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August 30, 2012
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The Second Death of the Red World by Ammonoidea The Second Death of the Red World by Ammonoidea
It was the dream of an era. To turn the once dead world back to life with the aid of mankind. And it began to work. Comets were hurled, and great machines belched forth gases, the atmosphere thickened, and engineered life roared across the red landscape, turning it a dull green. Water flowed from the old ice caps, and CO2 came out as well. Men and Women landed on the surface and built great cities, towering and spindly in the low gravity, connected by rail and zeppelin, wire and radio. It was used to launch missions further afield, to the deep black heart of space to different stars. The incipient interstellar civilization began to bloom.

And it died. A virus ripped through the networks of mankind, burning their ocular implants, ruining their half-machine brains. Earth burned in fire and ruin. The moon, cold and empty, froze to death. Further out, the virus was stopped quickly enough over the limited interplanetary traffic to prevent disaster. On Venus, the terraformed atmosphere kept some savage humans and uplifted birds alive aboard floating cities. On Europa, the Russian-American crew created a species of uplifted octopus, taught them all they knew, and hoped perhaps some small sliver of humanity would survive as they drowned. One Titanian colony died of a leak a few hours after the news, another broke out in vicious fighting, and the last carefully archived as much information as possible before committing suicide. The spacers either landed on Earth or flew out into deep space to an unkown colony, realizing they could not survive without Earth's support.

But Mars, oh Mars. The world was spared the virus, only to suffer the slow end. Without Earth, terraforming ground to a halt, unable to fund it. Martians retreated to their colonies, and began a desperate millennial struggle to preserve their small scraping of life. The World grew colder, the seas shrank, the atmosphere grew thinner, until there was almost nowhere a man could breathe, the trees died as they retreated, the ice grew down in great sheets, city after city was abandoned. The desperate efforts to preserve the world led mostly by the Unified Council and the Hierarch have preserved some of the world, and in each small sealed settlement, the local priest declares that the world will must be saved! It will be saved! If everyone simply follows the rules...

It cannot. In the halls of the Amaranth university, in the rooms of the Hierarch's palace, they whisper this truth and shudder for it. Readings from the Air-Fleet and the few remaining satellites show that the process is irreversible with current resources. How many generations left before all technology fails? One? Two? With the rebellions in the Helas, the Burner's Revolt, less probably. The powerful turn in on themselves, some rushing to feed themselves for as long as possible, some hoping it is a lie, a few working to preserve all their knowledge for whatever Alien species finds the ruins (no radio has been heard from in the system for 200 years, and the martian desert will preserve things for a long time...). It is the end times, truly, this time.

And in the last observatory, deep in the Tarshis bulge, a small group of Astronomers, with the last great functioning telescope, have seen an anomaly in the sky. A physicist from Amaranth University they brought, small and strange, one of the last trained in the old work of spaceships, to check their results. This, she has done. Confirmation. A small gray ship, burning with nuclear fire in the night, hurtling towards the planet, broadcasting in strange reflections of Old Ingjish and Hanyu, other tongues long forgotten on the Red World. The Old World is not as dead as they thought, but why is the mother returning to the child? Rumors of the Messiah, of the return of Earth, of destruction from the Homeworld, and many stranger things begin to flow, as the powers of the world move to gain control of this strange little ship, and with it, the story of their world...
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Todyo1798 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What is the situation like on earth anyway?  I assume the Americans and Chinese have survived to some extent if Chinese and English are what's being broadcast by the probe.
Ammonoidea Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013
I promise to reply with a fuller answer. Earth is how many 50s authors imagined the future:  one world government run by a vast technocratic bureaucracy with little democratic input, powered by vast nuclear powerplants with little automation (the whole cyber war thing makes them wary), and 50s social norms (less racist though). For good and bad.
Arminius1871 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2013
Wow this story is so sad, but extremely interesting you should write a book!!! Itīs so exciting and sounds even rather realistic.
Ammonoidea Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013
EndriuMaster Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Map looks great, but the story beyond it is far greater :D
Leovinas Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This has to be one of the best backstories on DA at the moment.  I hope you're going to develop this setting into something greater. :)
Inurdaes Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I would seriously read this if it were a book
I would totally buy it
selenticsurface Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
A beautiful map, with some wonderful worldbuilding implied. This is sooo very inspiring! [link]
IainFluff Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013
Nice! That sealine + 1km is a lot of water though, those old terraformers must have been pretty keen on sailing ;)
Ammonoidea Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013
It's significantly lower than it once was. So yeah, those old terraformers REALLY liked sailing.
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