The Birth of a Free Mars

The Martian resistance had been highly disorganized on the largest scale. Individual groups planned and executed their own operations against the Transnats, and often possessed completely conflicting aims and objectives. It was only by the narrowest of margins that the end of the Martian Revolution escaped becoming the start of the Martian Civil War. Red or Green, isolationist or interventionist, pro or anti-Belt, centralist or anarchist- the Martians were split along these and dozens of other lines. With Mars staggering toward the abyss, a flurry of diplomacy, arguments, threats, and pleading by the Cerberus Swiss and others resulted in a plan to hold a pan-Martian congress at which all sides could present their views.

That the Port Robinson Conference, and its follow-ups at Flammarion and Solis Dorsum reached any kind of conclusions is remarkable. At Port Robinson, Karin Keller argued for a strong Martian government and the need to avoid passing from Terran dominance into the hands of Ceres; few agreed after the disasters of Hellas. Arkady Aharanov and some of the other radical Reds wanted to continue the war until all the shipyards in Cis-Luna had been destroyed, and to collapse Earth's remaining beanstalks. A fragment of the AI Sophia spoke of the moral necessity of aiding the reconstruction of Earth. The Cerberus Swiss wanted a loose federation, with maximized local autonomy; and a continuation of the terraforming. Wang Hao argued for an immediate alliance with the Belt. Chantal and Hans Clauser, of the famed Amphitrites Laboratories, thought the whole process such a waste of time that they didn't bother to attend. A representative of Nexant was not allowed entry.

In the end though, a consensus of sorts was beaten out. The most important decision of the Flammarion conference was a temporary cessation of terraforming. Solis Dorsum ended with an agreement to provide limited aid for Earth, and with a formal structure for further decision-making. The CirclE for Martian External Affairs (CEMEA, 'see-me') was instituted: a virtual government to approve any proposals from the population costing less than 1% Martian GEP (Gross Ecological Product), and to supervise Martian military defence, customs and immigrations. Any larger proposals would have to be approved by over 60% of Martians in a popular vote.

The 8 million surviving Martians voted in a series of referenda that resulted in a longer-term freeze on terraformation, a legal code of rights and ecological economics.

Mars: 1 2 3 | 4 5 | 6 | Now

The future of Ad Astra

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