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All I Have on this Red Planet

Matt Mueller

      "Where is the colony?" growled the heavily decorated soldier of the Factor as I sit facing him in this dark room which smelled of vomit and mildew, probably the vomit smell was from other past, more intense interrogations. No windows, only a metal door with a small caged opening to let some outside light from the hall in. He was tall and lean with very wide shoulders. Numerous medals hung from his chest as it poked toward me, feeling as if it were going to crush me up against the wall. His green skin took on a dark olive shade as he backed up behind the bright light, which now shined brightly in my eyes. His black eyes were no longer visible but his white teeth, visible from the tight growl on his face, glowed hauntingly in the dark. Only the silhouette of his small head was visible atop his large frame.

     "There are many colonies out there, which one are you looking for?" I said quite sarcastically as he took two large steps towards me, grabbing me with his green viselike hands that now constricted my unshaven and sweat drenched throat. God, it was hot on Redus this time of year.

     "Sorry, sorry!" I gasped as his hands slipped from my throat and back to his sides where they returned to fists again.

     "You talk or you die rebel!" he shot at me. I couldn't understand why they wanted this planet so bad or why they wanted us.

     "We mean you no harm, why do you take so much interest in us?" I asked.

     "In order to purify the galaxy we must clean it of worthless planets and trash species such as you humans. Keeping what's useful, like crude petroleum and children for slaves. The planets are nothing but fueling stations and slave auctions for us." He snarled back as if I was supposed to know this. I guess my species could relate to this. We did the very same to Earth, just slower. But we were doing it the right way now. We left Earth for the better life, the pure life, to live life to the fullest while respecting our surroundings.

     "Go fuck yourself, I won't talk, kill me!" I screamed at him. Knowing very well I didn't want to die for there was someone who needed me in a place not far from here and she needed her daddy.

     "So be it." The greenish soldier said as if it didn't matter that I hadn't told him the info or not. "Take this rebel away!" he ordered into some sort of mic which was pinned to his shoulder. "Take him outside the grounds of the fortress and kill him."

     "Kill him? But the general said " the mic's voice reported.

     "Do as I say!" he fired into his mic.

     Two guards walked in. Both having similar racial characteristics to the sergeant, I'm guessing this was his rank, but had very different personalities about them. They seemed very childlike and very clumsy in comparison to the macho mentality of the Sarge. Plus their heads were very large and their bodies were inferior to the Sarge's.

     "Take him to the south wall entrance." He ordered. "Tie him to a tree and execute him!"

     "Yes sir!" they said in unison, sounding like two children playing soldier. They pulled me out of the chair and tied my hands together with nylon cord.

     We stepped out into the night air, and it was almost hard to breathe in the heat and humidity. The air was sweet but still as the night seemed deathly quiet. And I knew I had to think quickly, or my head was going to be embedded in the bark of some lucky tree shortly.

     I unclasped my hands for a moment and felt the rope loosen around my hands. These dimwits couldn't even tie their boots with out someone's help I imagine. The rope was getting too loose though as we walked. I had to hold it and pretend that it was still tied.

     Approaching the south wall now, I can see the gate. It's very old looking for this recently erected fortress. They must have used iron for it, not knowing the corrosion levels for iron were very high here. A loud squealing cut through the night air as the gate swung slowly open. Viewing my sides and not noticing any guards other than the ones escorting me to my tree I wondered what kind of army was this. It almost seemed as if they were all show and no go.

     Taking one last glance around to assure myself that this was the right time, I reached hard to my right and grabbed the Cybertech revolver from the holster that hung at the guard's side.

     "Floom! Floom!" two shots left the barrel of my gun. One shredding through the left eye of the left guard. The second not being as pretty as the first as it ripped open the abdomen of the right guard. The guard now rolled around in agony as a glowing orange seeped onto the ground and sizzled the dirt as if it were being cooked in an old iron skillet. "Floom!" the shot ending him and stopping his movements as it decapitated his large head from his now motionless body. Tucking the revolver in the back of my pants I run for the hidden colony that was no more than a mile and a half from here.

     Sweat is dripping from my forehead, into my eyes as I run through the shadows, keeping as so no one could detect my presence. I was now running away from the Factor's fortress where I had been locked up. The Factor, short for New World Factor, had been an invasionary army that started here, five years into the colonization of the red planet, Redus.

Our ways were peaceful here before this invasion began and people were executed by the factor, which had also been responsible for the earlier destruction of my home planet, Earth. I am part of the rebel forces that hide out among the underground colonies where the NWF have not been able to locate. We have no real means of retaliation against them right now so right now we just try to survive and that means trying to be invisible (undergound). But invisibility is not easily obtained at all times for I was caught getting some food for our colony, we need to get vegetation and fish from the near by lake also in order to survive.

     For the ten years I have been here I have fathered a very bright little five-year-old daughter and she is all that I have left since her mother was shot by one of the Factor's soldiers. She is my little blonde-headed princess and I love her more than anything, more than life itself. She has been very excited lately because she lost a tooth and we are awaiting the tooth fairy to bring her some silver coins for her little white tooth. I can see her now. Big blue eyes full of light and wonder as she discovers her tooth has been replaced with the shiny coins and then holding them in her soft little hands as if they were a great treasure that was newly discovered by her. She is my life. She is the one that I must get back to.

     It's been hard for her not knowing her mother because she sees little girls with their mothers and often asks if she has a mommy and I find myself playing the role of a Sunday school teacher telling her about heaven and that her mother is now an angel. She waits for me at the second entrance into our colony every time I leave to get the food and presents me with one of the biggest hugs that no other little girl could ever be capable of giving, when I return. So I couldn't stay long at the Factor's fortress, she is waiting for me. I had to make my move and make my way back to my little girl for I am all she has and she is all I have.

     Barefoot and still running, I find myself hitting every sharp gift nature has left around on the ground for me. The night air is still full of moisture and booming with the smell of the vegetation that still grows but the air is cooling now as the south winds are starting to pick up. The red moon hides behind the large rock structures that are a common trait of this planet, taking it's time to periodically show it's self to me as it travels through the sky. The sky is an unusual purple. By stripping the resources of the planet the Factor has changed the once beautiful red-brown night sky in just less than two years. But this planet is fighting the change and still retains most of its beauty.

     Oh how that old sky used to relax me after a long day of cultivation in the fields as my wife and I would lay under it's beautiful cloak and make love and make plans for children and a new home someday. All those plans now shattered because of the fucking Factor. My anger now turning to sadness.

     "God I miss you honey." I whisper to the lavender heavens above. Wiping tears from my face I speed up my pace.

     I pass Mercetcity. A ghost town, that once was the center of silver mining on Redus, and now quietly stands between our colony and the factor's fortress. A strange glow covers the city. This is something I have never seen before. As I get closer I can see that the Factor has set up a camp here. What do they want with this city? They are closer to us than we had expected for they had always been working towards the north of us. Staying low and quiet, I continue home.

     200 meters from the city I slip into a hidden entrance that is encased inside of some red rock structure. It looks more like a crack in the side of a huge rock than a possible entrance. Taking one last look to check for any of the Factor's men because this is nighttime and our guards are all within the colonies limits.

     A strange feeling has haunted since I saw that camp. A feeling as if someone had just been following me. My escape had been fairly easy. But this cannot be, I am always so paranoid. I have to be though, that's how you survive now.

     A rock breaks behind me. I stop and listen as the wind starts to howl through the tunnel that leads to my home. Moisture drips on the ground from the ceiling as I listen in silence. More rock cracks away and I know that some one is behind me. A light blinds my face.

     "Stop rebel!" the voice of Sarge shouts. That bastard must have picked his worst guards knowing I would escape and he was following me the whole time. My only chance for the safety of the colony would be to get to the second entrance and get behind its impenetrable titanium doors. It is very a secure colony base, which was constructed for such use, and behind the doors would keep us safe until we would could group together and fight.

     Hitting hard paydirt now I run and run. My legs burning from the brisk run I had just took. Sweat pouring into my eyes still, now it is hard to see in the dark. A light ahead gives me assurance. It's the second entrance.

     "Please God, let her be in the colony somewhere and not waiting for me at the entrance. Just before hitting the second entrance spin around and fire of two rounds from my silver Cybertech revolver the factor had graciously donated to me earlier.

     Three shots are returned as I start to run. One hits my left leg as the other burns trough the flesh of my right shoulder, the last shot hitting cold stone. I fall sliding into the entrance face first, where I look up to see my little girl waiting for me.

     "No!" I scream in horror. My little angel, she has waited these days and these nights not knowing if I would return. I get to my knees and yell to her, "Hit the red switch!" Her worried face shows a smile as she runs three steps toward me only to stop when she sees the blood and dirt and the worry rushes back into her face. "No baby, hit the switch! Don't be scared daddy is fine!" I plead to her. But she will not budge; she is petrified with fear now as she can hear the stomping getting closer to us now.

     A shot rings out behind me that robs sound from my ears. A small lead object enters through my back and begins to rip through flesh and in it's goal finds my heart and rips through my left pocket, leaving my body as quickly as it had entered. Watching the bullet leave me as if my eyes were sewn to it, I see it spin towards my little angel. Standing still in her big blonde pigtails and bright little pink overalls, that are her favorite pair, she doesn't see it closing on her.

     "Move baby, move!" I scream as blood fills my throat dripping to the ground accompanied with tears still wishing the love my heart held for her could have been strong enough to save my little princess.

I'd like to thank the entire Creative Writing class for all their wonderful ideas and for being brutally honest when they needed to be. The story wouldn't be what it is with out you. And also thanks to Terry for not saying anything good about the story so I would feel as though it still needed additional work to make it better. (HA HA) Finally I'd like to thank the spicy food I must have ate that inspired me through a dream to write this story. Robert Weiland

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