Don't try to tinker with your comms, folks, it's that time again, time for one more edition of The Transmission. It has been a while, I hope you haven't forgotten about your friend, Doc Mitnik, and my friends, I have quite the story to tell you today.
The eldest among us will tell you that people nowadays forget too fast, and that to many of our young, history will inevitably become obsolete, unimportant, and unnecessary. It's a sad state of affairs if these words are true, and that's one of the main reasons I started this show. Because history is not always kind, is not always heroic, and it certainly is not always honorable either. Sometimes history is filled to the brim with blood, and it stands over countless bodies of those who died for it. History can reaffirm your beliefs and your faith in someone or something, but it can also deliver strong blows that will make you question everything you thought you knew. History can be kind, and it can also be brutal, and it's not always flattering either. But just because events that made history aren't flattering, positive, or otherwise to our liking, it doesn't mean that those should be forgotten, remember folks, he who does not know his own history is doomed to repeat it.
So tonight I figured we're gonna tackle a big one, the history of something that will most likely divide opinions, and it will make you point fingers left and right. But this is beyond "Corpo guy bad" or "Martian guy worse" or "Martian guy = Corpo guy", we're gonna talk about something that changed the lives of every single living being in the Sol System in one way or another, and that snuffed millions of lives across the system too, I'm talking about the Mars Wars, otherwise known as the War for Martian Independence.
Now first things first, there are two major conspiracy theories floating around and I thought we would get them out of the way as is: The first is that corporations aren't that mighty if a bunch of rag tag smelly Martians could take them on and win. And the second is that War is the best business for corporations, as it never changes, and the whole Mars Wars was a charade cleverly set by Advanced Research and Experimental Systems to turn it into the biggest weapons demonstration in the history of the System, and with the sole intention of bringing in new clients. Now, contrary to what I usually do here, I am not going to tell you which one is right and which one is wrong, I will do the controversial thing here and say that both have merit, but I will also provide you with facts, the information we know to be true, so you can reach the conclusion you believe is the right one. As I said, this will get divisive enough, no one needs me to make it even worse. So I hope you're sitting comfortably, have a snack on hand, maybe a drink too. And for those asking me when are we gonna make our way to DD format... Soon, but not too soon.
This is a tale as old as time itself, folks. You live in a good land, with good people, you have made it your life's work. You have family, and you hope one day to die a good death, and leave something behind that will make your descendants remember you by. You want to live in peace, and make your land the bast land it can be. Until one day, all of that changes and powerful warlords come to claim your land. You no longer own it, you just live there, and if you even think about fighting these warlords, well, they are bigger, stronger, have better weapons, and are trained. You won't fight, because you have people to watch over. You have friends and family who need you... But you start dreaming of the one day when things will change and someone will rise up and free the land, and make it truly free.
We have talked in detail about the Home One Colonization Mission that departed Earth before the Transcendence War reached its devastating resolution: A one way ticket for scientists, artists, men and women of faith, and dreamers to reach Mars, and set a colony. No one expected them to reach the Red Planet, much less survive and actually thrive. Over the course of centuries, that's exactly what they did: They made Mars their homeworld, they settled, and the first generations of Martians came to be. By now, you have probably heard the name of some of these clans, like the Red Sand, Star Seer, Blue Dune, Dusk Walker, and of course, Hidden Demons. And while these five Clans are the upper echelon on Mars, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of Clans that aren't as numerous or high profile that also have their origin in the Home One Colonization Mission: Some are more spiritual, some are more aggressive, some are not as sociable, but they are all Sons and Daughters of Mars and share the same world, and despite their differences in beliefs and habits, they all shared a bond with each other, they recognized each other as part of this world.
When the fires of the Transcendence War were finally put out, and New Geneva was consolidated, they calculated that they will eventually need a true world to exploit, and while they had the technology to try it out with the Outer Worlds, or even Venus as well, they knew that most of the heavy lifting had already been done on Mars, and that Home One had been a success, so in an effort to establish the image of a corporate ruled New Geneva as the most formidable governing body in history, they simply set course to Mars to turn it into a corporate world. The only problem? The Martians. Now this is where the corporate ruthlessness comes into play: The Martians already had laws and rules, but New Geneva did not recognize any of those, because New Geneva owned the entire Sol System. And the Martians couldn't use New Geneva's justice system either because technically? They weren't Corporate Citizens either, and as a non Citizen, you have no rights, you're a little bit more than just property, and that's what New Geneva used as their main engine for annexing Mars to its ruling: Liberating Mars from non corporate freeloaders.
Now back when this was starting, New Geneva had much more power and influence than it has now, there was not one single megabyte of information that could reach you that hadn't been checked, approved, and if needed manipulated, by New Geneva. So most of what happened to Mars was either embellished to the people, or simply omitted from public reports, because the people didn't need to know, they didn't need to be panicked over annexing a world they may not even be alive to see under corporate rule, so why bother, right? With that in mind, New Geneva was free to operate on Mars using whatever resource, whatever weapon, and whatever trick to secure Mars. Now, I have mentioned before how the initial stages took place and how some of the Martians even attempted to "live with" these situations and how things happened in the end for them, so I'm going to skip over all that and get to the punchline: New Geneva won, and Veerhoeven Aerospace Systems Corporation officially took over the direction, and management of the Red Planet. Without much of a problem, a dozen new corporations landed on Mars within the month and terraforming efforts throughout the planet took place, with little to no regard about the terrain, the clans, or the people. The creation of domes (Now known as colonies) took place, and within the year Mars was a viable hub with star ports and even shipyards. Phobos and Deimos would also be adapted in the next two months. And while sounds like a standard progress report on a boring corporate meeting, you need to read between the lines to fully grasp the unmentioned horror: Martians just don't give up their home, Martians aren't just bought out, Martians are just relocated elsewhere. They either go willingly, or they go missing.
Naturally, there are two things that were going through some Martian minds: Some wanted to take care of their own people, try to adapt, try to coexist. Some wanted to take arms and fight these invaders and take back their world and liberate it, but such thing wouldn't happen for many, many years.
Progress and corporate life on Mars skyrocketed, and so did the oppression against Martians (Who were started to get called "Natives" at this point, in an attempt to erase their identity and make them easier to digest by corporate newcomers). Domes were built, new cities rose, and corporate commercialism reached the Red Planet and its moons. For those Martians who had managed to remain on the run, the dream of freedom was still engraved in their minds, and the fire to fight was burning ever so bright. There wasn't much they could do outside guerrilla tactics. Ever so often a corporate convoy would get hit, and weapons as well as gear and armor would be retrieved, then the attackers would vanish in thin air. A mystery that would keep New Geneva puzzled for decades. Corpos didn't have a problem with antagonizing Martians, humiliating them and demean them, what could they do? But with every insult, and every humiliation, the silent rage was growing, and it would soon burn out of control.
After years of these behaviors, there were reports of what New Geneva called "Native Uprisings", in essence there were entire communities of Martians being fed up with the abuse and the oppression, and would take arms against the mighty corporations, using everything they could to their advantage. So here you have spiritual people taking arms without training, all in the name of freedom. The first Uprisings went as you would expect: Corpo forces being deployed, Martians being dispersed, most of them being captured and set to a reservation, or worse case scenario, some "going missing" as it were. But with time, Martians would grow more and more hardened to the violence, the humiliation, and the anger, some of these Uprisings would end up with crushing humiliation to the corporations, especially Veerhoeven Aerospace Systems Corporation. In one such Uprising, Martians managed to breach and take over a dome, Hebe Colony to be precise, and kept it for two weeks. While Veerhoeven Aerospace Systems Corporation considered entering negotiation stages with the Martians, a Special Ops team simply dubbed "The Omega Squad" broke into Hebe Colony, massacred the Martians taking no prisoners, and liberated Hebe Colony in two hours and twenty three minutes. History will show you that this was the beginning of the end for the people at Veerhoeven, because The Omega Squad was a team deployed by a very new, and very eager Advanced Research and Experimental Systems, the new big boy that was making waves, and would eventually take over Mars.
There was a fundamental difference between Veerhoeven and ARES. The former specialized on transportation and terraforming. So while they humiliated Martians, they relied on someone else to keep the peace in the planet, however the latter, ARES, they were a different case. Originally known for their development and breakthrough in cybernetics and artificial intelligence, they would soon be known for their prowess and ruthlessness in anything military. Science and War bundled in one. As you know, there are rumors (Unproven of course) that it was ARES that incited the Uprisings by giving high grade equipment and weaponry to the Martians as means to sabotage Veerhoeven and make a bid for the control of Mars. Whether these rumors are true or not, that's exactly what happened: An investigation ARES made into Veerhoeven showed that they had engaged in anti corporation conduct, and they were defunded. New Geneva had no problem making ARES the megacorporation in charge of Mars, and that's when things really got tough for the Martians.
Officially, Mars built a total of 500 high security detention centers throughout the planet, however and in addition to that, over 150 "Black Site" designated detention centers were discovered. In these Black Site centers there were reports of cases of human experimentation that ranged in the hundreds of thousands. As Martians were still considered to be non corporate citizens, their disappearances were never reported, and the few that were? They were never looked into. And while details of these experiments were mostly destroyed, a few files survived to get a glimpse into what took place there: Experiments that would range from sleep deprivation, to nanodrugs, cryogenics, mind conditioning, genetic manipulation, forced cyberization, and even outrageous projects such as looking for the proper augmentations that would ensure a man could survive the surface of Mars without a suit. To ARES, the Uprisings represented unparalleled opportunities to get test subjects for different projects, and all successful projects would eventually be refined and safely applied to their own soldiers.
ARES' reputation as ruthless and formidable spread throughout the Red Planet and the Moons, and new restrictions would be set upon the Martians almost every week, with the intention of having them engage in one more of their Uprisings. To the Martians it was a breaking point, for ARES it was just good business. But as tough as these conditions were, the Martians were about to face another, unexpected problem: Clan division.
Every Clan has a different way of seeing the world, a different way of thinking, and therefore, a different way of doing things. Most of the Clans thought that things under Veerhoeven were bad enough, under ARES it was a nightmare. And when rumors hit them about the Black Site centers, and the experimentation that was taking place in said centers, most of them were disheartened enough to stop fighting. They considered going willingly into the reservations, or surrendering themselves if it meant living their lives (If such could be considered living) in peace. But while the most driven Clans were still in the fight, they were losing numbers and morale. For a long time, Uprisings were nonexistent, attacks on convoys were at an all time low, and Martians living in Reservations were reported as being "Compliant with Corporate Law", through ruthlessness ARES had broken the Martians, and they had reported such to New Geneva. They now had a different challenge: Just like they had broken the Martians, they were going to break crime in all of the planet, and they had the right tool to do so.
In early 2489, ARES rolled out with a controversial program: They offered all criminal organizations to move to one Colony and conduct their activities there unimpeded. With the condition that the rest of the Planet was off limits. Any criminal caught out of this Colony would be summarily executed. The designated colony was Hades Colony, that's right, the Colony that had been built upon the ruins of Wayfar. And soon, all the criminal organizations took to operating on Hades Colony, and the numbers on crime related activities across the Red Planet plummeted, which gave ARES another great victory in the eyes of New Geneva, and consolidated Mars' reputation as being the most ruthless corporate world in the Sol System. The program operated so well that the renown Donovan Commercial Cartel moved in on Mars and soon consolidated its power and presence by taking over the Industrial Sector.
2489 was also a year that something peculiar happened, months after the Donovan Commercial Cartel had established themselves as the ruling criminal organization Hades Colony, ARES forces were deployed and killed every member of the Donovan Commercial Cartel. The event is remembered among surviving Donovan members as "La Matanza". But what is it so peculiar about this, you might ask? The first sights of the Hidden Demons on Hades Colony were reported a few days after La Matanza took place. ARES kept a light garrison on the Colony, and the Hidden Demons were allowed to operate unimpeded. This is the main reason why many didn't trust the Hidden Demons when they first arrived, as they seemed to have been working together with ARES, they were maybe even spies. Or maybe ARES was just preparing another war so they could profit from it.
Demon presence on Mars went, for the most part, as ARES had expected: The birth of the Blackmarket Network, as well as the Water Merchant Guild happened under their watch, but what they didn't expect, was the fact that the Hidden Demons started to approach the different Martian Clans, and the relationship actually took off with several members of the Hidden Demons reportedly getting to spend time with the Clans on their different locations, and this definitely changed the way the Demons saw the Red Planet, and how the Martians looked at them.
In mid 2490 two things happened: The Hidden Demons had been turned into an honorary Clan, which was unprecedented, for the Hidden Demons were not Mars born, but also, it marked the beginning of something that changed Mars forever, as it signaled the beginning of the Mars Wars.
It still is unclear how the Mars Wars really started, some say it makes no sense for an outside organization to not only bond with the Martians in about six months, but to also spearhead the effort after unifying the Clans and rallying them against ARES, some other say that both the Hidden Demons and the rest of the Martian Clans found common ground in their anger over ARES and that said anger, as well as the desire of being free not only fueled them, but also inspired the Clans who had previously stopped fighting to pick up arms again, but what we know is this: For the duration of the Mars Wars, the eyes of the Sol System were set on the Red Planet, and some corporations were suddenly weighing in their options.
As the War kicked into high gear, ARES wasted no time in showing off their formidable arsenal as well as intelligence network, even going as far as detecting unexpected allies to the Mars Wars efforts and sending a powerful message to those aiming to support the Martians. And for those who didn't take ARES seriously at first, they were made to see just how serious they were, all bets were off and ARES was now in War mode.
But those actions weren't the only ones to shape up the Mars Wars, the ripples were felt in the Sol System as (then) Governor Anthony Bancroft decided to not only secure vast amounts of food and water for Luna Colony, but he famously decided to close the access to Luna Colony to anyone who wasn't an ultra rich elite. As you can already deduce, this caused a massive crisis on top of destroyed space stations and singled out corporations: ARES had issued a blockade on Mars, as a result, water distribution was at an all time low throughout the system, and most of the food on synth farms had already been purchased and secured by Luna Colony, there were hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes, and the limited occupancy in space stations made many of them close their doors to thousands of refugees, some made it all the way to Earth on overloaded shuttles, with some of them resulting in tragic accidents upon entering the dead planet, and the ones who had managed to make it to Earth, were not prepared for its atmosphere, its pollution, the radiated food, and water, and of course, its fauna. Most of the refugees on Earth would be dead within the next few weeks of their arrival, and even the camps set to help refugees would find themselves overwhelmed with the number of people afraid and in desperate need of assistance.
And while the Martians were making progress on their own, ARES strategies worked on a whole different level: Isolating Mars from the entire Sol System, singling out any possible entity that would attempt to help them, and even destroying distribution routes for food, medicine, and water. ARES was ready to deliver a killing blow that wouldn't be forgotten, and on July 22nd 2490, they did exactly that.
While Hades Colony is not the biggest, nor the most strategically important colony on Mars, it served as the de-facto capital of the Mars Wars, and home to the Hidden Demons. In the aftermath, only a handful managed to escape to a hidden outpost away from Hades Colony, but over 42,500 people were estimated to have lost their lives in this relentless attack. While the Martian leadership was still active, the devastating blow on Hades Colony struck their morale like never before, and thoughts of them actually losing the war became more real than they had anticipated. The time had come to stop playing defense and move on the offense. The Clans determined that if they had any hopes of taking back their world and their freedom, they had to struck at the core, the very heart of Advanced Research and Experimental Systems: They had to strike at their headquarters, Olympus Mons.
Now friends, let me take a moment to give you some perspective over how ridiculous the notion of just taking over Olympus Mons was at the height of the Mars Wars: It's a massive mountain range with a registered height of almost 22 kilometers (Or about 14 miles, whereabouts), fully armed, and with black ops teams at the ready, but another thing that Olympus Mons had was the entire Board of Directors to Advanced Research and Experimental Systems. Now here's how things played out: ARES is used to long wars, because they can shut down distribution lines, even if your army ranges in the millions, an army that is not well fed, well hydrated, and well taken care of, is not an effective army, and they were counting on the Martians to burn out that way. Taking Olympus Mons was the only way to force ARES' hand, but that wasn't a task that the Martians could do on their own, and they needed help.
Now friends, this is the part where I clarify the question "Did the Martians took out ARES on their own?" and I answered. The answer is no, they didn't take ARES on their own, they had help, and I know who helped them and I know some of them may actually be listening to this broadcast, but here's my conflict: The people I'm talking about do what they do because for them it's a contract, and don't worry I am not giving away any specifics, because there are tons of mercenaries out there, and tons of mercenary organizations willing to take that risk. "But Mitnik" I hear you ask "Why does it matter now?" it's simple, because these people may or may not have been under different contracts to ARES, and ARES found out, they would make sure that, like many Martians during their time, they would "go missing", so not gonna name any names, not going to point any fingers, but for those people listening out there, you know who you are.
When the time came to move out, the Martians didn't do it alone, and on August 22nd, 2490, they moved on what was a "Do or Die" operation, they either took over Olympus Mons and force ARES to liberate the planet, or they would die trying. With the assistance of these unsung heroes, the longest day in Martian history started. With many more losses, with devastation, death, destruction, and blood, the Martians and their allies did the impossible: Reach Olympos Mons, and against all odds, declare victory,
It was reported that ARES CEO, Adam Caine had died during this battle as he allegedly was in Olympus Mons at the time of the assault, but I said it before and I'll say it again: I have my doubts, ultra rich people with limitless technology and potential don't do anything so pedestrian as dying. The rest of the board was taken hostage, the forces on site had been neutralized, and finally, as the sun was setting on the horizon, ARES called for a cease fire.
The outcome of the Mars Wars stunned the entire Sol System, for starters, the ARES propaganda engine was promptly shut down, within the next 48 hours, the Board of Directors finalized their negotiations with the Council of Martians. Two days after that, SolBank stopped operating on Mars, leaving Mars with their own currency: The Spartan, which can be easily traded in either way. It was something that had never been accomplished: A Megacorporation fell to non corporate individuals, a corporate world had been liberated, and the dreams of freedom of every Martian for centuries had finally been realized. Celebrations were had throughout the Red Planet for days to come while the new ruling body was set and made official as The Council of the Five Clans. Martians were now free to pursue their destiny once more, keeping their traditions and culture intact, and with the promise of highly capable people who would fight for them at a moment's call.
However, and this is where conspiracy theories happen folks, ARES reported massive profits on September 1st, as they have used all kinds of weaponry and made sure that the usage of such weaponry was recorded to show to potential clients. At the end of the year, not only did ARES recouped from their losses during the Mars Wars, they managed to even profit from their new line of vehicles, weaponry, and military grade cybernetics and augmentations. This is where people wonder if this victory was really a victory or if ARES had decided from the get go how everything would play out and how everything would work moving forward. Many people close to ARES would imply that managing Mars actually represented more costs than it was worth, and that instead of just being magnanimous and give Martians their world back, they staged the Mars Wars and turned it into the biggest performance to show off their products for eager clientele.
I'll tell you what I think, I think it doesn't matter which is true. If it was a legitimate victory over ARES, then major props for doing the unthinkable, for making it happen, and for, hopefully, inspiring others to follow suit and fight for what should have always been theirs to begin with. If it was ploy from ARES, they still deserve major respect for not only playing along, but even getting the upper hand in a few instances, they kept up with a megacorporation whose only purpose is War, and they came out on top. It doesn't matter what the "official" story is, history will remember what happened, and what happened is very simple: Mars was liberated, and the surviving Martians honored the fallen ones, and continue to do so to this day.
ARES lost their Founder and CEO, or so they claim. It sounds like they risked too much for a ploy if that was the case, but nowadays, a new CEO is running the show, an enigmatic man called Radu Basarab who in many regards reminds me of Adam Caine. Must be something in the eyes, that fire hiding behind them. The Hidden Demons is now not only a full fledged Clan, but they were the main driving force behind the rebuilding process of Hades Colony, and in many ways, the main driving force on this new era for Mars. Some people claim that Mars under the Five Clans is not too different from a corporation, but they are the same people lying to you about Mars. The best way to know? Find a Martian and ask questions, go to Mars, spend some time there, make your own conclusions, write your own experiences, live your own history.
And so ended the Mars Wars, a very violent, very bloody episode in our history, filled with loss, tragedy, insanity, and sacrifice. A very dark war that should always be remembered, and it's your responsibility now, dear listener, to tell the story to anyone who would listen, least we lose our identity that way.
The musical selection tonight it's aimed to make you feel, to make you remember, that little part of you that was lost because of progress. It was never really lost, it'll always be part of you in any way or another. This has been Doc Mitnik, 'til we meet again, Edgerunners.