A continuing story about an interesting Martian.
|Jon Nomad was born in the Mars Colony of Yorktown on May 3, 200 PC; Post Colony. It was the Martian calendar. He was the only son of the famous explorers Tia and Ty Nomad who had first found proof that there was a habitable atmosphere within the massive, deep caverns below the desert surface of Mars.
He grew up as any other child would only he did not see himself as human as that spoke of Earth. He was not born there; he was born on Mars so he saw himself as a Martian. The sun crystals that grew in the ceilings of the massive caverns provided enough light to give the illusion of sunlight, thus their name. They seemed to dim when the sun set on the surface which was left to the explorers and scientists to figure out. The colonists really did not care how they worked just that they did.
Jon grew up to take the same occupation as his parents and stumbled upon an ancient Martian city…
It was June 1st, 225 PC when Jon made the discovery. He was in a hazardous environment exoskeleton or HEX suit which allowed him to work on the inhospitable surface of Mars while searching for precious ore and entrances to other cavers to house the growing population. He did find ore but it had already been refined as long rails that were reminiscent of pictures he had seen of railroads on Earth. The rails rested upon the floor and ran deep into the entrance of a cavern that was before hidden under the dunes of sand.
"This must have been uncovered after the last sandstorm." He raised an eye brow. "Only who laid this track and where does it lead."
Jon was about to report his find but only heard static. He turned to his suit and saw sparks flying off the fabric which only meant one thing; there was another sandstorm on the way. Martian sandstorms were known to hit with little to no warning and could produce sustained winds twice that of a class five hurricane on Earth. Anyone caught in any such storm would not survive to see it end. They would be stripped to the bone by the razor sharp sand particles even with the HEX suit on within an hour. There was only one option, Jon had to take cover fast and the newly discovered cavern was the closest that offered any shelter at all. He ran into the cavern entrance just as the wind began to howl, reducing visibility to zero in seconds.
Grateful to be alive, Jon followed the rails down a steady forty degree incline for nearly two kilometers before the tunnel opened into a massive cavern, larger than anything before discovered since the first colony four hundred years ago. Sun crystals lit the cavern but there were also lights below. What greeted him on the cavern floor was a city or at least what was left of it. The tall buildings were crumbled, barely standing on their own with many smaller buildings leveled from what could only have been centuries of neglect with no one living within its boundaries. Jon looked about to find a path off the rails that lead into the city and followed them, hoping to find a way to signal Yorktown of both his location and his discovery.
"First thing is first." He looked at his environmental gauge; the air was breathable. "I better save the oxygen supply for the return trip to Yorktown."
It was a five kilometer march from where he was to the Yorktown colony entrance, not counting the walk to the surface. He doubted his rover would be there when he got there as the winds would throw it around like a toy, thus he did not run to it for shelter. He unlatched the helmet and took it off with a hiss before turning off the oxygen supply to preserve it. The air was stale with a faint stench he did not recognize but it was not enough to cause any discomfort so he decided it better to tolerate it than to waste his oxygen for the return trip home.
As Jon came closer to the city the more he found signs that the city was emptied in a swift and panicked evacuation. He found the mummified remains of fallen residents in the wide stone streets and along the sidewalks. One of them was of a young male, his skull was crushed from multiple fossilized foot prints in the hardened soil around it. Another mummy belonged to a little female who was literally crushed under the remains of a small building with another female who had used her body as a shield.
Jon winced at the sight and moved on through the streets. He occasionally tried his communicator but got no signal due to either the storm or he was too deep below the surface to make a clear satellite connection to make contact. "Something major happened here." He muttered. "I need to find out what; it could happen again only to the colonies."
He walked for what seemed to be an eternity before he reached a tall building that still seemed to be new and intact despite the ruins surrounding it. Curious, he entered through the torn open door...