The year was 2518 and I was just a teenager.
My name is Molly and im 14 years old. My dad just got home from jail, well… prison. Prison here doesn't work like it did in the past. Today when someone goes to prison, it's on a small Mars colony. They use the prisoners to terraform the Mars soil. Which seems to be working and it is free labor.
I was only five years old when my dad went to prison, so I only remember what my mom has told me. That makes me angry because my dad going to prison put us running and hiding indefinitely.
If we didn't hide, I would have been killed. They only took him because dad got sick and we went for help. We thought we could trust them, Ryker and Sabene. I mean they knew about me, so maybe they just wanted that reward for my dad.
Mom was devastated when dad went to prison. She was left with me, my three brothers, and my sister, which I was the youngest.
We have always been in fear of our lives no matter where we go. We are always wondering if someone recognizes me. If we get caught, mom will go to prison, dad will go back and I will be put to death. Yeah, that's a lot for a 14-year-old to bear.
They are hunting us. It is against the law for a woman to have more than three pregnancies. And mom had four. Two of my brothers are twins. It's a law to keep the population from rising too quick.
Lorden and Laddy are the twins, Mackey is my sister and Dig is my youngest brother. His name is Dig because he has a birthmark that looks like a shovel.
Dig is always wanting me to go with him everywhere, and I know it's because we are the youngest and we should stick together, but mom won't let me go. She says it's too dangerous.
I guess it is, but it gets boring never getting to go anywhere. I stay here and play with Raunch all day. Raunch is my dog. He's not like a dog you know. He is from Mars. Dad said he found him in a cave shaking. He was there with his family and got separated.
Dad says his family were people like us. He said they are bigger and taller, but mostly like us. They know what the prisoners are doing there and are fine with it.
They told dad after they taught him their language, why there's basically no water and it is just desert.
They call themselves Lucians because Mars to them Lucia. They say it used to have vast forests and many cities and towns. But it was destroyed in war. It was a nuclear war within themselves. They didn't have countries like ourselves, they all lived together, so it being a civil war would be correct.
They offered for Dad to bring me up there with him and we stay with them. Dad said that was nice, but we needed to find a way to stop the murdering of innocent children.
Today we run. We have to run like the wind. Laddy hurt himself so he has to be pulled. Laddy had broken his leg running from the authoritators. They are more like robotic bullies and outrunning them is next to impossible but it can be done if you have some fishing line, copper wire, and electricity. The fishing line is too small for them to see and the copper wire is intertwined in the fishing line. Makes it harder for them to see it as well. If you see them, then pull the fishing line and tie it off, then grab an extension cord with frayed wired and stick it to the copper wire. It overloads their system when they come in contact with it.
Today was supposed to be a historical day. Immana, basically the president but different, was supposed to speak about the rights of everyone. If you ask me it's about the lack of rights. But why would she care about me, she only cares about herself. But for some reason, she came up missing this morning. No one knows why. So the Authoritators are looking for something to do so they don't shut down. I would have been better surrounded by a group of rogue vampires.
Finally, we were able to get out of the city. We are now walking in the desert. There are homes scattered here and there and we are looking for a certain one. It belongs to a man named Zig.
Mom got mad when I asked if he had a wife named Zag.
Zig is pretty much a mad scientist. He can make anything anyone wants.
Mom pointed to a house. Zig was out front. He had his safari hat on with some steampunk goggles. and a beekeeper's suit on. I swear this man is crazy and Lorden, Laddy, Mackey, and Dig agree.
He looked at us stunned. My dad went to shake his hand. He hugged mom and all of us.
Zig and Dad walked inside. Zig was acting like there was some big secret. A few minutes later we were asked inside as well.
When we got inside, we saw why Zig was acting like that. His wife, Nūma was there and so were their 3 kids and Nūma's very pregnant belly. I was shocked. But Zig hid it well. He had a home, ànd there were tunnels under his house the authoritators didn't know about.
Zig fed us and told dad he would normàlly help, but dad understood. Dad knew first hand what would happen.
A boy named Trey came running. He had news about Immana. She had been taken by the authoritators and their makers. But why? I asked myself. She was… in charge of everything.
It seems that Immana wasn't Immana after all. The real Immana had been killed on the last world mission to Mars. No one knew. And it seems Immana had a twin sister, Preena. Preena was raised with her sister and brother. Immana was raised by their aunt along with another brother.
Omg. Immana's mom was a lawbreaker. Preena had stepped in to take her place. I overheard them talking.
Preena said that she was doing well, but things didn't seem to be changing fast enough. Someone took notice when Preena started trying to change the child law.
Preena had taken Immana's place now for almost a year. So in reality, she was the leader whether anyone liked it or not. Preena was scheduled to be "euthanized" which is what they called it as if it were humane. Put to death is still not a harsh enough description.
There's nothing humane about ripping someone's limbs and head off with a red dirt digger. Yeah, they were going to do it on Mars. It's what they called it. It dug the red dirt for foundations to be laid.
We will see about that, I told myself as I drug my dad outside.
As I talked to dad, I told him of a plan I had. He agreed. We had to sneak into the Hopper. Since the trip was going to be short and not a lot of people were going, just the panel of chiefs that were in office.
Let's face it. Voting went out over a hundred years ago. Now it was pretty much about who had enough money to run the world and then most appointed their ruthless friends to be the chiefs.
Yeah, Earth is no joy anymore. Not like it had been, at least in a while. Mars was looking pretty good.
Mom came running out of their room. Oh yeah, we found an abandoned house close to Zig. So we stayed the night and got a much needed sonic shower and some fresh food. They had a garden out back. I'm not sure how they grew veggies and fruit in the desert, but they did.
Mom was highly upset. She didn't want to risk the flight to Mars. Dad and I couldn't understand why. Dig and Lorden walked out and Laddy was doing his best on crutches.
Lorden held up something. I wasn't sure what it was, but he told dad he thought it would be why mom didn't want to risk the flight.
Dad was ecstatic. He hooted and hollered, well quietly anyway. Then he turned white. It seems that it's hard enough with me, but to have another unregistered child. Well, that did it.
I was mad and hurt. I didn't understand why they didn't want to fight for this kid, so I walked out. I walked to the hopper. It took a while to get there. I think the moon rose twice, but I wasn't keeping track.
I found a place to hide where they kept the luggage. I knew I had to do this. No matter what, this had to stop. No more innocents needed to be killed for no other reason than being born.
A loud noise startled me. I must have fallen asleep. When I looked up, I saw mom, dad, Laddy, Lorden, and Dig. Mom sat beside me and explained what I had misunderstood.
What I really didn't understand was that Mom wanted this baby more than anything, but she was sick. She never told anyone except dad. She was afraid to make the trip without treatment, but dad told her of Garrig. He was the person that befriended him on Mars. The Martian. That thought made me laugh especially since dad says they look like us.
Garrig said they had found out how to defeat disease. They had to since they lived in such close quarters with many others.
Dad had convinced mom to go. She was to pose as a Royal in need of medical treatment that was only available on Mars. Mom was the only one in our family the authoritators didn't have facial recognition of.
We all settled into the luggage bay. Luckily no one had any luggage. But we figured that since everyone going was just staying 2 nights.
The plan was, we get there, we secure Preena and we are on our way while dad talks to Garrig about mom.
That's not what happened. Laddy was caught. He wasn't harmed, but they did have him in the prison's medical bay.
Lorden ran as fast as he could, but without a suit, he couldn't go anywhere outside. Dig was fine. He fell back and decided to be lazy and slept in the luggage bay. Macky stayed with mom and dad. She was the one that mom needed with her. I was way too blubbery. I mean I was scared for her. So, this was up to me.
I tried talking to people of importance, but that helped none. I tried breaking her out, but nope. I had almost given up when I saw them bring Preena out.
Thank goodness for holographic makeup, because hers would have been everywhere. As they pulled her onto the platform, things were racing through my head. I saw a man walk up and motion for the mike. I knew the program he was using. It was air controls. It was so easy a four-year-old could use it.
Without thought, I ran and jumped up on the platform. Before he could start talking I pushed him off. I used the air controls to modify my voice so I would be louder and sound older.
I saw dad through the windows in the distance with mom. Their suits shining in the sunlight. I got a brief glimpse of Garrig. He was so very tall. But he seemed cute.
Ok. I had to get back on track. I started to speak. Someone said to speak up, so I did. It let out an awful growl. I guess air controlled mikes don't squeal like electric ones.
What came next was something I didn't even know I could do.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Molly. I am the fifth child of Jace and Hamina Brayden." Everyone gasped at the absurdity of it. I mean someone admitting to breaking the law. I was breaking the law just for breathing and being alive.
"I may be the fifth child but there weren't that many pregnancies. There were four." They gasped again.
The man came back and struggled with me for the mike. As we were struggling, he started yelling to do it. I saw Preena. She was so scared.
I saw Garrig duck through the door. Dad followed him. He walked up to the man on the platform and grabbed him. With just one arm, he picked him up, called him, an idiot and threw him into the people watching.
"I am Garrig." He looked at the people in the audience. They were a bit intimidating to him. He was getting a bit nervous.
"You got this," I whispered to him.
"Here on Lucia… uh… Mars, we value life. We are appalled you would kill an innocent bakhiva… uh… baby, just for being born. We let you come and make your colony and never thought twice about it. We have seen your machines up here on many occasions. But to think we let a people come here that had intentions of killing babies to control population, then go home. We don't need you here. Jace and his family are welcome, but the rest of you, leave. I am the seventh child of my mothers and there are three more after me. And im only 16 years old."
I was shocked and so was dad. Lorden, Laddy, Dig, and Mackey we're cheering.
"I had no intentions of making us known or to give a talk." He looked down at me.
"Uh.. Oh… a speech. Leave these people alone. Change your ways and you will be welcomed. Until then, leave."
The man got back up. I saw dad in the background, he was releasing Preena. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her. The man looked at Garrig. "Who do you think you are child? You don't have any authority here."
His people had been listening. We saw so many coming out of the underground. Maybe millions.
Garrig made a loud grossly squeaky noise. As soon as he stopped, there were three people of his kind outside. Dad let them in. They were so very tall. I mean Garrig was about 7 and a half feet tall and apparently a kid, and his mom and dad. Huge.
The man backed off and Zorna, Garrig's mom, told Preena how to regain what was once her sisters. With Preena running things, Mars and Earth should be great places once again. Preena cared about everyone. But it wasn't over that easy. We still had to deal with people on Earth. Relay the messages to the ones in hiding and on the run. Most of the prisoners were in there for violating the child law. Things would turn around, but it would take a while. But with Garrigs help, it won't be long. Garrig's dad sent some Lucians to Earth to help with the transition. I am no longer hunted and I can go wherever Dig wants me to go with him.