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The Children of Mars - Chapter 1

Short story By: fearnotbooks
Science fiction



Christian Science Fiction


Submitted:Oct 15, 2011    Reads: 18    Comments: 2    Likes: 2   


THE CHILDREN OF MARS

Copyright (c) Victor Darnell Hadnot

CHAPTER 1

"For what passes as normal is but the transcendence of the psyche." Freud

There is that fine line between wanting to serve and wanting power. I wasn't sure which one I had sought or which one I had crossed. My wife, Eva, had been with me when the times were tough and she proudly stood with me when things began to become fruitful. We had three children. All of them were born on Mars. I wasn't born on Mars but Eva was. It was a hard fought battle but the politics of Mars was very different than that of Earth. Mars had been colonized for about a hundred years before I was born. There were these gigantic domes which populated the surface of the planet. Back in the day, only small towns and villages existed. The dome technology was in its infancy. Lots of kinks had to be worked out before they began to have the expertise and technology to construct those super domes. The great expansions of the Twenty Third Century. I was running for office. Seeking to be Mayor of one of the largest dome cities on Mars. Running such a city was a daunting task as one might imagine. Factor in corruption and greed, aliens, and Martian Patriots, you had a recipe for disaster. I don't know why I originally ran for office. Seemed a long time ago. But. Now I found myself standing in the middle of a large ballroom, giving a speech about nothing, really. But. They all applauded. Smiles on their faces, money cards drawn for yet another good cause. I was good at that. Doing the political thing.

My wife of more than thirty years, beautiful and graceful. Long brown hair flowing in locks and curls, face like that of a superstar, with eyes bright green. She approached me after the speech, a drink in her hand for me and two people following her, they looked important. Eva said, "You did well, dear. These are the Cornwells. Two of our children actually went to boarding school with theirs."

I had a billion dollar grin, I shot it to them. "Nice to see you again." I didn't have a clue as to who they really were. Ask me to pick them out of a small crowd and I couldn't have. "How's that golf swing doing?" My teeth were perfectly set and my smile was polished to the point of perfection. I was a politician from both birth and training. I was taken in early, that was how I met Eva.

We talked to the Cornwells for a good ten minutes. Then. I smoothly worked the room. Old friends and new friends. No friends at all. "How many of these are we going to have to do before you become Mayor?" Eva smiled as she gritted her teeth, nodding at guest as she passed them.

"You want to be first lady of the city don't you?" I kissed her on the cheek.

"I suppose." She caught my face in the cup of her hand and really kissed me.

The truth be told. I don't think Eva wanted it as much as I did. She came from old money, from here on Mars. The story goes that her grandparents came to Mars way back when the early settlers were just getting started. At that time, mining was the big thing, still is today. But back then, it was really hard. People had to live in tiny enclosed environments. If they were lucky, they might have had a prototype environmental dome attached to the roof of the complex. Some chose to live apart from the others. Anyway, Eva's great grandparents hit it big mining. Ever since, they have been old money on Mars. So. She was already used to power and status. I on the other hand, came from much more modest roots. My grandparents worked for the big corporations. They never paid them much. Enough to keep them working, you know how big business acts. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Just look back at the Earth in the early Twenty First Century, remember all that greed? Well, it never went away. So. I needed this more than she did. I wanted to prove to her parents that I was somebody. That I wasn't just some guy who managed to talk their daughter into marrying him. Though, you'd think after thirty years, yeah, three decades, and three kids later, I'd have earned some acceptance. In-laws are funny like that. Some couples get lucky, and things work out just fine, but, that wasn't my life, with my in-laws. Oh. They were civil enough. Treated the kids well. Eva and I had children late in life, like so many of our friends chose to do, it was the trend. Work hard, make lots of money, and then settle down to raise a family. So. Even though Eva and I had been together for a long time, our oldest kid was just approaching twenty. While the youngest was just getting ready to turn sixteen. We put them all in boarding school. The best one on Mars. It also happened to be the most expensive one as well. Again. It was the trend. Have kids and then farm them off so that someone else would have to worry about them If you are middle class, this might sound kind of cold, impersonal, but, if you are rich, it is just the way things are done. Doesn't mean that you love your kids any less than someone that doesn't have money. It just means that money affords you the opportunity to have kids and still have a life at the same time.

I sat behind my big oak desk. It cost a fortune to import all the way from Earth, but, it also made me look all the more important. My campaign manager, Sally, sat across from me, along with the others. We were talking political strategy. I was running against the incumbent, Mary Hughs. She was from old money, too. But. Her family made their money back on Earth. It wasn't that she was a bad Mayor, it was just that the people were in a mood, they wanted someone new, a fresh face, and mine was already out there, in the ether. "So. You think we can gain a few points if we move in that direction?

Sally, would be my chief of staff, if we won. "The poles show a significant bump."

"How big of a bump?" I asked as my feet went up on the edge of my desk. Oh. I loved that desk. When I won, notice how I say, when? When I won, I was going to have that desk moved to my new office.

Someone in the group blurted out. "Ten points, maybe better."

"But I'll have to take a stand on something, right?" I didn't like being boxed in on issues.

"Well. Yes. I suppose that you might. But. That is the only way that you can put some daylight between you and Hughs."

"Mary isn't stupid. She has to know this." I put it out there.

"Yes. But she has had to back track on too many issues already. She's trying to appeal to the swing voters." Sally explained.

"We might just have her where we want her. Coming up to the final debate." Another person uttered.

"Don't underestimate Hughs. I know her very well. She and my wife belong to the same spa. They talk all the time. She's a fighter. She hasn't been Mayor all this time for no reason and she does have a strong base." I pointed out the obvious.

I digress a little. I wanted to be Mayor to make changes in the way that things were run. Most people, like I had said, were sick and tired of business as usual. It comes when things are not going well. Ever notice, that when things are doing great, that people never get tired of that? No one says: Let's throw the bums out, things are going too well. Well. For me, things were moving in my direction. All I had to do was keep the pressure on Hughs. We had, had two debates already. The first one, I wasn't one my game. She took me to task on so many things. Being the Mayor, she held a distinct advantage. But. Luck was on my side. Hughs came across as bitchy. The public didn't reward her the bump in the pole numbers that she had been expecting, for putting on a good show. So. The next debate, she held back, her camp tried to paint her is the woman next door. Right. Hughs was anything but the woman next door. Since when is the woman next door worth nine billion dollars? She was not the woman next door, unless the woman next door was Mary Hughs. Anyway. I got the edge over her because of that. I picked up points and the field was level. Now. My camp was looking to put some distance between me and her and hopefully, about time elections came, I'd win by a commanding lead. Alright. So. What could go wrong? They always do in political campaigns. And mine was no exception. Was I the politician with the sick and dying wife, cheating on her with another woman, twenty years her junior? No. I loved my wife. To me, Eva was perfect. Perfect for me, anyway. But something was brewing. Something was amiss. I first got word of it from Sally. She told me that rumors were starting to circulate, quietly at first, but then. Hughs got wind of them. I swear, if that woman could do anything, she could find dirt on an angel. Seems I had a long lost daughter, that just happened to come out and reveal herself, as I was making a bid for Mayor. Go figure.

"You can't be serious," I remember asking Sally.

Sally shrugged, "I'm afraid that there might be some truth to the issue. Anyway. Like you asked, though, completely against better judgment, she's out there." I had asked Sally and my staff to fetch the young woman, I wanted to see her and I felt I could handle the situation."

My office had the important staff members in it when the young woman came in. She was young, in her early twenties. How in the hell could this be? I was faithful to my wife and children. You see, because when a person cheats on their spouse, they are not just cheating on the spouse, they are also cheating on their children. I had enough sense to know this, and I had enough political ethics and survival skills not to do something like that. Like I had said, I wanted to make a statement to my in-laws, that I was as good as them. Something like this would just undo years of work and planning.

"So. You are my long lost daughter?" I asked, squarely seated in my chair.

The young woman did bare a strong resemblance to me. Almost too strong. Just looking, she could indeed be related to me. But my daughter? "My name is Icara. Hello, father." Everyone became undone, when she spoke, she was mild mannered, not your normal gold digging kind of political saboteur. What was her game?

"Well. It hasn't been proven that you are my daughter." I casually uttered. But just then a member of my staff came in and whispered something to Sally. Sally's eyes cut cross to mine. I retracted, "Or. Perhaps you are?"

Sally spoke up, "DNA confirms that she is your daughter. The match is off the charts." Everyone in the room reacted, some good, some not so good, some left the room to do damage control. "Who is your mother?"

Icara responded immediately. "I'm an orphan. I was raised in an institution."

Sally uttered, "The Children of Mars."

"What was that?" I asked.

"The Children of Mars. As you know, some cities have a high percentage of abandoned and orphaned children. She's saying that she is one of them." Sally immediately began to work on the woman's story.

I don't have to say it. It was going to be devastating to my campaign. Most of the voting public in Diamond City, the city in which I wanted to be Mayor, were very conservative. With this scandal, I'd lose a good one third or so, of my votes. I knew that Mary Hughs was behind this, because I knew that I hadn't ever cheated on my wife. My wife? Oh. Man. What was I going to say to her? And my kids? How was I going to explain to them that I was innocent of the scandal? They all knew that politics was dirty. I had run for public office before, but nothing like the Mayor's office. This was definitely high profile. It gained a lot of attention, not just in my city, but in a lot of other cities in the region. And then you had the cities that were basically inhabited by aliens, Elves actually. They were called the Elves of Mars, because about a hundred year ago, mankind discovered, that those cute little tales that people used to tell back on Earth, about Elves and the Forest Folk. Well. There was a seed of truth in them, as is in most folk tales. It turns out that the Elves once lived on Mars, way before the planet became a wash. Some of them migrated to the only inhabitable planet closest to them. That would be Earth. But. When mankind became able to colonize Mars, they revealed themselves. There was a big mess about who actually owned Mars. In the end, it turned out that no one race could lay claim to the planet. Too many other aliens had also live on Mars. So. Instead of endless war, everybody decided that the planet was big enough for everyone. The aliens stuck to their cities and humans to theirs. Oh. There were more progressive cities that had integrated populations. Diamond City wasn't one of them. Like I said, the population was comprised of very conservative people. Mars for humans, there was a movement, even after a hundred years. Mostly because the alien population thrived, and because politicians could use the hatred, to gain votes.

My wife was an understanding woman, but not that understanding. "So. You are going to just stand there and tell me that this woman is not your daughter. But. Every known science says otherwise? Do you want to lose to Hughs and destroy your marriage?"

I found myself a stiff drink. "Eva, I am telling you the truth. I have never cheated on you. You have to believe me."

Eva approached me, I was afraid she was going to do something to me, so I moved away. "Don't you go running off from me, Larry."

I stopped. "Well, I don't want to get hurt by you. I know how you can get. That is how I got this scar."

Eva stopped, knowing what I was talking about. "You are right. For a brief moment. I was going to hit you with something. You swear she is not yours? What about all the DNA evidence?"

"I don't know, fixed?" I know, I didn't buy it either.

"Really? That is the best that you've got? Someone fudged with the science?" Her eyes rolled when she said it. She went over and fixed herself a drink, also. "Where is that woman at now?"

"She's safe in a motel." I blurted out.

"What the hell? Is that the best that Sally could do?" Hell no! I want her brought directly here."

I was confused. "But. Why? That makes no sense?"

Eva shook her pretty head. "Which one do you want? The woman discovered by the press, in a seedy motel? Or. When the crap hits the fan, and it is, right now, the woman here, where we can control the sound bite?"

That is what I loved about Eva, she was born to be a politician's wife. "You are right. I'll have Sally make the arrangements."

The arrangements were made and Eva met with Icara for the first time. It was just the two of them. Icara was nervous but she was also unassuming. "I don't suppose that you are my mother?" The young woman asked.

Eva shook her head. "Believe me, if I had you, you wouldn't have been an orphan."

"Then it is just on Larry's side. I see..." She seemed very sad.

"Well. You know who your father is, anyway. Have any idea who your mother might be?" Eva studied the woman for weakness.

"I only know about Larry."

"Who told you about Larry? My husband was your father?"

"I got some papers sent to me. I don't know who sent them. They had everything all laid out. Dates and stuff. Look. Mrs. Harper. I'm not trying to make trouble for the two of you. In fact, I'll just go away. I just wanted to meet my father. Let him know that I'm still alive. I'll go away and you'll never see me again." Icara was telling the truth, she really didn't want any trouble.

"Nonsense. You are the daughter of my husband. You are going to live with us. We owe you alot." It was Eva's way of seeing if money was the woman's motive.

"You don't owe me anything. I was given a large sum of money. In some kind of a trust fund, it was part of the letter that was sent to me. So. You see, this is not about money. I just wanted to meet my father, Mrs. Harper." Eva would later tell me that if it wasn't about the money. Then it was about the politics. We both knew that Icara's sudden appearance on the political stage was no coincidence.

It was after we had gotten the children together, we told them our version of the change of events, they had already heard the media version. Their friends chimed in on the controversy. Good and bad, from what my wife and I were told, by our kids. At one point we brought in Icara. The situation was very tense. Eva and myself had already gone through the stages, but the kids had to find their own way. Icara was pleasant. She didn't expect to be accepted and she knew that there were all sorts of issues, regarding sibling rivalry, that she would have to learn to deal with. Growing up in an institution made her tough, but there was this gracefulness about the young woman. I hadn't noticed it actually, it was Eva that told me about it. We all tried in our own way, to see what the young woman really wanted from the family. After weeks of showing her how the family lived, we all began to come to the conclusion that she just wanted to be loved and accepted. And if we were not able to do that, then she was content to go on her way, as she had indicated many times to various members of the family. Eva felt that Icara might appreciate a first rate education and offered to pay for college. I suspected that it was a way of getting rid of Icara without seeming to be cruel. A funny thing began to develop over the course of getting to know Icara, the kids took a liking to her. It was Icara's personality, she didn't like to be intrusive.

How all this was going to play out was anybody's guess. My political team broke the news that we had brought Icara into our home. Eva's political instincts were right on the money. But there was a deeper problem. It was generally accepted that Hughs was behind all of this mess, so, Eva had the task of confronting her friend. Some friend? Everyone was wondering how she had managed to pull this off. I pointed out to Eva that the two woman talked, because of their friendship and connection to the spa and other functions. They had known each other a long time. It was at a fund raiser for Hughs. Eva went uninvited, there was a little confusion at first, but Mary quickly, and wisely got it under control. The two women managed to get to a private area of the enormous estate. Mary offered Eva a drink and the two women settled in and squared off. There was occasional interruption from various staffers, but they finally got down to business. "Your husband has himself a little mess, doesn't he? That is why you crashed my fund raiser, isn't it, Eva?"

Eva rolled her eyes. "You know, we know, that you are behind all this. Why? I thought we were friends?"

"Oh, Eva. We are. But Larry is running for Mayor. That makes him a threat to me and what I want to do." The woman sounded cold and without a soul.

"So. That is it. You want to be Mayor, again, so badly that you'd do something like this?"

"Like what? You need to be talking to your husband. See who he has been cheating on you with. I've have at him if it were my husband!"

"Destroy my marriage? You don't want to just stop Larry from becoming Mayor. You want my marriage to be over as well?"

"Politics is a hard game, Eva. I've been Mayor and I know the tricks."

"Why spend all that money to be Mayor? What are you getting out of it? Why don't you bow out gracefully, and run for a higher political office?"

"Maybe one day I will. Thanks for the advice."

"It wasn't advice."

"Well. How are your children getting along with their new sibling?"

"You don't really care. You'd like to see my marriage over. Larry disgraced. My children damaged. I can't believe I actually considered you a friend." Eva left the gathering resigned to never wilfully having to speak to Hughs ever again.

Icara and Eva found time to just talk during the whole process. Hughs tried to make it into a big ass scandal, questioning my morality, thus reflecting poorly on my ability to lead, translated into how I'd run the city if elected Mayor. I had to think about what she was doing to me and my family, and then make the leap as to what she must be, really, doing to the city. While Mars had great technology, it had to, in order for humans and others to live on it, it had its fair share of poverty. It looked like no matter where mankind went, the poor were sure to be present. Way back in the last century, there was this great movement to do away with money. Try and base society on the honor system. A person would work because of the good of the society and because in doing so, there was self-satisfaction. It was called the Idocratic Movement. Idocraticism swept all the societies on Earth. As a result of that form of government, poverty was all but wiped out. But. The super rich didn't like it. Surprise! They wanted to keep their power and their wealth. Suddenly, colonizing Mars seemed to be the way of getting around that problem. It was history repeating itself, but on a grander scale. Though, in retrospect, colonizing a new world, across the ocean, must have seemed as daunting as colonizing a new world, on another planet. The rich created incentives for people to go and brave the hardships of a planet, that was as cold as the polar caps, had no oxygen, natural food, shelter, you name it. Engineers figured out that it was easier to created shelters within the ground. It cut down on materials and manufacturing. Basically, dig a big hole in the Mars landscape, cover it with a transparent dome. It worked. And the good thing was that when expansion came, all you had to do was dig deeper. Think ant farm when you were a kid, there is a minimum presence on the surface, but all sorts of networks beneath the ground. So. After a hundred years or so, there were these domes across the surface of Mars, with vast networks beneath the surface, housing millions of beings. Eva and Icara sat one day watching the sunrise across the sprawling Martina landscape. "You must think me a fool for contacting your family after all these years." Icara expressed her mind.

Eva really was conflicted about the young woman. "No. You had a right to seek out your parents. It is only natural."

"But?"

"I'm sorry?" The two woman gauged one another.

"Why now? When your husband. My father. Is making a bid for political office. Diamond City is a major hub for all sorts of commerce."

"So. You are aware of the political implications?"

"I'm not stupid, Eva. I know what type of strain this must have on your family. I have no desire to see Hughs win. She's not good for the city. She is corrupt."

"Aren't all politicians to some degree? All government workers, really."

"Specially in the justice system. Poor people can't seem to get a break. I like the Idocratic System of government they have back on Earth. It is more fair to everyone."

"Not to the wealthy it isn't. I didn't know you were an Idocraticist."

"Left to my own devices and all that."

"Of course. Not having real parents to mold you into their image. It must have been frightening for you?"

"It was all I ever knew. Until I received that letter."

"Yes. That letter that changed your entire life. Now you are privy to wealth. How does that make you feel?" Eva was tempting her.

"Honestly? It makes me feel like crap! There are so many children that could benefit from the wealth that so few possess. It is immoral actually." Icara's lyrical voice drifted on off.

Icara had been raised very differently than the way that Eva and I raised our children. The Children of Mars were the byproduct of a Capitalized society that based self worth on what a person possessed. It favored the rich and discriminated against the poor. While such a system dominated Earth a hundred years ago, in order to achieve world peace, the powers that be, namely, the poor masses, finally joined together, to force a different type of government into power. On Earth, money was outlawed. When that one revelation came forth, it was shocking at first. Outlaw money? The wealthy families that ran everything suddenly found themselves on equal footing with the common man. They didn't like it. As you can imagine, colonization of Mars came quickly, as the remaining rich found more and more ways to con the average person into settling on Mars. After all, the rich were not going to do any real work, they needed to have eager slaves to ink-on-paper, to get the things done that needed to get done. Over the course of time, Mars broke away from Earth, and declared its independence. It was about that same time, that aliens began to make themselves known, more and more. Finally, Mars was populated with humans from Earth, elves from both Earth and other worlds, and a small assortment of other outer worldly creatures. After adjustments to the political system, Mars emerged as the Capitalist world with Earth evolving into the Idocratic world. There was all sorts of propaganda always going on, saying that Earth was some how backwards, evil, so on and so forth. That was all designed to brainwash the masses on Mars, into thinking that they had it better than those on Earth. The truth of the matter was that the super rich families, needed to keep the general workers on Mars. They didn't want them looking for a better life or thinking that the grass was greener on Earth. Even, if in truth, it actually was. Mary Hughs caught me one day off guard. I don't know if she planned it or if it was all a coincidence, like she pretended it to be. I had been campaigning very hard, specially after the scandal had broke lose, my once comfortable ten point lead had dwindled to an even tie. I was in my hotel room. When I came out of the shower, in my bed was a nude Mary Hughs. I stood there for a long moment, shocked, then: "What in the hell are you doing here, Mary?"

Mary moved about the bed in a sinuous fashion. "Oh, come on, Larry. You are a big boy and you know all the ropes, don't you?"

I groped around for my clothes. "Look, I don't know what is going on here. But. You should leave."

Mary liked to flaunt her sexy body. "I happen to know that you and your wife are not getting along too well. Specially since Icara has shown up."

I just gave up and sat on a chair across from her, towel draped across my nether parts. "If you have some kind of communication device planted in here, and are trying to ruin me further, I'm not going to bite. While you are an attractive woman, you are married and I am married."

Mary got up and went to the wet bar. "That is what makes it all so great. Don't you think? Because we are married, and the scandal and all, no one would think in a million years, if we suddenly started to have an affair."

"Why in the freak would you want to have an affair with me? You obviously hate me."

She brought a drink over to me. "Oh. Grow up, Larry. Kids in a sandbox."

"What?"

"You know. Children in a sandbox. The girl likes the little boy. The little boy is oblivious to it. So. She tries and tries to get his attention. Finally, she hits him. Got his attention now. Do I have your attention, Larry?" She deliberately flaunted her nude body around me.

"You are willing to destroy your political career just to have an affair with me? Is that what I'm hearing? Because I don't believe a word of it! I think you should leave, right now!"

It was as I had suspected, Hughs had managed to have the incident recorded, both audio and video. She sent a copy to Eva who was more than pissed off when she confronted me. I explained that the other woman had managed to get into my hotel room, without permission. Eva used a friend who was a detective, she got to the bottom of things rather quickly and that diffused the tension growing between Eva and me. The detective was an old friend of the family, she had done some work for us in the past. Candy Harlow got Eva and me together and presented what was proving to be an elaborate conspiracy, by Mary Hughs, but the end game was not political gain. From what was shown us, the woman, that Eva thought was her friend, had, had an eye on me for a very long time. I had decided way back that I wanted to impress my in-laws, by making something special of myself. Independent of Eva's wealth. The problem, was that Eva, thinking that Mary was her friend, confided in her. Mary, for reasons that were not clear, had desired her friend's husband, me. I didn't know anything about her infatuation, until the hotel incident. Eva sat back and examined the evidence that the detective had given us. We paid the detective a good deal of money and sent her on her way. Left by ourselves, Eva began to tell me, what at first, she had ignored about Mary. But. In light of the events both past and present, Eva reinterpreted them in a new light. That light cast Mary Hughs, as an opportunist, with very little real feelings for Eva, as her friend. Transactions and other things, hidden, until Candy Harlow uncovered them showed that Hughs was attacking my family, financially, from way back when. Eva couldn't believe that she hadn't seen it sooner. Funny. How you think you know someone, only to find out that they are a complete facade. Mary Hughs actually hated Eva and coveted her husband. But she acted like they were so close friends. It also became evident that Hughs had attempted to sabotage many financial ventures that my family tried. We had always wondered why those things didn't go well. But the real shocker was that Mary Hughs was mother to Icara. No one had thought to check Mary Hughs' DNA. We were talking about the strange revelations when Icara happened by.

"What is it I'm not suppose to know?" The young woman quietly enter the study.

Eva's facial expression said it all. "You need to know. It's going to come out eventually. These are documents that show that Mary Hughs is actually your mother."

Icara sat squarely in a plush leather chair. She was so shocked that her words came out with disbelief. "So. You and Hughs are my parents? You two had an affair?"

Eva interjected. "That is what Hughs wants the world to believe. But. It is not true. More than likely, Mary, that back stabbing bitch, got hold of Larry's DNA. She would have had plenty opportunity, we all hung around in the same circles. I actually considered her my friend, before..."

"Before what? Icara asked.

I spoke up, after seeing Eva's glance at me. "Mary Hughs tried to seduce me a little while back. She had the whole thing recorded. It didn't turn out the way that she expected. But. She still sent a copy to my wife."

"Oh. No. But that makes you innocent in all that. Surely? But I sense that there is something else wrong?" Icara's tiny voice drifted.

"If Mary Hughs can't get a second term as Mayor, she is determined to see to it that I don't. She wanted me to be with her. When she saw that, that wasn't going to happen, then, well, you know the rest. The damage will be that she and I had a child, you. In this conservative city, I'll all but be wiped out. I can't win the election. A third party will win, with Hughs and me being kicked to the curb, by the voters. But. We think you are an inverse clone." I confessed.

The news that Icara was not my daughter as had been previously broadcasted was all the more shocking, as to what she really was. For the kids, they suddenly had an aunt that was very close to their own age. But. From the shocker of that revelation, came the added problem. The law on Mars was very strict about who and went a close could be created. Cloning for the rich was a way of circumventing having to will your money and wealth to your children, instead, a clone could be created, and the rich could will everything to themselves. Earth had very strict laws governing cloning, for estate purposes. It was illegal. However, that didn't stop those who wanted to live forever, from doing it. It was just done through the black market. A good quality black market clone could cost way over a million globals. On Mars, where estate cloning was legal, the price was the same, because the demand was so high. So. A million globals got you a clone. An inverse clone was a tricky thing, however. It required that the process at some point, reverse the sex of the cloned, and in doing so, completely change the gender identity of the person. It worked well for those who had gender dysphoria. In your next clone cycle, you could come back as the gender you felt that you were suppose to be. But. In Icara's case, the problem was that I was still alive. Legal cloning on Mars could only take place, if the person was dead. In this case, Mary Hughs' hatred of Eva and her lust for me, drove her to do something that would surely backfire on her. She'd lose the election for sure. I'd go on to become Mayor of Diamond City. Eva was proud of me and the in-laws were very impressed. And I did it, without their money, or their influence. It was hard for me to understand how this all came about. Even harder for poor Icara, who was simply used my Hughs as a pawn. Imagine how she felt? She was created, not to loving parents, but for some deranged woman's delusions. I had my attorneys conceal the evidence that the detective had provide us, making sure that no one could ever come after my family, or hurt poor Icara. Icara was now more than ever, part of the family, but I re-introduced her as my long lose sister from Earth. No one would really care, Martians considered themselves somehow better that people from Earth. And because Mary Hughs had done such a good job of keeping no public records of Icara's birth, it was easy to have an identity created for her, because there was noting to contradict it. But. It bothered Icara and one day she confronted Mary Hughs.

"Why did you do this to me?" Icara's voice was broken and filled with frustration.

Mary just rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. If it weren't for me, you wouldn't even exist. You should be grateful. You are wealthy now, with a name and family. Hell. I hear that Larry touts you as his sister. Can't get any better than at. I mean, when you think about all the Children of Mars. Those poor little bastards, how any one of them would long to have someone just to love them. And here you are, taken from that institutionalized life and made instantly famous and wealthy, you have a family that obviously loves you and accepts you. Don't bitch at me."

"But you are my mother..."

"Look, you little bitch! I only had you to get at that cunt faced bitch, Eva Harper. Well. It all failed. I'm no longer seen as the darling of Diamond City. That honor now belongs to Eva Harper, may she rot in hell!" Mary had been drinking heavy.

"So. You have no feelings for me?"

"The only thing I regret was not having you cloned as him. Then I could have had my way with you, as him. Much younger, and all the more satisfying." The two woman squared off.

"You are a monster! It makes me sick to think that you are my mother!" It was at that point that Mary pulled out a weapon and pointed it at Icara. Icara and Marry got into a prolonged struggle. At the end of the fight, Mary lay on the floor, bleeding out, with a fatal wound. Icara escaped secretly. She told Eva and me what happened but no one ever suspected her involvement and we made sue that it stayed that way.





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