The Mons Genius, by J.P. Osterman
From space, the carved-out volcanic city of Olympus Mons is a beacon of beehive lights, hailing people from Earth whom we Martians call Earthens. On the surface, our Olympus Mons City is a booming mining metropolis run on Smart technology and holographic computer capability. Craft launch-and-land from Olympus Mons’ mega-base in timely leaps-and-dives of plasma flair as we and all sorts of robotics transport people and goods through surface tunnels and subterranean subways to other thriving colonies around Mars. By 2564, we Martians have maintained an amiable spirit of trade and exchange of knowledge with the Earthens who unfortunately have been gradually depleted many of Earth’s resources, especially those rare elements they desperately need to build their portable devices. Our relationship with the Earthens is about to change...
“June, are ya there? June— I need you— listen, it’s important—”
My dad’s voice is coming in broken from my bedroom processor, and I can hardly hear him in the great room where I’m studying. “Coming, Dad, just a sec!”
“Clear up the white noise, Five Hundred, ‘cause I can barely hear him,” I yell into our great room’s Smart processor, a glowing bowl on our ceiling.
“Yes, June.” Five Hundred’s voice is wobbling with double echoes.
“June…out of time…now…need to talk…”
The transmission is better, and I hear Dad’s distress. Over the date and time on the pseudo-sundial display is my holographic calculus equation I’ve been working on. It’s Wednesday, March 22, 2564, 12:31 p.m., Coordinated Mars Time (MTC).
Dad’s not due to transition from the OM-6 mine to the surface until one. My breath catches in my throat. “Dad, why are ya calling me from inside the mine?” He’s never called me from there when he has on his hulking miner suit, and I’ve received no auto-generated emergency icon from the company.
“I’m trapped here…time June!”
“Save my equations, Five Hundred,” I yell into the beehive processor.
Five Hundred stalls. “Damn!”
“Dad, the great room connection is frozen. I’m running to the door hub so I can save my work and switch zones.”I can’t jeopardize losing this Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture I’ve been working on. It’s the only remaining Millennium Prize Problem from the original 21st century contest. The solution defines elliptic curves over the rational numbers. If I win, Dad, my stepmom Rona and I could all move to Earth and off Olympus Mons City that everyone just calls, The Mons.
[End, Part I]