"Did you know this place was named after the god of war? Its rising foretold the death of kings, the collapse of empires. It was a very bad sign. Now there are 2 million people living here."
"It's still a bad sign."
Mars was the fourth planet located in the Sol system, named after the god of war in the pantheon of Earth's ancient Roman Empire. Mars was the site of the largest and most prominent Earth colony that later became an independent state. Many important individuals have their roots here.
Viking 1, the first human probe to safely land on the surface of Mars, set down on Chryse Planitia on July 20, 1976 and was the first of several such missions, with varying levels of success, that progressed into the early 21st Century. Ares 3, carrying an international crew of four, was Earth's very first manned interplanetary vessel and arrived on Mars on July 4, 2057. The Ares missions continued until 2072 when Ares 13's braking system failed during Mars entry, killing all seven crew members and bringing a halt to any further missions until early in the next century.
Manned missions to Mars resumed in 2101 with the construction of a series of small scientific and military bases. By 2148, IPX had built eight experimental stations near Syria Planum and in 2155 the first permanent Mars Colony, Mars One, was built on Solis Planum, although the site itself was not considered a prime location. In 2156, Earth makes First Contact with the Centauri Republic, precipitating a giant leap forward in propulsion technology when in 2161, the Earth Alliance negotiates access to Jumpgate technology, allowing the establishment of a colony on Proxima III in 2164 and on Thursday July 20, 2169 the first group of 768 colonists depart Earth for Mars in a ship piloted by John Carter. Thanks to the use of Centauri Jumpgate technology, the journey lasts mere hours and construction of Mars Dome One, the new colonial capital, begins.
However, tragedy struck on Saturday November 15, 2177 when a bomb planted by an Earth isolationist movement destroyed Dome One, killing 487, including John Carter. Dome One was rebuilt and the Earth Alliance provided security for the citizens, making the colony a military governorship under Earthforce.
In 2198, using technology provided by the Centauri, the terraforming of Mars begins. CFC’s are pumped into the atmosphere to retain heat and the southern polar ice cap is melted, releasing water and CO2 into the rapidly thickening atmosphere. Carefully engineered microorganisms are bred and metabolized in the deep permafrost layers. Though the planet was still far from hospitable, by 2222, increased atmospheric pressure and average temperature meant than a human could survive outside a dome with only a thermaskin parka and a breather and not a full pressure suit as had been necessary in the early days.
The colony itself consisted of three large cities, two hundred and thirty experiment and mining stations - most of which were privately owned - and approximately three thousand registered hinterland colonists and at least as many unregistered squatters, religious extremists, utopians, criminals, rugged individualists and "cowboys and Indians" wannabes. With the Mars Colony's drive to encourage settlement in full swing, settlement permits were so cheap that often if a colonist didn't have one the government would simply look the other way.
Though Earthforce was assigned to stop any unregistered transports and mining vessels trying to slip past customs inspections, bypassing taxes and tariffs, the number of ships assigned to the task was woefully inadequate to police the sheer volume of traffic. In reality only around a tenth of unauthorised traffic was detected, add to which a surface area greater than the combined land masses of Earth and the result was an almost total lack of effective security. Even Psi Corps only had forty trained Psi Cops assigned to the colony, not nearly enough to be effective in a population of that size.
The state of affairs was perpetuated mostly because the Mars-born citizens liked the degree of freedom the poor EA security arrangements afforded them and because to improve them would cost significantly more credits than Earthgov was willing to spend on the problem. Put simply, colonial security stank and nobody cared.
Secrets and Rebellions
During the Earth-Minbari War, the colony openly declared its neutrality in the conflict, further deepening the bad blood between the 'Earthers' and 'Marsies'. While it was unlikely the Minbari were concerned with the declaration of neutrality, they nevertheless bypassed Mars in favor of an all-out assault on Earth, resulting in the Battle of the Line. After the war ended, supply shortages led to the so-called "Food Riots", which were eventually put down by Earthforce.
In 2253, IPX, still following up old rumors and false leads on artifacts that had supposedly been buried beneath the Martian soil for thousands of years, a team led by Dr. Mary Kirkish picked up something on IPX's sonic probes that was clearly not a natural formation some 300 feet beneath the surface of Syria Planum. The object was buried so deep it had been there at least a thousand years. Seeing as it was the middle of the Martian winter, it took weeks just to excavate half of it. Even that was enough to give Kirkish nightmares for the rest of her life.
The ship, as the object later turned out to be, was the find of a lifetime. A week after sending word to Earth Central, Kirkish and her team were suddenly ordered to stop digging and pull back to their secondary base two miles away, threatening dismissal for any who tried to stay. For the next six days they sat waiting while unmarked shuttles flew in and out of the area surrounding the dig site before all activity suddenly ceased. Just then, Kirkish observed an identical vessel arriving overheard, which began firing on the site. At first Kirkish thought it was destroying its counterpart, but it soon became clear that it was finishing digging it out. After the new ship disappeared below the ridge, nothing happened for the next twenty or twenty-five minutes until they heard a mind-splitting scream, like "the sound of something terrible being born." and she watched as both ships took off for deep space. After the incident, Kirkish and her colleagues were warned there would be unfortunate consequences if they told anyone what they had seen, breaking them up and assigning them to other worlds so they wouldn't have a chance to talk to each other.
2258 saw a wide-scale rebellion on the colony against Earth Alliance rule and their puppet "provisional government." The President was initially reluctant to use force to resolve the situation, but eventually caved to intense political pressure and deployed elite shock troops to put down the insurgency. The conflict was not limited to the surface domes, as several ships were engaged in Mars orbit including one piloted by the notorious Free Mars terrorist Abel Horn, who was shot down over Phobos by the EAS Pournelle during the battle.
On April 14, 2260 Mars officially declared independence from the Alliance in protest over the bombings of civilian targets because of the provisional government's refusal to accede to President Clark's martial law decree. Though Proxima III, Orion VII, and Babylon 5 also declared their independence in protest and solidarity over the Mars bombings, an Earthforce embargo and blockade meant that for now, Mars was on its own. Over the next 18 months the Resistance continued to fight a guerrilla war against Earthforce, though they were quickly forced to occupy old supply and mining tunnels to hide from Earth troops and guard against a frontal assault.
In mid May of 2261, senior members of the Babylon 5 command staff made it through the embargo and pledged Captain Sheridan's support and a promise that they would move against Earth at the appropriate time. However as a show of support for Number One, Dr. Franklin stipulated that the bombing of civilian targets had to stop.
On November 1, the resistance launched simultaneous attacks on five Earth Alliance military bases on Mars, while Sheridan's fleet engaged the thirty-five Omega class destroyers under the command of General Robert Leftcourt that had gathered in Mars orbit. Most of his fleet was disabled by Shadow modified telepaths that had been smuggled aboard by Earthforce sympathisers on Mars. With the loyalist fleet disabled, the liberation fleet left Mars for Earth space.
After the conclusion of the war, the colony was granted independence from Earth, as a condition for the Earth Alliance's membership in the new Interstellar Alliance. Though no longer a colony world, Mars remained part of the Earth Alliance, though now as an equal member.
On Sunday June 15, 2267, six months after the Drakh attack on Earth, a conference of the Earth Alliance Health Organization, overseen by Earthforce Captain Elizabeth Lochley, was held on Mars to bring together experts from unaffected Earth colonies to plan a unified plan of research. The conference was the idea of Dr. Franklin, then head of Xenobiological Research at Earth Dome. The keynote speaker was Doctor Sarah Chambers of the Excalibur. By this time, the population of Mars had grown to around 2 million individuals, 10% of which consisted of non-humans.
Most of the settlements on Mars are located under large macromolecular glass domes linked by transport tubes. The tubes are heavily reinforced (reportedly indestructible), capable of easily withstanding blasts from grenades and explosives. While humans are capable of enduring the temperature and pressure on the surface, they require a breathing apparatus since the atmosphere does not have sufficient nitrogen-oxygen levels.
Downland plain on Mars, west of Olympus Mons. When Sarah and Aldous Gajic took a vacation with their children from Earth to the Mars colony, they took a Crawler out and were halfway across Amazonis Planitia when the ground gave way beneath them. Aldous survived but Sarah and the children were killed in the accident.
Downland plain on Mars, near Tharsis. Location of the Viking 1 Landing Site Park, a popular tourist destination.
A large edifice on Mars, known for being the highest volcano and mountain in the Sol System, situated north west of Syria Planum. By 2222 Olympus Mons was the location of one of the colony's three major cities. Also the location of an ISN relay station, from which Derek Mobotabwe broadcast a live report on the ongoing Mars Rebellion of 2258. Olympus Mons was also home to some of Mars' more upper crust entertainments that, along with New Vegas were among the few resort towns to survive the economic depression following the Earth-Minbari War and the subsequent period that saw an increased souring of relations with Earth, a supply embargo and the Martian Food Riots.
Upland plain on Mars, situated south east of Syria Planum. Location of the first permanent human Colony, Mars One. By 2222 Solis Planum was the location of Mars Dome One, the colonial capital and one of the colony's three major cities. In the mid-23rd Century, it is the location of an Earthforce Security staging area at Fort Walters. During the Mars Rebellion of 2258, Troops from Syria Planum were sent to reinforce patrols in Solis Planum and outlying regions. In 2261, renegade Captain John Sheridan was held at Fort Walters for interrogation, before he was rescued by Michael Garibaldi, Lyta Alexander and Stephen Franklin with the help of the resistance.
Upland plain on Mars, situated south east of Olympus Mons. Military reserve troops had bases here. Location of one of the colony's three major cities and a secret Psi Corps intelligence center that served as a base for Department Sigma. Lyta Alexander made her way to Syria Planum via the underground railroad and gathered funds to go to Vorlon territory via the Martian resistance. An agent of theirs died after finding evidence of a sleeper program producing an agent on Babylon 5.
Former board member of Edgars Industries, Mr. Paretti has a daughter living in Syria Planum, though his wife is apparently unaware of her existence. In 2253, Syria Planum was the site of an IPX sponsored dig that uncovered a dormant Shadow Vessel that for a thousand years, had been buried 300 feet beneath the Martian surface. Mary Kirkish is the last known surviving member of the archaeological team. Mr. Bester once claimed that when he used to go home that he'd take his wife and young daughter out under the dome on Syria Planum for a Sunday picnic and watch the stars come out.
An enormous volcanic plateau located in the equatorial region at the western end of Valles Marineris. Tharsis is the location of the deserted resort, the hotel Tharsis and the titanic Olympus Mons volcano.
An extensive land mass on Mars situated just north of the equator, north east of Syria Planum and east of Olympus Mons. Location of one of the Mars colony's larger townships, though it was by no means comparable to the cities at Olympus Mons, Solis or Syria Planum.
Mars has two small moons:
- Phobos: The larger and closer of Mars' two small moons. It had a maximum security station. Abel Horn was held there for a year. In 2258, he was in a ship during the Mars Resistance and was destroyed by the Earthforce battle cruiser EAS Pournelle over Phobos in 2258, during the Mars Rebellion.
- Deimos: The small and outer of Mars' two small moons.
Martian Cities and Towns
- Mars Dome One: Mars capital, located in Solis Planum. Includes the Mars Government Center and Earthforce Base.
- Mars Dome Two
- Mars Dome Three
- Aldrin Earthforce Base: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One, close to Armstrong Park & Dome and Collins Spaceport.
- Armstrong Park & Dome: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One and is the location of Collins Spaceport and Aldrin Earthforce Base.
- Collins Spaceport: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One, close to Armstrong Park & Dome and Aldrin Earthforce Base.
- Coultas City: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One and the Metro Center transfer station, close to Gaithersburg.
- Flinntown: During the Earth Alliance Civil War, Flinntown was one of the cities held by the Mars Resistance until it taken by Earthforce.
- Gagarin City: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One.
- Gaithersburg: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One and the Metro Center transfer station.
- Gotham City: Located along the transit link from Mars Dome One, close to Gagarin City.
- Hotel Tharsis: Lavish by Martian standards, the hotel Tharsis was once an exclusive and isolated luxury resort out on Tharsis. Like many of its kind, the hotel was abandoned as a result of the economic depression following the Earth-Minbari War. The subsequent period saw an increased souring of relations with Earth, a supply embargo and the Martian Food Riots. It later became home to fifty or so squatters and in 2253 it was where Psi Cop Bester tracked and killed the Department Sigma blip, McDwyer.
- New Vegas: A major Earth Alliance resort city known for its gambling establishments, lottery and entertainment it is named after the Earth city Las Vegas. New Vegas, along with the more upper crust entertainments at Olympus Mons, was one of the few resort towns to survive the economic depression following the Earth-Minbari War and the subsequent period that saw an increased souring of relations with Earth, a supply embargo and the Martian Food Riots.
- New Harappa: A small settlement of some 600 people located in a fossilised river canyon, relatively close to Mars Dome One, that had been roofed over with the same macromolecular glass that was used in the colony domes.
- LaGrange Station 2: LaGrange 2 is a stone's throw from Mars and serves as a transit point to the outer sectors.
- Station Phobos: In 2258, Station Phobos was attacked by terrorists, possibly Free Mars.
- Ritchey Station: Ritchey Station was destroyed by Free Mars some time prior to 2258, with Abel Horn claiming responsibility. Anna and John Sheridan had some very special friends on the station when it blew.
- Across Time and Space: The Chronologies of Babylon 5 - Cites "Data from JMS"
- Dark Genesis - The Birth of the Psi Corps
- A Spider in the Web
- Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant
- Messages from Earth
- A Voice in the Wilderness, Part I
- Racing Mars
- Lines of Communication
- Ruling from the Tomb
- The Exercise of Vital Powers
- Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant
- Grail (episode)
- Between the Darkness and the Light
- Martian Provisional government#Overthrow
- A Voice in the Wilderness, Part I
- Divided Loyalties
- Objects in Motion
- A Race Through Dark Places
- A Spider in the Web
- The Illusion of Truth
- Eyes (episode) Cite error: Invalid
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- Mars on Wikipedia