when Pakistan and India declared nuclear war. That was 2012. I stayed at my diplomatic until I lost my wife in the Religious Wars. A few years after that, I lost my two daughters in the genetic plagues of 2015. Mathias, my son, and I were able to join the space movement when martial law was declared in 2020. The rockets launched two years later. Mathias was on the other rocket. He was only sixteen when we left Earth. Is it possible he survived? Would you know if he got to Mars?" Mathias fidgeted with the fur around his neck.
"Yes, I have access to all the historical records. Come with me," Donal got up and took Mathias into the electronics room. He typed a query into the console: "It will take a few minutes," he told Mathias.
"Are all those records on computer?" Mathias asked.
"Yes, the life story of everyone who came to Mars from earth is online. In fact, your arrival is such a big event that we have a memespace, a blog, and historical specials just for you," Donal said. Mathias looked puzzled at the term.
"So I'm a celebrity! Interesting! What's a memespace?" Mathias asked.
"Very much a celebrity. So much so, in fact, Donal is your historian and he'll record your debriefing and catalog all the information you brought with you. I'll assist with your debriefing but my job is mostly to help you adjust to life on Mars," Dakota's explanation was off the mark.
"A memespace is a huge portion of the master computer for storage, analysis and calculations," Donal explained. Mathias shook his head in understanding.
"What happened after I left Earth?" Mathias' voice was soft and reverential.
"Well, it took about ten years for a new and more virulent series of genetic plagues to decimate the population. Places like Africa, the remains of India and Pakistan, Siberia, part of Central America, Indonesia, just went silent from all the deaths. Civilization slowly disintegrated as population died off and communication faltered. Yours wasn't the last rockets to leave earth, but it didn't take long to lose radio contact and when plague contaminated rockets started to arrive from earth, Mars knew it was the beginning of the end. First Russia and the European Union went silent; their birthrates were too low to sustain their populations even before the plagues. The Americas went next, Australia lasted because it blockaded itself and destroyed everything that tried to land on its shores. The Chinese tried to breed their way out of extinction but it didn't work. When it became obvious that the end was unavoidable, the military in each country banded together to keep sending supplies and men to Mars. The last space flights left Earth in 2064 and 2066. The history of Mars counts six migrations from Earth: Correspondents, Scientists, Americans, Australians, Chinese, and Vestiges." Donal finished and typed another command into the console. Mathias' console lit up and chirped at them.
"Now I understand why the Minister called me a "Vestige," Mathias said. Lights on Donal's computer console lit up and the screen display several dozen records. Text flashed in one section of the display while pictures danced in another. He scanned the records and smiled.
"Your son reached Mars in 2024 lived until 2110. He has twenty-two living descendants that contain half his genome and another forty or so who are one quarter to one third genetic offspring." Donal said.
"I checked this out yesterday. There's a family resemblance. Big blond Norwegian types, all of them," Dakota pointed to the pictures.
"Wow! I never thought I had descendants," Mathias stared at the pictures.
"They've arranged a family reunion for you at the end of the week," Dakota typed at the computer. A dozen faces appeared on Mathias' computer screen. On a second screen, Dakota scanned a history left by Mathias' son, Mathias. It was quite revealing. He ported the history over to Donal's machine highlighting the pertinent parts. Mathias openly talked about being his Father's lover after his Mother and Sisters died. Not only that, Mathias was instrumental in creating open sexual relations between all Martian settlers.
"Great!" said Mathias referring to the reunion, "That's something to look forward to!" Mathias stretched his outfit away from his body.
"I shouldn't say this, but, your son helped build most of these dwellings. He was one of the best settlers ever to come from earth. You'll learn all of that at the reunion," Dakota said as he gave Mathias a hug with one big arm. Mathias fussed with his suit and while still looking at the faces of his descendants on the screen said:
"I hate to say this, but this fur is hot and itchy. Is it me? You guys wear it this all the time, what's the secret?" Mathias fussed with his outfit again; all too aware that he was hot and sweaty.
"The secret is not to wear it at all," Dakota said.
"Normally everyone's naked in their dwellings. It's never cold because of the steam heat. We got dressed because the Minister was delivering you and we thought you might not understand if we greeted you stark naked," Donal explained.
"Some of us try never to wear clothes outside the dwelling," Dakota tugged at his outfit and slid it off his body. The muscles of his body rippled as he moved. His bronzed and toned skin gleamed in the light. Dakota's rubbed his hands over his torso to remove any rabbit fur that clung to his flesh. He fondled his unit just to tease Mathias.
"The only Martians to wear clothing on a regular basis are the "Diggers." They laser-blast the dwellings out of the rock walls, maintain the geothermal converters, and service the solar collectors on the surface," Donal tugged his shirt off and then dropped his shorts to the floor. Although shorter than Dakota, Donal was just as well muscled and his skin had a pale, tawny color to it.
"What about cracks and air leaks?" Mathias asked as he eyed the naked bodies of the two young men.
"Lack of air gets to you before the cold does. But don't worry about that," Donal said, "the military cured the earthquake problem when they first tapped the Martian core for heat." Donal helped Mathias take off the rabbit fur and left him standing naked in the room. His skin was pale and nearly translucent. When he moved, you could see tendons and muscles flowing over the bones. The coolness and freedom was so much more comfortable than the hot fur. Donal stowed the outfits in the bedroom.
"Uh, this might be a little naive, but I notice there's only one bed and one bathtub," Mathias seemed amazed at the simplicity of life on Mars.
"You're going to sleep with us," Dakota said and Mathias blushed.
"I'm not used to sleeping with anyone," Mathias was clearly uneasy with the situation.
"No one sleeps alone on Mars. The cloning process always results in pairs. The brothers live together until the age of decision. That's the Martian way," Donal explained.
"And sex..." Mathias hesitated to finish the question.
"And sex is purely for pleasure," Dakota paused to gauge Mathias' reaction and then continued: "Reproduction is the job of scientists using in-vitro techniques in the laboratory. It can't cause pregnancy or disease and it's not essential for survival. All the moral and ethical questions about having sexual relations are gone. It's not taboo in any way. In fact, to use an old phrase, sport fucking is encouraged on Mars," Dakota realized just how enthusiastic and over-the-top he sounded and that he was half-erect. He stood there embarrassed.
"Sport fucking? Is that like standing in a bedroom with two naked men and sporting a boner? Mathias said trying to look very puzzled at the phrase. Dakota blushed even more and stammered while trying to hide his rising manhood.
"I'm amazed, no one on Mars has ever succeeded in embarrassing my dear brother and shutting him up," Donal laughed and put his arm around Mathias patting him heavily on the back. Mathias shied away from the touch of naked flesh. He could feel the heat from Donal's body and it excited him.
"I don't know what to say," Mathias tried to suppress his sexual urges. Dakota leaned against him and let their genitals touch. He reached around Mathias' head, cupped his hand against the back of his head, and kissed him. It took a few seconds for Mathias to return the kiss. He wound both his arms around Dakota and held him tight. Donal knelt quietly behind Mathias and started rimming his ass, his tongue plowing deep in-between the well-rounded buns.
"You guys are so young," Mathias whispered after a few minutes.
"Not as young as your son. He described your life together in detail. It's part of the history of Mars," Donal said as he took a breath and lubricated his cock and rubbed it over Mathias' sensitive hole. Dakota was busy sucking Mathias' cock and rubbing his thumbs over Mathias' nipples.
"He did! We promised never to tell anyone. It was necessary. All the genetic plagues were sexually transmitted, oh, that feels so good," Mathias said as Donal sunk his cock deep into Mathias' hot, tight hole. He rotated his hips making his cockhead rub across Mathias' prostate and pushing sperm out of Mathias' cock and into Dakota's hot and hungry mouth. Dakota stood and pulled Mathias' head down on his hard, thick pole and grabbed his ears to face fuck him. They took their time reaching simultaneous orgasms, groaning loudly as they pumped cum into both ends of Mathias' body. The trio collapsed on the bed in a heap of spent, sweaty flesh.
"I think I'm going to enjoy Mars," Mathias said in between Dakota and Donal's bodies.
The Kjeldahl family reunion was a success, Mathias Slooper Kjeldahl met all his descendants, and much to his surprise, they were more interested in his memories than his body. In fact, Mathias found that the men on Mars were less inclined to sexual relations with everyone and more interested in personalities, conversation, entertainment, and literature. After the reunion, his life with Dakota and Donal settled into a routine of debriefings, commentaries on the contents of the many CD-ROMs retrieved from his spaceship, equipment schematics and blueprints, histories off all nine of his companions of the spaceship, and trips to the gymnasiums.
A quarter of the Martian year passed by faster than he imagined possible, Martian years consisted of 687 days divided into twelve months of fifty-six days each. Each month had four weeks of fourteen days and in-between the months were holidays lasting three days. The upcoming New Years celebration was six days long. Dakota had a big part in this New Years holiday and the preparations took him away from Mathias and Donal. However, the day before the holiday started, Dakota arranged to be alone with Mathias. Typically, the three of them were together, but today, Donal had business with the university and Mathias and Dakota were alone. After their exercises at the gym, the two men jogged back to the dwelling and sank into the hot tub.
"It's odd being here without Donal. Does Martians have much problem when separating brothers?" Mathias asked.
"No, it's accepted as part of life. We grew up knowing would live separate lives. Donal and I are both that age," Dakota mugged a little at the naughty double meaning, "like puberty or menopause your companions used to joke." He laughed. Mathias smiled and shook his head.
"Now be serious for once, my naughty little boy," Mathias rubbed Dakota's head with a wet washcloth, "I know you have to choose your occupation for the rest of your life and that will change my life. I'm OK with that, after all, I didn't grow up here and I think it's OK to have a different outlook at life than anyone raised on Mars."
"One of our concerns was the fact that you don't have a partner. That's unique on Mars and really quite scandalous. That's not the reason I have to talk to you. The leaders of the Robots want me to explain to you about my future life on Mars and possibly yours too," Dakota sighed. The water was warm and relaxing. He let his body float in the pulsating air jets. The head of his cock poked out of the water.
"Robots again! You know, neither you nor Donal have ever explained robots. All this time and I haven't seen any of them." Mathias inquired. Dakota reached over and played with Mathias' cock, arousing him.
"Well, there're only three hundred robots and they're stationed at the top of Mons Olympus," Dakota said.
"Only three hundred? That's less than one recruit a year. I didn't realize they were that exclusive," the low number startled Mathias. As much access as he had to Martian history, the Robots were shrouded in secrecy. They continued to wash each other's bodies.
"Only one man in ten thousand is genetically able to join the Robots. We're all tested at birth," Dakota said.
"Well, It's no secret that I've grown attached to you and I'll miss you when you leave. If it's my affections, you're worried about, I will miss you, but life will go on. You have your future ahead of you and I wouldn't let you change for anything. Some of my descendants are bound to want me to stay with them," Mathias delivered his speech without a blunder. He didn't want Dakota changing his plans for silly reasons like falling in love with an earthman twice his age. As much as he tried to maintain distance between himself and his roommates, he had fallen in love with Dakota.
"No, you don't understand at all; I'm genetically superior to everyone on Mars, even Donal. Normally, Donal and I don't talk about it. It's a quirk of genetics that Martian twins aren't genetically identical and he's not quite my genetic equal. I know he feels inferior about it," Dakota paused to wrap his legs around Mathias and hold his hands still.
"In fact, I'm genetically superior to everyone on Mars. That's why I get away with all the crap I pull on people and that's why they put up with it. I wouldn't have told you but you need to know certain things." Dakota got very serious and held Mathias still.
"Remember all those tests I asked you to take a couple months ago?" Dakota asked.
"Certainly I remember. You told me they found nothing wrong," Mathias wondered where this conversation was leading.
"That's right, they found nothing wrong, and those test confirmed everything we found when you landed on Mars. You're genetically unique on Mars. You're genetically superior even to me, so superior in fact, that you're the key to the genetic heritage of the robots," Dakota stopped to let him assimilate the information.
"I don't understand. They have my sperm and my tissue samples," Mathias replied. He squirmed his way out of Mathias' grip and stared Dakota squarely in the eyes.
"And the regular scientists will use your genes to breed more Martians, but the Robot scientists can't use those genes,"
"You're not making sense, why can't the robots use my genes?" Mathias grabbed both of Dakota's shoulders and shook him.
"We still have a few taboos on Mars and it's hard to talk about this," he paused and ran his hand over his head. "You see, the Martian immigrants lacked a specific gene that would enable any man to turn into a robot and enable the robots to reproduce themselves. You carry that gene. If we can incorporate that gene into the Robots, we can breed enough of them to return to earth without fear of the plagues," Dakota said it all very fast.
"Well, surely they can blend my genes and yours with their in-vitro technology and create more candidates for Robots. What does this have to do with my future?" Mathias thought he understood. Dakota put his hands to his head and rubbed his skull.
"I'm really making a muddle of all this," he said as he stood and stepped out of the bath. Mathias followed nodding his agreement. Their wet bodies gleamed in the light. Dakota wrapped his strong arms around Mathias and hugged him close.
"I haven't told you how much I love you, I know it's silly, but I feel closer to you than Donal. Give me a chance to explain this. It's hard! Let me hold you," Dakota lay his head on Mathias' shoulder. Mathias returned the embrace.
"Dakota, I don't want you to change your plans and stay with me. You belong with the Robots," Mathias said. Dakota just laughed and hugged him tighter.
"Mathias, my love, I have no intention of not becoming a Robot. I'm trying to ask you to join with me. I'm trying to explain why. You see - You're the genetic key to creating robots from robots. When man first landed on Mars, they had machine robots only. About fifty years after the colonization of Mars, our scientists discovered how to merge man and machine into superhuman Robots using nano-machines. They're metal, sleek, sexy metal," Dakota looked at Mathias' face and put a hand to his lips.
"To join the Robots means to have your living flesh transformed into metal. I want you to undergo the transformation because I've fallen in love with you and I never want to leave you," Dakota paused and took a deep breath. He quickly added: "and because by join the Robots we can breed a new race to repopulate the Earth. I want you to undergo the transformation with me." His speech was a jumbled and confusing.
Mathias stood silent in Dakota's arms for a moment. Then he broke away and let the hot air system dry their bodies.
"You're serious, completely transformed to metal, not flesh and bone, living metal," Mathias said.
"Yes! Imagine glittering silvery metallic skin, titanium skeleton, gold and silver nerves, eighteen-eight Chrome-molybdenum steel tendons. Nearly indestructible, nearly immortal, we don't even know the lifetime of a robot. The first is still with us after three hundred years," Dakota leaned his hips against Mathias' and bent his torso backwards, putting some distance between their faces. Mathias didn't say anything; his eyes bore into Dakota desperately trying to absorb what he was just told.
"You can't turn human beings into metal?" Mathias said.
"On Mars we can. I've fantasized about the two of us living our lives together as robots. I almost can't bear the thought of being without you. My desire is a living entity; I need more of you. There are times when I have to touch you just to be closer and then, when I'm touching you, I'll know that I'll miss you when I let go," Dakota confessed and laid his head on Mathias' shoulder while Mathias stroked his head and back.
"Gee, Kid, you got it bad. How long does this transformation into metal take and does it hurt?" Mathias asked.
"It takes about a day and they tell me it only burns a little when the calcium in your bones is replaced with titanium," Dakota shifted his body to get closer to Mathias.
"What does a robot eat? Certainly not that boring stew of rabbits and roots," Mathias felt Dakota chuckle. A deep, vibrant chuckle traveled through both their bodies. He reached down and positioned their cocks so they rested together.
"You'll never have to eat again. The nano-machines use cold fusion for energy and their conversion rates are nearly 100%. They aren't affected by hot or cold, lack of air, or g-forces. The nano-machines can reshape your hands into tools to do work," Dakota rubbed his hands on Mathias' back as he explained.
"How did all this come about?" Mathias pushed at Dakota to make his sit down on the bed. Dakota pulled Mathias against his body as if he needed the contact.
"The early military engineers knew they had to tap into the molten core of to obtain heat and power. It was hard and dangerous work and they lost many men. In 2010, the United States sent their foremost expert on nano-machines to Mars and he developed nano-machines capable of living at the hot core to do the mining and fabrication of the Martian power plant. By the time your son arrived here in 2014, the nano-machines achieved consciousness and started to transform Mars to support human life. The medical scientists took another two decades to develop cloning techniques, but the techniques weren't perfect. Meanwhile, the nano-machines kept track of all this through their interface with the computer. Their analysis of the human genome and cloning techniques lead to the breakthroughs we needed to maintain human existence on Mars. In the year 2070, they proposed the mating of man and machine. It took four years for them to convince someone to try it and the rest, as they say, is history," Dakota stopped to change positions. He wrapped his big arms around Mathias and pulled him close.
"Does Donal know about me?" Mathias asked.
"Yes and he thinks it's a fine idea. Donal is fast becoming the most important historian on Mars and he is content with that," Dakota explained.
"How does one get transformed into a robot?" Mathias asked.
"You give the nano-machines access to your body, and then they turn it into metal over the next few hours. We don't have to do it in public, we can stay here and do it, but it's dangerous," Dakota looked like he was hiding something.
"It doesn't sound too hard or painful. What's the danger?" Mathias asked.
"The nano-machines can be transferred to another human through sex and unless a person is genetically compatible, that isn't advisable. Incomplete transforms are painful and dangerous," Dakota explained.
"No, no, no, no, no! We are not staying with Donal just to satisfy some vague notion of privacy. It's too dangerous. All one of use has to do is have a wet dream and Donal is in trouble," Mathias replied firmly thumping a finger against Dakota's broad chest.
"How public is the transformation? Where does it take place?" Mathias asked. He wasn't pleased with the idea of endangering Donal.
"Typically, in a glass room during the New Years festival in the main dome, everyone on Mars gets to watch by close-circuit video. I can't keep my hands off you, I thought we might use a little privacy," Dakota blushed. Mathias felt his body blush too. He sighed.
"OK, we do this in the public showcase. You can tell Donal when he gets home," Mathias sighed and pouted like a small child.
Dakota beamed: "Tomorrow we'll check into the transform room for the whole of Mars to see."
Mathias, Dakota, and Donal spent the night in an orgy of sex.
All of Mars gathered in Old Mars Dome One to see the creation of two new robots. Donal stood as guard to the glass booth. Earlier in the day, he received his credentials as historian for his work debriefing and analyzing Mathias' historical documents. Dakota and Mathias marched down the clear length of the hall to a thunderous ovation from the crowd. Mathias could see two gleaming, silver figures waiting for them in the chamber. This was the first time Mathias met any Robot. They were magnificent men: all metal, gleaming, sparkling in the light; living metal that moved and flexed like skin, but reflected like a mirror. Their eyes shone with a vivid electric blue light. This is what I'm going to become, thought Mathias as he admired the massively muscled bodies and the oversized cock and balls that hung on each Robot.
Once inside the chamber, each Robot made a show of removing a silver disc from his massive chest and handing it off to Dakota and Mathias who held the discs high above their heads in one hand like a victory token from a competition. The disc vibrated with metal life in his hand. Mathias could feel the nano-machines moving in the disc. Donal closed the door as the Robots left the chamber and sealed it tight. Dakota turned around to face the crowd on all sides and then with a deliberate motion clasped the disc to the middle of his chest. Mathias could hear the crowd roar outside the glass enclosure. He repeated Dakota's gestures and brought the disc to his chest with a thump. He wasn't expecting what happened as the disc touched his skin.
Needles and hooks sprang out the back of the disc and embedded themselves into Mathias' chest. Mathias gasped at the pain. He looked over at Dakota and saw tiny rivulets of blood on his chest beneath his disc.
"Crap that hurts!" He said to Dakota.
"Sorry, I should have warned you about how the nano-machines attach. They use blood to transport themselves all through your body and the want direct access to your blood. Eventually, they'll replace your blood with liquid metal," Dakota replied. Mathias stared out through the glass at the onlookers. He looked around and saw that the only furniture in the room was a metal platform that substituted for a bed, otherwise the chamber was empty.
"There's nothing in here but us and this bed," he said to Dakota.
"We don't need anything else, the nano-machines will take care of us," Dakota said as he pointed outside to some of Mathias' relatives. Mathias nodded and waved to the group. Martians started filing past the chamber and the two men waved and watched back for a few hours. Dakota gave Mathias a running commentary on some of his friends. The disc in the center of Mathias' chest radiated heat that soothed the punctures.
"There's your buddy Minister Yujiro Oonishi, he's talking to Donal up on that platform over there," Mathias said.
"They must be ready to award Donal his doctorate and invest him with full privileges in the University. He's going to be Yujiro Oonishi's new boss, the self-righteous asshole. Look at the screens, you'll see things better," Dakota pointed to a number of projection screens that slid out of the ceiling. The chamber muffled the sound of the loudspeakers making it hard for them to hear. Mathias leaned his body against the glass and put his ear to hear. Just outside the booth several young men with obviously prepubescent little-boy cocks, snickered, laughed, and cheered.
"What the hell excited them?" Mathias asked.
"They won the ‘pressed cock under glass' contest, not only by time, but also by whose cock would be first, yours or mine. It's an old custom I didn't tell you about," Dakota laughed and hugged Mathias. They both stood there and watched Donal's ceremony. Towards the end of the ceremony, Mathias put his hand to Dakota's chest and realized that he couldn't feel the disc. It had become part of his skin. He felt his own chest, where the disc once was, a silvery circle of metallic skin now existed. He pointed this out to Dakota.
"You now have several hundred million nano-machines inside you," Dakota remarked as he pulled Mathias close and kissed him. They could hear another bit of whopping and cheering outside.
"Don't tell me, another bet lost and won," Mathias said, adding: "we should behave during Donal's investiture. At least be a little respectful." They laughed together. It took a good three hours for the University heads to finish their ceremony including lectures, speeches, and slide shows. Mathias and Dakota watched from the relative quiet of their booth. At the end of the investiture, Donal came over and banged on the glass with his new degree. It was printed on rabbit skin parchment.
"I guess some customs never die, diplomas get printed," Mathias remarked at the sight. He started to yell through the glass at Donal, but realized that his voice was merely a whisper. Dakota's voice was not much louder.
"Changes," Dakota whispered. Mathias nodded his head. The silver disc had turned into a five-pointed star and covered most of his chest. The arms of the star continued to spread out towards his limbs and head.
"I didn't feel it happening," Mathias whispered to Dakota.
"This is only a superficial change, the real change is going on inside. The nano-machines begin the transformation in the lungs, that's why you're losing your voice." Dakota went over to the wall of the chamber and saluted Donal. They exchanged congratulations. The congratulation party went on for many hours and Dakota and Mathias watched as much as they could without being bored. Late into the night, the last partygoers decided to have an orgy and lay in the middle of the gardens, not far from the chamber, carrying on.
"Is there any reason we shouldn't have sex?" Mathias whispered his voice nearly gone. Dakota just shook his head from side-to-side indicating no. One of the star's silver arms covered his throat. They embraced started kissing and licking each other. Their skin had a metallic taste and the silvery portion was slick and smooth. It felt both like metal and like skin at the same time. Mathias could feel their hearts beating wildly. Their hard cocks raged in white-hot passion as they worked over each other's bodies, the arms of the silver stars slowly moving out towards their hands and feet. Oblivious to those outside of the chamber, they found a comfortable position to suck each other's horny cocks and greedily clobbered and chewed each other's meat. Unknown to them, the betting squads had fixed scopes, binoculars, and cameras on the chamber to record their every move.
They controlled their passions for well over an hour. Rolling around on the platform, sucking each other's cocks and balls, when they both could stand no more, almost in unison, their bodies stiffened and they both rammed their cocks deep into the other throat pumping large loads of fiery-hot cum into each other. They shook and gripped for a full two minutes before the eruptions stopped and they rolled onto their back, spent and drained, cum drooling out of their mouths and dripping down their faces. The silver markings reached both men's hands and feet. Dakota had a strip over top of his head and down the back of his neck while Mathias' stripe reached nearly to the middle of his back.
"How about I fuck your ass until you're unconscious?" Mathias mouthed to Dakota.
"You're not man enough with that little pecker, you pipsqueak," Dakota mouthed back.
Their ritual insults didn't need voices. Mathias rubbed Dakota's face and spread his cum all over it. Dakota tried to do the same, but Mathias sat bolt up right and grabbed his chest.
"I'm not breathing. My chest isn't moving," he mouthed excitedly at Dakota.
"Neither am I, don't worry about it," Dakota mouthed and grabbed Mathias' head against his chest to hear the lack of breathing. The silvery skin on Dakota's chest felt cool, metallic, and sexy. Mathias could hear or sense any breathing in himself or Dakota. He sat down on the platform and relaxed. Dakota went to the wall of the chamber, knocked enough to get the attention of a few men who were lying in the gardens screwing each other. They paused and looked over and he held up three fingers. They nodded and went back to their screwing. Dakota went back to where Mathias was laying and patted his rump as an invitation. Mathias' cock stiffened at the thought. Dakota knelt on the bench and as Mathias buried his face into his inviting buns, he could see the silver spikes of the star creeping up the back of Dakota's legs and arms. Outside the chamber, the betting public - a handful of young Martians, signaled the start of a more sex.
It didn't take long for Mathias' tongue to loosen Dakota's ass and let him ram his hard, thick cock deep into his hot, tight insides. He longstroked Dakota until he couldn't resist an orgasm that burnt through him like fire. Dakota shot his load against the platform as he felt Mathias' body spasm and stiffen in the throws of orgasmic pleasure. Dakota's heart beat wildly as he lay under Mathias. Still twitching from the orgasm, Mathias felt his skin burn and sting as the silvery coloration suddenly spread over all his body. He gasped at the suddenness of it and released his grip. Dakota rolled over his back and let Mathias land on his body as he felt the heat of his flesh being turned into metal. The nano-machines had assimilated their DNA sequencing and were starting to change them in earnest. Dakota did not have the chance to warn Mathias that the change would proceed quickly and thoroughly from this point on. He felt his heart stop beating as the nano-machines too over his body. Mathias lay on Dakota, chest-to-chest, cock-to-cock, not sure of what was happening.
An intense throbbing coursed through both their bodies as the nano-machines began to change bone to metal. The heat of transformation blazed through their bodies causing their limbs to glow red and radiate heat from the far ends of the hands and feet back into their torsos.
The transformation didn't stop there, the nano-machines continued to change their internal organs, replacing flesh and blood with steel cables, powerful pumps, and liquid, metal blood. Their heart and lungs became atomic fusion furnaces capable of generating vast amounts of power. Their digestive tracks and other internal organs shrank, narrowing their waists and thinning their hips. Hydraulic engines of immense strength and power replaced muscles. Testicles and cocks became flexible metal and grew in size and length, enhanced by the nano-machines. All their bones turned into titanium, muscles and internal organs transmuted to chrome-moly steel, and nerves became miles of gold, silver and platinum threads. The transformation moved up to their brains as a mass of nano-machines converged inside their skulls preparing to devour the pink and gray matter of the human brain and replace it with electronic circuits.
Helpless in the grip of the transformation, both Dakota and Mathias felt the nano-machines transcribe memories, feelings, and emotions into computer programs, digitize their five senses, and create motor skills commensurate with heir new, bodies. New and improved sensory programs and detectors formed inside their bodies. The chaos and randomness of human thought slipped away as constancy and consistency grew in their place. The pleasure centers of sex and sensuality, the physical gratification of lust ceased being a haphazard occurrence, instead it became a systematized function of a brain composed of transistors so small, they almost violated quantum principles. Three hundred years of knowledge poured into their new silicon-oxide memories along with access ports to the memory banks of the main Martian computer. Overwhelmed, Mathias and Dakota lay still in the chamber, both of their new bodies quivering and jerking in response to the irresistible stimulation of all their senses and motor functions.
Everywhere on Mars, computers slowed and programs stopped. The massive collective intellect of the nano-machines, three hundred Martian robots, and the central computer began its analysis of Mathias' DNA. The planet Mars turned into a massive parallel-process computer and focused in on every atom, every base pair, every sequence, every chromosome, and every mitochondria in Mathias' body in search of the ultimate solution to human existence. For an incredible sixty seconds the computer network of MARS neglected everything before it reached the solution. It took another thirty seconds to record the solution into the permanent data banks. Within two minutes, the main computer and the nano-machines restored all normal functions on Mars. The unsuspecting residents of Mars thought the computer outage was merely a glitch due to sunspots or some other solar phenomena. However, the nano-machines began to transmit the newly encoded DNA sequences to not only Mathias and Dakota's still forming metal bodies through their built-in, electronic receivers, but also all the other three hundred robots. It would take a few hours for the nano-machines to add Mathias' new genes to all the Robots on Mars.
Tomorrow, during the New Years Orgy celebration, the robots would join and have sex with the humans and transmit enough nano-machines so that every human on Mars would be converted to a robot without fear of suffering harmful side effects. In a few years, the nano-machines would send an expedition of Martian Robots to earth to continue the process of conversion if any flesh and blood men still existed on Earth.
Right now, the betting crowd saw Dakota and Mathias' bodies turn to silver and chrome. A telltale reddish glow and waves of heat pouring off their bodies were the only outward signs of the transformation. The watchers signaled the entire Martian community. Tomorrow morning, they would unseal the chamber and let the newly formed robots join their older brethren. Little did they know that when they did, all of humanity would change forever.
9930 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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