Red Alert 1

Red Alert
Part of the Red Planet Series, Part 1 Wild, Wild Red Planet Part 1 Summary, Part 2 Bright Red Dot Part 2 Summary (click the links to read previous stories or short summaries)
by Kevin Koch

“They’re coming for me, Duran.  I’m sending you a copy of my data cache.”

“Yellow, you need to get out of there.  Get out of there now.”

“It’s too late.  The password is the second place you saw me.”

“Yellow?  Yellow?  Answer me.”

There was only static.  Magenta “Gent” Galloway’s saloon had gotten quiet.  Everyone was frozen, drinks half raised to their lips.  They’d only heard half of the conversation, Duran screaming at someone who wasn’t there.  But what they’d heard was enough to halt their celebrating.  One of the more inebriated residents of Blue Skies dropped the twisted piece of metal he’d been holding up.  It landed with the Ares Corporation logo staring Duran right in the face.

Gent, the bar owner, was involved in the resistance against the corporations that controlled every aspect of life of Mars.  The living, the dead, even the air everyone breathed were just commodities.  Duran had joined the resistance with Yellow when they were both young.  Things had been different then, protest signs and rallies where now there was sabotage and armed resistance.  There’d been a time when Duran couldn’t imagine a life without Yellow, but then he’d gone on the run.

It always came back to his sword.  His rocket-powered, nano-engineered sword.  Every corporation and government on the red planet hunted him for it.  It was worse than that though.  The high-tech blade had cut through his life, severing all his ties to anyone he cared about.  Most days he hated it, but now he found his right hand subconsciously reaching for the handle.  He was going to use it to make whoever had gone after Yellow deeply regret it.

Static ate the edges of Duran’s vision.  The distortion got worse, working its way across his entire field of view.  It got so bad he had to disconnect his personal computer.  His contact lens heads up display died, leaving his vision unenhanced but also unimpeded.  It was weird not having the computer constantly analyzing everything he was looking at.

“What’s wrong, Duran?” Doctor Blackstone Moss, the Blue Skies geologist, asked.

“They’ve taken my friend Yellow,” Duran said.  “At least I hope they’ve taken her.”

“That’s not good.  She’s your resistance contact,” Gent said.

“She’s practically running the whole show,” Duran said.  “Or at least she’d a major player.  I’ve been out of that game.”

“Then we’re all compromised,” Gent said.  “We need to get the word out and go underground.”

“Yellow wiped everything,” Duran said.  She hadn’t told him directly, but he knew her.  “They won’t get anything from her hardware, and they won’t get anything from her, at least at first.”

“We need to reach out to your contact, Gent,” Blackstone said.

“Yellow sent me a copy of all her data, it overloaded my computer for a bit.  Once it sorts itself out, we’ll take a look.”

“What are you hoping to find in there?” asked Blackstone.

“Names and locations of every resistance cell we can get our hands on.”

“Do you have a plan?” Gent asked.

“Yes.  We’re going to get Yellow before they can torture the names of every resistance fighter in this hemisphere out of her.  And we’re going to take down the Ares Corporation.  They crossed a line here.”  Duran pointed out the window at the smoking wreckage of one of the attack helicraft the company had sent to destroy Blue Skies.  “They crossed a line and they need to be stopped.”

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