The Prologue

PROPHET OF MARS
Prologue

 They moved into the still darkness of the roughly hewn room, where in reverence they gathered. Walking in single file, each one holding a small silver lamp containing a bright red flame. After twice circling the room they formed a circle, placing their lamps before them on the outer edge of the raised stone dais, rising from the center of the room. They sat down on an outer circle of stone benches. The last person in this silent procession was the priest. Dressed in a flowing robe of white linen, his face covered with a black and gold mask. He held in one hand an ancient book, and in the other a tall staff, that resembled the crosiers carried by Bishops. But the head of this staff looked to some like a broken Ankh of old, to others it was like a scythe, and to all of them it was a symbol of hope.     

 Walking to the middle of the circle of light, the priest placed the book on a rock lectern, which was carved as if to rise from the rock floor. He placed the crosier’s base into a small hold shaft in the floor beside the dais. Opening the book, he looked around the faces of all those gathered around him. In the silence, all could hear him breathing, even breathing in time with him as he filled his lungs with air. He raised both hands into the air over his head and slowly bringing them down in broad sweeping arcs to his sides, he spoke:

  Children of our new God, blessed be. The ancient name, and the One, being born before us. All rise, in silence and face the east”.

”These twenty-five words, change everything about my life”, Roselyn thought, as they had changed the lives of so many others, of all of the people gathered in this room. They had felt the same passion and power about those words. “Along, with them”, her thoughts continued, “so had the face of humanity and the face of a planet and the face of destiny.” But nothing, was as it seemed, the change was starting, it was going to happen, but to how it was to unfold, that was something no one knew or that no one could even have imagined.

 Mars, the red planet, the dry mysterious planet, the planet of Ares, the planet of the war gods, and the planet that she had chosen for better or worse, and the planet that she was determined to make her home. This planet, that was about to give birth, to a new life for all who chose to answer the call and those to those with enough spirit and strength to understand, In another sense she thought, to those had chosen to come to it, was is really a choice when you feel compelled, or drawn to something that is far beyond any normal need or feeling? Can a primal response or an involuntary effect to an unknown source be called a choice?

 However with this new life she thought, there was a new hope for these people and for all of those gathered a chance to create a new life, a new world and even perhaps a new faith. Whether they knew it or not, whether they truly believed or hoped, did that matter?  They were like her, they were unsure about all things and even if they would live to see this task completed. They did not expect to see this birth of a planet and rebirth of man, but hope and dreams are what led man to travel throughout history and now had led mankind to this new world. She was not listening to the words of the priest, because she was lost in her thoughts, and though she was not unsure of her faith she was perhaps unaware of it.

Turning a page in the book, the priest began to speak words that all the assembled knew as well as the priest knew them. Words that were the basis for the creation of this room carved from the heart of Mars, and the basis of the faith that was carved into the hearts of those gathered.

”Rise and sing the Hymn of the Prophet, and remember as you do this, the promises you made to the task at hand as you sing”.

Her mind began to wander off again, think of ‘the task at hand’, those tasks behind us as those of their own choice, of choosing to leave the cradle of our race and crossing the void; and those ahead of us, someday living under a new sky and walking with a new Earth beneath their feet. Could we say “the earth beneath our feet” or should we have to say the “mars beneath our feet”. That did not seem to be the right phrase. So maybe we should call it ground, but is it some hardwired mental convention or is it something more primal that makes us call this or any firmament “earth”?

”I think I would fare well on Mars where the ceaseless red soothes tired eyes while slowly eating at the soul”

The words of this song, that she had learned as a child back in the cities of Earth, learning it as a child’s taunt, mocking those dreamers who had heard the call of space, of Luna and of Mars. The words of this song, were still haunting her, not only because they opened up many long forgotten personal memories and memories of Earth. But they were like a narcotic to her, having soon after the first time she heard them, she understood and learned of the deeper meanings of them. They had drawn her to this place. The words of this song like the other songs of the same poet, speaking of the new Earth impelling her to leave the scarred, crowded and dying Earth and to become a pioneer, a voyager and a settler, or perhaps just a fool. 

 The words of the songs of the poet’s and his faith guided them all to this new world, a world far from what they thought it would be. Further yet, from what were the ideals that they had held fast to. Yet, in the struggle and in the awaking of this dream there was a freeing the body, both figuratively and very literally to travel to a new world. The words of the songs of this poet and of his faith, they offered the promise of both the hope of a new life and the freeing the mind to explore new possibilities. Now it was the words of the songs of the poet, with their faith for humanity, for a new beginning that was now freeing her soul and the souls of all those with her, and they were creating the new understanding of a new spirit within them all.

 The dream of Mars as a new home or a second home for mankind would create an entirely new discipline in philosophy and religion. It was allowing mankind the chance of opening its eyes and hearts to the most fundamental of all the questions about God and life. A new chance to re-evaluate the ways of the ancients and to try to find our old gods and perhaps even to create new ones to give them strength.

 Did God, create humanity out of His or Her need for love and companionship in the Cosmos, or did mankind create the Gods in and effort to understand the cosmos and by extension become a companion of the Cosmos?

“Blessed be the soils and the airs, that will grant our children life. Blessed be the faith of our past reborn and of our living and of our future unknown”.

 “The future unknown’, she thought, like she needed to be reminded of the obvious nature of that statement. In one way nothing had changed we all still hoped for a better life for our children and for their children. It had been the same from family, to clan, to tribe all the way up top superpower, From a child, in a family to a great section of a greater community, everyone wants a better future, yet fearing the uncertainty of that future.

 Hopefully there always will be something in the future, if, however it is better, that will remain to be seen. That is something else we will have to change, our whole frame of reference, a new sense of language, the syntax, the meaning of phrases and the meanings of words. Something as simple a ‘the grass is greener on the other side of the fence’, even if we had grass, would we the need or want the luxury and burden of fences? 

 “Well,” she mused under her breath, smiling and staring at the ritual leader, “If, there is always to be the hope of a greener pasture over the next hill, or greener pastures tomorrow, that is now entirely up to us, because Mars has no greener pastures.”

 “We the willing and the chosen, against all the challenges, shall build a new world, and within this new world, find a place, for the spirit in the faith of our father, our mother and for our god and goddess”.

“Faith”, she continued thinking in her head, “is the strongest and the most blinding of motivators, faith has been the driving force behind mankind since ‘day one’ from the first day we fell out of the trees, lying of the ground on the ground with a sore head and seeing stars. Now we have given ourselves a new day one, one not built on or marked by any religious or spiritual event, but by science and with this we now have a quest for a greater understand, and in that way is was a spiritual journey, to understand ourselves. Which, she guessed was in its own way was equally or if not more confining, constricting and blinding than faith, but like the words of the poet say”:

 “We the willing”.

 Light in the chamber began to rise and the priest leader, randomly pointed people out in the circle, saying and charging each one with a mission in no specific manner, other than to have all remember and recite those charges to themselves.

 Remember the past world Children.

Reflect upon the errors of mankind.

Strive to help and to assist one another.

Work to build towards the goal.

Love the challenge and the future.

 These were the five pillars of our newfound faith, Remember, Reflect, Strive, Work and Love Remember the five principles and the five points of our faith, and apply them to each day and apply them to each act”.

It was the scientific mind that was deep within her being that caused her to take nothing at face value and to question everything, so why would the words of the Prophet be anything exempt from questioning? The Prophet knew what the words meant and how they would affect those who followed the words, he knew that they would be scientists and that although they followed him to Mars, they would not follow blindly.

 Remember: What can we remember, and does he mean, we remember Earth as a past world, or should we remember what Mars before we arrived? If, it is this new world Mars, which is alien to us and on which we are alien, would not our frames of reference be incompatible and we would have no idea of who, what, where or why to remember?

 Reflection: This is a two way process, and we are on a one-way path, and the sixty-four billion dollar question is: Was coming here an error of mankind?  People are told to reflect on their failures, you never here anyone say; “Oh, reflect a bit on your success”. Or, reflection could be a case of the micro-cosmos reflecting in the macro-cosmos. From the individual ideals are projected up and out and strengthening the greater society, and there is also the case of the strengths, morality and judgements of the greater society working down and instilling themselves in the individual. Either way both are out of our control until we have the chance to reflect on our choices and then, of course it is too late.

 Strive: Striving, towards goals we will never see, and working to what, some unknown end? That is not the most motivating of speeches. Every day here is just a struggle to try and survive, tomorrow is a far off concept, let alone to try thinking about twenty years, forty years or four hundred years down the road.

 Love: Love is the challenge and here one needs to love the challenges or die trying. On Mars, that is the way of things, because if you don’t love what you are doing or at least think you can make yourself love it, and that can be a problem. Mostly, because you will die here, if you don’t rise up and motivate yourself to face the challenge. Challenges are like that, they are ‘the enemy’, but you have to learn to love them. Because if you don’t, you become resigned to failure and then you are as good as dead.

 This is a world without a future, because a future needs a past, and this is a world without a past. So we are living in the moment. This is a dead world, a dead world with no past. We have nothing which to frame the future with, we are living in an extended moment of now, an eternity of now, everything is unchanging and isn’t that what death is? Are we therefore dead?  Can you have future without a past? Can you create the whole from nothingness? We have to build it, because we have nowhere else to go or we die.

 The sound of applause at the end of the ritual, suddenly snapped Roselyn out of what was becoming a depressing funk, and on Mars a depressing funk can escalate into something much worse.

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