Darwin's Dogs

Walter G Willaert

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Darwin's Dogs

Walter G Willaert

DARWIN'S DOGS

All Rights Reserved. © 2010 Walter G. Willaert

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher. This novel is work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

to Ben and Eva

“Mars is just God’s way to warn us what we are doing to our own planet.” (A. Shukin, 2063 A.D.)

Walter G Willaert is also the author of The Mecca Connection and Allah’s Angels.

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Darwin's Dogs

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Martin Bellum, President of The United States, pushed off from the edge of his side and fired his million dollar question away. “I would very much like to know your opinion about settling on Mars again, Liz, so tell me what you think.” Her face set. “It’s Elisabeth, Mr. President. Don’t call me ‘Liz’ or any other nick name, please. In the second place, Mars is way out of my life; I’ve determined that once and for all.” She was shocked by the harshness of her own tone. But it was the mention of Mars more than him calling her ‘Liz.’ The silence hung like a curtain. Kovinsky stared at her, obviously perplexed, while Jack looked as if he was about to do or say something but she wasn’t sure what. “Of course, uh, Dr. McIntosh. I’m sorry.” Martin Bellum seemed to be studying his tie, looked up from it and smiled at her. “I apologize, Elisabeth.” Elizabeth felt the ‘mean kid’ expression leave her face and she reminded herself that there was no call to be bitchy; she only wanted the ground rules set from the start. Experience had taught her that mutual understanding usually meant less trouble in the long run. Perched on the chair’s edge, Elizabeth turned to face Martin Bellum more squarely. “I’m sorry, Mr. President, if I sounded rude.” “Don’t feel upset, Elisabeth, it’s my mistake. Right, then, you’re doubtlessly wondering why we had to take you away from your teaching duties on such short notice.” “That’s an understatement, Mr. President. My students will imagine all sorts of things and I’ll have a hard time explaining...”

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Bellum cut in swiftly. “Don’t worry about that, Elisabeth. You will be the heroine of the week, plucked away for a secret mission to save the President! That’s what they want to hear and that’s what we’ve told your dean.” “I see, Mr. President.” She raised her coffee cup from the table and sipped from it, then asked, “May I know what that secret mission is all about?” Kovinsky broke in. He cleared his throat with a rasping sound. His nicotine stained voice sounded grouchy, but it provided him with enough authority to get everyone’s attention. John Kovinsky, head of MEA, Mars Exploration Agency that had replaced good old NASA about ten years ago. He looked a bit like a beardless Abraham Lincoln with his ascetic profile and sunken eyes. “Permit me, mister President. Doctor McIntosh, we stumbled upon your doctoral dissertation about living on Mars. I believe it was entitled ‘Darwin on Mars’.” She remembered the paper vaguely. It had kicked up some dust but had stayed within the confined academic walls and soon the interest had worn off. She tried to recall what was so important about it. Kovinsky clarified. “We’re planning a new settling program, and we could use your expertise.” A new settling program? Colonizing Mars? Again? Last time, if she remembered correctly, it did not end so well. “I really don’t think I will be much of help, mister Kovinsky,” she stiffly said, intensely wishing she were back in class – or, better still, in the faculty lounge, having her morning break with the colleagues. “You’ve been with the first expedition,” Kovinsky went on, seemingly not wanting to hear objections of any sort.

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“That was twenty-five years ago, mister Kovinsky. I was twenty at the time, still junior at college, and I didn’t put in much effort to the success of it.” It had produced her much appreciated paper though, so in a way it had been a fertile eighteen months stay. However, she had forgotten a lot about it since then. ‘And we all know that second expedition was a letdown,” she added softly. “That was ten years ago,” Kovinsky added to refresh her memory. He sent a nod towards Armstrong. “Jack here was deputy project manager on Mars then.” She stared at Armstrong, whose glassed eyes tried to hide his perverse delight in seeing her being put off. He was a head shorter then Kovinsky, about the same length as the President and about thirty-five. He had untidy receding thin blond hair, a five o’clock shadow and his attitude was cold and standoffish. His skin was studded with tiny red spots. Kovinsky went on. “Jack made a great job, but unfortunately it didn’t pay off so well.” That was some kind of an understatement. As far as she knew, they had blown off the second expedition within months of arrival. The media did not make much fuzz about it; it was the time of the third world terrorism. “And how do I fit in the picture?” she asked, feeling more and more uneasy with the headlights shining heavy on her. Armstrong and Kovinsky exchanged conspiring glances. Then, unexpectedly, the President stood up, walked onto her and took her hand in a gentle grip. “I have to leave you with these gentlemen, Elisabeth. I’m not in their league, and the Nigerian Ambassador is waiting for me. Oil stuff, you know. These guys drive a hard

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bargain. And they all have nukes nowadays if you know what I mean. We will meet again, I promise you. By the way, how’s your son Albert?” Nice of him to show some consideration, she said to herself, but it did work. Her tension fell off. “He’s staying on ISS 4 working as a mining engineer, mister President. It’s been months since I’ve seen him.” “We’ll arrange for you to meet him, Elisabeth, don’t you worry.” Before she could thank him, he was gone, flapping his hand loosely to the others. It was still for some seconds. Kovinsky put his fingertips together and started to tap his chin. He stared at Elisabeth for a while, and then turned to Armstrong. “So, what do you figure, Jack?” “I guess we can go on, John. I mean, if Elisabeth agrees.” She gazed at them by turns before she gave them her opinion. “Listen, mister Kovinsky, I’m not going to Mars again. It has been twenty-five years ago, I have a nice life even since; I don’t need another fifteen minutes of fame. I’m a middle-aged woman, if you haven’t noticed yet.” Kovinsky didn’t wink. “You look alright to me, Elisabeth, and that has nothing to do with it. By the way, it’s John and Jack to you. Let me explain why we were thinking of you in the first place.” He told her that Bellum had personally pointed her out. The President himself? She was not sure what to make of that. “The President has read your paper and it was your summary that struck him.” Summary? She had forgotten how she had wrapped up her paper. Kovinsky conjured a pocket reader up in his hand. “I quote. If the colonization will go over, we will have to understand certain divine essentials of human evolution. We

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doctor.” 7 of 333 . we’ll need all the support we can lay our hands on.” “Why is it so important to go to Mars again? I mean. “That’s a long time back. and there are unknown powers we must be aware of. Kovinsky stared at her as if she was blaspheming.” “Of course not. he’s convinced that you do to.” Armstrong woke up. I can’t stand forever for what I’ve written at the time. For some reason only known to him. that’s your prerogative. I’m more concerned that the President has this odd idea I’m the best person to the job only for the sake of his moral beliefs. what’s there that is still so imperative that we need to jeopardize people just for some megalomaniac dream?’ The silence was painful. the hand of God that rocks the cradle. primates with a higher intelligence. Then he regained his posture. but the President found it was exactly what he wanted to hear. but let me tell you about some interesting rewards. She remembered she was also pregnant at the time. “That’s my opinion too. Maybe we should not take exploring and conquering the universe for granted. she was young then and she needed the money. We still are human beings. mister Kovinsky. The previous expedition petered out and we can’t have that twice.” “I’m not going to debate over religious matters.” Had she written that? Well. but if we go on with this. You know he is a strong believer in the creationism theory. Elisabeth. even when you put Darwin in your paper.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert will have to take in consideration there is more in heaven and on Earth than we can imagine. I have changed since then as we all do. “If you don’t want to be part of something an experimental sociologist can only dream of.

She had used this opportunity to write her doctorate and afterwards she had earned her rewards. They had forgotten about her. the free lunches and the celebrity discounts. she was resolute not to set another foot on the red rock again. the newspaper people. Elisabeth. Her job had been a doddle compared to that of the workers. The reflection of going back.” That sounded like a hidden threat. His eyes had a hypnotic stare. was like rewinding the living nightmare called Mars. And living a subterranean life was closer to hell then she had expected. “I’m too old for that kind of venture. After that experience. with the talk shows. watching over the mental health of the hundreds of miners and staff who had to dig and build the impenetrable shield to prevent them from meteorites and cosmic radiations.” Kovinsky seemed to sense some eagerness in her voice. I’m happy with my life and I’d like to live a little bit longer. still.” That was not really true. I can’t.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I don’t need the rewards. and now she was leading the irksome life of a teacher with no expectations at all. you’ll have to choose someone else. I’d suggest you’d pay attention to what we propose. John. “Sorry. She had been hired as an observer. even with that medication settlers referred to as ‘Martian Invaders’. She vividly recalled she was constantly motion sick. let me remind you. What where these two brats taking her for? 8 of 333 .” she concluded. She had once experienced how exciting fame was. If you want to live it up comfortably for the rest of your life. but it came out half-hearted. I can provide you with at least five candidates in my field that will do. “The President wants you.

Elisabeth. He had leaded her through that knotty time after her husband had left her and they had developed a close mother-son link. Anyway. John. And when he died some five years later. The notion of losing him for another year or more was almost unbearable. he will not return until his call is over.” 9 of 333 . Her other half had run off with that little freshie of his and he had put his one million dollar life insurance to her name. You won’t know you will be in a pillbox five meters belowground. apart from the fact that you were our first pick. Two. “Okay. And let me remind you of the opportunities.” Kovinsky broke in again. would you take over.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Jack. please. One. noticing she was giving in. we know about your husband and what came about to you. Elisabeth. It will take him a year or maybe two. the slut inherited all of it and was now living in some remote Pacific dream condo far from the madding crowd. the transport systems have much improved and we’ve managed to make living conditions on Mars tantamount to Earth’s.” Kovinsky leaned back to lit a butt. I mean. financially speaking. I mean. Armstrong straightened up. Albert was the only human being she could rely on. He will be transferred to Phobos to do research on new energy sources. “Since the first expedition new methods have been developed.” Both reasons cut her heart open. And we want to compensate your troubles with a number that will match his life insurance. There is even an artificial sun that’s healthier then the real one. your son will be entering a new stage in his career. we have two reasons why you should cooperate. “And you don’t have to worry about your age or health. You’ll be appointed head psychologist and you’ll be part of working for a better world.

“You can’t do that to me. not a chance.” she protested.” Kovinsky said. she had given her husband the best years of her young life. it was a good way to pay that little trophy wife back. nobody will rack their brains over it.” she decided. “You have to decide now. now sounding like he had won the battle of Waterloo. Mars was a bad place. say goodbyes. She was systematically drawn to the outlook. “Your day-to-day worries are over the minute you say yes. after that. she had to admit.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He played it smart. “Sorry. whatever. if she would refuse. Elisabeth. Frankly. “Let me think it over. it was over and they all knew it.” 10 of 333 . Both men shook their heads at the same time. She came to believe that. it presented her with a challenge that no experimental sociologist in her right mind would decline. Albert would not be around forever when she needed help. you’ll be staying here and then hop on the shuttle. pay my bills. If it went wrong like the other one. Partially blackmailing and getting her in two minds. and God knows she could use that kind of money. but at the same time.” Armstrong said in a grim tone. Every bill will be settled. You’re taking a long Sabbath. she would be back in class until she got the golden handshake.” “We’ll take care of everything. and of course. She was fully aware this third expedition would be the crucial one. I need to pick up my stuff. next stop Mars. Mars was written off as a possible space colony forever. Elisabeth. She was entitled to it. if you decide it’s a go. And there were no other options in this planetary system. your wage will continue to be paid out. you can’t go back to your normal life again.” “No.” “Why?” “Because.

fiendish space to finally land up on a still more hostile planet. Elisabeth. I want to prove something about living on another planet. “Oh didn’t we tell? Apologize. So. I’ll do it. and at nights. Go for it. I want some claims settled and I want it to be put in black and white. why don’t we have lunch first. ‘And that’s why we’re in a hurry.” A heavy load fell of her shoulders. “Okay. that this expedition will have an experimental character.” Jack said with a sardonic smile. What had she to expect when she would go back to her tedious little life? She was lonely. “We can’t waste time. Just now.” Kovinsky said almost cheerfully.” Kovinsky butted in. Elisabeth decided it was time to make up her mind. You’ll get all the help you need.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The outlook of getting away from it all was tantalizing. and talk it over?’ 11 of 333 . together with Jack. this time it could be a fun trip.” “That is. even if it meant traveling four to five months in a void. congratulations.” “Selection procedures? What do you mean?” Elisabeth asked in wonder. Elisabeth. she was sure she had made the right decision. She drank her lukewarm coffee and put the cup carefully down before she spoke. she had to admit. “Tomorrow you’ll commence the selection procedures and we expect results in two to three weeks. for the simple fact that we’ve decided you should be in charge of it.” Jack completed. “We have a deal. On one condition. a little elf whispering in her ear that this was her momentum. space has its own laws. She had the experience and if their promises were forthright. “We haven’t started on the selections yet. she knew she was not getting younger and opportunities and alternatives were rapidly vaporizing with every turn of the year. You’ll be dealing the cards from now on. girl. She had taken it for granted that this part of the game been settled. It was a chance of a lifetime. He’ll assist you.

Elisabeth.” Let’s hope they won’t regret it. We’ll see to that. 12 of 333 . He reached his hand to her.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Kovinsky got up. perceptibly relieved that everything went according to plan. Elisabeth said to herself. “You won’t regret it.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 2. Since the start of their partnership. According to Jack. the picture of a young girlie face with big brown eyes staring dreamily in the lens. the Presidential Emergency Operations Center below the White House left wing. with an artificial sun and everything needed to make a long stay as pleasant in the given circumstances. They had been working together for two weeks. it really had the looks of an upgraded Martian base. but served now a much better purpose. They both had a small suite to their own. bedroom. snugly love seats and miniature waterfalls completed the picture of an underground Shangri La. she was sitting next to Jack. Elisabeth used to disappear to the relaxation area the staff had baptized ‘The Big Chill’. They were housed in a new MEA facility. But then reality stormed in again. Food was brought in three times a day and they had large quantities of snacks and drinks to their purpose at the vendor machines in the operation room. Jack Armstrong pointed to the next item on the wall screen. It was once built as a hideaway for the staff. watching his fingers frantically touch-typing. You had your own room with personal indoor climate where you could listen to stress-relief music or the voice of some Zen healer satisfying your present mood. 13 of 333 . Time was running out swiftly. built two floors down PEOC. At noon. lavatory and a sparsely furnished sitting room. they had been exiled from staff. bawling to get back to work and before she knew. A green garden. two tense and strenuous weeks and results failed to materialize.

a lot of them had passed by since Jack had activated his database. They had insurmountable dissimilarities.” Elisabeth stood up to pour two fresh cups of the decaf low fat brew they called coffee from the espresso machine. When you’re dead. she thought. 14 of 333 . but he lacked social skills. leftovers from the previous expedition. Two hundred and fifty to go. It was unconditional survival. a genetics engineer.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What do you think of her? Does she look like she’s fit to live on Mars? I don’t think so. Jack was an unconditional follower of Darwin’s evolution theory. and they had achieved nothing but a lot of rounds of bickering. His database consisted of thousands of candidates. no force behind the safety curtain that leads the universe to a clear-cut target. you’re gone and the world keeps on spinning until the sun finally decides to switch the light off.” Elisabeth watched the face. It would all become clear once you crossed that mysterious border called death. Elisabeth. It had a typical walking on air expression she did not like. Jack was a brilliant academic. living with his mother before moving down here. Elisabeth believed that humanity had a purpose and that the universe was built on a scheme so huge that man was not able to figure it out. He was still a bachelor in his midst thirties. “I have only two of them. She finally decided to toss in her opinion. Jack. and I don’t see what you want me to see.” He threw her an aggrieved glance. life finds life and you can do nothing about it. “You’re looking with the wrong eyes. and none of them fit into the picture she had of a true Martian settler. She had been seeing about four hundred records. To him there was no plan B.

but he had rightly observed their relationship with men. Man behaves like dog. If you’re willing to listen I’d like to share it with you. because once you’re sitting behind the wheel and fire up the engine. He had no idea that soon men would drive cars and planes and rape nature to his comforts. “Dogs? I didn’t know Darwin compared primates to canines.” 15 of 333 . If you however believed that there is a plan for humankind. but the machine. They could lead to man made disasters. since at the very end only the fittest were left over. Even Darwin had refused to use the touchy word ‘evolution’ until it had become so fashionable that his publisher finally put it in the sixth edition of his ‘Origin of Species’. in its name you could be brought around that your own group. tribe. constructed by a superior being. is he the fit one of the two. and therefore with supreme help let the other kick the bucket. Darwin wrote his landmark at a time when the industrial revolution was still going slow. matters are only partly in your hands from then on. it was not the driver who killed him.” He stopped to let it sink. Elisabeth. or race was superior to another. consequently there was no call for having moral standards. man doesn’t behave like ape.” “Of course not. “You see. she always had objections to the catchphrase fittest.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Both theories had embedded ventures. If you took it for granted that the human species was nothing more than a collection of primates with enlarged brains. But can a machine be responsible for the road kill? Has a machine a will of its own? Some would say yes. Beside the intellectual fuss. he had a weird theory about the descent of man. Both beliefs have proven to be deadly. then. The key question was: if man crushes a hedgehog under his wheels. Though Jack was a true believer of evolutionism. or is it his car? To the poor hedgehog.

though they have adapted themselves to become domestic. A pet dog considers his master as the main man. why are we so damned loyal to our masters and even willing to die for the fatherland? Because we’re loyal pets. “Some fifteen thousands years ago Chinese nomads tamed wolves for their own purposes and made them into something we now call dogs. living in packs.” He squinted at her. none of the computer simulations had worked it out. his brain working at full speed. waiting for her consent. save one.” So far. They always stranded on management conflicts and incorrect approaches. he still remains loyal. It needed total rethinking. the wolf amongst the wolves. Jack.” ‘You’ve got the picture. mulling over every possible angle. staring absently in the void. “Right then. Then he made up his mind.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I’m more than willing to listen. his arms crossed. I agree we need another approach. Why do we fight other humans.” Jack lent back. Even at my age there’s always something to learn from. and punishes us if we don’t act like we have to according to our rulers. He protects him against other pet dogs that aren’t part of his human family. and then fell silent. Even if his master is a brute and mistreats him. Jack. 16 of 333 . Jack.” “Quite an interesting point of view. “This way we don’t go anywhere. still have the same instincts as their predecessors. Running dogs we are.” Jack looked at her intensely.” he said. They lost the skill to pack and became a one person’s wolf. “I believe I see what you mean. but you seem to forget there are some dogs question their master’s behavior when it’s clearly going off the rails. a system that both protects and feeds us. These dogs. You compare our species with pets because we incline to see ourselves as part of a bigger thing. He obeys his master unconditionally and is willing to die for him.

” He halted before her. the biggest mistake you made was going along with them. “I know. but he was ready to clutch at straws. I hope it will not. explaining humankind was a divine gift to the planet Earth. I’ve something in mind that might come as a shock to you. even if they came from a person who had written articles in popular magazines. and my conclusion is that you’ve used a method that was guaranteed to fail. She felt encouraged by his dithering to go on. he jumped up and paced up and down.” Jack looked disturbed. you’re not to blame. Jack. Nevertheless. “What was I to do otherwise? My hands were tight. but if the expected essentials did not come together. waiting anxiously for the green light. They knew the people who controlled the expedition budgets. Jack. his fists clenched. It was MEA and those thickheaded corporate managers who took Mars just another market to conquer.” 17 of 333 . don’t feel miserable.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert It was all a question of variables. it was my life’s dream. can you imagine? A grown man howling to the moon. I wanted to go to Mars so badly.” Jack was a lapdog. I was living with my mother. it irrevocably folded up. “I’m glad you see it that way. At least. You could create the perfect plan. knowing the matter was slipping out of his hands. his eyes expressing misery and she almost felt compassion with him. They both knew the consequences of their selections. were watching over their shoulders. “First of all. “I’ve studied the way you labeled the settlers.” Before she could go on.” “I know what you mean. it wasn’t I who went over the selections.

” His voice broke. thirty-four percent of technicians and managers. but not by Martian standards.” “I’ve read the reports. more oil on troubled waters would not affect his behavior. looking big headed as ever. Elisabeth. a mental switch suddenly flipped and he regained his pose.” “Okay. and an amazing one percent of what I would define as creative people. All these years. “You have. you know the risks for women. though he clearly avoided her stare. do we.” “We don’t need artists on Mars. and then. Moreover. It was a side of his personality she had not known before and it explained a lot more of him. You don’t know how it feels when you see everything around you crumbling away and .” Jack had a look on his face that said: why am I wasting my time here? I have better things to do. 18 of 333 . the board people agreed and they seemed to be fitting at the time..” “That was not of my concern. with no more perils to ion bombardments then on Earth. Sixty-five percent of scientists. he had carried that sad load on his shoulders. “You don’t know anything. I can buy that.” “I’ve pointed that out.” Jack sourly objected. But since then we have developed better life circumstances. He shook his head vehemently. but we don’t want it boobed again. “You’ve chosen people who would function perfectly by the rules of earthly standards. And only twenty three were women. It’s not like we’re chanting at Hawaiian sunsets or painting Connecticut blue skies up there.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She was aware he still felt guilt about the previous expedition’s wipe out.. You’ve chosen the pet dogs. She decided she could go on confidently again. but you didn’t come up with a better solution.

We need people who can solve their problems using their own insight.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “So. It’s a nice plan. that’s a dandy idea. 19 of 333 . We seem to have a different approach to creativeness. She had entered a domain he could level with. but hardly to survive on a planet like Mars.” “Nice pun. “That’s a lot of criteria. “We need sixty-five percent of creative people instead of academics. Jack. aren’t you? There is a way to get round the evolutionary process. We’ll call them the Red Rock Rovers or something.” He gaped at her as if she had suddenly initiated a Navajo rain dance. I have my doubts.” “You’re a Darwinist. And half of them must be women. We need strong characters who know their own points of strength and weakness. Why don’t we use dear old Charles himself for it?” Jack’s attention was stirred now. And what do you mean by creative people? Hollywood movie stars? Monet imitators? Rock bands? Yeah. like there’s no evolution design involved. Just plant them on Mars and watch them grow. suitable maybe to an experimental sociologist. only a couple of weeks away from deadline. Elisabeth.” “We need people who can easily transform from Terrans to Martians.” “Of course. what’s your proposal then?” She had made him coping now and she was aware how desperate he must be at this point of stage. Not people staring at a computer screen or following textbook instructions. They must be a sort of self-fulfilling individuals who can cope with and live in company. What I mean is people with a strong intuitive sense and mindset.” “Sixty-five? Who is going to run the works? A Martian base cannot survive on airheads alone.

not from the foundation on. and people would adapt to the rules in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. The data are obsolete anyway and we don’t have time to update. Rivalry would arise. we want the candidates not to be hand-picked by us but by their own choice. What she was trying to accomplish was to avoid codes of conduct that worked well on Earth. We need other criteria than those you’ve applied on the previous expedition. Elisabeth. but would be outlandish on Mars. radical point of view. Mars would turn into a failing Earth. In no time. earthly way. I can live with that. as all life forms did. When in her teens she was considered a bit of a rebel who would critically question what she was taught. If authority. It was a rather complicated matter as well. I’m afraid I can’t follow. 20 of 333 . all matters she did not want to happen. or trying to disobey them or to adapt their disobedience to what authority expected them to be and act upon it.” “Secondly.” “We don’t want to push or pull.” “And how do you see that happen?” “First of all we can’t use your databases. Darwinism in a broader sense supposed that communities would start spontaneously. class distinctions would be created and hierarchy would be built up in a matter of days. they’ll have to come to us of free will. would be atop the moment they landed on Mars.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “You mean to say that we should speed up a million years of evolution in a couple of months?” “That is what I’m thinking of. social inbreeds would instantly come to life.” “You’ve got to specify that.” “Okay.” She realized it was hard to explain what she had in mind.” “Mmmm.

she became aware that. and then suddenly gave in. We will let the people decide what and how they want it. Jack’s dilemma was that his mind worked in abstract ways she could not comprehend. we still don’t have a nice name for the project. not my cup of tea. By the way. “That’s politics talking now. we don’t want to create artificial power structures. On the other hand. This was not the right time to start another argument.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She was not going to explain all of this to Jack. “I’m glad I have your approval. She went on. he would not be able to bring management around. No doubt. She was aware he was building up his defense for the upcoming board of directors meeting and if she could not convince him. he would have to find out for himself. so I don’t want to argue with that. they were slowly but surely shaping up into a team and that made her job a great deal easier. he was flattered and that project name had a nice ring to him. having found a way out to his dilemma. “For a start. Just tell me how I get to sell it. Jack. Why don’t we call it ‘The Darwin Experiment’? I’ll dedicate it to you. MEA/ExPat2063 is hardly inviting. 21 of 333 .” Jack seemed to weigh the pros and cons. odds were probabilities to him and doubts were patterns in chaos instead of emotions. It let the stage lights shine on him and he would enter the Martian annals as the one who had made the first real colonization work.” She let out an inaudible sigh. for the first time since they worked together.” Jack weighed her proposition. She knew that the people who made the decisions would not put the Martian boots on. they were the ones who stayed behind to count the money.

the whole project could enter the jeopardizing stage where everything ran into a bottleneck jam with no rescue in sight. Have you ever wondered why it went wrong? Why the compass rose crashed? We have always considered western values of paramount importance. She decided to meet him halfway.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I can live with that. Now. “Now.” “Okay. go ahead.” He gaped at her. shoot. Elisabeth. just like the last one. so.” “Exactly. the first criterion is that all candidates must be Americans.” He sent her a thankful look and grabbed his notebook. You don’t need any computers or mnemonic tricks. but ages of western supremacy had put a blindfold on. It was a crucial moment. remember what I’ve been telling you. And you assume that with this attitude we can live together in harmony. “But how do you know what kind of profile you want to project?” he protested.” He kept staring at her. He had never thought about it that way. so lend me your ear. We find it our god given right to tell others what is good for them. “On the other hand. It’s just a question of horse sense. if only the others do what we want them to do. it might speed up our selection procedures.” He still had clearly trouble with the assumption you did not have to use any data flows. They are easy to memorize. more than other cultures. she was right. He had to admit there had 22 of 333 .” “No computer. “Not more than just a few criteria. just like the last one. give me some data I can feed to the machine. Jack. Of course. If he did not agree with her.” he gave in and leaned grudgingly back. “Americans? We were planning to have an international crew. Jack. bothered by her puzzling way of thinking.

too many mental and emotional conflict situations caused by unbridgeable gaps. “First of all.” “Native Americans? I have a hunch you won’t rally a lot of them to go to Mars. But it’s only five hundred years and we need another thousand or so. but having learned it on their mother’s knee. She told Jack that and he seemed impressed. It was a far-fetched criterion though. You had children on your expedition. They came with their families and they left with their families.” “And why is that?” “Because we want to take huge laps in time. You want it created deliberately. and I don’t mean the basic twelve words at the local seven-eleven. they developed children’s illnesses and growing pains. We want to evolve so fast that we practically have to recreate our own species on the spot. that’s all I can say. Their brains were too vulnerable for cosmic radiation. Furthermore. he had just buried his head in the sand. Elisabeth. Americans as we know are less than five hundred years old. They don’t belong on Mars. If the settlers were fit to survive on Mars and wanting to pass their genes on. and while everything came to pieces. 23 of 333 . “Hang on a minute. What about kids?” “No children. not coming from Earth anyway. didn’t bother much in any case.” She did not like the idea of sending young kids to another planet. That is the first step we take. they would produce offspring on the planet itself and the next generations would handle the situations their way.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert been too many discrepancies.” “No. the first time warp. you’re telling me that only people with an American ID can qualify for the job. or should they have had relatives on the Mayflower ship too?” That was meant to be a lash. how did they cope?” “I don’t recall. but Elisabeth took it seriously.” “Now I see. they have to speak English. I mean that all criteria must come together to make one happy population.

I hardly see it happen. next phase?” “They all have to be middle class. quoting the words of Thoreau. “Okay. she had been one of them. “You want just middle class? Isn’t that like class distinction? I mean. from the age of twenty-five on. He was right. She knew middle class.” She did deliberately not put a maximum age forward. Jack. We want the desperate people who want to make a difference. Therefore. social.” Jack lowered his notebook.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “You know from your Darwinian lessons that some species become successful. I figure it’s safer to deal with the reproduction process when we are on Mars. manage to survive and pass their genes on and create new populations. She would feel more at ease with her job on Mars if she knew she was surrounded by her own kind. Elisabeth chewed over her own roots. We want the immigration stuff that has built America. people who have learned to live.” “Middle class is more willing to radical change.” “They lived their life in silent desperation. Silent desperation was the best definition to sum up this criterion. whatever the personal cost.” Jack muttered. yet independent and expedient. “Next item. age. not the upstarts or the old money. and she still felt she was in her bloom. challenging society’s rules. I want only mature people. working her way through while the rich kids had the time of their life and the certainty they would land up where they belonged. She was forty-five herself. it would be incongruous if she would ignore her own 24 of 333 . how she had struggled to get higher education. that reeks of pretentiousness. I see your point. flexible. We need people who really want to volunteer and who are not willing to return to Earth. willing to swim upstream. ” He promptly fed his notebook with some text material. She too had known silent despair.

She told Jack so. so she had to solve the upcoming troubles by her own. search me. and. good pay and no fun. “Jack. It was similar to working on oil rigs in rough seas.” 25 of 333 . there had been a lot of others. He stared at the lid with bent head. but it’s your turf. or start a new life. We all had to sign a confidential agreement and swear an oath to secrecy and if we would break it. they all had gone back to their old lives. “I cast doubt on the age issue. She had been with the first watch. “In all fairness. She had been part of a workers society that had to beat around the clock with no time at all to contemplate. with Jack beside the steering wheel. but of course. He shifted in his chair and then snapped his notebook shut. there would be a lot of mess. what happened to the people after they returned to Earth?” Her unforeseen reaction clearly unnerved him. And that’s it. and in fifteen years time the dome had been completed. Or did you work out this format from your own stay on Mars?” Elisabeth was calling the shots now. if you don’t want to use the database. A question popped up in her mind. Then the first settlers poured in. or had retired or are dead by now. Elisabeth. you’d see. It was twentyfive years ago and a lot had happened since. she would not object either. As far as I know.” He obviously had not and by the look of it he was not going to either. This was a social experiment and she welcomed all the fuel they could lay their hands on.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert age. She was aware that her experience was not compatible with his. from his experience. that would hardly happen. If someone in his or her seventies or even eighties should want to volunteer. Jack knew they would show up very soon. “If you’d read my work. Now the key question: where do you find this kind of people? Do you know where you can press-gang them? I mean. Elisabeth.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert His answer did not really satisfy her. How do we make contact? We don’t want to make much fuzz about it. However. while we are extirpating? Are you sure that you are not going to introduce Fascism on Mars? Some Nazi’s would be thrilled. but he still seemed to feel tight up by professional discretion and therefore she respected his decision to cover it with the cloak of charity. “Oh. It has to grow.” “I see… so you don’t want any Christian. and people have to be intuitive enough to know where they stand. I recall you had some – uh .” Jack had to admit she was right and anyway. we can’t exclude essential people simply on behalf of their beliefs. Why don't we exclude the Afro and Asian population as well. Islamic and Jewish fundamentalists. I know by my own experience nobody likes to sweat some presentation out. I mean. a peaceful. I’m sure. he had turned to agnosticism. the message must be concealed from its real meaning. religion is part of culture.” 26 of 333 . and culture is the last step in human evolution. He had erased the image of a divine entity at the age of seventeen and just like Darwin.hitches with them. by sharing the same values and moral principles.” “Jack.” “Uh-huh – lectures… I’m not sure you will get much people on the streets with lectures nowadays. I was thinking invitations to a lecture.” “Not futile. and any other medium we can think of. religion was not something he was concerned with. “Now. inspired community doesn’t fight over religious variations. a critical one now: we don’t want religious fanatics on board. We do not want upscale Earth religions on Mars. only a spat of hint that would trigger someone’s mind. especially when it proves to be futile. last criterion. She moved to her next criterion. or the way he acted.” “Putting an ad in the local papers or on TV?” “Both. it discovers its own spiritual values.

” “Appropriate spot. Leave the options open. as if his words expressed a hidden dreadful truth. I do declare.” “Uh.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Something like: Darwin – invitation to modern evolution theory?” “No.” “Great. From then on. Just a few lines after the death notices. I’ll take over. That certainly will fulfill some expectations.” “Much obliged. how it has become possible to survive in conditions that are actually more preferable than on Earth nowadays. Those who come must feel invited. Just state the facts. we take over. don’t invite them to join us. He or she will simply hand it over and wrap up their gear to hurry down to the next presentation. You don’t have to worry. with a small crew.” “And how will they be able to get in touch?” “The presentation host will have a phone number where to reach us.” She felt a shiver across her spine. However. I know John is breathing down your neck. how settlement on Mars has evolved through the years. It’s catching. uh – then this. that’s not what we want. don’t end it with an open invitation. Elisabeth. Towering and impressive ads?” “No. I mean. He will need you more than I do.” “That’s wonderful. as petite as it can be. so my work is done here as far as I can see. how about: Living on Mars – a new vision. “But keep it simple. dear Jack. it’s no string attached. Jack.” “It is. Too bookish. “And how do you see the presentations going? Shall I make something out on my computer?” He sounded so greedy that she could not refuse and he was visibly happy with her permission.” 27 of 333 . Hope you’re not predicting.

” Dioxide? Before she could ask more. She sighted. before I forget. Elisabeth. Now my main concern is how to induce Kovinsky to talk into Bellum and his generous fund raisers. you need a fourth condition.” “Choose only city dwellers.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What a relief. Elisabeth. Jack. Then she erased some more and read the result aloud: “Living On Mars – A New Vision. so she decided he could use it on the settlers – after they had been selected. just for the tab. “Living On Mars – a new vision. got up. these settlers are the least thing on my mind. he had left and she was alone again.” “Why?” “Because they can bear higher dioxide levels then country people. Sunday morning at 11 am. again puzzled by his unexpected turns. Free snacks and drinks. I’m working on a test that will provide us with accurate probabilities and I’m sure they’ll be helpful to you and the project on the whole. Sunday was too evident. Jack grabbed his notebook. “Oh. She took her notepad and began to scribble. 28 of 333 . urban people. but stopped halfway his walk. Frankly.” She doubted his words very much. By the way.” “I’m listening. but she was pleased he took it so well. It should be a day that nobody would feel like going to a boring lecture. What are the options? Free lecture at your local community center.” Then she erased ‘Sunday’.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert A lecture on Monday at your local community center. Nobody in his right mind would rewrite their agenda. But she didn’t need people in their right minds. pay ten bucks and fifty cents only to know what they already knew. No free snack and drinks – that would keep out the bums as well. $10. 50 entrance fee – bring your own snack and drink.” That was more alike. She needed something else. 29 of 333 .

covering up an otherwise perfect face. and with her rock band. She came back from her dry out with no outlook at all. In the institution. nobody walking on foot at this hour. Linda Hollywood Linda Hollywood had two abortions before she was twenty-six. she let her ginger hair grow wild. she had never used it and her knowledge had faded away. Hollywood was her true name. She did not care about her looks anymore. they had found trouble locating a free spot without heroin puncture marks to feed her with vitamin shots. it said. They asked ten bucks and fifty cents. she had left the band and now she was desperately looking for a new destiny. after having lived on dope for months. After a huge row with her manager. The sun was blazing down on the pavement. Linda was an attractive girl. when she stumbled upon that tiny ad. it was a good name. She was sitting in a coffee shop. She was thin. A New Vision. What where they thinking? She had only two hundred dollars worth of savings. Just what she needed. what could you do with Walt Whitman.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 3. as if she was born to the stage. It was as if it had read her mind. In any case. Though she had an English literature degree. enough to 30 of 333 . She did not intend to die on it though. Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost nowadays? She stared outside. She read the ad more carefully now. a new vision in her life. browsing the newspaper’s dead-end jobs section. but her life on stage had left its marks.

maybe this was her first step. Usually some jerk was snoring at her side. and she had always hated Mondays. Mars seemed to be a nice change to start her Monday. it had shrunk to less than a hundred. In the heydays. she could be there before the sun blaze. entitled Martian Chronicles & Almanac. It’s your first rung on the healing ladder. She reluctantly left the air-conditioned café. then 31 of 333 . Yet. something from a better past. it suddenly crossed his mind. They were just a bunch of worthless freeloaders she kicked out as soon as she was sober again. Monday was a mountain she had to climb. Dan Pelsmaker Since years. The cubs in her ice tea had melted and the drink had become lukewarm. It was Monday morning. His wife had left him ten years ago for some hotshot commercial pilot. He was thirty-four and unhappily married.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert feed and sleep for a month. and at the foot side. it had some two thousand paying members. They were the days after the booze and the shots and all she could remember were the hangovers and the craving for more. Life was a roller coaster. it went right down. Dan had serviced his own website. It better be good. Do something you like to do. but since the last Mars expedition was over. she thought. it felt like she was compelled to attend that lecture. Pick up again. The community center was just a block away. another Monday was lurking at her. it rose as high as the skies and when she finally got to the top. How time flies. Maybe the therapists were right. but she rarely could remember who they were and how they got into her bed and what they had been doing.

They would not want to take any chances. Which he had done. but the bond was gone. and occasionally having cyber dates with no strings attached. though he did not care anymore. Maybe he would meet some kindred spirits. more or less as to get away from the misery. but that was all right with him. to his surprise. but he was rejected because of his insufficient qualifications. He recalled that some fifteen people had shown up. He was subscripted to MEA’s newsletter and. Somehow. in fact the last one he had presented himself. He was alone in the office. as an assistant manager in a local bank agency. he had secretly put forward his candidacy as a settler. The sex had gone too. they had left a personal message in his box. It was an immense disillusion after he learnt that the second Martian expedition had failed. They lived their separate lives. He spent it surfing the web and reading his local newspaper on the screen. they charged for it. A lecture on Mars and a new vision was something he could not stay away from. It invited him to a lecture on Mars. begging him to forgive and forget. he knew he was a poor pitiful two-timed husband. They were smart people too. leaving a financial gap that cured him forever from lectures. 32 of 333 . A lecture in the civic center? How weird. she had a nice job as a flight attendant that took her away for days on a row and he was working as he did for the last fifteen years. She had castrated him. It was years ago lectures on Mars had been given there. had developed the habit of arriving half an hour earlier to avoid the traffic jams. During his marital struggle. it was an intriguing ad. still working on his website. There were no jobs for bank managers on Mars. they were still a decent childless couple with two Lakeland terriers.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert after a month or so came back with her tail between her legs. Back home he rushed to his computer where he spent his lonely nights looking for new Martian issues. To the outside.

and became a drug runner. loving baseball and hanging round in malls. They managed to build up a new life. but he ran away. they were too busy celebrating. Enrique stayed behind. learning street credibility. Then he made a decision he would never had made before. he would go to the lecture. He would skip it. and he switched his monitor off. He was so severely knocked out they had to carry him to the hospital. slowly 33 of 333 . he could use some new items to his website as well. Monday morning. The nurses on the night shift did not bother much. Moreover. and his mother sewing twelve hours a day in a sweatshop. and although he had generic Indian features. he was an American kid. His dad could not cope anymore and returned to his native village at the borders of the Sonora desert. He touched his lucky charm. watching his mother die from cervical cancer. It did not come and they had to pass the plate around for a decent coffin. Enrique’s dad as a street vendor. crying for help to the holy virgin. He grew up amongst his own kin. A nun came by and found him on the floor. Stuff him and his miserable bank. maybe there was an afterthought debate. he said aloud. He would have to get permission to leave before eleven. gang members beat him up. a key ring depicting a green Martian. His chief was a hard-boiled egg who kicked him around as if he was dirt on the soles of his shoes. Jesus Mendez Enrique Mendez’ grandparents had crossed the US borders on a cold night. On a Christmas Eve. At the age of sixteen. He did not know much of Mexico anyway. joined a local gang. they found him a foster home. selling baseball caps. That was today. climbing over the fence.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert exchange ideas.

He developed his own religion. he learned that both his lawyer and his accountant had fleeced him. they spread the word and soon he had the whole south east in hands. Los Angeles was at that time desperately seeking for spiritual guiding. Unfortunately. and the rest of his money. They sent him to a Catholic school and gave him another name. He made some phone calls and soon was offered a minister job in a small congregation up north. The lawsuit took the best part of the year.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert dying from spill of blood. 34 of 333 . it went terribly wrong. he could look through the veil and finally he dropped school. He wasn’t one of those fanatics and his followers grew exponentially. Jesus. It allowed him to maintain some status with his own office downtown. but to start his own religion. He went back to his old neighborhood. He went bankrupt. which he was not aware of. and his natural intelligence caught the attention of diocese scouts who were looking out for fresh blood. He was sent to a seminary to become a priest. it did not work out very well. Jesus had a good voice and talent for preaching. He knew his stuff and he knew what to preach. Then. he was going on thirty. a mixture of spiritual ideas he had picked up in the streets. but that was his own little secret. Later on. The IRS burst in. The only thing he was good in was preaching. He lived together with his young female secretary – in sin. though not to pick up where he had left. but this time he was no kid anymore. He was back where he came from. He was not the type of priest who could obey orders unconditionally. She looked like his mother and somehow there was a sparkle between them and the nun decided to give him a decent upbringing. filing a lawsuit against him for tax evasion. He knew he would be able to preach again. as soon as the storm had passed.

and her curiosity won over. Her first reaction was to burn the letter. he decided. But then again. His eyes fell on the Mars ad. Then.’. he was drinking a cup of ice water and reading the bulletin board messages on the wall. or rather some proclaimed person with the initials ‘J. he could read that between the lines. God’s word was valid everywhere in the universe. Margaret Rinsford Margaret Rinsford read the invitation over and again. after having served her country for twenty-three years on many battlefields.A. he knew they were going to Mars again. as a retired Colonel. they must have a good reason to have her on their list. where lost souls wandered about. he would be their spiritual guide. Her superiors did not like what they heard and they sacked her. She lived on her army pension. she got a nervous breakdown. demobilized her. I will start my divine work from Mars. She was sitting on her screened-in porch bench of her termite bitten country house some twenty miles from Louisville. even on Mars. 35 of 333 . She had invited her local TV-station to express her grieves over the course of politics and how the military was misused for the sake of the mighty dollar. She did not know what to do with it.H. He would be welcomed as a savior. as it read in her discharge papers. in charge of the MEA Promotion Campaign. He read it carefully and at the back of his head. where she bred stallions for the Derby. Kentucky. and now they wanted her back.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert While preparing for his first session. who invited her to a lecture on Mars. Going to Mars? Why not? A new start for him. and people needed religion everywhere. maybe especially on Mars.

36 of 333 . they had started the first phase to colonize the planet. She had about an hour left to attend the presentation. it had been a trigger to step into the mobile commercials. The army had been her home and she was still longing to take up her old life again. said goodbye to her horses and climbed in her old army SUV. She was alone with her horses and in time she would be forgotten all over and maybe she would die on her porch from heartache. it came to her mind that Mars was not only the red planet. and for the first time she looked at it from a different perspective. even if it would take her into space. Mars? When he was eight. redirected by one of his customers who for some unknown reason thought it might interest him. The facility was completed the year he got married. five to sixty seconds of commercials sent out to mobiles. He held a telecommunication degree and was soon producing flashy. Her eyes wandered about the house. Every eighteen months new shipments of workers would leave Earth to replace the builders on Mars. but also the name of the Roman war god. She put her cap on. She probably was thinking she was doing a favor for the lonesome old bachelor. Somehow. she had no relatives or friends from the service. he had done nothing else. single and she was on the brink of becoming a hermit. and ever since.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She was forty-four. that beaten old retreat she called home. While she was driving on the dirt road. left for days before anyone would notice. Was that not a strange coincidence at all? Pete Murray Pete found the invitation in his mobile mailbox.

To make matters worse. his life seemed to be in cohesion with the red planet. she sued him for alimony and he lost the house and everything with it. That was the time the first real colony on Mars swung in action. Pete could distinctly hear the music beat from ten yards away. “Excuse me. When he was a kid they were called climate victims and before that political asylum seekers. It invited him to a lecture downtown. the strained truths and hidden lies that came with it.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Though he was good at his job. He listened with half an ear to the sports results. Economical refugees they called them. What a strange coincidence… Somehow. a girl came up to him. He read the message again. he was perfectly aware of the futility of it. That Monday morning. While he was tanking. His wife left him when she heard he was more then good friends with his assistant. if that ain’t too much asked.” 37 of 333 . passed some time with the AA and gradually took up his life again. He passed one of those fenced new refugee camps that grew like fungus all over the country. He became a cropper. Sharon Winslow She was about twenty-five. He pulled over to a gas station to fill up. drank heavily. She wore an earth colored cotton shirt and jeans and moved supply and well conceited. are you heading for the city? I could use a hike. this meant something and he was determined to go after the truth. mister. mastering it completely. had a headset on and wore a Peruvian earflap hat. Come to think of it. he drove his car up the freeway and switched to the baseball channel.

It was the same lecture all right. I just – I have to be in time for my lecture. as she was used to hike her way around.” Again. I’m off to a lecture too. he wanted to make some impression on the girl. Usually he was more quick-witted. Two based hit. She kept the music on. She took him in.” That came out before he knew.” “Hi. 38 of 333 . “What a coincidence. He asked her how she had learned the news. but he did not look a happy guy. Could it be? He asked her where it was. Pete. Somehow.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She had a pleasant voice. sang with a slight southern accent. with his straw blond curly hair and gray eyes. She tapped with her index finger on her ear caps.” Pete said. “I’m Sharon. what’s yours?” “Pete. he was not able to show more cleverness and it annoyed him so much that he was not aware he was passing the speed limit before he knew. His heartbeat accelerated. “No problem. but had lowered the sound. “I’m not in a hurry. He got in a flurry with her direct approach and at the same time he was irritated with himself. He was sort of handsome. Maybe his luck was turning for the best. Mars had struck again. About Mars. She sat in the co-pilot seat. crossed her legs and leaned back relaxed.” He threw a quick glance to her. “Sorry.” she said in an amused voice. Pete.

but I was going to the city anyway. “What do you do for a living?” he asked again. “Let’s talk about our future over a glass of juice. so do I. “Oh. “I’m a counter-assistant. Pete. 39 of 333 . She was not that young and he was not that old.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “The radio guy.” Pete was surprised. Sharon. “I’m a TV-producer. but my real dream is becoming a garden designer. putting some more mystery on her person.” she vaguely replied. about everywhere. “That’s a deal. “Oh. “That would be marvelous. Maybe we could travel together. I like working in gardens. The price was the entrance fee. I’d like to go to Mars someday. clearly not much interested in show biz. just to keep the mood going. mentally crossing his fingers. I won this contest about some rock band. “What do you do for a living?” she echoed him. and it had been some time since he had been with a girl. that’s great. Just ten dollars and fifty cents.” he said and at the same time. Do they have gardens on Mars?” “I believe they do.” he airily proposed.” Was she fooling him around? He felt his blood suddenly rushing. I don’t like to travel alone.” He held out his hand and they shook on it. maybe you’re the one they’re looking for. he cursed himself for giving her false hopes.” he proposed. He felt an overwhelming need to make an impression on her. “Where are you coming from?” he asked.” he lied. How much luck a guy can get? “As a matter of fact. so I might as well attend that lecture.” She looked out the window.

40 of 333 . Home base. much obliged. thanks.” She looked more cheerful now and he was thankful she had accepted his invitation so straightforwardly and without second thoughts. He owed Mars one.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Okay.

It had allowed her to eliminate drastically the few unwanted variables that had slipped through the process. The nerves and a weak stomach had played badly on her. It was a highly comfortably place to be. they had to climb in some sort of water-protected coracle and they were injected with a harmless tranquilizer. They had managed to collect the two hundred fifty chosen ones in due time. they were cared about by PR-staff who shepherded them to their quarters. unexpectedly thanks to Jack’s database. Elisabeth hated the part that involved the launching from Earth. they would be heading for the red planet when launching conditions were good. In the recreation hall. She had even managed to throw up in her helmet. The space station drifted in a geodetic path facing America’s astounding land imagery. In a month. several powerful telescopes processed their pictures to personal monitors and you could pick out your favorite spots. She vividly recalled the first time. The previous clumsy astronaut suits were not in use anymore. It made them pass out and float on sweet dreams up to the moment they were about to land on the Wheel. For instance. It was amusing to watch her students walk up to the classrooms while she was in the station and sipping from a banana shake goblet. Still dazed. her fears turned out to be groundless as space technology had changed a lot since then. a horrible experience she willingly had shut out from her mind. a few candidates had conditioned backgrounds. the pet name for ISS 3. However. she had to admit. the international space station that was orbiting the Moon at about three hundred kilometers. nearly choked in it. authority 41 of 333 . how nauseated she had been all the way.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 4. you could zoom into a hundred meters and follow people the way you look at ant colonies. such as lawyers.

They were not many of them. She asked herself if he had a girl friend 42 of 333 . some rich and famous. it was up to her to demonstrate her plan come up to their expectations. the other Wheel that was orbiting Mars. a high ranked reserve officer called Margaret Rinsford. She was relieved he was okay and satisfied with his life. Whites had become a geographic minority.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert figures. so why should she lose any sleep over it. the sponges. To her surprise most candidates turned out to be whites. She could only assume that a lot of white Americans had lost their mental connection with their nation and preferred a new life on a rigid outer world where they were not confronted with their loss of social power. as she could swiftly eliminate the racists. alternated by short breaks on the Wheel. they had found it necessary to have their own choices incorporated. John Kovinsky had come to terms with the board of directors. On the other hand. she had to admit they had unconditionally carried out most of her demands and wishes. though America had changed dramatically over the last decennium. Presumably. There. Dan Pelsmaker. Management had two names added on the settlers’ list. he would work for a year or maybe more. Jack’s lists came in handy again. and a former Mars expedition candidate. which to Elisabeth’s astonishment had unanimously agreed with her unconventional scheme. who was still working on ISS 4. Racial wars on Mars would be the ultimate nightmare and again. frankly spoken. and the careerists who looked upon it as a next move. She did not know what to make out of it. The American elite were at ease with their present lives. What the hack. despite the fact that they still made up the most populated one. Now. She made several long distance calls with her son Albert. there were no free lunches. gathering rock samples in search of new energies. He seemed keyed up with the idea of going to Phobos. she could have known they would add some of their own favorites.

Jack hadn’t shown up since they had landed. Humans followed the rules of life everywhere they went. Since decades. That was a decision made off the record and still known to few people. the Moon had turned into an extensive work camp that covered some quarter of its surface and still expanding. an isotope needed for 43 of 333 . he did not have to go over people. and they made good use of it. paid by the major enterprises. mines and mills were property of an international consortium. but it kept rambling on her mind. She recalled that. management had been bulldozed into letting prostitutes in. She had learned a lot about sexual conditions on the first expedition and she was forced to accept Freud’s libido theory. though his job was so demanding that he hardly found the time to settle down. even on a rough place like Mars. The first settlers would arrive in a week.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert already. Most workers in space took medication to suppress their sex drives and masturbation was highly recommended. make them at ease and find out about their needs. The works. She tried to ignore that word. and anyway not much decent girls were available in space. He was too busy with his science club as she was with her lab rats. but at this point. Sometimes she envied Jack. They had to build secluded spots for the worker’s needs. so she had to prepare for their coming. she didn’t need him anyway. She would not reflect on how he dealt with his sex life. after a lot of strain had materialized resulting in blowouts and outbursts. also know as the Big Five. they were her own creation and she felt personally responsible for them. the digging and the collecting of helium 3. They really were guinea pigs in a way. The labor was done by automated remote controls from the Wheel. To the public the space workers were a breed of super beings with no need for sex and totally dedicated to their tasks of creating new worlds. the first hookers in space.

she could see the short burning fuses of cargo ships lifting off or landing down. most astronauts suffered from both mental and physical degeneration. several high-class corporate hotels held their jet set parties and the fairy-tale sight of thousands of colorful lights shone brilliantly from the floating islands. However. It was all so impressive and it blew her mind. They had assured her it was even better. life will be much easier than I expected.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert thermonuclear power stations. misfits to Earth’s view of nature. an endless stream of shuttles and space liners traveling between Earth. From her window. Kovinsky paid her a visit while she was working at her desk. He had taken in the familiar imprint and produced a tight little smile. they had assured her that they had properly taken care of all these issues. Some days later. unlike the hydrocarbon reserves that were running out at an alarming speed. In the early days of exploration. you had to live underground because of these dreadful ray bombardments. like everyone who had their first glimpse on the Moon. she said to herself. Far away. It was rather creepy to see the bustle without hearing anything. He sat opposite and watched her conclude the report. If anything like the Wheel’s conditions exists on Mars. “So. in their own orbits. what’s your decision. On Mars. fun was not an option. Elisabeth? Are you going to present a first-rate report to the President?” 44 of 333 . The lunar bowels had so much of it that they could provide Earth with a thousand years of energy. it was even worse. so different from Earth. the Moon and the space station. just before the settlers’ arrival. while writing in her log. They got deformed babies. First. and with female astronauts. and were not able to produce offspring anymore.

“It’s for my own purpose. Kovinsky seemed to notice her reluctance. no big deal. John. John. though it made her face the facts and of course he was right. Don’t worry. Elisabeth. tell me. just describing my first impressions.” 45 of 333 . you’ll be hand in glove so to speak. She did not know Kovinsky that well beside his job as project manager. he would know everything about her. I’ll be asking Jack the same question. Suddenly she was aware that.” That was an image she did not like much. you’ll have to meet from time to time. what’s your opinion of Jack?” he all of a sudden asked. go ahead. in a few weeks. She decided to leave her options open. but on the other hand.” “Not at all. “I don’t know.” He lit up a butt and watched thoughtfully the smoke spiraling up the ceiling and sucked up by the air shaft.” That’s what I want him to think. “Jack’s a good guy. and you’ll do yours. Nevertheless. What do you want me to tell you about Jack?” “Come on. and the President has proposed I’ll keep him informed about your teamwork’s progress. do me a favor and tell me if you have objections working with Jack. He looked content with the answer. as he was not supposed to know about her confidential files.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She felt put off. but she knew how close he stood to Bellum. He’ll be working with you at close hand. he’ll do his job. You must have made up your mind. her life was going to change dramatically. “So. “You don’t mind me smoking? I’m about to quit before we take off. So.

spoke in a firm voice about the sense of leadership. I really hope you and me and Jack will be working just fine together.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Well. eventually she was bound to need him for his expertise. We’ll see how things work out once we’re on Mars.” His lips split in a brief smile in response to her vague diplomacy. a self-declared preacher. had no partner or no lasting love affair. but he wanted the standing out ones. black and cold space.” After he had left. who seemed to have lived the life of a devil’s advocate. we’ll leave this until we really set off. and looking out the window into that deep. some hero from an old space serial. she switched the closed circuit television on to watch a longwinding ode to the Wheel’s management. He was clearly adulating his employers and she switched off again. There was a bond though: they ware all detached. Her choices had at first sight not much in common. She wanted leadership to develop spontaneously. Kovinsky had asked her to pick potential group leaders. and they had shown they were free spirits with creative skills. “Okay. Though she was reluctant about religious leaders. To Kovinsky. life had become so much easier for her without him breathing down her neck. but on the other hand. she said to herself. The narrator. It was in God’s hands. there would be some rumble. maybe more than she could anticipate. The first one was Jesus Mendez. To entertain herself. he 46 of 333 . a good leader was able to motivate his subjects beyond their duty and take the credit for it. What did he meant by that remark? Did he expect trouble? Of course. not according to the familiar definition of leadership. she was left puzzled. John. “He’s alright. but things were not in their hands anymore. what could she tell him about Jack? Since they had taken different routes. She had to figure out how to merge their differing opinions about leadership. she was not sure it was just a metaphor.

now that we’re on our way. but he might start to show some respect if they would become partners as Kovinsky had in mind. who knew the nuts and bolts as a commercial producer and then there was Sharon Winslow.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert would certainly know how to motivate people and that could be of tremendous value if things were not going her way. And anyway. Jack softened up. She remembered his physiological reactions to space travel. He had a bemused look in his sad eyes. She too had to knock her way in. He drew a face that meant to be jovial. but one who had filled concert halls with worked-up fans. nothing in this expedition showed much of rationale. “John wants us to work closer.” Discuss matters? What’s up now? His visible conceit towards her and her job showed even on the two-dimensional image. Elisabeth was not sure why she had picked her out. Jack. John told me he had been at your place. Suddenly. which were even worse then hers. How are you doing?” “Feel like horse shit. Linda Hollywood. “Elisabeth. it was more gut feeling but then again. She turned the camera towards her own face. he wasn’t part of the established religions and might break fresh ground and that’s what they needed in the first place. are you there?” His voice sounded stingy.” “How close does he mean?” 47 of 333 . “What’s so important I’ve got to drop what I’m working on?” She knew she sounded goaded. Pete Murray. Maybe it was because Sharon reminded her of herself. It was the same with the others. He kind of ordered me to come over to you to discuss matters. “I’m here. she too knew how hard life could be. the screen flashed on to show Jack’s face. an ex-junkie.

“I’m still looking good. Elisabeth. Elisabeth. How long had it been since she had slept with a man? Ten. or mine.” “No sweat. but I’m in the middle of the selection completion. She knew he was lodged at the other end of the accommodation facilities. fifteen years? Was she turning into an old and bitter. He had made her probing and she could not concentrate on her work again.did not make it easier for him either. she said aloud.” High jinks? What was that supposed to mean? She restrained. “All right then. and I’d like to wrap it up tonight. it’s not easy for me either. Then she stared to her face in the mirror and said aloud. realizing this was Jack and the fact he was a kind of genius – she had only recently learned he had been member of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Theories . grumpy old woman? She had been so much absorbed with her work and the fact that she was a teacher did not trigger any better chances to meet an interesting man. You know I have my own commissions and we both can’t waste time on high jinks. She was ten years older than Jack. I won’t take much up of your time. she was fed up with all that razzmatazz with men. and frankly.” He cut off and Elisabeth stared at the galaxy pictures that had popped up on the screen again. ‘Oh my God. There is something fishy going on. She let her hands wander over her breasts. She decided she might as well fix up. I’m not thinking of…’ She felt upset. He was a lonesome kid on a golden throne in an ivory tower.” she said to herself with approval. come over and tell me about your jinks. and even with those jocular electric cars it would take him half an hour or so. She took a hot shower and had a quick check on her looks.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Listen. 48 of 333 .

With her short cut mahogany hair and her boyish look. Our species was born on and shaped by Earth and had nothing to do with other planets. “I don’t know. We’re not like invading Mars if I’m right. She was talking to herself lately. looking away and she took that as a compliment.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She dressed up casually.” she said aloud again. Jack. want a cup of fresh coffee?” “I wouldn’t mind if I do. “I hate space travel. But weren’t they all in some way a bit wacky? Nobody in his right mind would barter Earth for Mars. “It’s bad for my asthma. “Sit down. which was not a good sign if you had to live with two hundred and fifty people in a pillbox.” “I sympathize with you.” he said. I can use some perking up right now.” “Still recovering from the trip?” She pushed some buttons. He dropped in and though he still had that foggy look on his face. unwillingly trying to look seductive and waiting for a younger man and realizing how fast life whooshed by. She sat in her coach. Nonetheless.” he said in a gruffly voice. It was as if they had never parted. she could pass for a much younger woman.” 49 of 333 . Jack. took two cups of great smelling coffee brew from the machine. a wool mark sweater and white cotton trousers. and handed one over to Jack. “You seem to acclimatize well here. snuggled up. but can we get down to business now? I don’t like all that hole-and-corner affairs. here she was. he was enough heads-up to notice an Elisabeth he had not seen before. Elisabeth. and she realized that Jack did not look upon her as the old and stuffy teacher and she felt good about it.

Elisabeth. Elisabeth.” 50 of 333 . He shrugged as to show this talk was not one he liked to chew on. partly mental troubles. and anyway. I guess. not for long. The notion of living next to dead bodies in a huge space coffin was something from a horror tale.” “You mean you have corpses around here?” A shiver ran down her spine.” “Why are they dying? Is it the working conditions?” Her psychological trained brain turned in overdrive. thinking of her nakedness in the bathroom. you might have a heart attack or something. it’s just sensors picking up distressing signals. A lot of people here can’t cope with spatial environments and with every new payload we have some stiffs. “Of course not. Jack looked blankly over her shoulders. He downed his voice. This gimmick scrambles whatever we’re talking about. and lure them with half-truths. well. people are not so keen on working in space nowadays. We have to pull them over with big bucks and the thrill of adventure. “Partly working conditions. It’s only in your living room and just for safety reasons. put it on the table and shoved it cautiously to her. “Are you saying they spy on me wherever I go?” “Don’t be daft. He conjured a black metal pencil shaped device. We have to fetch workers where we can find them. “There are hidden cameras and microphones about.” Cameras? She felt nauseated. Usually they don’t anticipate what they’re about to bump on.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Jack put his cup down. Everything you don’t say can’t be hold against you. She wouldn’t dream of having to face such matters of life and death on Mars. As soon as the next shipment comes in. they’ll be taken back to Earth.

On the other hand. it’s my function and reason to be on Mars. he just wanted her to be his hen.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “So. She started to judge him in a motherly way. I mean. no. So much for the sex. now I’m ten years older. Jack. you’re saying there’s a high suicidal rate here?” He shrugged again. More and more it looked like this was not going to be a walk in the park. he stooped over to her and looked conspiring. After all. I’m sure everything will turn out fine. I’ll leave you be. He stood up and smiled. I’d like you to warn me if I’d start to act like I – uh – I’d be off the rails at some point. but she had never bothered with mortality rate before.” He nodded. and yet this was reality too. “Right then.” 51 of 333 .” “With the previous expedition. mentally. she could do that. now looking like a heavy weight had dropped off.” “That’s okay. and the skies are clear. not at all.” “Are you having second thoughts of going to Mars?” “No. I’ll see to you. I had – uh – some issues adapting to the situation. Suddenly. “I want you to watch my back once we’re on Mars. you’re the shrink. “Go on.” Ten years older.” he mumbled. and there’s a good chance I’ll be less able to adapt. it’s just – well. I was younger then. but compared to me. “That you can find out yourself.” Of course. he was not going to declare his covert passion to her. it took a lot of her strain away. he’s just a tot. “Don’t worry. I will tell John we had a great conversation. She spotted traces of fear in his features. as they could go along like two fellow-sufferers and that was good enough for her. and this time it was straight as a die. Jack.

and it shone friendly on her. All of a sudden.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “You may keep the scrambler. he seemed to see her in a different light. he was gone. She pondered over his remarks. It might come in handy when we’re on Mars. Was there something with Mars she was not supposed to know of? Anyway. Elisabeth.” Before she could ask him why. She drew another cup of coffee and mused upon their talks. she would soon find out… 52 of 333 .

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5.

Linda Hollywood could still not believe she was actually going to Mars. Everything in her life had turned into helter-skelter since she had decided to attend the presentation matinee. She had rang these people up and two days later, there was the interview with an elderly lady in a fancy hotel downtown Washington D.C. – all expenses paid for who did not seem really interested whom she was and why she wanted to go to Mars in the first place. Suddenly, she found herself to be one of the candidates and from then one, things got out of hands; it wasn’t her life anymore; an organization behind the screens had taken over. The briefing had been so short that at first she was convinced they were pulling her legs, but suddenly there she was, in one piece in the space station, and preparing for the ultimate jump into the void. She stared out of the window in the room that she shared with nine others, looking at the bright lights of the hotels and discotheques floating between Earth and the Wheel. Her empty life had far gone now and she felt she was entering a new phase and her future looked as bright as those fun places outside. Let them have their kicks; she said to herself, while turning away from the window. She somehow felt pity with them. Someone was blocking her way, had been standing behind her for a while. It was a middle-aged woman she had seen at the training sessions, which, by the way, were nothing more then a set of simple physicals.

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She had long dark-brown hair lined with silver stripes. She could have been pretty if she had not that tense look that hardly invited you to come over for small talk at the art gallery exhibition. “You’re Linda, am I right?” Her voice had a harsh undertone, but contradicted with her laughing eyes and for a brief moment, Linda had a flashback to her youth, with her aunt who had raised her after her mother had left her for the madhouse. Aunt was a correct but strict woman, not a person to fool with. “Yes, uh - I’ve seen you at the briefing.” “Oh sorry, my name is Marge. Margaret Rinsford actually, but that’s not important anymore as they’ve told us.” Marge seemed to long for a chat and Linda invited her to the cafeteria for freshly squeezed lemon juice, which Margaret did not turn down. While they were sipping their drinks, Linda said that it struck her that so many seemed to be randomly selected. “I know and I don’t have an answer really,” Marge answered. “Frankly, I can’t see anyone around here who’d fit the profile I would choose for a stay on Mars. Have you seen any scientist or wiz kid around?” “Maybe they’re in another program and they’re sitting at the other end of the Wheel.” Margaret shook her head. “No, not at the other end; it’s only workers there and they don’t mingle with settlers as far as I know.” “It’s weird,” Linda said. She flashed a smile at her. “But hey, who am I kidding here, I really want to live on Mars, believe it or not. How about you?”

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Margaret seemed to find it a tricky question. She put her glass down to stare at the muted music channel on the wall screen. “It’s odd alright. They all want to be on Mars but no one seems to have the proper qualifications. What do they expect from us? That we sit on our butt and do nothing, or take over the astronauts’ jobs?” “I don’t mind sitting on my butt all day,” Linda said. “It would be a nice change for a start.” Margaret threw a sharper look on Linda, seemed to see her in a different daylight. “You’re young, you can steal time, but I’m living on borrowed and I don’t want to waste it looking all day to the Milky Way.” Linda sensed something she wisely did not go into. If Marge wasn’t so keen on spending her life on Mars, why in the first place had she volunteered? Margaret wrapped up the subject. “Oh well, we’ll see, won’t we.” Linda struck another cord. “Have you noticed that men and women are equally proportioned? I mean, it’s a fifty-fifty situation if I’ve counted right.” “I know, and it struck me too. It reminds me of the pioneer days.” “Wagon trails and Indians.” Linda laughed at the idea. “Sort of. Maybe this time it will turn out better then the last one.” “You mean the last expedition? I wonder what went wrong then. It didn’t go well, did it?” “Maybe they’ve come to recognize the importance of female presence.” “Girl power.” Linda smiled. Margaret got up, faintly smiling. “That’s it. I like that, girl power. We should stick together in case, you know. Anyway, thanks for the drink; they sure know how to make juice around here. I hope we’ll have them on Mars too.”

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After she had left, Linda sat back to wonder about Marge. She was a strange woman, not really the stuff you would spend with in a secluded setting like a Martian base. She seemed to be the oldest one too at first glance, but then again, that might be an asset. Pete Murray had looked for Sharon Winslow since they were split into smaller groups. He found out she stayed on the fourth deck - while he had his room on the second – and that she attended the Galaxy Café where everybody met. He sat there patiently, drinking a lot of fake espresso coffee and trusting he would meet her sooner or later. The next day he was lucky; people poured out of the elevator and she was one of them, with a guy at her side. She spotted him and smiled, looking like the prom queen. The other guy was about her age, at least younger then he was, and they seemed to enjoy their company well. Pete was eaten up by jealously, but he managed to keep it cool. “Hi Pete, glad to see you again and where are you staying?” Her voice was light and pleasant and she did not seem to suffer from the artificial gravity and the artificial oxygen. ‘Oh, hi, Sharon. I was just having a coffee, didn’t know you were staying on this deck.” He just could not stop lying to her. His eyes ran over the other person. The kid seemed just one of them, that bunch of youngsters who instantly flocked together at the briefing center, in a kind of animal reaction. Was he banging her? “This is Jason. He’s Canadian. He works here. You know, he has been an extra in Terror in Space Part Two. Jason, this is Pete, he’s a TV producer, and maybe he’ll shoot a movie while we’re on Mars.” Jason had so many teeth that his smile nearly covered the lower part of his face.

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“I’m not really making space war movies, Sharon, “he replied in a pretended aggrieved voice. She laughed aloud and Jason grinned; they seemed to take it as a good joke. So far for my miserable go at the girl, Pete thought. It was like that since they first met at the gas station. Why couldn’t he be the smooth guy he really was? “Why don’t you stay with us, Pete? We’re going to have some fun at the Discotheque.” She had put her question deliberately and it sounded like a polite invitation with no string attached, but to him it sounded promising, if he just could get rid of Mister Sunshine here. The Discotheque was a zero gravity disco where you could float around while drinking from a straw and moving at ear deafening music. Before it became a meeting place, it had been an experimental gravitation lab. Since it was located in the central hub, gravity was only fifty percent and so ideal for testing procedures. After the testing was over, some caterer rented the lab and turned it into a fun place for the jet set. With the arrival of the space hotels and their own playgrounds, the Discotheque was turned back to the mining company and now the workers made great use of it. It was not really something for a man of his age, but it tickled Pete’s vanity that Sharon still saw him of as a part of her crowd. They headed towards the shaft where automated four-person buggies were waiting for them, to carry them to the discotheque. They climbed in a waiting car. Pete took the backseat and while driving across the pipe shaped spoke, their speed increased and the wall lights became stroboscopic. Pete closed his eyes, feeling he was getting claustrophobic.

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“Don’t be afraid, Pete, we’re safe here. I’ve been doing this trip a hundred times before.” That was Jason speaking to him, his blond hair flapping like a sail. Pete opened his eyes. The Canadian was sitting in front next to Sharon, his arm around her shoulder. Sharon had the time of her life and screamed her lungs out. “You have?” Pete managed to utter. He clanged to the safety bar with his knuckles turned white. “After work I go to the disco to let the steam off. It’s no big deal once you’ve got the knack of it.” They slowed down and Pete felt the decreasing gravity in full swing. He was ever so light and climbing out of the car, his legs doubled up and made him stumble and fall. Jason caught him in his muscled arms. Pete felt like a sissy. “It’s still about sixty percent, Pete, so you better get used to it. We’ll proceed now to the adaptation zone, where we’ll dress up.” Jason led them to a corner where they were dressed in fluorescing anti-shock play suits and they had to put football helmets over their heads. Sharon chose a yellow red striped suit. Jason had his own locker and had a white one that made him look like a revenging angel, and Pete had reddish-orange stripes that made him look like a walking Popsicle. Jason told them it was safety measures to prevent them being hurt in that zero-five-g as he called it. He was right. The moment they entered the Discotheque, which turned out to be a huge bluish illuminated cathedral, gravitation dramatically dropped and Pete started to lose his balance again. The more he tried to control himself, the worse it got. He was

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His whole attitude was altering dramatically. others were dancing in the air. Every weight had fallen off his shoulders and he felt a young man again. but his gateway to paradise. Of course. hovering graciously and at the face of it. Music was loud and seemed to float along with them. Pete cheered himself up. jumping and sticking to the walls. not like some others who still clung to their souvenirs from their earthly past. Sharon seemed to do better. Then Jason came to his rescue again. though she clutched tightly to the wall grips. Soon Sharon and Jason were dancing together smoothly like butterflies in love while Pete was still trying to put his feet where they belonged.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert tumbling on and off like a yoyo and he heard Sharon screaming with excitement while he helplessly tried to regain his stance. At the far end. Some people were climbing up the dome like radiating spiders. He put Pete on his feet and led him on like he was his dancing partner. where they would land in zero-three-g. his walk was brisk. He liked everyone and everything around here. Dan Pelsmaker was walking on air too. all those glittering outfit floating. thinking that his newfound low gravity expertise would give him a head start on Mars. he would stay here 59 of 333 . He did not ask himself if he had made the right decision. flashing fluorescent laser light produced the words Newton rules. and his brain revived that sealed spot where he stored his wit and bravura. It was a beautiful sight. his dream had come true. he had. At last. No sir. The Wheel was not a space station to him. completely in harmony with their environment. He never felt so humiliated in his life. he had been making it for the last decade. He had given up on everything. He was a Martian settler now. There were not many she-bangers around as it was still early.

canned salmon. Between two bites Dan asked Mendez’ motivation to go to Mars. but not that much. There was yet another man who shared his vision. Mendez didn’t see the funniness.” Mendez replied. he did not want to end up in a godforsaken hole preaching to sweaty fat women about hell and heaven. He had the appearance of a priest. “You bet. your bones and joints had a lot to suffer and so. As far as he was concerned. sardines. “It’s nothing compared to Mars. their diet was calcium enriched. Dan. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life drifting up and down in a fish tank. “That’s a bitch. Instead. regaining his dignity. that low gravity. eating the special diet food that the expedition people had prepared for them. greens. while they took cautious steps up the alley to the third deck bistro. In space. Mendez finished his juice before answering the question. he just said he had no other place to go. and tofu and the drinks were calcium-fortified juices. They decided they liked each others company and sat together in the Café. he had done with Earth. consisting of a range of yogurt. do you know they use only eighty-four percent of it to save energy?” Dan said. It was a tricky one. and maybe you will be the first to hit the jackpot. He caressed his lucky charm.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert whatever the cost.” Dan threw a squinting look at Mendez. He really had no place to go. an answer that was so funny that Dan burst in laughter and forgot about it. he could not just say. well. Jesus Mendez was not used to the magnetic shoes and Dan caught him just in time before his knees buckled. He was some years younger. dried beans and peas. I really hope that training will match what they’ve promised. I’m going to save our souls on Mars. 60 of 333 . broccoli.

He had been mistreated and he deserved better. for Chrissake. On Earth. Dan gaped at him. With his dreamy blue eyes and his suave manners. in the seas.A. but He’ll have to show me He’s worth to believe in. and that was a challenge Mendez was thrilled to accept. He just saw a happy-go-lucky brat on a Honolulu beach. If they all were like Dan. “Do you believe that God has created Mars. But Mendez looked so authoritative and willing to start a word battle that he decided to play along. “Why do you say so? If you’re the religious type.” Dan confessed.” “But do you believe it. Dan would not last a day in the streets of south-east L.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I’m fed up with my life on Earth too. you believe in God and therefore you believe He has created everything on Earth and in heaven. on the lands. He was an expert on Martian issues. God was on Mars. forgetting he had soy cheese on the lips. Mendez would have to use another visionary approach to the settlers. Jesus. On Mars. and with or without Him. God had abandoned him. Dan?” Dan looked away. 61 of 333 . Mendez did not see a man with a mission. He had ignored God’s existence. there would be nothing to remind them of His presence. It was the first time someone dared him that God had to prove Himself. in the skies. Dan told him about the emptiness of his life. “Actually I do. Dan?” That question came bold from the blue.” Dan’s reaction surprised Mendez. God was everywhere. his life had been a mess all around. They could surely use a man like him on Mars. Mendez was a good listener. but Mars had to be convinced.

“Okay crew. They had a work breakfast with toast and scrambled eggs and the brew known as ‘coffee’. Kovinsky and Jack would set off first with a lot of equipment to prepare for the arrival of the first party of settlers. The whole procedure was etched in their brains. The voice was Kovinsky’s. It was recycled water. She opened her eyes and looked dizzily to the ceiling. ISS 4. As agreed upon. it’s time. it became urine and at the end. The water stream perked her up. A week later. Though it was drinkable.” The wake-up call shook her instantly back to reality. and walked to the bathroom to have a shower. Minnesota lambs grazing peacefully under a blue unclouded sky. just before their launching windows 62 of 333 . She shook the blanket off. They were ready to go. He did not have to tell them any new issues. Once drunk. a dull gray painted metal case with an air-cooled hole and sprinklers. The Russians had developed the method a long time ago when they built the first space station. not the best place to land up after you have been strolling across the meadows. coming from the intercom. Elisabeth had been dreaming of green soft sloping pasture hills. while Kovinsky was going over the last details before lift-off to their next destination.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 6. rested for a couple of seconds at the side of her berth to adjust to gravity again. it was transformed by a hydrolytical process into oxygen and shower liquids. she tried to shun it instinctively. so she had been told. they met half an hour later in the briefing room that was empty otherwise. everything imperative had repeatedly been said over and again.

The male group leaders were not invited. but she knew this was neither the time nor place to start an argument. which was about thirty years of age now. She tried to suppress her anxiety and kept her mind on the slides while Kovinsky tied up his lecture. On the other hand. Elisabeth sent two invitations over the mail channels. save it was far more comfortable then this one. you want me to pick out four new leaders and I still need a last session with the women.” The briefing room was already overbooked. I want you to pick four others from your list who are suitable for leadership.” She did not like this unexpected turn of plans. They watched her inquisitively. With the first one she did not impose on being there. to wrap it up. She did not know much about it. We will pass that time with imposed acclimatizing programs. Elisabeth. they would hibernate on ISS 4. “John. You’ve got to give me more briefing time. First. The second one was mandatory to all female settlers. the settlers would follow. just invited everybody for a chat session on the upcoming voyage. the space station. Elisabeth was to go with the first settlers’ ship and she had the privilege to pick out whom she would fly with.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert closed up again. after finishing the selection procedures. so that everyone will be responsible for a group of about twenty-five. we’ll be staying on the station for about three weeks until the Martian storms are over. but they granted her the whole afternoon to have her tasks completed. They would travel half a billion kilometers across the universe before reaching their destination. Seventy-eight of the two hundred fifty showed up for the free session. everything depended on collaboration from now on. four more group leaders should not make a significant distinction. built for the purpose of the second expedition ten years ago. They had met her but once. It 63 of 333 . “So. After they had split.

Now she felt the need to put a third question to them to handpick the right stuff. She made no proper introductions. The first one had to be answered by a whole-hearted ‘yes’. help could take a long time before it arrives. Remember. If they would engage in polemic waffling. The only outcome was the impact the candidates made on Elisabeth.” It was a question that fit the Darwinian approach and when in college. there was no other option. even if this person was begging for a quick end. Successful species want to generate.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert had been a brief encounter in an assembly line type of interview and she had posed just a couple of questions on them. She was the only one against it. For instance. to go on and death 64 of 333 . Would you be willing to take his or her life. Some of the answers came from the textbook. Most of them had radically chosen for euthanasia as a merciful way of getting out. you’re on Mars. others were surprisingly refreshing or even funny. but they did not really matter. providing the victim will probably be dead before help arrives. time was over for idle snap. The second one was tricky. Let us suppose someone is mortally sick or wounded and dying from agonizing pain. she instantly crossed them out on her list. no grey zones up there. It’s like cutting your own flesh. Successful species do not commit suicide. when accidents happen. “On Mars things can go off base easily. you’ve made the right choice. She remembered how her own tutor reacted on her decision. there is no second occasion. “Elisabeth. We’re on a survival mission. a) where they willing to spend at least twenty-eight months five meters underground? And b) would they be willing to become Martians and uproot from their Earth origins? They had been weird questions. She had wondered if in reality they would really be able to commit killing another person. they had posed it upon her and her fellow-students.

severe damage would bring about and the chances of having healthy babies on Mars would practically be zero. 65 of 333 . Without it. had invented it some years before Darwin published his notorious book. down to the gene pool. she thought. God was always on the side of the merciful. It was not otherwise here. When everyone sat. She wrote down their names and sent her report to Kovinsky. To Elisabeth it simply meant that a group would stick together whatever the outcome. you’ve passed the test. leaving the ticking off up to him. It was suddenly dead silent. but it had convinced her that Darwin could be interpretive in more then one way. we call it our uterus protection device. Only four were against it. Congratulations. he had misused the term ‘survival of the fittest” which he had copied from Herbert Spencer who. They’ll be carrying the load with them and leave it to nature to provide the way out. though these expressions still did not cover their true meaning.” She took the fold off. Natural selection went much deeper. The device had the shape of a large boxer short. Nowadays they used ‘natural selection’ or ‘permutation’ instead. she grabbed the plastic wrapped silvery colored device on her desk and showed it over her head. Unfortunately. That was the start of every successful civilization. Only a couple of them did not show up. it was time for her second session. “Twenty five years ago. they called it the ‘Martian chastity belt’.” Great enough to land up on Mars.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert is not an option. Now. rapping and babbling and waited patiently until the last one had dropped in. It consisted of soft fabric that kept ions and other cosmic rays away from the vulnerable feminine parts. in turn. She watched the women seeping in. You’ll be a great psychologist. Now.

silence reigned. “Okay. We have many backup plans and this scenario will not happen. they are all free on Mars and you will be monitored constantly. we have two options available. ladies.” A young woman held her arm up. You do not have to worry about medical care programs either. If you forget to put it on after your visit to the bathroom.” Again. don’t loose sleep over it. Medical supervision is completely automated and when something seems irregular. That was Elisabeth’s own decision and she would not back out of it. even if they had no plans to motherhood in the nearby future. “And you’ll have to wear it all the time while in space. you will be notified and cared for. the elder will qualify for artificial insemination. If a woman becomes infertile. even if that takes drastic measures. It will be understood that the human species must survive at all times. “Do elder woman have to wear that too? I mean. Any questions on the subject?” 66 of 333 .” “That’s a good question. Mars is as safe as Earth and in many respects even better.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The women were listening breathlessly. Objections meant absolute removal from the list. I suppose they won’t have to consider pregnancy and stuff. It was a horrifying prospect that they could become infertile. The first one is to use synthetic sperm cells from a woman's bone marrow tissue as used with lesbian couples. The last thing she wanted was mutilated fetuses on Mars. ladies. step by step coming to realize the dangers that lay ahead. To Elisabeth it was a last test. just to find troublesome faces staring at her. Elisabeth wandered over them. a signal will go off and you’ll be paid a visit by a responsible who will watch that you really put it on again. as if she had spoken dirty words.

showing the traces of long hours of business lunches. she should not worry so much. the prospect of permanent and free health surveillance was something out of a dream. They were both survival guides in their spare time and showed high rate creativeness. She had done her job and what remained was out of her hands. but that would soon wear off. She organized a close meeting with the four new leaders in her room. Her husband divorced her. she had a creepy sense of danger she could not put a label on. For many women without medical insurance back home. shoulder long hair. Washington D. that gloomy mood sneaked up. Kovinsky had followed her choice without margin comments. born Howard Abbas. marine biologist. Martha Marrant. the dark and handsome type. and she decided to escape from her troublesome life by emigrating to Mars. leaving her with all the debts. with bleached. Hapsburger was fourth generation American with Jewish roots. She would not back off herself. Two of them had good references. she tried to reassure herself. feeling zonked out by the strain and again. had gone bust some months ago. still. was a typical jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. 26. but. having spent his youth in and out of jail. Elisabeth was not interested in that kind of juridical complications and it was Martha’s gain. For some mysterious reason they seemed to assume that their professional skills could come in handy on Mars. if she managed to get away from her debtors one way or the other. had been a cowboy for some 67 of 333 . Elisabeth leaned back. Mike Johnson. 36.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert There weren’t any.C. At this last stage. Abbas’ grandparents had left their Iraqi home for America before the region became western-free. and the only businessperson in the group. microbiologist and married to Andrea Hapsburger. She was a strapping woman. They had a LAT-relation back home. 29. 28. After she had dismissed them.

surprise – he became a writer. like a student wanting to make an impression on the teacher. but for now. but at the sight of it.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert time. but everyone was entitled to have a second chance. as you will be rewarded in other ways. “You don’t have to if you don’t want it. Elisabeth was not sure if strippers belonged on Mars. any other questions? Remember. She had put her index finger up. He had been a railroad worker in Latin-America. trying to figure out how to fill her gaps. a bartender and a stripper. they stared at her indecisively. “On Mars we don’t have money. but remember clearly that this is a community that will run by itself. “Well now. Martha. The first question she popped up was how they would feel about leading a group of twenty-five people. in six days you will be on the ship and there is no way to call it off when time has come. Andrea. We don’t want to push if you do not feel ready for it.” “Is that leadership obligatory?” asked Andrea. We do not need money. management has decided we should play it safe.” Martha seemed to be pleased with the prospect that money was out of her life forever. it confirmed her decision that he belonged to her creative ones. Elisabeth had not read it. an oil driller in Africa and then . and amazingly a successful one having written a best seller with his semi-autobiographical novel ‘The Last Trail’. You will have to find out yourself how to survive without it. We don’t know if we will need leadership after all.” 68 of 333 . None of them reacted the proper way. “Is that financially rewarded?” Martha asked. Elisabeth sensed some eagerness in her question. We only know we can’t have the community led by half-hearted ones. Make up your mind here and now. and Mike in every way. Elisabeth could not help smiling. Martha was obviously mentally still on Earth.

If you feel like having to take action. We will be traveling together and have sessions on board to discuss matters of leadership. Together we’ll be fine.” thought Elisabeth and she felt a sudden whoosh of envy. “Okay folks. clearly. Thank you for your cooperation and we’ll meet again on the ship.” Mike clapped his hands but stopped abruptly when nobody joined in. Don’t do anything in your own way yet. I suggest you go and mingle with the crowd. “Horse and carriage. 69 of 333 . now satisfied.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Howard cut in. and see what you can accomplish as a group leader. he was the only one who did not care whether they were heading to Mars or the next nudie bar. “We’ll do it. If only her marriage had been like this. He grinned sheepishly.” Andrea sank back. come to me first.

They had to change only once a week only and the ship had stored as much as necessary of them to last the journey. The ships were flying on automatic navigation. steered on by both space stations. which. They had a fierce program to carry out before they would arrive on ISS 4: training exercises to get a good night’s sleep. no uneasy space suits. continuing gravitation-testing. made from fibers that kept the body odors out. and before you knew. They had the mental guts. for the duration of the expedition stripped from their non-essential content to have more spare room. harnessed in your booths. In the center of the deck. you just lied down. Elisabeth ran her group leader’s list over once again. or some five hundred million kilometers to trek before you would get the next space station in sight. The oldest one was Margaret Rinsford. Then she had three in their thirties. The lift-off from the docking station was a piece of cake. the younger ones might find solutions to survive. a folding table was set up and as soon as the signal was clear. If something would threaten the very existence of the settlement. The ships that would carry them to ISS 4 were actually cargo shuttles. She had called it Extended Evolutionism Education in her paper and now she could finally put it to the test. 70 of 333 . no gravity issues here. Elisabeth gathered them all to join her. They were all dressed in white shorts and T-shirts. They could accommodate about twelve passengers and three crew members. was a fair ratio. in her opinion.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 7. you were on your way on a four-month journey. therapy sessions and above all and most important how to communicate and coexist.

However. if you flush them down your washstand and you wake up in the middle of the night. You are buried alive. to nine a. Bedtime is from nine p. that’s how I see it. You are likely to be overwhelmed by claustrophobia and you’ll get paranoid attacks. You will have more need for sleep but your rest will be much better then on Earth. Elisabeth decided she should keep a close eye on this threesome. Questions before I go on?” “What kind of tranquilizers are they. they’re harmless and they’ll cause nice dreams.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Before we start our first meeting. they had very little impact on the body organism.” Mike decided with a broad smile. Mike. clearly interested in the cowboy and Pete Murray looked sour. “Well. Elisabeth explained they were strictly produced for space travelers.” “I’ll take those pills. since it’s about the same on Mars. you’ll need to take tranquilizers. Elisabeth?” That was Linda Hollywood. Margaret?” “I’d like to be with someone I can cope with. Artificial gravity will be off during sleeping hours and that will inflict upon your system. You don’t know what’s up and down. we will synchronize our way of living with the ship’s daily life. We’ll keep Earth time. On Earth. Sharon Winslow giggled. but don’t worry.m.m. “Is that essential to you. However. “Do we have to take them every night?” Mike Johnson asked unenthusiastically. more refreshing then ever which will have a positive influence on your mind and body. you might experience some nasty side effects. let me run over the program you will be following for the next four months. “Can we pick our own berths?” Margaret Rinsford asked. You’re hog-tied to the berth until awakening time or if you’d cry wolf.” 71 of 333 . but it’s your choice.

we’ll do the required gravity exercises by means of video sessions.” Margaret exchanged glances with Linda.we’ll proceed with the timetable. I’d like to be in the good company of Dan. “Right.” Elisabeth wondered what she meant by ‘intimate’. She asked her to rephrase her question. Elisabeth thought. Every one of you will assign to your own group. though they were of the same vintage. apparently put off by this openly approach. but she decided not to be fussy at this stage. Margaret.” Jesus hastily said.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth felt no sympathy to her. might cause mental plights when we split. you’re all chosen to perform leadership and that means that. once we’re on Mars. now that we’ve settled this – and I hope once and for all . “I mean.” “Still. “Anyone else with preferences?” “Now that you ask. “If Linda agrees. I find it tiresome if I can’t be in the right company. I don’t you see any objection. “It’s your prerogative.” “What do you propose?” “I’d like Linda to live near to me. Elisabeth had a sudden regret. but Linda looked away. which has about the same dietary pattern as 72 of 333 . if we’re stuck together for the next four months. but remember. Another set of troubles ahead. Then we’ll have breakfast. Dan said he didn’t mind and to the others everything was okay. Linda?” Linda shrugged and said that was okay with her. how about it. having given away her authority. Elisabeth. I have been in the military all my life and camaraderie is important to me.m. this party will dissolve. we should be entitled to choose whoever we want to become intimate with. From 9 to 10 a. Growing too close on this ship.

Jesus Mendez looked vacantly away.” She rested for the next question. we have design carbohydrates to every occasion. Pete. Don’t worry about any shortage.” They flashed a look at him in surprise. “There are no bovine animals on Mars. and therefore food will not be a major issue. “I suppose we’ll get to have worship time? I would want to preach once a week. One kilo of beef costs us more than 15.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert we had on the station.” Pete said.” 73 of 333 .” “Will that be the same food preparation on Mars?” Dan Pelsmaker asked. We don’t need it anyway. I’ll talk to the Captain to let you use the deck on Sunday’s. “Don’t worry. preferably on Sunday’s. and we won’t import red meat either. Elisabeth. “I don’t see why not. if anyone feels the need to have a pet on Mars. lost in thought. By the way. She knew he was about to open his mouth and she patiently waited for his reaction. there are a lot of electronic ones. so there will be plenty of variety and we’ll even have our own preferences to a certain extent. edible or otherwise. we won’t use much energy. Jesus. Dan. We’ll have a hydroponics garden and a fish pool.” “I like some red meat from time to time. we need to keep our bowels shipshape. but they appeal to adults as well. it was the first time Mendez openly revealed who he was. they’re especially made for the children in the future.000 liters of precious water. but seemingly only now came to grasp that nutrition on Mars did not include a juicy steak or a barbecued trout. As our gravitation is only one third of Earth. which came soon. Elisabeth knew he was a Mars fan. speaking of animals.

So. From three to four we’ll have lunch. Elisabeth. Elisabeth wasn’t sure what she expected from her quality time. between noon and one you have your personal quality time.m. Is everything clear?” “Do we have moments to ourselves?” That was Martha Marrant. Lights out at nine.” Martha said. By chance. I forgot to tell. Martha. From four to seven we’ll have fitness training to keep our bones and joints in good shape. Things will improve the instant we land up in the space station. they would pick up another hundred from ISS 4.” “Fine with me. if not for the sake of homesickness. which caused Mendez to look unhappy. ‘Okay then. even virtual when you traveled in space. between 1 and 3 p.” He let his eyes wander the room. so get used to it. “If anyone wants to join me. They would give the people the impression they still had control over their lives. 74 of 333 . there will be communication training. so they would have sufficient distractions to forget about the long and dreary journey. Time was irrelevant anyway. “Oh. That was the main reason why she had insisted on strict timetables. feel free to do so. but then. they had a wide range of TV-broadcasts on the close circuit. Elisabeth. but I’m afraid it won’t be much different from what we had for breakfast. the further they got away from Earth and their past. the idea of preaching in space was still an odd one and soon some of them would come around. who hadn’t spoken up to now.” Nobody reacted. Once they were halfway. You’ll find that will exhaust you by the lack of fresh air and outdoor exercise and therefore you will be glad to turn in after dinner.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Suits me fine.

” 75 of 333 . Mom?” “It’s okay. The instructions are on the monitor menu. let me remind you that on Mars you won’t have to submit yourself to regulations anymore save what’s essential to survive. She apologized if she had taken him away from work. Last call nine p. How are you doing.” It was high time for her. they were all willing to get rid of what had caused them to feel unhappy on Earth. finally. that’s said and done then. lying on her back. you’re on your way. it’s no big deal. She left them to crawl into her own booth. pushed the button and the panel slit close. “So. where are you now?” “I’m commuting between Pho and Dei. pulled her shorts down. He looked a bit drawn but his young face was always cheerful when he talked to her. We’re establishing an elevator between them. consider this stack of rules as a transitional phase. but he said he was on his lunch break. Don’t forget our schedules. By the way. She unzipped her pants. we’ll start the real works. still a long way to go though. “So. I suggest you talk about it while I make some calls. just get used to it. I’ll be kissing the ground the moment we’ll land. the other Martian moon.” Nobody had comments anymore. Then. It’s basically a new line for hydrogen cargo transits. “An elevator? What do you mean?” “Oh. put the tube between her legs and let nature do its work.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “By the way. study your washstand before you go to sleep. Albert. just our jargonized way of speak. It took ten minutes before she was able to get Albert on her screen. looking up to the ceiling screen. Mom. So. It’s no big deal. she made her first long distance call.” Pho was space slang for Phobos and Dei for Deimos. By the way. Tomorrow. sharp.m.

” “I hope we’ll see us again soon. Albert. as long as you’re happy with your job. Bye for now. but pretty monotonous of course. don’t worry. It was a blessing from heaven. As long as Albert was all right. When my watch is over. On the other hand. 76 of 333 .Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I see. Let’s settle for the same time. she was all right. it keeps us off the streets.” The screen showed how much call credits she had spent and then a commercial was on. the way their relationship was. turned on her side and felt okay. Mom.” “Kisses. mwa mwa. uh well. When can I see you again?” “The day after tomorrow. Albert. She put the screen out. you’ll be on the station and maybe I can get a permit to join you. You know how it is in space. Mom. Mom. How’s life up there?” “Not bad. Big kisses. “I’ll be around for some time.” Elisabeth said.” “That would be fab.” “We’ll do.

77 of 333 . seemed to be in distress. the human species was remarkably able to generate in the worst of living conditions as history had proven. Anyway. She sat opposite Elisabeth with her hands in her lap. They used high frequencies for their cleansing.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 8. Elisabeth used the deck for her private sessions. instead of their enlarged brain capacities. They took the discomforts of the space journey as they came. by the look of it. It shook off the fine dust particles and dead skin cells. Linda was the first who called in to have a couch talk. chiefly printed out reports and memo clips from the shipping company. due to their low energy level and specially adapted nutrition. as it awakened their sex drive. At the suppressed sounds Elisabeth heard around her. Sigmund. she was not the only one who found the tingling much to their delight. but then again. On Mars it wouldn’t be otherwise. maybe that was the real force of mankind. It was a typical bachelor dwelling. It was better that way than stealing a moment of cheap sex in the storage room. it was always a tough job to undress and take a dry shower. Though the booths were highly sophisticated. The walls were covered with red tape paperwork. with an oblong table screwed to the floor and some communication hardware. Linda. Come in again. their sex drive had reduced considerably together with their hormonal levels. The vibrations however caused an embarrassing side effect. Captain Elderly and his crew preferred to stay in the cockpit and made only sparsely use of the deck. sucking them up and spitting them out into space.

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“What seems to be on your mind, Linda?” Elisabeth could not help sounding like a therapist, but her patients appreciated her way of objective approach. “I don’t feel fine with Marge near me,” she told her. She used a low voice, as if she was afraid Margaret would be spying on her. “Why is that?” “It’s like – ah – she’s sending out bad vibes.” That was typical Linda talk. This girl had been mucked up, had been too long with the wrong people. On the other hand, vibrations would well be for real. This ship was like a cobweb with all sorts of them. “Can you feel these – uh, vibes?” Linda nodded. “Every time Marge puts on her set.” “Is that a lot?” “About every half an hour, and it lasts five minutes each time she puts it on.” Elisabeth could not believe it. That was a lot of vibrations for one person. “That’s pretty much.” “Every time she puts it on, something happens to me. I feel nauseated; I feel like – uh – after a bad trip, you know.” “I’ll talk to the Captain about it. If you want to move to another booth, just tell me.” Linda lighted up. “That would be great, Elisabeth. Please, have it done.” Elisabeth patted her on the hand in a motherly way. After Linda had gone out, Elisabeth made a call to the Captain and asked him about the vibrations. “Well, miss, I guess that lady loves a good buzz from time to time. I can see here on my panel that she’s using her set at maximum load. What can I say? Some people don’t get enough of cleansing themselves.”

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He found it much amusing imaging the women using their sets for their secret pleasures. Elisabeth had heard enough and disconnected. She leaned back, staring at the video screen on the wall. She could see her reflection, the image of an aging woman with bewildered eyes. She evaded her mirage and concentrated on Linda’s disclosure. Marge seemed to crave for intense sexual stimulations. So what? What could she do about it? The rays coming from Marge’s booth were so strong that Linda felt them intensively from a distance, and being an ex—junkie, her body had probably lost the ability to fight back. They were nearing the halfway point, known as the Point Of No Return between ISS 3 and ISS 4. From then on, ISS 4 would take over to guide them through. Transmissions were improving and the talks with her son were increasingly coming in faster and disturbance-free then before. They headed for their final destination and just now, the passengers realized they were nearing closer and the sullen moods perked up again. Looking out from the portholes, Mars came into view the size of a rusty dime. It was turning into a living being. Albert called in and Elisabeth took the call in her booth. “Two months still, Mom, how you feel?” “I feel great, Albert, everything's going smoothly. I’ll be glad though when we arrive. It’ll be good to see you again.” “I can see your ship, Mom. I mean, it’s a digital image, but I can see it.” “Oh, that’s fantastic, Albert. Can you send me a picture of it?” “Sure, Mom, in a second. I have some interesting news for you, I mean, for the expedition. Brace yourself. Did you know that the Mars camp is owned by Bellum and his household?”

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Darwin's Dogs

Walter G Willaert

“Owned?” “Yes, they bought the whole complex for themselves.” “I didn’t know that. And what do you mean by household?” “Well, the party and its sponsors basically. You know: fund raisers, pension funds, space business, the media, the works. We’re basically talking the Big Five.” “The Big Five? I was not aware of that. They didn’t tell me. I thought it was still MEA and ISA working together, the same way it was before. I don’t know what to make of it, Alex.” “I don’t know either, Mom. I just wonder why ISA has approved and –“ Communication suddenly broke down. Elisabeth tried to reconnect, but instead a message told her it was closed down for maintenance. She tried to figure out what Albert was trying to tell her. She had no idea that big business had taken over, but what the heck, she would come face to face with her son in a few weeks, and she should thank the President for that instead of sticking her nose in his affairs. ISA, the International Space Agency had been on competitive terms with NASA since its foundation about ten years ago. Both pursued the same goal, colonizing Mars, but NASA, who had always been a sole player, found it hard to share its ambition. It was fully concentrated on conquering the red planet. It even changed its name tot MEA, dropping the rest of the space program. Then, after the last expedition failed, both agencies decided to stick their heads together to build ISS 4 while Mars itself was kept on the back burner. Her mind set off to the little celebration the crew would throw this evening. Celebrating the halfway crossing was a tradition she would not want to miss. She was

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Darwin's Dogs

Walter G Willaert

joyful with that once in a lifetime experience, and with her, the passengers too if only for the welcoming change.

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Darwin's Dogs

Walter G Willaert

9.

Defecating had become much easier the longer they grew accustomed to the spacecraft. You had to stick a hose up your butt and have an unpleasant enema administered. After some weeks and with the proper food the urge to go lessened and the body was able to discharge weekly only. It all happened in the best of clean and clinic conditions and it took care of all fecal bacteria. In Elisabeth’s days, it was something else. Those stick-in-the-mud workers refused to shuffle a tube up their asses or eat the non-fat dinners. They wanted burgers, hot dogs and pizzas and no veggies or fruit and the result was that management had to pressurize the lavatories and even then, it still was a messy business. Gravity had its own ways. It was time for the Point Of No Return whoop. Captain Elderly was thirty-three of age and was not much interested in his passengers, not even in the female ones. He and his men behaved like mad wild-eyed monks. They were short and stocky; their average height was five foot six. They had micro waved calcium-enriched meals and drank low alcohol pops from a plastic jar labeled as ‘Cruisin’ & Boozin’. At the very moment the halfway passing was a fact, an alarm bell made a lot of crazy noise. The Captain delivered a short toast, and without further ado, the crew called it a day and ran off to their own quarters. It put a damper on the party and they finished their meal in a subdued mood. Dan, who sat across Elisabeth, noticed she looked a bit drowsy. “Don’t feel wound up by their attitude, Elisabeth. These guys are nuts. I read somewhere they’re all gay,” he said with a malicious grin. “Gay? Why do you say so?”

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Darwin's Dogs

Walter G Willaert

“Just elementary thinking, Elisabeth. These guys are underway for months with no woman around; they stick together like glue. Don’t you see something’s missing here?” She had not considered that before, but it made sense. You cannot live this kind of life roaming the universe for months without some sexual or at least affectionate relationship. So far for her girly fantasies about the Buck Rogers’s, the Marvin Corbett’s and the Han Solo’s in space. The black knight on his white horse had turned into a pink one. Sharon cut her thinking short. “Elisabeth, how long should we go on with the fitness exercises? It’s not like on Earth, I can tell you. I really don’t see why we do all the fuzz. On Mars gravity is only one third, so we should be jumping about like trampoline dancers.” “I know, Sharon. This is a temporary measure we have to take. If I’m not mistaken, that subject came up with the first sessions on Earth, but maybe the instructors haven’t propagated the importance of it properly. When we are on Mars, we’ll have less weight to carry, that’s a fact. That will be a blessing, but in the short term, our bodies will experience physical demolition. Our bone structure will have to shrink in order to meet Martian gravity requirements. That will take up a long time, maybe the best part of our lives, depending on your personal physiology. You’ll have to take designed medication during the transformation time, as you will experience the same discomforts as one who suffers from arthritis. As you know, I have been on Mars for about eighteen months and all that time I had to take my pills. But then, a small wonder will happen. Your body will adapt itself, you’ll forget you’re walking on one-three-g, you’ll be floating on air and your pains will be gone. If you suffer from lower back pains, that too will be gone. You’ll be fit as a fiddle.”

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Mike was playing the field with the girls. Elisabeth had observed him in the last weeks. “And the idleness’s getting on my nerves. but they all suffered from their decreased sex drive. Maybe the ship’s left rolling doesn’t do well to her. she decided to point the issue out. if he could not cope at this stage. It remained a mystery as no baby had yet been born in space. Looking at Sharon and her blossoming youth. Marge looked put out but she held her horses. Linda kept at bay since their talk and even avoided looking in Marge’s direction. but maybe he liked older women. I’d like to swap. she expressed the desire to move to a booth at the other side where centrifugal force is lesser. others like old dried-up spinsters from a Dickens’s tale. she felt sad with that vision. Mars could turn into a living hell for him. How their babies would look. Then she focused on Linda and Marge. but there was no way to wind back. He was unhappy with the monotony and he was itching all over.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She did not add that the moment their bodies would adjust it would start to change as well. At lunch. Would someone be so nice to change places?” “If no one wishes. Some of them would start looking like gorillas. Linda’s feeling not well. telling them this was neither the right time nor place to ovulate. 84 of 333 . but it was something Sharon would have to find out herself.” That was Mike talking. their muscular tissue would become thinner. That’ll be a nice chance. “Oh by the way. she wouldn’t even contemplate. She did not know what to do with it. They would be the real Martians and she just hoped they would not look like those ridiculous creatures from the ancient B-rated science-fiction movies. Linda nodded thanks to Elisabeth.” Dan volunteered which surprised Elisabeth. their menstruation cycles had stopped. They would shrink some centimeters.

Elderly agreed. Then she got a flush of inspiration. Every two weeks the ship made a full stop at the depots between the two space stations. tethered by a lifeline. The depots. Mike lightened.” “I’ll see what I can do. Elisabeth? I’ve never walked in space.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They were caged like rats in this tin as the Captain called his ship and they could easily turn into neurotics by the lack of diversity. towards 85 of 333 . as the Captain explained. Any other candidate to join Mike?” They relapsed into a brooding silence. Mike. But. with small robotic devices that did the work. Floating about some quarter of a billion kilometers away from Earth in absolute void was not their idea of fun. It also carried fuel and tools. The whole operation was done automatically. Dan could keep an eye on him on the bridge. Then Dan decided he would ask the Captain if he could assist Mike in one way or another. these devices were not completely reliable and sometimes it went wrong. “Would you. but he then explained one of the crew was feeling ill and Mike might take his place. I’ve done scuba diving and that’s a bit like spacewalking. They were all clustered to their portholes and the monitor screens. This was one of such occasions. drifting softly. “Why don’t we ask the Captain to let you out for an hour or so?” She sounded like Mike was a dog begging to walk his beat on the streets. While in her personal time. it went trouble-free and never took more than ten minutes. took the craft’s wastewater and processed it into hydrogen and oxygen for the next ship’s needs. and humans had to take over. Most of the time. so I should be able to get out all by myself. looking like small submarines. Elisabeth made contact with Captain Elderly. watching the two space walkers. much to Elisabeth’s surprise. Mike and one of the crew.

He somehow managed to arrive unharmed and they watched the two hauling the depot in. The Captain’s angry voice came blurring instead. she could see how a small device.” Elisabeth shut her mouth. “Woman. Little by little. Sharon giggled while watching him struggle to keep a straight line between the cargo deck and the depot. Sorry about that. silver and gold colors. Elisabeth pushed the alert button and a blaring siren went off for some seconds. At the sight of it. its lifeline attached to the ship.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert the depot. It was no big deal. drifting towards Mike. folks. what are you doing? Keep your hands off my tin!” “But…” “It’ll be fine as long as you stay put. “Well.” “But…” “Cut it out! We don’t need some dame turning hysterical here. She felt angry by his insulting remarks. shaped like a twenty centimeters tall rocket with handles. Mike’s diving lessons did not seem to pay off well.” 86 of 333 . And then it went terribly in the wrong. turning to the right and loosing his balance. and you don’t have to worry. but kept doing his stuff. The ship’s strong floodlights shone on the depot that reflected with gleams of brilliant white. Mike made a slight movement. they hauled him in and the cargo deck swallowed him in. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. my mistake. and the incident was over. He caught it and held it tight to his body. The crew member seemed not to bother with him. Suddenly his lifeline was entangled and he was helplessly bobbing head down and turning slowly on his axis. The Captain’s voice broke in unflappably. But then.

he probably should know. and that was the most important thing.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They stared at each other. I wouldn’t have made it without you. No one asked themselves how Dan knew about these things. I want Jesus to walk with me 87 of 333 . some gig. buddy. From now on. Congratulations. “Thanks man. flopping into his booth. boys. too much busy with his video game. with Dan on his tail. still dumbstruck. The adrenaline was clearly still boosting up. looking flushed. He wasn’t watching anyway. When I saw Mike acting like a clown. no more adventures.” Jesus’ tenor voice cut in between. He turned to Dan. who was taking the admiring looks with royal consent.” They all glanced at Dan.” They all supported Elisabeth’s closing words and Dan didn’t mind to be the center of attention for the rest of the day. “Wow. they should watch some more TV-shows. If they were bored. They were radiating joy. I released the rescue rocket without asking the Captain’s permission. They all stared at him. but being some kind of space expert. but with a broad smile. “Let us pray for Mike’s safe return. you’re our hero of the day. Mike turned back. but then. All along my pilgrim journey.” Elisabeth eyed them and felt wound up. Mike was all right. she promised herself.” she urged. even if Elderly admitted he was to blame. Suddenly he started to sing an old gospel in a dark and modulated tone. in that case. Elisabeth felt it was her fault. Dan. “Share it with us.” Mike said. “That’s okay. “Okay.” “Well.

I want Jesus to walk with me In my sorrow. Lord. Lord walk with me When my heart is aching Lord. walk with me When the shades of life are falling Lord. He flashed a shrew look at her.” A murmur of approval follow Mendez’ closing words. Elisabeth watched the events with clinical interest. “God is everywhere. in the universe. his face near hers.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert In my trial. acting important and still feeling on top of the world. Maybe his clumsy act would be the key to their success as a community on Mars. in us. She had an unexpected melodious voice and together they made a great singing duo. Encouraged by the approval. and we should not fear what is coming to us if we try to find Him. Lord. that they listened in a subdued mood. Maybe Mike had done a good thing by putting himself to peril. they echoed solemnly. Dan came up to her booth and interrupted her thoughts. Maybe it was the aftermath or simply the fact it now dawned on them how risky their lives were. He sat on his knees. He spoke nice and comforting words about God protecting them from the dangers of the passage. and when the singing was over and Jesus said ‘Amen'. 88 of 333 . I want Jesus to walk with me Margaret was the only one who knew the old psalm and she joined in second voice. Mendez switched to preaching. I want Jesus to walk with me When my life becomes a burden. Time would tell. she said to herself.

” “Smuggling?” “Look. They know they have only a few years left before their body starts to go downhill. 89 of 333 . It’s hard to find good personnel nowadays. do you know that every month four or five shuttles disappear from the face of – uh – space?” She laid her reader aside.” He sounded pretty off. and Elisabeth could picture him in his adolescence reading science-fiction stories and watching matinee movies. It’s no surprise they keep something for a rainy day. but what can you do? The days of glitter have long passed.” “I see.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Elisabeth. Elisabeth. these guys are overworked and underpaid. There’s no adventure anymore. I couldn’t help overhearing Captain Elderly talking to someone on ISS 4. Cruising space has become truck driving. “Accidents?” “I don’t think so. They seem to maintain a lucrative smuggling organization with the goods from the depots as far as I can see. dreaming of a heroic career in space. and his dreams of noble knights with light sabers in shatters. and then it’s over for them. Do they know about that at the station?” “Of course. And what did he get from life? A lousy job as an assistant bank manager.

” Elderly mumbled. Dan went berserk. 90 of 333 . His eyes were glassy. and then he saw Dan lying on the floor. which was disturbing news to Elisabeth. Eighteen ships interconnected in one train of thought. Elisabeth took the opportunity of asking around how everybody felt. while rubbing her bruised elbow. “What’s the fucking matter now?” he shouted. And then.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 10. She still had not figured out the bad vibrations between Linda and Margaret. his face bony and transparent. He had a thing in his hand that had the looks of a gun and fired it off at Dan’s butt. but then he bug-eyed. pushing Elisabeth and the others away. and for a moment it looked like he was past help. “What’s happened?” Elisabeth asked out of breath. gave a wild yell and jumped out. No one seemed to have experienced sensations of uncertain nature. ISS 4 was coming near. justly two weeks to go. He fled down the passageway towards the closed cockpit door and started to bounce and kick while tears came pouring out. communications between all settlers’ ships under way had been firmly established. They all felt great and ready for their big adventure. lying on his belly with saliva dripping from his chin. At last. Pete hit the alarm and Elderly and his crew came busting in. They found him in his booth. heaving groans in pain. “Get aside. Dan lay blacked out. As soon as the tranquilizing bullet hit the flesh.

Too much space sickness pills and too much booze. I once had a group of miners who all freaked out. “Are you sure. but also because he was supposed to be one of the leaders. Elderly again shrugged his shoulders and turned her eyes away from her. She asked him if he was okay. He looked and sounded weary. After they had secured them. “I can’t understand how he could pull through the clearing. Overstepped the mark? Elisabeth’s heart sank. which he endorsed. It could have been worse. he’s plainly overstepped the mark. Her first act was asking the others to carry Dan to his booth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I’m gonna give the man L-dope. And this one isn’t a stowaway or a worker as far as I know. but not with regulars. Not only inasmuch Dan had slipped through her net one way or another. It took us days before they calmed down. She made a direct call but it took some minutes before they could put him through to Phobos. Then she came to the point. They could not use a leader who showed schizophrenic symptoms and who would panic in the confinement that Mars meant. we’ll have to strap him down and feed him intravenously from now one. it’s only a couple of weeks.” This was a real setback. Captain?” Elderly shrugged his shoulders.” she said bashfully. 91 of 333 .” Elderly grumbled. He looked down on Dan and shook his head with a disapproving look. “Anyway. If Dan showed mental disorder at this stage of the expedition. They would not be able to support him all the way through the eerie phase of transition. “It happens with stowaways and workers.” Elisabeth did not want to know how he had managed to calm them down. she crawled in her own booth and decided to talk to Albert first. It was an unwritten law that labile people had to be dumped. it was over for him. Luckily.

92 of 333 . Mom. He listened without a blink and then sighed audibly. Elisabeth? Is the ship alright?” She told him what had come about. Have you heard the news? Elisabeth is a screw-up. it was a whole other matter. Maybe I’ll ---“ Connection broke off. he is a settler for crying aloud. He’s resting now and he won’t be troublesome anymore. No. you’re playing with fire. I will see if I can find more about it. She remembered the look on Eldery’s face.” “It’s not like it sounds. Albert. “What’s the matter. like always when something extraordinary came by. to all the ships in their trail. She felt miserable because she had failed twice in such short notice. Elisabeth stared at the blank screen. we have a mental case here and I really don’t know how that could happen. and a mountain would grow out of a molehill. the same way as it had before. She asked for a communication line with Jack.” “That’s good new. looking uptight. he’s not a worker. she could not leave it that way. to all the settlers and the people in the space stations.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Albert. a non-precedent case and it came about on her watch. He evidently had doubts about her capabilities to keep the group safe and sound. She had to dig in and find out what had been the cause of Dan’s behavior. She had not talked to him since they had separated. I can’t imagine how.” “You have a raving madman aboard? Gee Mom. The news would go round. is there a way to know if it’s possible that someone is able to outfox the management? I mean. Jack came instantly in. Anyway. Though Eldery had tried to comfort her with his story of wild miners. It would leak out.

she should be on top of things. and we’ll take care of business as soon as you’ve landed. she felt sick with his words.” She was speechless. but I know there had been a second advisor. though he would hardly be reachable at this stage. “Thanks Jack. which not many can say. She was their head psychologist for God’s sake. Elisabeth. I’m sure it’s not your fault.” Jack knew Elisabeth long enough that she was able to cause so much turmoil that it would ruin the expedition to a point that most settlers would refuse to stay on Mars and decide to return with her. I can see it now. “Listen. If not. you had nearly made it without a scratch. you know and I know Dan Pelsmaker has gone through the clearing like we all have. I don’t know what’s been the matter. Jack.” She was not happy with his easy way out. he did not go over matters like this and he wasn’t concerned. I just cannot let it go. I’ll level with you. You and that other person have been working apart on the screening tests. I don’t know much about the whole thing. “Okay. But it was no use complaining to Jack. Jack had just told her those bastards on the board had laughed with her work all the way. I’ll consider quitting the job and return with the first shuttle even if they’ll have to put me in a container box. If it may be of any consolation: your selection came first.” A second advisor? What did he mean by that? “I mean. Everything is sorted out now. She had to get to Kovinsky. He decided to play along. I’m aware they don’t appreciate what I’m doing. I can’t be responsible or have my name dragged through the mud. The situation was delicate enough already. but I want a full explanation why he went off the rails. If my work doesn’t meet their 93 of 333 . Then she pulled herself together. there was another person on the selection board.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Elisabeth. It’s staring me in the face.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert standards.” He sounded like she had to walk up to the O. but they had mistrusted her all the way from the start on. but don’t temper with me anymore. We’ll have a briefing anyway and then you can settle it once and for all. She felt crushed.” “Hold your horses. Coral to have the final shoot-off. She was okay to play the godmother. There was a positive side to the matter nevertheless: the other person whoever he or she was would have to prove the goofs were his or hers. She really started to look forward to that confrontation. I suggest they relieve me from the job. Jack had put her in her place. 94 of 333 .K. Now she understood why they had acted towards her the way they did. Elisabeth. She wasn’t that vital to the mission. But she also knew she didn’t want to leave the expedition. Let’s talk it out on the station. Before she could return him her answer. he had disconnected. I’ll be glad to go on being one of the settlers.

His smoothing commentary ran her high. John. but needless to say somehow the procedure failed with this person. playing with his marker. she was not pleased that he treated her as his next worker. “Let me refresh your memory.” Kovinsky sat at his Louis XIV desk. Elisabeth. that. otherwise I’m out. knotting his eyebrows to the disobedient subject in front of him.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 11. Yet. “Really. She caught sight of paintings that did not look like mass produced Chinese landscapes. it’s nobody’s fault. she had to admit she was impressed by the way he played with his power. if it’s that what you want. the first thing we look for is mental stability. He looked like a French king in this elegant and decadent setting.” 95 of 333 . It must have cost a small fortune to have carried all this display of grandeur along on the trip. When we screen people. She wondered how his private lodgings would be. if a passenger freaks out. and now it’s totally blown up in my face. These things happen and they happen on more than one occasion. as the head psychologist.” “Failed? Screwed up. We keep a lid on it of course and I’m happy to say I’ll clear Pelsmaker myself. you mean! And why that sneaky business of having a second opinion working behind my back? We’ve agreed that you’d back up my experiment all the way. I have some privileges around here.” Her strong words brought him round. I admit the man slipped through the net. Then she did a reality check. “Okay. You’ll have to level with me.

but it turned out they did not. one of the lucky survivors. We do know that at some point people were breaking down. Elisabeth. just in case the project didn’t work out as it should. “Okay Elisabeth. On the other hand. he doesn’t even work in your field for that matter. And that other person was not a colleague of yours. Elisabeth.” Kovinsky seemed to take it in mind seriously.” Kovinsky seemed to enjoy his little cat-and-mouse game. “As you know. instead of realizing we were on Mars and not on some sunny Polynesian island. We hadn’t screened them well enough. “I was one of the crew. You presented us with a fresh approach. and that’s why we thought of you.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “It has not failed. After I returned to Earth. but he did not mind. were you John?” “To tell the truth. believe me. do it your way but let me make it clear that I don’t take any responsibility from now on. being too much withdrawn in his past. I was not. it was no use trying to reason with him. It’s Bellum himself who expressed the desire to have a backup opinion. “Alright then. adding more fuel to the flames. We had relied too much on our conventional thinking. I promised myself we would have to think outside the box. We still don’t know why.” 96 of 333 . the second expedition petered out. I’ll tell you more about it.” “Were you there too. My job’s over and done as far as I’m concerned. We just assumed that highly trained and educated people would handle the stress. it wasn’t my decision.” She settled down and sipped from her ice tea to calm down.” “But you still weren’t sure of my experiment. and hopefully it will be a successful one this time. John?” She could not help asking. Don’t interrupt me before I’m through. She gave up.

Okay. and it has cost us billions to reach that goal. It’s about surviving in space. “It took us forty years to establish a life-preservation method on Mars.” Kovinsky got up and walked up to the giant window that gave way to a sweeping view of the Martian surface and the red and orange dust clouds swiftly drifting by. International Space Station Four. I’ll accept his judgment.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Now I see. Dan slit through. bobbing at about six thousand kilometers from the red planet. The power plants are producing filtered water and oxygen and they let the food grow. I can’t do otherwise anyway. But even with this other person. “Come and join me. “Mars is a good place to live. It has everything we need. Kovinsky was a head taller then she was and she smelled his strong masculine body odor. but she kept her mouth shut.” She was not sure what he tried to tell her. The station is more then just a base. she felt more at ease standing at his side. Elisabeth. That’s a long time. Elisabeth. or the other Wheel. Somehow. This was a special moment and Kovinsky was on the verge of pouring out what was on his mind. a very long time. It was located between Phobos and Deimos. Kovinsky had a hypnotized stare. I’m convinced we’ve made the right decision. We can sweat it out for a very long time if Earth would go to pieces. it’s a new way of living. kept a fixed geostationary orbit close to the Martian North Pole. Elisabeth. I want to tell you something. but with the present political situation. After the last mission I wondered if it was all worthwhile. Mars is the only alternative to Earth.” She unwillingly left her seat and walked up to him.” 97 of 333 .

looking absently to the small dust clouds over Mars. ISA. How do you feel about it. and now you want me to tell you if you’ve made the right decision. But let’s concentrate on what we have. 98 of 333 . You cannot see it from here. she had heard that repeatedly. Elisabeth? Tell me sincerely.” Kovinsky mumbled. I can use all the motivation I can get. it sounded like Custer’s last stand. and everyone who had a gain on Mars. dust and fog causing weird light effects. where is less meteorite impact. Hot air caused the winds to blow fiercely. He pointed at a certain spot on the Martian surface. whirling up and dying down at the same pace. It was daylight on the planet.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He did not tell her more news. man’s oldest dream. “In some weeks you’ll be staying on Mars.” He turned to Elisabeth and seemed to study her face for a moment.” Kovinsky showed a tight little smile. “Somewhere down there is One Dome. it’s over the rim. though sunlight was considerably feebler than on Earth. We abandoned Base Camp. But the way Kovinsky put it. up north. which made her feel edgy. Elisabeth said to herself. Before long. the new settlement. Not mine. We decided to move Two Dome.” “What do you expect me to say. “Colonizing the universe. She remembered the spectacular sunrises when staying at Base Camp. John? You talked me into it. She could tell him a million better ways to live the good life. by MEA. It was the aftermath of the spring storms and the cloudy sheets were vaporizing at a steady pace. away from the Pole. they would have fabulous views on the northern hemisphere.

yes. “Don’t be afraid.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Suddenly.” He released her and turned back to his desk to subside in his leather chair. so if you want you can join him now. your son is here. He had been straight with her. “We’ll make it. A menu on the dashboard screen flashed up. It was plain to see he was in for a helping hand. We’re on the threshold of something new. Everything’s going as designed. that she could sense. Albert here? How delightful.” Her heart missed a beat. Oh. Don’t worry. by the way. Her threads had been adequate and the best part of it was that she would still be in command. The first load of settlers will arrive before long. While she was cruising down the hubs. she recapped her talks with Kovinsky. She stiffened up. She recalled that Kovinsky had spoken of 99 of 333 . please. He’s just arrived on short leave to meet you. it was nice to feel a man’s touch again. unparalleled in history and we’re playing the leading part.” The car jumped in gear and off she went with increasing speed. Elisabeth. That was an asset well considered. I’ll have an escort ready for you. and then calm down again. Your cab is waiting outside. Elisabeth. so you’ll have plenty of work to do. I won’t bother you anymore. She had not known Kovinsky’s vital role with the second expedition. She climbed in the waiting automatic two-person cabin. She forgot everything Kovinsky had declared and left him in a hurry. and frankly. “Section Bravo Charlie Slash Four Eight Apartment Slash One Six Nine. She did likewise. She read her instructions aloud. Kovinsky threw his arm around her shoulder. He had the necessary experience to lead the colonization. How do you feel about it?” “Sounds frightening really.

if you guess it’s something treacherous. “I couldn’t find anything on your patient. are you having enough UV?” Albert was less than average tall. he hastily went on. besides our moms. drinking and chatting. Everyone on Mars was a survivor in a sort of way.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert himself as a survivor. well maybe it’s of no avail to you. I can’t get in.” Before she could object. but while hopping about on Phobos. me and my buddy Matt that is. They proved to be the better material as they did not use up too much of the food supply and they were physically stronger then the tall ones. nothing to worry about. The selection procedure seems to be classified. but he could have meant it as a figure of speech.” 100 of 333 . Mom. Mom. Then he came to business. “Oh before I forget. where he had just taken a shower and looked refreshed and sprightly when she came in. we were working on ---“ “Wait. “I’ve been working long hours lately.” “It’s no big deal. I discovered something weird. sorry about that. Albert. Albert. Albert. It’s worthwhile to forget about your tan now and then. You look a bit whitish. and we agreed not to tell anybody. But maybe it’s better to keep the lid on.” “That’s nice of you. as most people working in space. A large contrast with the six feet five space movie heroes: they would not stand a chance on Mars. They’ve told me what I wanted to hear. Besides the pay is great. I’ll be able to buy that condominium apartment I’ve been telling you about when I get back. He prepared mocha’s and they sat at the table. She met Albert in his cell. Mom.” “It’s okay. I mean.

” “We don’t know if the army had been on the planet itself as far as I can see.” 101 of 333 . remainders of a dismantled base. “A scrambler? Where did you get this? I thought that was for the big cheeses only. Being away from Earth too long could cause hallucinations. United States Space Army on Phobos? “That’s odd.” “You’re right. Mom. Must be something classified. Well. “Okay. no. I don’t mean weapons. or whatever.” “People?” Elisabeth blurted out.” “Well. In that case this is not the third but the fourth expedition.” Angels? Seeing his Mom’s bewildered expression he added that some people believed there were angels on Mars and that they had seen them. well that’s the military prerogative of course. We found electric wiring amongst other leftover rubble and a fuse box with the USSA stamp on it. which some people see around here. You could see it was army built. consider me big cheese then. now we can speak out.” Albert found it greatly funny and maybe he was a bit impressed by the fact his mother had some of the privileges he would not get in his lifetime. A secret mission maybe?” “I was thinking of that too. we found presences of human stay. observation posts. which made Albert chuckle. “No. and they seemed to be of military source. Maybe there have been more of these kinds of missions. mother. when we discovered human presence. found it in her breast pocket and activated it. Unless you refer to angels.” USSA. “No.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She remembered the device Jack had given her. nobody ever has mentioned an army base on Phobos. Albert gaped at it bug-eyed. we were working at the south side of the rock. She put it on the table.

102 of 333 . She had already gone far enough and she had no urge to endanger her position any further.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert It was nothing worth interrogating Kovinsky for. she thought.

They had only three weeks to go. 103 of 333 . After Albert had left for Phobos again. Elisabeth returned to her absorbing task to coordinate the programs. their survival trainings intensified. After a scrupulous scanning. if only that they had gone rid of those nasty space sickness pills. psychologists and survival experts were working closely together to make certain that the settlers would turn into Martian material. but Elisabeth soon found out. it was Linda complaining about pains. Margaret had been the cause of all. Though she did not participate actively anymore. All ships come in. The idle life was over. Margaret’s moments of intimate pleasure had caused both people to drive up the wall. he was back on the ship and telling her what had fallen out. Thereafter climate conditions on the planet would worsen and endanger secure landings. no more romping in the fields. Now they had to train in realistic life conditions. she followed the settlers’ progress. The daily exercises became harsher then when on the ships. Gravity specialists. and in particular Dan’s. Then they were transported to the inner hubs where gravity had been reduced to Mars level.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 12. However. the settlers were granted a week to get used to their new environment. First. It was a still a mystery why he had gone round the bend. That couldn’t be a coincidence. and then it was Dan’s turn after trading places with her. She had put Dan under hypnosis and before long. they all felt okay. they had found him sound again.

” Margaret gazed at her with surprise. “About me? Why me? I’ve been a good girl all the way. “Margaret. I just hope I can cope with it on Mars. waggling in her magnetic boots like all settlers wore during their gravitation training.” Elisabeth did not go into that.” “Should be. how do you feel?” Elisabeth prefaced. so Margaret could untie her heavy weight rucksack that added some more pulling weight.” “That’s what I want to find out. no one leaves the Wheel if not prepared for it. But I’m sure you’ll do fine. I’ve been around. Margaret. Just that damned grav. though it was painful at the same time. Margaret. and that was not what Elisabeth wanted to hear. we all know. Elisabeth. Margaret came in.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Linda had seemed handle the rays better than Dan. They called it the ‘duck walk’ and it had some comic effect. “I’m okay. every joint constantly screaming in mutual protest and without the painkillers most of the settlers would have given up after their first day at one-three-g day. The point was that Margaret nearly ruined Elisabeth’s reputation. otherwise chances were Margaret would start a monologue on her military whereabouts. You can’t blame me for what came about on the ship. Every muscle.” “Don’t worry. but that was not the point. She arranged a meeting with her. Elisabeth’s room had eighty percent of gravitation level. they cause rather pleasant side-effects. Margaret.” 104 of 333 . I know. and to women more then to man for we have more sensible skin. You have been using a lot of vibes up there. “I’ve had some complaints.

Elisabeth said to herself. Margaret was a lonely soul.” She had said what was on her mind and waited for Margaret’s reaction. “I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe her inversed sexuality had leaded her to this kind of atypical fixation. Encouraged by this. I can pull myself together in all circumstances. She’s not as hard-boiled as I assumed. Margaret jumped up and leaned over to Elisabeth with her knuckles planted on the tabletop. dammit. I’m telling you.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Margaret stared at her without flinching. you have a sick mind. and she felt some empathy growing. “Relax. Nevertheless. let’s say. which came prompt. once a week. sat again and glanced at Elisabeth with moist eyes. I don’t know about vibrations. and she had been relying too long on her own. Elisabeth went on. I’ve never used the device for pleasure. we can take the proper measures. that still did not unravel the puzzled questions. we all have our sexual urges. I’m just worried because you used them so frequently.” She had spoken in such sincerity that Elisabeth was certain she told the truth. If we can clear this out. Elisabeth. “I mean. I just want to know why Linda and Dan acted so strangely with you in the neighborhood. but most of us can handle them and restrict them to.” Margaret eased off. Margaret.” Elisabeth had a bit of a fright by this unexpected reaction. You’ve got to believe me. otherwise I’m afraid you’ll be off the list. You’re accusing me of being a sex maniac. causing thereby untoward radiations that your berth neighbors couldn’t cope with. 105 of 333 . sitting stiffly like a good soldier to attention before her superior. “Do you mean I was constantly masturbating? Is it that what you’re saying? What do you take me for? I’m a soldier. lady.

taking her with me on my missions.” Elisabeth gaped at her. and she had been living up to them since the last half year. She was a junkie. and drugs will be used to overcome the changeover period. Just for the sake of your own safety. I believe you. would you object to a minor brain scan? Then we will be sure before we leave for our new destination. I recognized the symptoms at once. “I didn’t know you had a daughter. she felt guilty about her daughter’s death. “Do you believe I was making advances to her? I’m not lesbian.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Okay.” Margaret laughed nervously. She had never known Margaret had a daughter. bearing the belief she had not been a good mother. She agreed halfheartedly and Elisabeth made an appointment for the brain scanner in an hour. she always had taken it for granted that Margaret was a single and hard-boiled soldier in service of her country. I just liked her company and I’m really shocked having to hear I seem to be the cause of her troubles. I don’t want her to revert. what are your feelings towards Linda? Maybe they have something to do with the vibrations.” “She died when she was twenty-four. She reminds me of my daughter. Margaret. “By the way. and I promised myself I would keep an eye on her. Clearly. Once on Mars I’m sure there will be drugs circulating and you know and I know the first months will be hard on everybody. just like Linda. Tell me about her.” Margaret had shown another site of hers: the burden of her remorseful remembrances of her child.” Margaret could not refuse of course. I was a single mother. Margaret. I wonder. I never gave her the love she deserved. Margaret. you know. that would jeopardize her prospects. 106 of 333 .

He seemed all right to her though. I’m here for you. and. at the same time. The chips continuously sent out strong impulses. “It’s okay.’ Margaret shook her head and regained her pose. served to guide the soldiers securely across battlefields and into war zones. Margaret. I’m glad we have sorted this out and if scuttlebutt would happen. If she had known. 107 of 333 . Margaret left the room and Elisabeth made herself a mug of hot eggplant broth. She wondered if Albert took drugs too. we will know more. No drug dealer in his right mind would subscribe for that arid rock called Mars. as simple as that. she would not have allowed Margaret to be part of the program. They had discovered that Margaret still carried her military service implant. After the brain scan. Later that evening.” She felt angry with that other person who had selected Margaret without asking for her opinion. be my guest. All military personal on active duty wore implants. no drugs. and anyway his work was to demanding to let his brain wander in a blur. Margaret. She had not considered the possibility of drugs on Mars. I trust. without ghosts from the past. Why should she? Without the cash. Margaret had revealed something about drugs. We’ll see us again at the final meeting tomorrow. while she was consulting the ships’ journey logs on the settlers. a chip embedded behind her right ear. to orbiting satellites that coordinated the physical and mental conditions. the report on Margaret came in and Elisabeth practically fell off her chair. I’ll see it’s choked before harm’s done.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “If you want to talk about it. fed by the brain charges. There would be enough troubles of their own on Mars. just don’t throw false accusations at me. Her mind was wandering about. Elisabeth.” “I’m sorry and I apologize.

It could only mean that. We do not want any remembrance of our past life. When personal left service. Now she could fully concentrate on her last show and she promised herself it would be a blast. get used to it this very moment. Everything’s left in your room will be confined as well. that you stand behind it one hundred percent. ladies and gentlemen. they had assumingly decided they should keep her on the reserve list. the moment you set foot on Mars. What I want to make clear is. Now. The so-called vibrations did not inflict upon Margaret herself. Next morning. with her high rank and all. she drummed up all ten leaders to gather around her in the Wheels’ auditorium. On the desk laid brown bags with their names written on it. your life on Earth will be over and done. and no nostalgic memories about Earth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Eventually it all came together. You will not return to your quarters. they will be returned. dear friends. If you would ever reconsider to leave us. the chip’s transmitting signals had been intensified by the cleansing frequencies. Margaret instantly sent her a thank you note back and that was it. no souvenirs. “This will be our last meeting. She just was not aware what was going on in her nearness. I want to make sure that at this very last moment you don’t opt out.” 108 of 333 . She had simply been in the center like sitting in the eye of the hurricane. their chips were put out of order and they were free citizens again. though Marge was retired. she was a living transmitter and she was unaware of it. you are Martians. I would like you to put all your personal belongings in the appropriate bags. By a sheer combination of unhappy circumstances. The only thing that bothered Elisabeth was the fact that the chip was still in working condition. before we embark to our new habitat. She sent Margaret a message to tell everything was sorted out and she could sleep on both ears again. She left out the implant details. So. From now on.

They searched their pockets and put their stuff in the bags. It shows the Earth. Nobody said a word. though. Now let’s take our final glimpse of Mother Earth. candies. your new life will be much easier now you’ve got rid of the old one.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They were fairly impressed by her speech but they seemed to take it well. We are becoming a self-sustaining community. All communications with Earth will be shut off. while Earth’s is becoming outdated. Bear in mind that you won’t be able to keep in touch with Earth anymore. In our case. small jewelry. their roots were erased from their memories. Earth is of no importance to us anymore. we have to act much quicker. they were all hooked on their 109 of 333 . Only this station will be left open to act as our mediator. This is your past.” She magnified the bleak spot that gradually enhanced into the familiar pear shape of their home planet. Compare it to the first settlers who sat foot on American soil. They were a good bunch. they had turned into Americans and were ready for selfdetermination.” She took the remote control and pointed to the wide screen. coins. Two hundred years later. its Moon and Jupiter. a reader device. photos. Further to the south. they saw bleak blue and brown colors dominating the picture. “Thank you. miniature camera’s. “This is the fragment you see from the Martian surface. for it will be the last time you will be seeing it in such detail. That is not what I want to show you. They could see the contours of the American continent under layers of gray clouds. friends. Now. memory cards. a religious medallion. take a good look at what you are leaving behind and maybe forever. It looked all so peaceful. they apprehended its true meaning. everything that linked them to their past and that had been dear to them. Callisto and Ganymede are further away. The lights dimmed and the space sky opened. take a good look at it. She narrowed the sight. music players.

took two antidepressants.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert last view. “That was it. they would be living their new life at half a billion kilometers from their home planet and she was at the verge of a nervous breakdown. The stewards came to fetch them to guide them to their new lodging.” “Your lucky charm?” She didn’t hear Dan’s grief-stricken response. She left the auditorium and went back to her own room. “She’s taking my mitt away. Thank you and we’ll see us again on Mars. In a day or three. lay down and the tension fell off. Kovinsky could now set the launching day. 110 of 333 .” Mike clapped his hands and soon everyone gave her a round of applause. I’m losing my lucky charm. Now let’s proceed to our new dwellings. No one had a fit of cry or rational objections of any kind. Elisabeth shut the performance off and the lights turned on again. I’m sure you’ll be delighted. They had abandoned Earth from their emotional life already. she felt pooped and she worried about it. Again. “You’re lucky. You will be housed in an isolated section at Martian gravity and in Martian life conditions.” and Dan responding in a plaintive tone. She heard Pete say.

She had hooked Jack for a private meeting at her place.” He in turn looked in wonder. Elisabeth. He stared at her with feverish eyes. the whole concept will be gone. looking overstrained. does every group leader know what to do once they’re in their new home?” “I haven’t commissioned anything. If we start telling people what to do before they even begin. Jack. She looked at him in wonder. It’s no company picnic. “Have you put up a mission statement yet?” he asked. At the sight of it. If it doesn’t work. but he hoped it would be cleared out at launching hour.” 111 of 333 . These group leaders are just a primary pick. Day minus One set in with a last talk. “I mean. Jack. “You can’t have your managers getting out there without the proper instruction set. It’s up to them to decide how to fend for themselves. They’ll have to know for themselves.” “Hear me out. The community will decide whether they are the blessed ones. they’ll simply have to replace them with their own choice. He told her over a cup of cold chocolate drink that they had some trouble with the logistic side of the operation. that way we’ll soon see what it takes.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 13. He had to coordinate every step aside Kovinsky in order to guarantee safe landing and lodging. his job had become more demanding then hers. the Darwin way to keep it simple. He showed up late in the evening. We’ve agreed we’d follow the natural way.

“Don’t be upset.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Jack grinned. Jack.” “As far as I know. The other months I spent on the mother ship. if it’s that what you have in mind.” Jack did not know what else to say.” “Yes.” She inadvertently had to smile. as I couldn’t stand living in the same place with a bunch of horny workers who wouldn’t mind eating up a twenty years old trainee researcher. “Socialism and Communism for that matter was all about rules and methods and overall power. Elisabeth. Don’t show me the tears. So what’s troubling you?” “It’s been rambling on my mind that I might buckle down under the strain of playing goddess. we don’t have a backup plan for you. It’s something I have to take off my chest. I remember they brought in girls from ISS One.” “I’m all ears. but keep in mind that I’m the worst confessor. Perhaps you might see it as social Darwinism without the stupidities. Jack. but it sounded like a comic line. In fact. He had said it in earnest. I need to know if you and John have considered that option. power to the people and all.” She ignored his veiled reference to Kovinsky’s conceptions. At least you’ve been on Mars and that’s what counts. but I wonder how John will take it. “You want liberals on Mars. I just want to confess I have not been in Base Camp all the time twenty-five years ago.” 112 of 333 . Jack. Some situation. I like that unorthodox approach of yours. so he shrugged his shoulders and asked her why she wanted to see him. “I have to make a confession. These people look upon me as their earth mother. I have hardly been there about three of my eighteen months call of duty. you should have paid more attention in class.

Elisabeth. We’re a triangle. Most of them showed signs of anxiety. why worry now? You’re on the brink of writing history. So I suppose this is the moment when we say goodbye and meet again in our new home.they can pick out their own rooms. “You’ll have to discuss that with John.” “That’s not a comforting answer. I just wanted to get it out of my system. Have you decided yet where the settlers will stay?” “Don’t worry.” Jack reached his hand to shake. Jack.” “Sounds fine to me. We have prepared ten dorms for twenty-five people each. she woke up at four in the morning. She ate an extended breakfast of whole meal cereals in pineapple flavored yogurt. but not in the way of the French. but she kissed him on the cheek instead which made him blush. I don’t know any more than you do. but hey. Kovinsky would have given me a warm hug. Don’t loose sleep over it. “Thanks. not a leader of people. she thought. 113 of 333 . all those microscopic substances floating about were a nuisance in a confined space. not to speak of lice and dandruff. Remember what happened with One Dome. Jack.” It was creepy. the way he sounded like Kovinsky. Hair growth was not wanted on Mars.” Jack grimaced. Jack. realizing they were heading irrevocably to their inexorable fate. but then again Jack was a technical manager and an alienated kid. After a catnap. Everything will be put in place in due time. Already people were queuing up for the depilation treatment. and then headed for the transit zone.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I can’t take the responsibility if the dome breaks down. That should give a ring or two. she said aloud out after Jack had gone. Just dig in it. Elisabeth.” “I know. When time is right – which I leave up to you .

their chest hair or their mustaches hard. The depilation was drastically overall. Do you have a special reason?” 114 of 333 . To many women. no one disputed that the Greek marble sculptures had a lot of appeal. In ancient Egypt and other successful cultures. in case an emergency would occur. not even the brows and chin hairs. Howard and Andrea joined Elisabeth.” “I don’t mind. Andrea. They would be completely bald. Some settlers found the loss of their gorgeous hairdos. Some called it the Martian Look and it showed in their behavior and attitude.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert During their psychotherapeutic sessions. hairless body was the standard of beauty and it would be the same on Mars. To Elisabeth. others softly sobbed for a minute. “Howard and I’d like to stay in your nearness. the daily fight against redundant hair growing in unwanted spots was soon over. Some had a good laugh. They stepped in the laser accelerator and after ten minutes. but on the other hand. now that the traces of aging had flushed down with her body hair and it showed the way she moved. They surprisingly looked alike. Elisabeth. the settlers had prepared for this moment and they perfectly knew they would become hairless for health reasons. they came out at the other side of the assembly line and their appearance was weird at first blush. The coaches did their best to convince them that it would not lessen their appeal. They really had the outlook of the typecast Martians in the old Hollywood flicks. While for the last time space sickness pills were distributed. like unisex twins. it was a pleasant surprise. not a single hair would grow again. They had an injection to safeguard them from possible side effects and dressed in something that looked like a romper suit. a smooth. then joined the row of born again Martians. as if they had shed their skin off to start their new life. but overall the operation worked as a catharsis. She even looked younger.

” “Still. On the other hand. Spoken of guru. it would be appropriate to have a last comforting word before they embarked on the greatest adventure of their lives. Howard and I prefer supervision. It’s supposed to be definitive. Andrea. it’s the settlers themselves who’ll have to dig out the best solutions. we’d feel more at ease with you on our side. as the others might consider it this way. frankly. Mendez cleared his throat and the settlers shut up.” Elisabeth could not decide if it was a good hunch to give the couple that kind of privilege. Elisabeth. you and Howard. as we have agreed upon. Why did she mention experiment? They were not supposed to look upon it as an experiment.” Elisabeth had a bit of a scare. and we have a hard time to get used to this kind of social experiment. John Kovinsky will be in charge of the organization. 115 of 333 . “It’s not an experiment. My job’s done. Kovinsky and Jack. But. don't you think that would lead to a terrible mess?” Elisabeth recalled her conversation with Jack and the fact there was no B Plan if she would fail. it was clear they had turned her into their guru. One of the crew clipped a wireless microphone on his collar. A moral sustain would be fitting and she asked Mendez to do the honors of biding the last farewell.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Nothing in particular. I’m just the observer. which he accepted joyfully. in case something happens to you. It’s only – well. Andrea. It was a comforting thought to know her people were taking her much more seriously and she appreciated their concern. That was something between her. “You can handle it well. He did not waste time and started with an ear-catcher. Experiments belong in laboratories and this is not one.” “I don’t like the idea.

like sheep. because He has created it. but He must exist outside of time. 116 of 333 . He was crushed for our iniquities. the Bible has presented God as non-physical. and by His wounds we are healed. This one relationship can give our lives lasting value. Our relationship with God gives us the ability to talk to Him. have gone astray. we do not live only to have all memory of us snuffed out in a few generations and throughout eternity. Therefore.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “From ancient times. He did not create them as creatures that have no wills of their own. he created humankind as well. Not if God desires to have an eternal relationship with a people who would willingly return His love. we have just one option and that is God. a Spirit who cannot be contained. We all. God will exist on Mars and we will be safe when we trust in Him. It means our lives are not pointless. but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. not just about Him. who are about to find the Promised Land. This is the relationship with us. “But He was pierced for our transgressions. the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him. even by the heavens. after all. we find access to eternity through the One who exists outside of time. I want to end with Isaiah. Rather. God must not only be separate from His creation. is the reason He has created us. What does God do? He shows both perfect justice and unbounded mercy. each of us has turned to his own way. This relationship. so they cannot bring evil into His perfect universe. In the matter of deciding who is running the universe.

but mercifully not like it was twenty-five years ago. Then they moved on to the last preparations. who were excitedly talking and shouting with everything that met the eyes. following the stewards to their assigned seats and they were tightly strapped in the harnesses. Elisabeth was thankful for his inspiring words. Every settler had to wear a pressurized track suit and carry a survival kit. Elisabeth felt the anxiety growing. they made themselves comfortable for their journey. They had their helmets on and held their survival kit close to their body. Amen. they stepped in the shuttle in an orderly fashion. only a screen showing the pilot’s own view outside. It struck Elisabeth that Andrea did not act the way the other passengers did. a miniature flashlight and a radio beacon. Elisabeth was with the first group.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Always let God be in your heart and lead us through the difficult times ahead. Her face was expressionless. When the light jumped to green. like a lifebuoy on a sinking ship. A déjà vu to her. Every shuttle could take in twenty-five passengers. The spacecraft having released itself from the Wheel. as he had expressed of what she had always been convinced. Leader was Andrea. The settlers to the first shuttle assembled on the launch deck. in less then five hours they would be on Mars. Their body language expressed how aware they were of what they were about to do. They had a twelve hours time launch window to carry all settlers and equipment to the planet and with every hour a new load would barge in to join the others. There were no portholes. which was nothing more than military rations. Two hundred and fifty voices sounded solemn. she seemed 117 of 333 .” “Amen”.

a historic momentum for everyone and they had to consume it in all stillness before they were able to accept they had really landed on Mars. but to her relief the vomiting kept away. caused by dust rising from the hematite-bearing rocks that covered the basaltic plains rich in iron oxides. No one moved.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert not interested in the growing reddish ball on the screen and Elisabeth did not know what to make out of it. Maybe she was just hiding her fears behind that unmoving face. everybody seemed to hold their breath. The shuttle made a ninety degrees revolution and then slit backwards towards the shaft until it locked on and the engines died and it was dead quiet. and then turned towards the North Pole. The sky was reddish. It was a familiar look to all of them and part of their collective memory since the first automated exploring machines had landed on the surface a century ago. Elisabeth stared to the screen that showed a panoramic view of the surface. that giant carve that had reminiscences of the Grand Canyon. the Martian surface came to life. it was tangible throughout the ship. 118 of 333 . The vibrations suddenly had gone and the shuttle seemed to be gently floating towards the landing strip and then there was a big shush and they smoothly touched the ground and came to a halt about fifty meters from a pockmarked canister shaped shaft that showed traces of meteorite impacts. Nonetheless. The first time she had set foot on the planet was southbound. It was a sacred time. in the middle of the mountains where the mining plants were located at Base Camp. This area was undoubtedly less hit by meteors by the sight of the number of craters. Suddenly. Elisabeth felt the shuttle slowing down when the rear rockets backfired and her stomach almost turned over as gravity abruptly returned. They flew over Vallis Marineris.

there are lots of panoramic screens in your station to fulfill your optical needs. The stewards walked supply ahead as if they had not done else. Elisabeth had the impression they were going for a long cruise on a luxurious ship.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth could not help shivering at the sight of this desolate eroding landscape. Leave your travel kit under your seat. Everyone was still adapting to Martian gravity. remain seated.” Some people started to applaud. Please. In a moment. The settlers followed them to the airlock. Temperature is plus eighteen on the surface and minus ten on eye level. I would suggest you take a good last look. not realizing that the Captain seemed to find the whole concept to be ludicrous and lunatic. “This is your Captain speaking. A masculine voice from the intercom interrupted her train of thoughts. That much for sunbathing outside. While walking down the jet way. flattened by hardened lava flows. The air is mainly made of carbon dioxide. here we go. folks. If you would like some more figures. It was sparsely lit by emergency lights. as Elisabeth sensed between the lines. Soft diffuse lighting and subdued background music accompanied them to the station’s gate. They could hear the soft hissing of air purifiers. 119 of 333 . we have not found yet. a spongy mixture of delicate exotic fruit perfumes pouring from the vents. well. Captain signing out. Wishing you the best and a very good life on Mars. If you want to stay in touch with it. Nitrogen is twenty-five times less then on Earth. And oxygen. but the training had bared fruits and the duck walk had gone. Air pressure is more then a hundred times less then on Earth. Then the stewards came to fetch them. Welcome to Mars. the no man’s land that interlocked the ship with the station. A new type of air filled the space. we will escort you to your new home.

followed by a roaring blast of hot air that dried them up in minutes again. gazing in 120 of 333 . folks. One of the walls had a wide screen that all of a sudden came to life. Red light stripes on the self-cleaning epoxy coated floor showed them the way in. fully lit by ceiling sodium TL’s. We are not allowed to enter the premises. which was dressing up again. Now. and when the door shut.” Some murmurs of thanks and returned wishes and then. One of their guides took the floor. their impossible dream was taking shape. Humidifiers were pouring steam in the room. they had to strip off and throw their jumpsuits and helmets in waiting baskets on wheels to automated transport to the incinerators. The elevator took them noiselessly down for about five seconds. This is as far as we go. They moved cautiously on. They put their feet in slippers and passed through a sliding door that gave way to the station’s inner space.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They proceeded towards an elevator that was waiting for them to carry them down the station’s belly. A chilling spray struck their bodies from all sides. When the door opened to their new lodging. they were standing in a large and empty rectangular space. their faces feverish and with every step they made. They had new jumpsuits. They were in the station’s reception area. “Welcome. A computer voice told them they were clear and could proceed to the next phase. where they were spadeworklike washed and at the same time scanned for harmful germs. Then they had to stand in the shower room. They held their breath. From now on. settlers only. their first glimpse of it was the quarantine zone. Good luck and God bless you on your mission. with a monochromatic metal outlook and the embroiled MEA emblem. showing the surface outside. but there was no panic. made from organic fibers. it’s entirely up to you the instant you set foot in this elevator. to your new home on Mars. They knew the drill. they obediently stepped into the spacious service elevator. and still flocking together. First. they had fear in their eyes.

Help yourself to snacks and drinks. Sunlight was weakening.” That ending phrase sounded pretty off in the given circumstances. Again. Approximate time of departure is 16:33. It was simply their instinct of survival that told them to fend for themselves. Thank you on behalf of the management. The right wall all of a sudden split open and showed a subway station. Elisabeth felt a sudden longing. The throbbing bright red and yellow lights coming from the Wheel six thousand kilometers in the sky were remarkably bright in the dimming light. outside plus ten centigrade. The instinct of greediness was still strong and it would take a while before they would realize there was plenty of everything for everyone. 121 of 333 . She eyed some of the settlers who were packing in more they could handle. but nobody found it ridiculous. “Welcome to Two Dome. and the time they had been spending on Mars since they set foot was 21 minutes and counting. the end of the first day was nearing and the sky was growing lead. They still had to get used to the prospect they would not have to pay for anything anymore. background music and concealed lighting made them feel at ease. An automated female voice made her startle. The carriage doors went invitingly open and they mechanically stepped in and took seats. Take a seat and wait for the next shipment to arrive. Hour 15:21:35.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert ecstasy to the Martian horizon. The screen projected numbers in the upper right corner. Please proceed to the subway. Sanitary is fully operational. The upper part had free vendor machines and Elisabeth joined the queue. temperature inside plus twentythree. Have a nice stay. Somehow. God bless America. They all knew they were on a historical mission and God was on their side. there was a sacred tension in the air. starting with Sol 1.

and the more settlers poured in. and Elisabeth felt the glow in her heart strongly. Nothing on Earth could compete with this kind of fraternizing. Elisabeth heaved a sigh of relief. people fully and unconditionally engaging with other people. the more of that spirit came to life. It was up to dear old Darwin now to show she was right. Already the group spirit was shaping up. this was a sociological event. why she thrived on her perception. This was not an experiment. 122 of 333 .Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The next load came in and the first group who considered themselves as the veterans warmly welcomed them. Now she knew everything would fall into place. This was why she had joined.

Soon. They had room enough for another two thousand settlers and there was no need for squabbling over nests and personal spaces. the two of them stayed on the Wheel. It was located about half a kilometer from the dorms. she was able to classify the complaints: industrious people versus lazy people. She was aware that John and Jack would be making plans that way and prefer the short-term way out. She had an office for her sessions and private talks and used it for her quarters as well. 123 of 333 . the top to bottom one. which otherwise on smooth and synthetic surfaces would flourish unbridled. and even about the interior’s design. but meaningless on Mars. They agreed upon a weekly remote meeting to discuss the agenda’s. practical matters came her way and she felt the need to share them with John and Jack. which Elisabeth did not mind at all. Every dorm had been dressed in organic material to keep the untoward microbes out. the lack of real sunshine and the excess of artificial light. After the second week. Management had used Japanese interior decoration to build the rooms and dorms. the gravitation matters. The premises were even bigger then they had depicted from the 3D-projections in the space station.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 14. so popular on Earth. the yearning for varying nutrition. She was aware that she had to keep an eye on them in case they would decide to turn the community into an organization the type she wanted to avoid. giving way to gardens with miniature waterfalls and bonsai trees. Kovinsky and Jack would pay them a visit after they had acquainted with their new habitat. futons and fusuma doors. and therefore they had Japanese furniture. In the meanwhile.

which they soon called the ‘Pond’. herbs and subtropical edible flowers were growing in abundance. begging for attention and showing affection as real pets do. they were not used to this kind of affluence or it did remind them too much of what they had to miss since they had left Earth. sunflowers. The atmosphere was naturally damp and made a well-chosen change from the humidified air in the rooms. cucumbers. spinach. divided in four squares. you could get sufficient help from the medical robots who were always at disposal. It was no wonder the settlers filled the site constantly. wheat and spirulina grow and waiting for the pickings.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Overwhelming jasmine and perfume scents filled the complex and completed the overall Zen mood. Sharon spontaneously volunteered for the upkeep. night and day. there was one place everyone was wildly enthusiastic about. tomatoes. In the sickbay. chirping and flapping about. coming from deep down defrosted ice. as their indoor pleasure garden. but as robots had everything topnotched. But to some settlers it was a bit over the top. she had nothing more to do but watching the rice. Health care had become simple. watercress. It was a large garden. They even had a 124 of 333 . they had a fish-breeding tank that afforded them with a lot of genetically produced seafood. potatoes. the size of two football fields. was overwhelming. Automated devices dressed as small exotic birds sat in the trees and in the bushes. All sorts of fruit provided them with the vital vitamins their bodies were unable to produce. A lot of robotic toy pets pattered at their feet. soy. It was based on the Aztec floating gardens and the sight of real water in such an inland sea volume. and that was the hydroponics garden. In another room. lettuce. onions. and it had everything needed for their daily intakes: salad crops and leafy lettuces. Still.

greed and sloth had turned into minor issues. gluttony. ready to deploy. These were earthbound sins. lust. Childbirths would take place in special designed tubs and monitored by the robot nurses. but the main motive to live the good life. judges and lawyers anymore. One of the pleasant conclusions Elisabeth was able to make. and you do not need courthouses. for they comprise ninety percent of humankind’s squabbles. anger. knowledge and intellectual education. They became fitter. It would take less time to become Martians than they expected. proving that cohabitation was not a vogue word. since she had exchanged Earth for Mars she had second thoughts about Gandhi’s interpretation of the sins. Politics – well. they were wealth without work. She had always been a fan of his non-violence politics. Take away greed and lust. envy. Now freed of their earthly burdens. They slept through half of the day and filled their remaining time with exercises and sessions with the group leaders. commerce without morality.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert maternity home. Paradise regained. You had the fun without considering science. As he put it. was that the impact of the original deadly sins was wearing off rapidly. science without humanity. both physically and mentally and developed social instincts they had been unaware of. knowledge without character. However. Her mind drifted to Mahatmi Gandhi’s interpretation of the seven sins. she granted Kovinsky’s philosophy of being on top of things. the urge to be busy wore off. the work was done for you. After some weeks. Her social experiment was none less than the attempt to incorporate his ideas in a Darwinian interpretation. as long as he did not poke 125 of 333 . and worship without sacrifice. pleasure without conscience. they were steadily transforming. Pride. politics without principle. On Mars. That was of no importance anymore and the shifting to creativeness proved bull’s-eye.

It was very simple. but how do you define the Gandhi – Darwin synthesis? Survival of the happiest? It sounded more optimistic than the Darwinian catchphrase to say the least. Marge.” 126 of 333 . John and Jack would have to indulge and give their OK to her work. Jack proposed she should find a suitable name for it. “Don’t make up too much rules. “So. how do you see it then?” she asked unwillingly grudgingly. The Darwinian bedrocks seemed to take off as well as to be expected. but Margaret did not know how to play it otherwise. Margaret She had it all figured out.” They made a point here. agreed upon some of the misconceptions she seemed to have made. She listened watchfully. Marge. She just had to follow her leader’s instincts and let them know who was in charge of things. But it turned out otherwise. After three weeks. Rules do not make a difference. and we haven’t migrated to stick to the same rules as on Earth. As far as she knew.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert his nose in her work. not with this small community anyway. three women of her group paid her a visit with some grievances. we know what is good or bad for us. Worship she was not sure of. there were no fanatics and she just hoped for the best. “It’s not like we have objections about the way you monitor us. You don’t have to lead us into battle. Business without an agent like money made no sense in this new micro cosmos. and don’t expect them to be executed at a snap. In the end. but you remind us too much of the military. We are adults.

but finally she agreed. management had decided not to use western lettering anymore and they turned to the Chinese way of handling information. “Not really. Someday they would come to terms with her and that would be the time to pick out her Magnificent Seven.” “I used to get paid for it. He watched Dan’s index finger rapidly touching iconographic symbols on the computer screen. “Nothing special really. “You seem to know a lot about symbolic writing. it’s a fast business. While in the process of organizing the expedition.” 127 of 333 . Margaret resentfully thought.” Pete followed his programming. Dan looked at Pete over his shoulder.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Maybe you’re wrong here. happy that somebody noticed how good he was at the computer. Fifteen to sixty seconds top.” Dan grinned.” Pete said. ‘Just fooling around with the birds. Dan and Pete Pete Murray came to visit Dan. They had developed icons that could cover complete sentences and it worked well – unless you were a fiction writer. I suppose.” “And you’re getting paid for it. The code writing is the same. it’s more about vectors and pixels.” he returned the flattery. “You’re a graphic designer if I remember. standing behind Dan’s back. Dan was altering the chirping sounds of some of the pets.

We’re condemned to forever drinking soy milk.” “It would be cool if we’d find a way to produce it ourselves.” “Not a bad idea. “Oh well.” “I heard they still don’t menstruate.” “Yeah. Amazon women on Mars. We’ve got to create a new race if I get it right.” “Yeah. Maybe it would be a great time to retire. “How do you get along with your people?” 128 of 333 . But nothing there. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. By the booze word. but Liz can’t be dealing the cards forever. there are the girls still. She’s fifty or something.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Yeah.” Pete dreamily said. Maybe then we might find a way to get a shot of liquor around here. There must be more than sitting at the Pool all day.” “Are you kidding me? I have dreams of Scotch on the rocks.” “Well.” “I hope it won’t be forever.” “I admit.” “Some booze would help.” “Or space turning them into lesbians.” “Quite honestly. why don’t we take a look in the nutrition database? There must be something about alcohol for medical use. she’d turn into a wild tigress. that could be the reason. rip our guts out.” Dan changed the subject.” “Have you noticed they’re not really interested in making passes? It looks like they don’t care about men anymore. Dan seemed to wide-awake.” Pete sighed. I keep forgetting we’re living on another planet. She’s done a good job. We can’t have Liz against us. maybe it’s all for the better. “I was worried being the only kid in town who would fancy a glass of good whisky. I did.

Mendez introduced daily services. it’s a bit boring. it’s like sitting in your office and let the staff do all the work. Some of his pupils had searched desperately for answers on Earth. Frankly. I guess. He constantly reminded them of their mission on Mars. which steadily extended from half an hour to three hours. but on the other hand. had followed every spiritual movement. and it was a great way of avoiding the inevitable dullness that came with their enforced adaptation time. that leadership.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Pete shrugged.” Jesus Mendez’s spiritual leadership made a great impression on his group. I don’t do much that the others can do too. and watching the time fly by. 129 of 333 . to create a new civilization under the wings of God. having no competition of the established religions from Earth and he therefore could easily adapt his own spiritual vision about God working on Mars. just as it was in his heydays on Earth. Some members of the other groups joined in and soon he was expanding rapidly. Mendez knew it was only a matter of time before he would be the one and only religious leader on Mars. right and false. “Everything’s okay. I have no complaints.” “I see what you mean. He had to admit he had an easy job.

But the monotony that came with the transitional phase inflicted upon Linda too. She did not use instruments. strange as it was and people were ignoring the radio hits and video clips that were available day and night. It was home crafts and it was natural and enjoyable to hear. her beautiful singing voice made the music. She was able to pick up the fine texture of the noise people made. Her leadership was based on her free spirit and soon her group copied her way of life. She decided to share it with Sharon. People hearing her softly singing picked up the snatches and soon. The music from Earth did not sound well anymore. lyrics and arrangements all in one time.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Linda Linda was making a valuable contribution. introducing music to the community. as all arts. like making wardrobe instead of the dull jumpsuits to name just one. She felt a strong desire to have a trip like in the old days. they had a melody. Linda was soon experimenting with natural sounds. to turn it into music. It was something from the pre-industrial times when music. Linda knew they had marijuana plants. 130 of 333 . They did not need the technology anymore to make music. The hemp was meant for other purposes then getting high. it was the first thing that had caught her eye at the Pond. was a unique creation and not liable to be mass-produced.

Sharon felt the need to pass it on to Elisabeth. Elisabeth focused her attention when Sharon told her about Linda’s needs. it seems that Linda had sex with Mike. she did not feel the urge to light up a joint anymore. at the same time. and create visions. had been negotiating with people while on the Wheel. who. I can imagine with that low gravity and the muscular dystrophy. “I’m not against it. Elisabeth knew that Sharon was on terms of intimacy with Linda. but that it wasn’t a big deal she told me. After Linda had left. Then Linda said to her in a conspiring tone that she knew a way out and started to tell. she was all ears and she decided Sharon and Linda should go on with the experiment. I don’t know. Linda had gotten some seeds from Mike.” 131 of 333 . She invited her to tell her more about Linda’s relationship with Mike. which produced a powerful hallucinogenic effect. health hazards free. Maybe you need to go to school again to learn new ways of lovemaking. Mike seemed to have trouble to – you know.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Sharon Sharon had never been a heavy drug user. and. blessing and healing. Besides. strengthen group cohesion. “Well. “I just want it to be safe. we’re only human. just for the sake of her own conscience. The seeds came from the hoasca plant. it would trigger off the smoke alarms.” Sharon told her what Linda had exposed.” she decided. She had always stuck to soft drugs but since she shook off her Earth habits. When Elisabeth heard South-American Indians used it to reinforce collective belief systems. providing revelation. in turn. I agree we sometimes need escape from reality.

otherwise. established a theater group that came up with new ways of entertainment. and he infected almost everyone in his group. Some had flowers strung on their heads. Mike It was a dream came true. They used makeup to defer from the others. another step to take on that knotty Martian civilization process. they enhanced the community to grow in more ways than their own groups. They painted eyebrows to make communicative facial expressions. they all looked healthy. as Sharon had cleverly found out. ten minutes a day. Should they have to move to the bone marrow techniques or artificial insemination? Most of the women would refuse to be part of a hotbed of breeders.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert After Sharon had gone. Others arranged their clothes in another fashion. Elisabeth did not mind subgroups were shaping up. He presented the adventurous element in their community. But if not – suppose sex would dwell off? Suppose that Mars was a sex discouraging factor instead. Though they were not judged by their looks anymore. some wore turbans for wigs. You could not deny that. It was apparent that. perky and tanned with their UV sunbath. They took in the recreation zone and called it the 132 of 333 . But maybe this was just a new phase. In terms of mental health. love playing on Mars had taken another turn and it would take time before new techniques were developed. some of the settlers had trouble with their impersonal appearance. they were in great shape. Elisabeth was worried about the sex deficiency. Mike was having a ball on Mars. He invented new games to keep themselves busy.

her invention seemed to be working amazingly well on Mars. jumping. but it had not worked out well and had cost her a lot of money. It was a concept she once had tried on Earth. producing new play rules on the way. they could defy low gravity and make fun of it. It was all innocent as if they were reinventing their childhood. she decided she could be of better use than to solve insignificant issues. Pillars raised the floor off the ground and spaces inside the walls blew hot air in from the fusion reactors’ steam generators. On one third of Earth’s gravity. She came up with the idea of a bartering method based on time swapping.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Pleasure Dome. He was actually only interested in the girls and he made it a sport to have a good time with him. he found a better hideaway for his escapades. like who’s going to use the upper berth tonight. He simply took things as they were. Her secret was simple: her method 133 of 333 . They would remember him as the patriarch. After a month at the Pond. as the Adam of Mars. It was the ideal spot for Mike and his love crazy girls to fool around. It was a hot and steamy room heated by hypocaust. Martha Martha’s business instincts were still playing strong on her. where they held g-parties. dancing and falling across the room. Mike was the caretaker of the next generation. They invented new ball games. They had the use of several baths and sweat tents. which was a plunge bath structure as used in Roman times. the caldarium. Mike in reality did not participate nor contributed. As they were still sleeping in the dorms. Without realizing himself. Without putting a monetary value on goods and services.

When someone was in need for something they could not provide for themselves. 134 of 333 . Soon Martha’s idea contributed to the community’s welfare. It made an end to the tendency or proclivity to exaggerate personal contributions and values. In the line of their work. the other group would spontaneously volunteer for the job. they just did it out of sheer fun and they did not expect anything in return. making good use of her creation. They really knew about survival. Many people became sorts of survival experts and they soon were ready in case things went horribly wrong. But Howard and Andrea seemed to have other intentions with the groups yet. even if that was in a station on Mars boxed in by permafrost Howard and Andrea What was to be expected came about. Martha felt she was doing something wonderful. and the groups grew even closer. Because Martha had solved the rewarding matter to general satisfaction. Time bartering proved a better way of dealing with the insurmountable gaps between people of different backgrounds. thereby unintentionally creating a small social revolution. producing unexpected new flair and enthusiasm. without knowing that one day she would show the world how good she was in her trade. Howard and Andrea had merged their groups together. value judgments based on economical factors were fading away.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert evaluated people on their time efforts and soon. by managing to get people out of their own group cocoons. no questions asked. they must have been in hazardous situations and they gladly shared their knowledge with their pupils. Perhaps it was this she had thrived all her life for.

” That first word instantly launched several reactions and Margaret’s powerful voice cut in like that of a drill sergeant. Sanitary. “Trouble that we can’t take care of our feminine needs. Elisabeth. 135 of 333 . Only Howard could not make it. which caused some time to absorb.” “Are we going to play charade?” Sharon asked in fun. “Do we still need those industrial products.” “What do you mean by trouble. but she wanted them to find their own way out. Toilet paper. it was time now to parcel out individual rooms among the settlers. Three months had passed. Sharon. Do I have to draw a picture?” Linda sounded a bit sharp.” “Marge is right. “You might call it that way. “We’re running out of everything. Elisabeth. but first Elisabeth decided to gather the group leaders to evaluate if the community was ready for it. I’ll start with the first one. Elisabeth turned to Sharon. Linda?” Elisabeth had foreseen this reaction coming and she was well prepared to face it up. being unable to have her daily cleansing routine anymore was something from hell. Elisabeth. You are free to comment. she asked them if they would agree upon a little test. tampons. we’ll be in serious trouble.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 15. “I want you to react on the words I’m going to say. After a short welcome and supply of drinks. Linda? Do we still need Earth? Are we Martians or not?” That was a direct question. “I don’t know what you mean. To her. “If we don’t get supplies soon. tooth paste. Elisabeth.” Linda added.” Linda stubbornly went on. He was doing the chores for Elisabeth.

“Tell me what you want to add to our menu.” “In that case. I feel I – we feel we need more then what we’ve got up to now.” “I’d like to have chocolate for a change. Honestly.” Linda joined him. Then Pete cut in and his sharp voice shouted the others down. They were all happy their calcium-related regime was over once they had sat foot on Mars. “Can we find cacao trees around here?” “Not as far as I know. so why don’t you use it properly?” “You mean. Sharon. You might find out which ingredients in chocolate we can use from our own backyard. Pete. it doesn’t make any difference with what we had on the ship. “That’s something I was going to speak you about. if I’m not mistaken. Elisabeth. The regime is monotonous. what is chocolate basically made of?” “Cacao.” “Okay with me. and the databases. we should forget about it.” “So you see. but their bodies and minds still yearned for Earth nutrients. Elisabeth. the books. To me. Elisabeth heard words as ‘beef jerky’. And you have a lot of information at your disposal. Elisabeth.” Several outbursts. We have wonderful herbal teas and their nutritious values are beyond question. Now.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I know you are very found of the Pond. it never occurred to me that we can use the Pond for more reasons.” “More of everything.” Linda answered in surprise.” Some of the leaders took his side. Food and drink. ‘pastrami sandwich’ and ‘chowder’. use the herbs and stuff?” “That’s it. There’s enough there to fulfill your and everyone’s needs. “I see.” 136 of 333 .

“I can always pay them a visit. “Anyway.” Elisabeth was relieved. You know that and besides. In case of serious illness. Before Sharon could reply. we can’t leave for the Wheel.” “There’s good coffee on the Wheel. Dan. “It’ll be finished in a couple of months.” “I’m working on a new drink. You won’t come back again. Maybe in a hundred years from now. Martha. that we don’t have coffee plantations either. She knew what alcohol abuse did to an otherwise sound community. He knew he was breaking a tacit agreement not to speak about Earth or the Wheel for that matter.” Mike pulled a face.” Mike said. “Liquor is strictly forbidden. The fall of the Native American culture had accelerated after the 137 of 333 . The only way is the one way ticket. “Does anyone know how to make Bourbon?” Pete laughed at the unexpected turn.” Dan cut in. and they don’t contain carcinogenic hazards.” Sharon cut in. “You know. We can’t afford them. you will leave for the Wheel and you will never come back. we have a big food range in the storage rooms. they take up too much energy that we can use for better matters. but not returning. can we do it?” He exchanged looks with Dan. They had the choice of staying or leaving.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What about a nice cup of Columbian coffee. I’d advise trying to figure out how to vary your menus. “I don’t know. Elisabeth took up the suggestion. winking at Martha. Sharon. people. but not in our time. if you recall. you should start to realize that. That was a deal we made on Earth.” Martha joined in.” “Mike. we have organic wines. they will be here.

It bothered Elisabeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert introduction of liquor as she had heard from the tales in her childhood. Pete. who seemed to catch up.” She noticed Mike throwing a quick look at Linda. Her dad was an alcoholic and he died of cirrhosis when she was still young. Just wanted to sort it out.” Pete said aggrieved. “Glad you’ve pointed that out. Pete. showing off as their moral censor. Elisabeth. but someone had to do it. Boy. “Sorry about that. where there’s a will. what I’d give to know who’s winning the World Series. people. slush money. Okay.” She lectured him about the numerous scandals. 138 of 333 . And she wanted them to remember the other side of earthly civilization. Elisabeth?” “Let me tell you about sport. sports. and the impact of the Big Five on sport. there’s a way. “And who’s controlling the game. sports now. The others did not react properly. bionic fixed players. Sport on Mars with a one-three-zero gravity that caused people to lose muscular tissue was not something they were bothered with anyway. It had grown into big business and competition had turned into a premeditated money farce. Survival instincts were still playing largely on the brain and as long as they did not settle everything in their proper ways. I would like to go on. “What do you mean.” Pete’s eyes expressed his homesickness. love as a romantic vision was not an option. manipulated imagery. Love. love was not their preoccupying issue. But inside she hoped she was way off beam.” “Oh yeah. They could do without it in a micro cosmos like theirs. involving bribes. “You see. It was an intriguing assumption that love as defined on Earth. Pete?” Elisabeth asked. would not work on Mars. Elisabeth knew she was putting on airs.

” Sharon shouted. and maybe he preferred it that way. “Babies. but that will be taken care off soon. Elisabeth wasn’t happy with it. Margaret. then asked her how she looked upon the matter. Was that a tip-off. which surprised Elisabeth. 139 of 333 . Elisabeth. but opposites can act like magnets. guilelessly smiling.” “Oh yes. We’ve got no private space around here to do what we feel like. but on the other hand.” Linda said.” He was referring to lonesome satisfaction. I really would like to have one.” “Actually. “Any others who want to respond on that?” “Well you know how it is. Sharon had a blush.” Margaret asked in a tense tone. I don’t feel much need for sex. Elisabeth. meant for the boys? She did not turn to them. but Mike and Pete looked like beaten dogs. she didn’t want alienation between genders either.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Not much of a reaction here. Dan. She didn’t want complicated and passionate cat-anddogs fights or jealous competitions. Elisabeth. “I know. I just want to know if everyone can satisfy their needs. then a quick look at Mike. Elisabeth patiently waited. which made everyone burst aloud.” Dan said. “It’s one of our natural needs.” “What do you want us to know about sex. It had not crossed her mind that Sharon would fall for a guy like Mike. which is sex. reminding her of their earlier discussion. we’ll leave it for now. Let’s move on with the next item.

On Earth. Elisabeth. Jesus. “No.” She met approval with the women. Instead of hopping around like sex craze rabbits.” “Are you implying. but we don’t encourage them on Mars. “It’s God’s will. which she expected he would. there are no rules like on Earth. Elisabeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Sharon.” “God is omnipresent. but it was a given fact that normal and balanced people were able to turn into blind worshippers when the occasion rose. To her luck. There are too many rules. suppose something breaks down around here. feeling hurt in their masculine pride. Some of them might by useful in certain circumstances.” Jesus went on. Elisabeth. I was thinking. Jesus. I have a strong feeling that you want us to go back to the Dark Ages. As far as she knew. “God has nothing to do with it. Nature had not intended the sexes separated by the same cause. and she would finally have to give in for the sake of peace all the same. even on Mars. we should put our minds to practical matters. which made Mike. knowing Jesus would drag on. Dan came to her aid. Moral issues about sex work on Earth but not on Mars. they had meticulously sifted religious fanatics. Elisabeth. we are living underground and on the surface meteorites and radiations are bombarding us constantly.” She was not inclined to start a religious discussion. Dan and Pete react surly. Do we have spare parts to fix?” 140 of 333 . that we should live like animals?” Jesus cut in. You are doing pioneers’ work. you cannot have a natural relationship between man and woman. “If I may say so. don’t get me wrong. or maybe even to cave world.

” “Well.” “That’s excellent. 141 of 333 . And I don’t get any complaints either. and that had made her rethink.” Lately. If something screws up. it had come to her ears that the settlers called her favorites Elisabeth’s club. Elisabeth. Andrea?” She deliberately picked Andrea. it is up to maintenance robots to fix it. Andrea had been blatantly absent in their discussions. “Thank you for your approval.” “That’s what I want to hear. Last word: leadership. It’s up to you to evaluate. Every part is designed to that perception. So far. Elisabeth. so don’t feel troubled. Do you learn them other things?” Jesus looked surprised. She had gotten doubts about the way leadership evolved.” “You’re right. Marge. “What do you want us to tell?” Margaret asked.” They had knowing looks.” “I see. how do your people behave?” “They’re realizing how crucial spiritual guiding is. Marge. “Aren’t you satisfied with what we’re doing?” “It’s not I who’s judging. How about you. Elisabeth. “I just do what you’ve intended me to do. The equipment you’re talking about will last for a thousand years. “I really don’t know what you mean. Jesus. Elisabeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “You don’t have to worry. Dan. The suggestion of mentoring his people in other ways then religiously had never crossed his mind. I can assure you my group doesn’t complaint. we should rely somewhat more on our blessings.” Pete said and most agreed with him. it seemed to Elisabeth it was a loaded word covering a lot of bottled up emotions.

you will grow into competitive leaders and groups and that is not what we need on Mars. so I propose from now on. she added some thoughts to her paper about her experimental work. But one by one they finally agreed and Elisabeth heaved a restrained sigh. she was afraid that her leaders would grow away from their subjects to huddle together in her company. We want peace and harmony instead of rivalry. all reminiscences of Earth wiped out from their collective memory.” She could see mixed emotions. From now on. It meant importing values and lifestyles they had grown up with on Earth. but facing too many setbacks. apathy. “You have your groups firmly tight in your hands. but she had high hopes that the community would develop the way she wanted. You have proven you have a lot to offer. they know where to find them. If this evolves as it is. Above all. Again. Colonization had associations too tight to Earth. So. she erased the ‘colonization’ part. I have decided to discontinue group leadership. hardship. The community was about to turn into a corporate culture. relief. First. they brought their European way of life along. and they had no ambition to merge with other groups.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert A few omitted. I thank you for the effort you’ve put in and I really hope you will continue doing what you are good at. we let things happen as they come. This settlement had to start from scratch. they soon swapped their inherited values for 142 of 333 . and every one seems to be content with your way of conduct. Back in her office. It was hard as it showed with the group leaders. If people feel they need leaders. But I have also noticed that there is a disturbing skeleton in the cupboard. every group will be neutralized and merge with the others. most leaders stuck to their own group. so I don’t have any statement on that. When the first Pilgrims sailed in from Europe. a next step taken. So. she had chosen for a drastic decision. losing day-to-day relationships with their people.

They locked themselves up in their airconditioned houses to watch holographic wannabe life on their TV-sets. They adapted themselves. Being herself partly Kiowa. an informal. In case Earth would finally turn into an inhabitable place to live. They had willingly given up on their personality and privacy for the sake of protection and comfort. It was a thriving community. On Earth. In the course of time. The rich did not bother either. unconstrained life that did not know about time and space. and they did not realize how dependent they had become. imitating the natives and living off the land instead of importing expensive goods and foods. she had heard tales of her ancestors.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert the only way to survive. a life based on consumption and submission. they built up their space hotels and reserved the upper suites for themselves and their families. turning a blind eye to what they were causing. Once. being too busy to get richer and keeping the power. She wrote on. roaming the Texan panhandle. the nomads led the sort of life she had in mind from the start of the Darwin experiment. Robots were monitoring every bit of their life and they did not give a damn. forgetting about time. children staying up as late as they 143 of 333 . And that was the momentum when America was born. people had lost the ability to comply with their own nature and with their surroundings. always busy. In the meanwhile. the two global forces that controlled economy and social life were the Big Five and religion. And these forces complemented each other perfectly. They took away people’s very existence and gave them back their own interpretation of the ideal life. both competing for the body and soul of their members. They owned the media and told people what they ought to know. always open night and day. She made a comparison with the native tribes of America. they would always have their safe refuge in orbit.

then she resolutely erased everything she had written. She switched the screen image to look at the sky. It had lost its meaning to her. adults making love without shame or rivalry. It had become one of the numerous celestial objects. a free community of people who took life as it came. She stopped zooming in and switched off. her new life began with an empty page.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert wanted. no more reports. and it came about on Mars. Then she turned the view to Earth. 144 of 333 . people just enjoying life as it was meant by nature – or perhaps by God. From now on. She enhanced the image and stared at it without unleashed feelings. This was her destiny. She could see the far away foggy ball of Jupiter. She took in her writings. This was what she had been dreaming of all her life. this scorched rock so far off her human roots.

It would be worthwhile for him naturally. He could see at her expression how she felt about it though. she decided it would be a small welcoming party. You could’ve granted me some more time to organize. “Don’t worry. it’ll be worthwhile for everyone. He told her in his characteristic concise way they would be arriving next morning. A reception committee… She gave thought whoever should take care of the welcoming part.” “I don’t know. Elisabeth. She imagined he would arrive in style. Linda had some skills having spent a lot of her life on stage and Mike – well. the best she could do was to follow his advice and make the preparations on the fly. Elisabeth. She had a restless night. John. and at five o’clock.” Kovinsky closed down. just play along and we’ll soon be back on our way again. She got a call from John Kovinsky. don’t you think. She had pulled out Linda and Mike as they had proven they were born emcees. a jack of all trades would manage well at her side. Trust me. She did not feel like acting as the toastmaster. Maybe you might prepare for a welcoming party. just a couple of trusted group leaders and herself. tossing and turning.” “Don’t make a big deal out of it. She felt uncertain about his suggestion. probably with a bunch of Big Five executives. It was his chance to show off what he had made of her experiment.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 16. It is pretty unexpected. In the given circumstances. it’ll be a pleasant reunion and you’ll get to meet some of my personal friends. 145 of 333 . lights starting to glow.

Mike grinned. “Don’t worry. They watched them coming in with three shuttles. She told him the news in a few words and asked him if he and Linda would be willing to take the job. Half of them showed up. I trust the accommodations have been prepared?” 146 of 333 . “My name is James Horner. Elisabeth. He put his glasses off though and darted a glance at her that seemed to prick her eyes. apparently used to Martian circumstances. Mike answered the call. taking up strategic positions. The newcomers arrived at the very spot where the settlers once had been delivered and then disappeared from sight to be decontaminated. and looking grim. They moved supple. nine of them and all dressed in fresh jumpsuits. looking very formal. Elisabeth disregarded the fact they were sleeping together and wished him a good morning. They were unquestionably secret agents. which was fair enough to give Kovinsky an impression of what the community thought about him and his gang. He coughed and returned the wish. With a guy like Mike it was always fun. One of them neared her but did not stretch his hand in a welcoming gesture. still half-dozing. She sent a personal invitation to every settler to rally up in the reception hall. where they could watch the landing of the visitors on the big screen.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert First thing after the morning rituals. a bunch of people cautiously stepped in the hall. all decorated with the presidential emblem. Doctor. They even had UV glasses on.” She could not help smiling. About half an hour later. we’ll welcome them with flowers and dancing virgins. she called upon Linda.

we’re gathered again. but her attention was drawn to the invitees coming in. I leave you with John now. I will ask John. his nicotine stained teeth exposing.” He was off in a hurry. He descended from his cart and gave her a warm hug.” Elisabeth mumbled. The load contained about thirty rather miserable looking aging people standing on magnetic carts. doctor. Horner was about to turn away when she asked him if he knew where Jack Armstrong was. haven’t seen him for a while. I see our distinguished guests arriving. Kovinsky was in head. doctor. and welcoming signs in no time. but he did not notice it. Linda and Mike had done a bang-up job. To her embarrassment she started to blush. but at last. still struggling with zero-three-g.” “Great. “Linda will show them around. Kovinsky went straight to Elisabeth. frenetically clinging to the safety bars. Elisabeth watched them stagger in. She did not know what to make of it. He had a gentle black face. beaming like a little tin god. Camera people from the Wheel’s broadcast followed him like a shadow. then she straightened her back. how nice to see you again. we’ll talk later on. Mister Horner. He’ll be here in a minute. was about forty. of course. as a predator ready to devour. It’s been a while. excuse me for now.” She threw a closer look at him. and the reception hall looked festive and joyful. “Mister Armstrong? I don’t know. a head taller then she was and even in his space suit he looked like a tough and muscular guy.” 147 of 333 .Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Uh yes. “Elisabeth. they had managed to conjure flags. balloons.

ladies and gentlemen. as representative of the President and the Congress of the United States of America.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He talked loudly. “Doctor McIntosh. She had to play the game nonetheless. a new and different personality. I am proud to say that we admire your determination to make this colonization work. Thank you for your appreciation. She had not planned on a toast either. but adequate speech and it was an innuendo for her people. We all know the previous one has not accomplished the way it should. This was not the John Kovinsky she remembered. so that the mikes would pick up every word he said. and we want to keep it that way. This man had put himself in someone else’s shoes. On behalf of our Martian community. and though she had not planned to give him an affectionate welcome. Our endeavor in every way is paying off. because of both the efforts of Martian Exploration Agency and yours. and she set off in a loud voice. Then he took the stage. She had told them in unmistakable words that she intended to keep it that way. but I am convinced that this time we are going to succeed. Our community is a peaceful one. and on behalf of our fellow-Americans. Kovinsky did not show he had understood the underlying message. I want to thank you for your visit.” It was a short. He just kept grinning with his brownish stained teeth. but somehow in the given circumstances it would be proper to release one. thanking Elisabeth for her welcoming words. and we look forward to the first real human settlement on Mars. “Mister Kovinsky. God bless the United States of America!” 148 of 333 . Some of the settlers gave her a round of applause as they had understood. I hope you will find your stay satisfactory and we will do what we can to make you feel at home. full of charm and star like airs. the cameras put her in the footlights and she spontaneously produced a wide smile and thanked him for his visit.

“People on Earth are very anxious to know how this settlement is thriving. buckling down and enjoying every second of it while the cameras visualized this dramatic scene. Then he turned to his audience again. but the best part just looked skeptical. please. he nodded to one of his hulks who approached him with a flat brown leather box and handed it over to him. He shook hands like a proficient politician on his election campaign. He handed the box to his man and in a smooth move hung the medal around Elisabeth’s neck. and we shall gratify their curiosity. Kovinsky did not show he was aware of that.” Without further ado.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert His procession and some of the settlers echoed him. he opened the box and took a gold five star medal on a blue ribbon out. Elisabeth felt disturbed because he had used the word colonization. the President wants to express his appreciation in front of the whole universe. still smiling but with vigilant eyes. Kindly work with me. He lowered his voice. which she had erased from her vocabulary. May I offer you this token of our appreciation.” 149 of 333 .” Before she could properly react. “Elisabeth. but first we want to express our sympathy and respect to all of you by presenting doctor Elisabeth McIntosh and her settlers with a gift from Earth and in particular from the United States of America. Kovinsky looked about. “The United States Congress has unanimously granted Doctor Elisabeth McIntosh the Congressional Space Medal of Honor for her dedicated and outstanding service to her country in preserving freedom for all mankind. Kovinsky turned to her once more.

alone and locked herself in her room. “Tomorrow we will celebrate Independence Day. Kovinsky unhurriedly shook her hand while someone was making a close-up recording and then turned to his audience again.” Elisabeth could not utter a word. The idea alone of being rewarded by Earth’s standards struck her as a wacky one. It figured that Bellum wanted to make a superb sounding statement but all that fuzz promised not much good. she returned back. 150 of 333 . Her mind drifted to her son Albert. Linda and Mike on top of the queue. and when Kovinsky turned away. Her heart still pounded hard and she had the feeling she was hyperventilating. she was standing like a statue. but she accepted the credits half-hearted. showing them to their quarters. her mind in trouble. on his ridiculous cart and followed by his suite. This event will be broadcast all over Earth and its moon. and Mars. the space stations. Her people surrounded Elisabeth to congratulate her. it had set off as an experiment and it was growing into a community. It was not even a mission. The highest civilian decoration to her? What had she done to deserve it? She had not even been thinking of her country at all while making this mission work.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Again. Then he was gone. We will have our first Fourth of July on this station and I’m pleased to add that the President of the United States will be watching the commemoration live from the White House. The community was in danger. She wanted him to be near her. this hullabaloo was not what she had expected. laid down on the bed with closed eyes. and suddenly everything got across. It was all too much for her. Finally.

Every seat had an attached small plastic table. From the Wheel strong white. Elisabeth?” “I haven’t.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 17. red and blue laser beams made up the American flag reflected on the butterscotch clouds. The big screen was on and showed an amazing sight. let no one get in and looked gravely over the supply of sealed plastic coolers and crates steadily coming in from the shuttles. Pete was sitting to her left side. Elisabeth had a reserved seat at the left side of the U-shaped arena. After the first excitement. mainly conferring behind closed doors. Pete turned to Elisabeth. He did not show up for the rest of the day. they felt the whole situation was going to freak out. Horner and three of his men were busily working to prepare for an out-of-this-world celebration. making the hall look like a county fair. again in the colors of Old Glory covered the table.C. Sharon took the right side. A tablecloth. Kovinsky and his people had their accommodations in the new sections. about five meters from the stretched table. It was festooned with the typical Fourth of July ornaments. closing in on a stretched table at the end. Is that important?” “I counted twice and in my opinion there are fifty-one. The next day they rounded up in the auditorium. “Have you counted the number of stars on that tablecloth.” “Maybe they’ve included Washington D. They had pinched the auditorium. the settlers had come to their senses again and some of them found it was a hostile take over. Forces they could not compete were invading upon them.” 151 of 333 . Pete.

She had never meant this community to be an appendix to Earth. Maybe while we’re thriving here. The self-assigned president rose and the noise dimmed. Not every settler had joined the party. “Ladies and gentlemen please rise for the President of the Martian Federation. Maybe she should have refused too. She looked about. This settlement was not 152 of 333 . it was unmistakably a male bonding club. It had the image of a medieval banquet with his lordship sitting in the center. they found another state to join the US.” She had spoken light-hearted. on this first Independence Day on Mars I have the privilege to welcome you on behalf of the people of the United States as the fifty-first state of our great nation. This is a milestone in the history of the United States of America…” Elisabeth couldn’t listen anymore. “My fellow-Americans. and surrounded by his buttering up vassals and the common people rounded up.” a voice blurred from the loudspeakers. She felt as if someone had slapped her in the face. They sat down in their designated table seats. leaving some eighty or a third of the seats empty. somehow she felt obliged to. That I still know. They had not told her that this would be the outcome. paying respect and hoping for the gnawed bones thrown at them. What? Kovinsky and the Wheel people walked in. Kovinsky smiled like he had won a million bucks. but with that ribbon around her neck. Fifty-first state of the US. There were no women amongst them. but her anxiety grew with Pete’s keen observation.” “I haven’t a clue. Elisabeth. Maybe they were right. The auditorium’s lights dimmed and then shone with full force upon the stage again. I guess. Pete. We’ll soon find out. About a hundred and seventy had shown up. as Mister Kovinsky declared.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “That’s not a state.

mash and gravy. Before her a tragedy performed. Kovinsky finished his monologue and his bootlickers started to yell with approval. “I was right. Before she had made up her mind. becoming earthlings again? Then she fixed her attention on Sharon who was staring at her plate in disgust. Stewards rolled in food and drinks.” Sharon muttered. It was meant to represent a new stepping-stone for mankind.” Pete whispered. Everyone got a turkey leg. she could not let this happen. in flagrant contradiction to what had been agreed upon. He beamed with delight. She stared at the VIP table that looked like a musical stage. A steward poured whisky in his mug. Had everything she had done for them been a mere waste of time? Were they so easily turning back the clock. One of the Big Five’s own soda pops was part of the drinks and Pete got what he had wanted for so long. “I don’t want to eat that crap. I want proper cooking.” Elisabeth gaped at him. “They can’t force me to eat this. Some settlers clapped politely. Elisabeth stared at her plate.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert meant to be a colony. “That’s something I longed for since when. nor a federal state. 153 of 333 . the big screen changed images. He found the whole matter more amusing then alarming and at the sight of it. They were deliberately destroying her uphill battle labor. It’s going to be a marvelous life from now on.” Elisabeth did not know what to say. most settlers seemed not to object. or maybe Kovinsky’s declaration had a dazing effect on them. It was the horrendous awareness that the community was turning into a completely different direction that had no reminiscences whatsoever of what she had lived for. It was synthetic food. No.

reigning over his subjects with bread and circuses. knowing he had them in the palm of his hands. but they were probably sulking in their rooms right now and she wished she could join them. She could not locate Dan and Margaret. The sound had been added digitally but didn’t miss its effect. the ‘Hail to the Chief’ theme blurred out from the speakers. He looked as pleased as Punch. but a lot of the settlers did and they gulped their food frantically down as if it was their last meal. His head laid back and he was snoring aloud with his mouth wide open. slobbering saliva with every breath. Pete had passed out after two glasses of whisky. She could not believe it at first. A lot of exploding colorful firecrackers amplified by the speakers. she did not touch her plate. She had to stop it before everything would blow up in her face. Everyone turned in fascination to the huge projection. People were constantly toasting Kovinsky just sat there as a textbook Roman emperor. Mike seemed to enjoy the bash. Stewards were continuously pouring liquor. Sharon was softly sobbing. Like Sharon. No. she could not let this go on. She looked out for the group leaders. It went dead silent in the auditorium. The screen image switched to Bellum’s gleaming face broadcast from the Oval Office. 154 of 333 . The sight of it ravished most people and they yelled with every outburst. Bellum looked boosted up and his voice sounded loudly across the hall. Elisabeth’s her mind was numb. wine and soda pop in their glasses and after all these months without alcohol and caffeine. a benign despot. which she had expected more or less.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Fireworks. but there it was. And it probably was. they became worked on after a couple of swigs. All she knew was that they were calculatingly undermining her work and taking over control. Then without any warning.

We are grateful for our liberty. On July the Fourth. From the battle of New York to the winter at Valley Forge. but to our Mars colony as well. We are grateful for the bounty and opportunity of our land. more than five years of the Revolutionary War still lay ahead. and with their hard-won victory. we remember the ideals of liberty that led men from thirteen colonies to gather in Philadelphia and pen a declaration of freedom. families will gather to fly the flag. and count our blessings as Americans. The history we celebrate today is a testament to the power of freedom to lift up a whole nation. It is a great honor to be the President of such a great nation. Now the United States of America can proudly announce that our values from this day on. the rule of law. 1776. and a government of the people. and for the people. And it's a privilege to be here to wish you all. From this day on Mars will be the fifty-first state of the United States of America. we guaranteed a home for the Declaration's proposition that all Americans are created equal. to watch the fireworks. Yet. and may God continue to bless our country. they kept their resolve. On this Fourth of July. and in the days ahead. And we remember the band of patriots who risked their lives to bring freedom to a new continent. by the people. to the victory at Yorktown. from the planet Earth to the planet Mars. a happy Fourth of July. I ask every Martian American to find a way to thank the men and women on Earth who made this accomplishment real. May God bless you.” 155 of 333 . They kept their faith in a future of liberty. We believe in freedom and equal justice. And we are grateful for the men and women who keep our country safe. On Independence Day.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “On this three hundred and fourteenth anniversary of America’s independence across our great land. extent not only to our Moon and the space stations. And to our Martian friends I would like to remind them that the revolutionary truths of the Declaration are still at the heart of America and our space territories: We believe in the dignity and rights of every person on Earth and in space. our forefathers faced terrible losses and hardships.

But this time God was absent. Then. deafening music filled the hall. And it was clear the settlement was of no necessity anymore. When ice cream and apple pie were served. It was Kovinsky’s day. Howard and Andrea accompanied her. their raving sounds thundering from the speakers and Mike got off his seat to dance with Linda in front of Kovinsky’s table. he did not touch his turkey either. this was what it was turning into. and Mars whole-heartedly welcoming the garbage of Earth’s impureness. The latest video clips emerged on the screen. kissing and fumbling each other. He blocked their way out. Martha. while his people were revoking the seven deadly sins. It was a similar situation as the Bible told about Moses receiving God’s instructions. Sodom and Gomorrah. She moved at a crawl down the aisle and some of the settlers followed her example and left with her.” grumbled one of the menacing looking hulks. Probably had eaten before. Kovinsky was glowing all the time. Jesus. Elisabeth said to herself. At the door. Of the leaders Sharon. Bellum’s own playground. that smart he was. To her disgust she could see that some of the settlers making pace. Kovinsky’s bodyguards stopped them. No mentioning of herself or the community. 156 of 333 . She deliberately made a show of walking away and taking care that everybody could watch her leaving. but then Howard stepped forward. They asked her where they were going. she finally decided it was time to make a stand and leave.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Then the image went out as it came. And Bellum had made no bones about it: they still were American civilians and they had to follow American laws. “You can’t leave the party until the president gives you permission to.

” Jesus mumbled. relax. “You are right. If you’re looking for trouble.A. it’s just a misunderstanding.” Martha expressed their mutual feelings. now keyed up by her words that had come bolt from the blue. I want you to talk to them. “Okay. “Is there a way to get into the P. “Jesus. you’ve come to the right place. folks. You have to stop it.” she went on. and nobody from fuckin’ Earth is going to tell us what to do. who had not spoken yet. The goon stared at it. 157 of 333 . Elisabeth suddenly got a flash of wit. I run this place.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Watch it. and then nodded. trying to grasp what she meant. “But how can I reach them?” Elisabeth turned to Howard.” They let them pass. “They’ve taking over.” Howard added. our community is falling away in a pool of sins.” Jesus stared back. using the auditorium’s speakers?” “That’s it. This is our home. “I’m Doctor Elisabeth McIntosh. She had never seen him so raging mad and his foul language shocked her. Elisabeth walked to her room and they followed her like sheep. I will talk to them.” Elisabeth gazed at Howard.?” “You mean. You see this?” She dangled her medal. turned white. talked to his lapel.” Jesus added some more. “This is going terribly the wrong direction.” Howard turned to his wife. “We can’t let the devil in. Elisabeth. buddy. but it did not miss its effect. That deadpan expression on her face struck Elisabeth again. “You’re the only one who can do it. Go ahead.

give me a minute. but it was a gift from heaven. “That’s terrific. the kind that is been used by spies and eavesdroppers.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “She’s the one who can fix things. the muffed sounds of loud basses slit in. “What am I supposed to do. Tell them we don’t want another apocalypse on Mars. He talked about Armageddon and soon the basses fell still. These were words to his heart. They all listened with growing enthrallment.” She really sounded like Moses on the mountain. The installation spread his words all over and caught everyone to attention. “Don’t make any sound while Jesus is talking into it.” she clarified. It was a sound that did not belong on Mars.” She went off. but when he opened his mouth. She took a screwdriver to unscrew the intercom’s panel and then swiftly messed about with plugs and cables. Elisabeth would not associate biology with engineering. carrying tools in a small plastic bag. but it did not miss its effect on Jesus. Andrea came back. “I want you to warn our people and remind them of their true vocation. Andrea. I go and fetch some things. Far away.” he said pointing at Andrea. “The mike’s plugged in. Elisabeth?” Jesus asked. Then she had a tiny microphone in her hands. his voice was steady and cogent. Can you do it discreetly?” “No pain. 158 of 333 .” Jesus took the mike between thumb and index and put it to his lips.” Andrea whispered. His face was covered with a layer of oily sweat and his hand was trembling. Elisabeth. it had a raw and earthly impact that disgusted Elisabeth. “I’ve got a degree in electronic engineering.

He has a name written on him that no one knows but him himself. and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. and his name is the Word of God.. and on his head are many crowns. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations. The armies of heaven were following him. the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. and the stars. the sword that issue from his mouth. and with a loud voice. and the flesh of all men. the flesh of Captains.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse. And the beast was captured. With justice. he called to all the birds that fly in mid heaven. the flesh of horses and their riders. "Come. And I saw the beast and the kings of Earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who sits upon the horse and against his army. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. white and clean... 159 of 333 . And the rest were slain by the sword of him who sits upon the horse. he judges and makes war. both small and great. gather for the great supper of God. and to visit all the mountains and the deep of the oceans. to eat the flesh of kings. and the atoms. and he will rule them with a rod of iron. and with it. this the sword of his justice. the flesh of mighty men. it is his rod of iron! On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords. whose rider is called Faithful and True. both free and slave. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood. riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen.. His eyes are like blazing fire. And I shall have my white horse to be with Jesus. he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun.

her people left the room to return to their own quarters. They expected the bodyguards charging in every minute. but nothing of the sort happened. The music put up again. which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. too. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image. breathing heavily like a man who had gotten through an intense love act. After a while. standing shivering with his head down. He will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. To Elisabeth it felt like a letdown when she heard the basses rumble again. was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur. Elisabeth carried him to her bed where he laid down to recover. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. he. If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand. he growled like a wounded animal and suddenly dropped the mike. but they kept on feasting. will drink of the wine of God's fury. 160 of 333 . she had more or less anticipated that the settlers would have risen to a man. and Elisabeth felt drowned out by the tension and soon she fell into a dreamless sleep. Those who worship the beast will join the beast!” His voice had risen to orgiastic level. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. All they could do now was waiting for Kovinsky’s move.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert And the devil. where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. who deceived them.

“I’ll stick to coffee. surrounded by five strong men. can you. They let her enter and left her with him. The gangways were empty. straight from Earth. Have you eaten yet? I recommend scrambled eggs. but their attitude expressed they would drag her out if necessary. “Sit down. Bellum surely put his mark on Mars. One of his goons had posed himself behind her chair.” He poured her a cup. the bacon is genuine. Can I offer you some coffee? It is real too. The settlers were still down from their wild night out and the goons walked her in silence to Kovinsky’s premises. but you can’t have it all. John. The cup had a gilded rim with the presidential emblem engraved. which took up four of the new rooms. Kovinsky stopped chewing and pointed with his fork to the opposite chair. They were polite and aware whom they were dealing with.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 18. The smell brought back pleasant memories from Earth. She decided to play along and walked out. 161 of 333 . He was unmistakably belittling her with velvet gloves.” She sat down and patiently let the stream of words go over her. He had put on a Chinese navy cotton robe and was eating buttered pancakes. Elisabeth. In the morning. I don’t know about the eggs. it reminded her of luxuriated days of yore. some of Kovinsky’s hulks came to fetch her. I wish they’d grow some of it on the Wheel instead of importing it at great expenses. It was nice China though. coffee’s just fine.

staring at her with his deep-set eyes. we should go on a more intimate base from now on. Elisabeth. This settlement or community as you call it is established with US tax dollars. “That was not the deal we agreed upon. There was a bit of yellow egg stuck to the corner of his mouth. and at least not in the next federal state. Elisabeth. that was a long time ago.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The beverage however made her feel queasy. “Don’t overreact. if you haven’t noticed yet. Elisabeth. but I am with you all the way. as she was not used to caffeine in a long time anymore. You owe a lot to the people of the United States. don’t you forget that. I can assure you. remember that. “That doesn’t count here.” “I’m still calling the shots.” Kovinsky said with a wounded look on his face. We are on Mars.” Suddenly he ordered his guard to go out and waited for the door to shut. “John Kovinsky. John. We’re 162 of 333 . John. He was only Bellum’s little helper. And if you’re going to change that.” The hulk made a sound that matched that of a growling dog. He was not Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great or not even Caesar. He wiped his mouth with his damask napkin and leaned back.” His voice sounded threatening. you’ll soon be in a hell of a mess. No one is interested in having another Earth. He was just as vulnerable as the next person. Rules from Earth don’t apply here. “That was quite a speech your man gave last night. I don’t know why you barge in like this on our community. That might come as a surprise. “Elisabeth. Just now she noticed how washed out he was. You are on US territory. Actually. Then he leaned towards Elisabeth and his eyes got an imperious stare. I’ve always fancied you.” “Come on. but she determined not to give in.” He gaped at her.

They brought in new deceases. “It’s happening before our eyes. but he lifted a hand and his facial expression was that of the main-squeeze again. he wanted to go to bed with her. I’d like to tell you why I’ve come here in the first place.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert the only ones who can make this experiment work and I mean not only in terms of management. but that was all she knew about him. The ones that got in turned the countries into refugee camps and racial and cultural wars broke out and made the nations ungovernable. she watched a documentary. he had always drawn the line between his job and his personal life. commodity prices were hitting the roof. Images and sounds emerged. Instead of the Martian surface. new viruses and the scientists could not cope with them anymore. but as man and woman as well.” This unexpected turn in their conversation unsettled her and the only thing she did was nod in surprise. but that proved to be a storm in a teacup. She opened her mouth to tell him what she thought of him. between two bites. Famine was becoming a household word in the formerly wealthy nations. He turned to the monitor and grabbed the remote to switch it on. but it turned out that nature could handle its own business quite well without our interfering. We had feared terrorism. They were about the same age. evidently prepared for this occasion. in his silk gown. We had feared world 163 of 333 . I want you to see and observe what is happening with Earth as we speak. he more or less declared in a clumsy way. She had never contemplated Kovinsky would have a crush on her. Elisabeth. Money markets were in turmoil. We had feared climate disasters. And now. “Before we start a cat fight.” She was shocked hearing his confession of desire. They talked about starving people who sought refuse in the rich countries and how they were being stopped at the borders strong-armed.

they succeeded to pass a bill to allow millions and millions of refugees to migrate and there was no stopping from then on. We weren’t able to use our muscle power because they had acquired the arms industry as well. They bribed so many politicians that they practically were able to master the decision making. They used puppets for it and before long. No way back. We’re trapped in a galloping apocalypse. but there were none. and. pointing directly to the heart of the rich countries. nor the galloping inflation rates. like every other American. not being able to see what was going on in the rest of the world. worst of all. European and Japanese corporate concerns into an iron grip. no funds return. It’s only a question of time till the fuse ignites the bomb. for 164 of 333 . She hadn’t lost sleep over the alarming rising unemployment figures. she had taught her students economic sociology as part of her job. Our economies gradually started to collapse and we couldn’t do a thing save introducing vast social security networks that undermining the system in the long term. We didn’t expect it coming from the second world though.” It took her some time to absorb what had come down on her like a ton of bricks. We can’t control two third of the planet anymore. We simply took it for granted that our ridiculous insignificant foreign aid would suffice to keep them calm. as your preacher man had put it so nicely. We had been focused so much on the non-threatening issues that we didn’t see it coming. So they finally decided it was time to pull the strings. Russia. The Middle East. they got half of American. They started to use economical arms. Finally. They used their oil dollars to infiltrate the western hemisphere. Mexico and China joined forces and they started their own World War Three on their own conditions. threatening that otherwise they’d use less civilized methods. What we had not foreseen was the rise of the third world. She too had been living in her own little comfortable paradise.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert domination by other political systems. They bought everything up and out they could lay their hands on. our luck has reversed.

” She was totally dumbstruck. Kovinsky respected her moment of sorrow. You can’t fight economical warfare.” “Happen what?” “The end of our world as we know it. “You know why you didn’t get the American elite to join the program?” “Frankly. but could not help to add some fuel to it. But how could she? It had always been hushed up in the media.” “The reason is that our best of the best are gradually migrating to the countries that promised them a still better live. showing nice charts while economics went down the drain to make it worst. it’s an invisible enemy. selling our information technology to the highest bidder. “In economical terms.” She came back to her senses. until it became clear we couldn’t handle the problem anymore. We managed to keep it under the lid. I’ve wondered about it. Elisabeth. corporate managers and blue chip shareholders have already left. About ninety percent of all freshwater sources have been bought up by the second world countries. “What has this to do with our settlement?” Kovinsky skipped the question.” Twenty-five years… from the time she first set foot on Mars… Kovinsky caught her suspicion. “Trust me. we hoped to survive for another hundred years or so.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert crying out loud. About half of our academics. I still have some more footage to show you. It’s started twenty-five years ago. it’s all true and if you still don’t believe me. but the only answer I can give is that they find themselves contented with their lives on Earth. 165 of 333 . but that shrunk to fifty. and now our experts are telling us that it can happen every moment. It started with the water reserves. Elisabeth. and we’re draining out of our capacity to keep our nation on the right track.

To my knowledge that’s just a bunch of old billionaires licking the President’s boots and vice versa and bringing along the trash we don’t want around here. they were true. 166 of 333 . Elisabeth. Bellum has decided to go last.” Kovinsky shrugged. John. You are fleeing away from it. I’d really like to know what you mean by that fine fleur of yours.” That was a remark that made her angry. “Mister Kovinsky. but only in part.” She did not have to ask for further explanation and Kovinsky knew she knew what was going on. She shot back an angry glare. Elisabeth.” She felt frustrated with his words. once they recognized his cheap tricks. with the meat and the drinks and the good old apple pie? Don’t tell me they’ve become Martians whatever that means to you. America’s fine fleur will leave Earth in due time and we will be prepared to receive them. In a couple of years at the most. The United States was on the brink of collapsing. not much impressed by her hard words. He had overwhelmed them with his slick show and she was sure they would come to their senses again. She was convinced Kovinsky had spoken the truth and he and his rich and powerful mob had decided it was time to leave the sinking ship as rats do. to prove he’s the Captain on the sinking ship. This was not the time to come up with college football brawl. “I see what you’re doing. “More will come in. most rich countries will be extinct. there are no visible enemies. Elisabeth. We are just the vanguards. We can’t fight economical wars. You leave your fellow-Americans behind to safe your own skin. Surely. Have you seen how thrilled your people were last night. She did not like that ‘we are the American heroes who save the universe’ stuff.” “Come on.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “It’s not some cheap conspiracy.

Elisabeth. they are doing well. caught and confined.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Kovinsky seemed to read her mind. They have to overcome indignities and humiliations and finally they end up in some mass grave unknown to the ones they were fighting for. In a short time. but has it ever occurred to you that Darwin is a double-edged sword? On the one hand. you can handle them well. they were just a yellow-bellow bunch of cowards. John. No problem with that. “I suppose you’re referring to your people as the bunch of cowards. “Let me tell you something. so good. Most of the people will adapt to him. and they are hunted down. please – who manages to bring law and order in his nation. Elisabeth. they just wait to see which way the wind blows and when the dictator clears out. Others however do not react so well on dictatorship and so they start to resist. but I fear you might be wrong. As most people get their money’s worth.” What a load of bull. she thought irritably. and you know what happens to dictators who back up the wrong horse. they can still live their own lives and business goes on as usual. whatever they are doing. You are conducting a Darwinian experiment.” “And if the community refuses?” Kovinsky’ eyes shot fire. So. So far. we tend to see successful species as strong and cocksure. even if they know he’s not promising them heaven on Earth. For the time being. not years. but they managed to survive and their children will benefit from their attitude and the heroes will be long forgotten. “Listen. You are with two hundred and fifty. your system will not function anymore. but more settlers will come in and I am talking months. they go back to their old life as nothing happened. Let’s imagine a dictator – do not see me as one. capable to fight their own battles. We’ll need schemes and structures that people can cope with. Survival of the fittest can have a completely different meaning. An angry mob will hang them high and dry and people will guard that future 167 of 333 .

” “A security officer? Why for Chrissake.” 168 of 333 . why did they have to watch over the satellite dishes? She looked so beaten that Kovinsky pulled traces of sympathy. you might be pleased if I tell you that I have planned to use your people to hold the key positions. “Jim Horner will be our security officer here and he will act as your direct link to me. Darwin really works both sides. By the way. You can communicate with me through Horner’s channels. “I want to agree with you.” “Where will I find you?” Her voice sounded weak. “I know it’s too much for one day. ISS. and remember we’re not on Earth. but still. Elisabeth. John? We don’t need security around here.” Kovinsky seemed not much impressed. Elisabeth. Elisabeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert generations will not forget the nasty time they had gone through. As a matter of fact. John.” She could not believe what she heard. two of your settlers have been selected already.” “Which are?” “Margaret Rinsford will be commander in chief of communication on the dome and Dan Pelsmaker will back her up on the Wheel. Believe you me.” She sensed a hidden threat in his words and wisely decided not to push on. Don’t compare Mars with Earth. “Who will run your – uh realm?” “I will be leading the overall organization. I’d suggest you return to your quarters and think it over. there was one question left. but do try not to forget Darwin is just a labeling method to define natural chaos. What right did he have to undermine her position? Moreover. we have no crimes and we don’t need punishments. Tomorrow I am off again. Mars and the moons.

I hereby invite you to come over to the station so that at the same time you both can be united again. Elisabeth thought while she headed back. Elisabeth. sending her intimate signals.” She was close to yell ‘whoopee’ but instead she thanked him in a formal way. “By the way. but at the door. Kovinsky called her back. And we want this community to grow into a real nation. needs a security service. I mean. The only thing she knew was that Kovinsky had turned a screw loose.” In particular. for Mister Kovinsky. Elisabeth. “Think it over. She stood up. and sooner or later you’ll be glad we’ll have an office running. As I’m going to throw a party at your honor.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Every nation worth of being so. you might find this better news: your son Albert has been granted a short leave next month. It was the best news she heard since Kovinsky had arrived and for that. It might be profitable not only for the both of us.” We’re ready for the madhouse. She did not know how to handle all that upside down information. She swung back to him as a willing child to her reproving dad’s voice. but for the colony as well. 169 of 333 . Elisabeth. she was willing to keep the lid on the Pandora box for the time being. He was smiling. about our relationship.

On the other hand. Kovinsky had left a keepsake in the shape of Horner and two of his gang. Why had they not told her about it? They must have known before Kovinsky threw his party. As nothing fell out for the rest of the week. The area was declared restricted. The dishes were the main communication tool with the Wheel. but taken the party evidences with them. the satellite dish control room. they were completely isolated from the outside. no doubt. Dan was on the Wheel. Kovinsky and his party had gone off to the Wheel again. they were hand and foot tied. Horner told Elisabeth that Margaret had to wait for further instructions. and she was obviously avoiding her. but tried to ignore it as good as possible and they went on with their lives. a granted gesture from Kovinsky to Elisabeth. They remained in their quarters nearby the satcom. The community came to their senses again. With Marge and Dan acting like Kovinsky’s watchdogs. the agents did not meddle with them. so there was no way she could reach him. Marge was in the satcom with seven of her people. She was angry with Marge and Dan. they let no one come through to the satellite dish section. They had left the soda pop. In fact. they were of vital importance as most of the control systems in the settlement were monitored by the Wheel. It was like they had lived in a bad dream. Fortunately.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 19. and they filled their time with installing a lot of electronic gear in their quarters. 170 of 333 . She felt betrayed. Elisabeth was hoping to believe that it would not turn the way she had feared. Without them.

because they looked too eccentric. This section had broad panoramic windows that invited a 180 degrees view on the sky. Kovinsky had insisted the settlers would wear wigs. knowing she would see Albert again. more shuttles and freighters constantly flying and floating along in perfect stack formations. caviar and other fine delicatessen that Elisabeth and her people had forgotten about. which Elisabeth had not visited before. only Linda. Howard and Andrea wanted to accompany Elisabeth. 171 of 333 . Standing amidst people with such familiar features. She wanted these people to see what it meant living on Mars. They could not see Mars from this angle. The reception took place in the exclusive VIP section. It was a standing reception with champagne. New compartments built or in construction. and therefore Elisabeth found it wise not to take him along. The rest was perfectly happy living on Mars. a month later. but maybe that was for the best. and the transit population was growing at a steady pace. but Elisabeth had rejected that firmly. It had been a long time since she had set foot on the Wheel.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Then. in case they would become homesick. Of the others. and some major politicians and businesspeople.had objections about Jesus’ presence though. Kovinsky invited her and her group leaders to the promised reception on the Wheel. made them feel ill at ease. like Bellum’s spokesperson. The President of the Martian federation – a high-flown title for what it stood . She accepted his invitation readily. It had blatantly changed at the sight of it.

Please. We are planning to extend the colony by two thousand new settlers within the next six months. friends. American style. she wished she had the wig on. The dome will become a real small town. you have showed us the way. He walked up to the lecturer and the audience fell silent. Their quarters had the best room service any five star hotel would offer. she came to 172 of 333 . People started to applaud. show us where you are. Kovinsky went on.’ It was embarrassing.” A new round of applause and respectful glances later. but the least she could do was to nod and heave her glass to him. it will expand and expand and soon Mars will be a real place to live and send its own representative to Congress to look after our small yet grand colony. Therefore. I would like to make a toast. and from there on. we are convinced we will go over this time.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They were supposed to stay on the station for a week until the next shuttle would take them back. “Doctor Elisabeth McIntosh has made it possible to turn this second expedition into a real settlement. with a glass of champagne in one hand and caviar spread cream cracker in the other. I am sure that we would have gone through a lot more trouble than we might anticipate. Now. Elisabeth. Standing here. For a moment. so for the time being they were in no hurry to get back. Without her. “And it won’t stop here. first of all and with the utmost pleasure I introduce you to our Mars colony manager. Elisabeth was aware of that. Doctor Elisabeth McIntosh. Kovinsky did all that on purpose. “Ladies and gentlemen. and hundreds are on their way us as we speak. Dear Elisabeth. and she knew he was keeping a keen eye on her.” Elisabeth’s worst nightmare had come true. We owe her everything. Hundreds of them are here already.

we’ll discuss that later on. Elisabeth. Elisabeth. “We have no cavemen on Mars. This was not supposed to happen and at the sight of it. Kovinsky looked down on her with a stern face.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert realize that Kovinsky was going to recreate Earth on Mars. Elisabeth was aware of. We will bring in the fruits of Earth civilization to start with. except the settlers. clearly feeling awkward with the way she was making it hot for him. Elisabeth.” 173 of 333 .” This remark made everyone. we haven’t forgotten you of course. I’d like to share with you how we see the colony evolve. but she looked back headstrong. you will be rewarded for your work. unless you refer to your emigrants from Earth. She could not help to raise her voice. You and your crew will make the new ones at ease and we will work together to make it happen.” That was a great pun but only the settlers found it amusing. “Well. Kovinsky shove a bit aside. She had made him an enemy. which was against all promised agreements. but what is going to happen to our community? It was understood that we would be able to live the way we were promised and not what you or your board of directors have in mind. “Excuse me. “That’s a nice wisecrack. people. so that you don’t turn into Martian cavemen. Then a thin smile split his face. burst into laughter.” The mood swung. even Kovinsky looked upset. “If you don’t mind. and we hope we’ll keep our sense of funniness when we’re living together on Mars. Of course. John?” His voice had reached the cutting edge.” “And what do you understand by working together. John. Now. John. Everyone stared at her in awe.

or stealing all her work for the benefit of his own fame and fortune. they all looked uptight. luring her people under false pretenses. they all knew this was going terribly off beam. we have put the emphasis on Mars. he was politically immune so to speak. but we have dropped the idea for the simple reason we can’t even manage it on our own planet. She took her friends in. we are a vulnerable species. She just held her horses and listened to the end of Kovinsky’s toast. Mars will be the lab of a new society. it was no use trying to persuade him to join ranks with her. I am sorry to say. But we will not eyewitness this. we’ve played with the proposal of terra forming. and we cannot afford to put our heads on the block and that is why we have decided to use the trusted values. so how would we be able to do it on Mars? We are no gods. She was not sure what really got her goat. Elisabeth realized. Being the direct representative of America on Mars. as she had done on Independence Day. despite our ten billion people on Earth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He did not take heed to her anymore and she felt aggrieved. which was full of self-glorification and the cover up of his true intentions. which we are familiar with on Earth. Maybe in a hundred years from now. and the King can do no wrong.” He just wanted to take all the credit. 174 of 333 . “For a while. the only planet with livable conditions comparable to our planet. we would have been extinct a long time ago. As Earth has become a dangerous place to live on. and from then on. unfortunately. Without our collective strength and superior brains. We have a long way to go yet. Her first impulse was to leave the shebang. this colony will convert into a new society. the true Martian will arise. And they stared at her in silent despair. but she did not want to make a fool of herself and her people. With that one-track mind of his. a social experiment that will continue forever.

“Are you by any chance the architect of Base Camp?” Base Camp was the name for the first site. “How?” she whispered back. while I’m having a piss-call. walking heedlessly towards the men’s room.’ “Okay. Then she remembered. He was and he seemed pleased that Elisabeth had recognized him. He was clearly not one of Kovinsky’s new types of settlers to fill up the dome. was overweight and his high pressure was readable from his blushing face. Maybe you’ve heard about me.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She still could not trace Jack. 175 of 333 . “We can locate where Dan is. “I know who you are.” That name rang a bell. Mingle with the crowd. She wondered if he was shunning from her. just try to divert their attention. but it was something from a long time ago. She wondered what he was doing here and asked him straight. at least she hoped he would not be. I’m Elisabeth McIntosh. doctor. “Never mind that.” Howard whispered. She approached him. He told her they were going to connect all bases. trying not to look as if they were conspiring. as if he had read her mind. I don’t recall having met you before. I am Donald Quicksilver. It was build by the mining company that had paid her salary twenty-five years ago. “Hi. And where was Dan? Howard drew near her.” He was about fifty-five. Nice to meet you. She clapped her eyes on an elder man at the cold buffet.” He went away. who was drinking steadily and clearly getting sloshed.

but after a kilometer or so. “It may be sooner then you expect. “And we’ll import engineered life stock as well. everything will be in our hands. people nursing them.” The idea of breeding animals on Mars was like a sneaky back door to her little paradise. she thought bitterly. and she did not want a second industrial revolution happening on Mars. we’ll transform One Dome into an experimental breeding place for growing grains.” “Why should you do that?” The robot server came by on his roller skates. and barley and so on. rye. It meant much more than only meat as a nutrient. Dan and Pete might get what they wanted.” All ingredients to make alcoholic beverages. and while building Two Dome. special nutrition they had to get from outside. “Well. for starters. doctor. They started to dig a shaft from Two Dome.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Why is that necessary?” she asked.” “That will up take some time. We won’t need international help either. A green garden as in the good old days on Earth. “You may recall that we have dug a service shaft from Base Camp to One Dome.” His enigmatic words sounded like a warning to her. Now we’re rethinking the project and that’s why I’m here. She swapped his empty glass for a full one. 176 of 333 . and meat markets. ‘That way we won’t depend of ISS anymore. somebody came up with the bright suggestion of linking them all together.” she put forward. it meant also building huge power stations to have them grown. She smelled the faint vodka odor. they had to drop the works as funds run out. It meant erecting industries on the planet. slaughterhouses. She chose a Virgin Mary cocktail.

Let sleeping dogs lie. You’ve conned me from the start on. It was not only about new settlers.” “Barking dogs don’t bite. but that’s not the issue here. John?” Her snappish question unsettled him.” She had finally told him where he stood. She got rid of Quicksilver who was too much concentrating on his drinking anyway. Elisabeth. He smoothed down. Don’t you realize these people do not want to hear bad news? And it’s only not mine. The issue is that you are acting foolishly.” “Where is Jack. He was talking to some gray haired bigwigs. He bit his lips. His face blushed. he left their company to join her. but your position as well that might be in jeopardy.” Elisabeth retorted in turn. but then he snapped her back. Now he was on the ball. I was convinced we had agreed we would have a friendly relationship from now one. expanding the sites. what do you want from Jack? What can he tell you more than I can?” “For once. John. Elisabeth. I’ll have it hard to defend you before the board. He was not happy to meet her face to face. Somehow. before it was too late. she felt it was her responsibility to go to the bottom of it. 177 of 333 . his looks spelled trouble. and sought Kovinsky’s company. There was only one way to know. he might tell me the truth – or some truth. “Okay. and you’re still acting like a pathetic conspirator. His eyes were cold and they shot baleful signals. knowing she was too head stubborn to reason with.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She focused on Jack. but when he saw her coming. “Well. it was more than that and she was desperate to find out. you’ve put me in an awkward position here. trying to hold his temper. He should know what was going around here. I cannot trust you anymore. “Jack’s ill. I’ve told you.

Kovinsky had clearly parried her question. but it could put nasty burns on your skin. Its red color reminded her too much of bloodshed. and this had turned out to be the perfect moment. Inside. Her quarters were about two hundred meters from the party zone. She felt Kovinsky’s stare burning in her back.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “You know what the truth is. accepting she was defeated and powerless. you can blame your tailor for taking the wrong measure or you can accept you are overweight. We’ll let you know what we decide. She eased off. The door slit open at the sound of her voice. He must be around and she wanted to find him. who sat at the edge of the bed. I’m afraid you’ll have to live with your truth. Tears welled up in her eyes. He would have told me his decision eventually. Jack. She left with her head held high. Dan?” 178 of 333 . someone else will take over. It was not deadly if you handled it with care. Last time she had seen him. staring at his back until he was absorbed in the crowd. From now on. “What’s happening here. but then she thought of Albert. I might as well tell you now that you are relieved from your job. her wounded pride should not mix up his career. he had looked tucked up. that’s it. Andrea? Why the gun? And what the hell’s happening with you. but not ill. If they’re too tight. She put her halffinished cocktail on the buffet. which Elisabeth recognized as a laser stunner. And by the way. There was something fishy with Jack. Andrea was facing Dan. A grim. but she fought them back. I suggest you do not make daft scenes anymore and return to your quarters. Elisabeth. For the time being. She could not bring his job in peril. she realized. She was holding a device in her hand.” He briskly swung on his heels and walked off to his party. It was a setup from the onset. Elisabeth? The truth is a pair of trousers. ready to fight expression showed about her mouth. So. She stood frozen.

And the sensors and lenses are hidden in the toy pets. a miserable looking lad who knew they looked down on him as the despicable creature he must be in their eyes. He shook his head. If I had stayed on Earth.” Elisabeth sat down and stared at Dan.” “Have you been spying on our privacy?” Andrea bit at him. It was my only chance. nothing of the sort. which was the worst spot. Remember what happened on the shuttle. I would surely have kicked the bucket myself. “I had to. the kind she used in therapy.” Elisabeth put forward. Her voice was tense but her hand did not tremble and the gun aimed point-blank at Dan’s belly. It’s the price I had to pay to go to Mars. He sat limply looking from the gun to Elisabeth. wavered for a moment. Elisabeth. and Dan knew that too. Dan sat crouching.” Andrea went on.” “What did John tell you to do?” Elisabeth asked in a soft voice.” 179 of 333 . “Kovinsky’s playing tricks on us. his eyes begging for mercy. “I’ve wanted to go to Mars all my life. His face was cream cheese pale and expressed deep fear.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Dan’s spying on us. Elisabeth. Dan? You could do without Kovinsky. He finally soothed and gazed at Elisabeth with wet eyes. Then he burst into tears. I was that close to be sent back. The women were perplexed at this unexpected move. I have to monitor the dome and file in reports regularly. “No. Elisabeth. but they did not come to his rescue. no. “He offered me the job of communication officer. But John pulled me through. It’s only in the public places.” “Why did you have to.

” You could have heard a pin drop.” She believed him. “Oh yes I remember he had put in a request for an e. He was not aware he had brought them the worst message possible. Kovinsky was playing it masterly. have you any proof?” Elisabeth spluttered. Her voice had that tone that made Elisabeth think of hardboiled detectives. he mumbled. “Why do you say that. you’re my friends. In most cases. It was not of his concern.kit. Or secret agents. She had a pretty good idea why he was processing them. nobody made a big deal of it. Dan shrugged.” A euthanasia kit for Jack? As a rule. trust me.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Icy silence. they gave them to people who asked for it. They gaped at him astounded. “And what do these toys do?” Andrea went on. but she wanted evidence from the only person who could tell her more. translate and report to John. and who showed the defined symptoms they could not cope anymore with space but on the other hand did not want to return to Earth either. I’ve never wanted to hurt you or the people. He took his own life. then his face cleared. but. “Do you know where Jack Armstrong is. I don’t know what he does with it. It was their safe way out and shortcut of their wretched life. Elisabeth. Dan?” Dan had a sheepish look. believe me. taken aback by the unanticipated news. space after all was not the place to discuss moral issues over life and death. They gaped at him. Dan. But Jack? 180 of 333 . he did not know Armstrong. It was hard for her to accept that Jack would kill himself. “Armstrong? He’s dead. These little charming domestic creatures had been spying on them all the time. He was double-crossed like all of them. “They’re mainly sending recorded psycho-metrical data to the Wheel where I pick them up.

No one wants to depart without a last posting. beckoned him to leave.” Dan straightened his back. her eyes piercing in his. or you might land up like Jack. Elisabeth. trust me.” He wrote it on a piece of paper. If you want to reach me. I’m just the messenger. He’s trying to damage the community and by the time we find out. I want you to go on with your business. but try to dig up what you can on Jack. leave a message behind. He was startled and asked Elisabeth what to do.” Just now. Andrea put the gun down. bear with me.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Why did they grant it? He wasn’t old. it occurred to Dan that Jack’s death sounded suspiciously. Elisabeth and Andrea exchanged worried looks. “Dan. I didn’t know. who decide to end their lives. “Elisabeth. If John is playing a foul game. she recalled his uncharacteristic behavior on ISS 3.” Elisabeth arched to him. 181 of 333 . Find me that message. Usually people. “Don’t ask me. he wasn’t terminal. I am at your site at all times. desperately wanting to get away from that dreadful gun. They were conscious that things were deteriorating. and Dan heaved a sigh and dashed off. I will not be in it. Dan again shrugged his shoulders. I will see what I can do. and at the same time. “For the time being. this is my code number. it will be too late. You can’t go on working for John anymore. You have to join us again. He had cried out for help and she had not heard. be part of us again. You have entrance to the system.” Elisabeth asked herself aloud. he could have sought professional help.

and their mission was to rub out Kovinsky. What’s going on here?” Andrea stored the gun away in her jumpsuit and started to tell in measured words.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I can see now why Dan had to spy on us. you and your husband.” Elisabeth stared at the gun on the table. “Kovinsky simply waited for the right time to strike. Andrea and Howard turned out to be agents for ISA. and when Andrea had finally got through her story.” Elisabeth said pensively. Elisabeth listened carefully. You are more like intelligence people or whatever they call it nowadays. she knew they had a war on their hands. “Andrea. I want you to level with me. I’ve been asking myself and now we know the answer. You are not the ordinary animal watchers.” “I guess you’re right. Elisabeth. the moment he was certain we all would be ready for it by his criteria. did not interrupt her. 182 of 333 . whatever they are.

Mom. a large empty space without artificial gravity. Kovinsky can’t leave you here forever.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 20. It was a dreadful situation. Kovinsky’s hulks. four days later things took an unexpected turn. Albert floated towards Elisabeth who had strapped herself to her chair. Albert dropped by. who acted like their wardens. Bleak fluorescent ceiling lights plunged them in a gloomy atmosphere. took the settlers in custody. He had put in a formal request to see his mother and Kovinsky could only grant it as Albert had nothing to do with Wheel’s management and Kovinsky was in no position to wake up sleeping dogs on Earth. having grown into hardened Mars dwellers. The hulks took them to a still unfinished windowless storage room. Then. They had to float all the time or strap themselves to their chairs and bunks. Three days after the unfortunate reception. and even if his allegations 183 of 333 . “Wow. this station is United Nations property and there are still laws to follow. The charge was committing terrorist acts resulting in sabotaging the satcom section. He clamped to the table. but don’t be afraid. He can’t stow you away just like that. had heard that explosives had destroyed the place. The Wheel had neither proper jail nor real wardens. but they could cope with it. but she could not reach Kovinsky anymore. First. To the settlers this accusation was totally unfounded and Elisabeth had insisted on a personal confrontation. by surprise. that’s kind of a mess. and Elisabeth was barely able to hold back her tears while she told him about the situation. The goons. It will all clear out. they kissed.

not a freedom fighter. it would harm you as well. I could only pass after I signed a statement I’d do nothing of the sort. She asked Albert if he could pull strings. he could still raise some hell in the right circumstances. “You might be surprised. I need to go back to see for myself. you would regret afterwards. Nevertheless. they need me up there. Albert.” She stopped sobbing. “Mom.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert prove to be right.” 184 of 333 . He’s became a despot. Albert was an engineer. talking about law and order made her aware that Kovinsky had to be careful with his unruly actions. He grimaced. But try to stay out of trouble at the same time. But I’ll figure out some cunning plan to warn Earth about it. Couldn’t we apply for habeas corpus?” “You mean to challenge him over detention in a court of law? I hardly think there’s a law court around here. and besides. just try to find us a way out of here. In the meanwhile. I’m begging you to keep your head cool. He’s not king Tut around here. Mom.” Still. Albert. Albert.” “Your future comes in the first place. and that doesn’t apply for habeas corpus.” She understood. he must turn you over to the proper authorities. Earth laws protected them and they still had political rights if any. Kovinsky is a sly old fox and he knows if I break my promise. Albert. I must return to my workstation on Phobos.” “I’ll see what I can do. “I don’t want you to be harmed.” “I’m thinking of something. Before you will do something. he’s accusing us of rebellion. he’s the law unto himself. We’re dealing with a dog-eat-dog man here.

Jesus was the leader of the pack. His first feat was to take Horner and his people in hostage. 185 of 333 . She was branded as sleeping with the enemy and her own people had declared her persona non grata. Mom. After he had left. They were not alone. They all were hooked on the screen. At three a. Elisabeth still had qualms about involving Albert in her mess.m. At the same time she took comfort from the understanding that the settlers’ action proved they had put their heads together and transformed into a tight community that wanted to defend its given rights. The first rebel on Mars turned out to be a peaceloving man of the cloth. but the anchorman ended with a cliffhanger that the rebels had to surrender within twenty-four hours and open the doors for Kovinsky’s Praetorians. next morning. that they had declared Elisabeth McIntosh a traitor and that they had overtaken the satcom section at the same time and shut off all communications. Don’t be afraid. “I’m going now. I promise you. According to the newsflash. they still had the monitor screen connected to the Wheel’s TV-network. she prayed to herself and afterwards she felt stronger and somehow she was certain they all would turn out well. everything’s going to be all right.” He had spoken idle yet comforting words.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert A computerized voice told Albert his time was up. stating that the community had taken over power. Though they had no windows to the outside. The news hurt Elisabeth. but they made her feel good. the news was all about the revolt. and for the first time since months.

They clustered round the monitor. “They can do a lot. watching breaking news. we’re not sure at all he’s really sending troops over. but Elisabeth knew she would come out of it stronger. Two shuttles were headed to Mars with a lot of armed agents on board.” It sounded a bit false. He has free access and he should be able to get us out of here. “You know Kovinsky has complete control over communications. In his wicked mind. Elisabeth?” Linda mumbled. Elisabeth. Kovinsky declared negotiations were over and he was going to move on to drastic actions.” “What can they do about it. Linda was holding hands with Elisabeth in despair. None of them felt much appetite.” 186 of 333 . Linda. and we still have Dan on our side.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Twenty-four hours later. She was really beaten. they left the food untouched and looked glooming about. That was her nature. wanting to find reassurance from her. It would take some time before new footage would come in. and Howard sensed it. It could be part of this big hoax. She fervently hoped it was true. or ever will if nothing comes out.” Howard’s remark made her believe he might be right. I have my doubts that Earth knows about it yet. I think we should concentrate on Dan. Maybe Kovinsky had set up this show on purpose just to remind them he was on top of things. Besides.” Elisabeth said in a firm voice. “My son will see to it. he had ordered that the operation’s completion would be broadcast to show off his delusive power. “So. “We’re not staying here forever. and they switched the screen off to talk about it. Howard went on. Albert will inform Earth and we’ll have an investigating team in no time. Nothing goes out if he does not want to.

the rescue team has secured the dome’s periphery and they had sent a last warning to the rebels to surrender.” Elisabeth called out. The hostages were in good health according to the rebels. She wanted desperately to go home again. or the community’s giving them a hard time which they hadn’t expected. “They still haven’t entered the dome. A kid knows you can’t just barge in on a Martian station and turn everything to shreds. “I’m sure Jesus knows how to handle the situation..” “What if they don’t accept?” Andrea asked herself. and themselves as well. Elisabeth thought bitterly. and by the break of dawn.” “That’s madness. or the gate is simply closed on them.m.’ Linda said in a moved tone. The ultimatum would run out at eight thirty. The hours crept by. “I'm afraid they’ll lose their heads and will storm in like blindfolded bulls. they esteemed Kovinsky’s troops must have entered the dome by now and have done what they were supposed to do. “They should have had ample time to do so. “I’m frightened when I think of these men who’re going to invade our little paradise.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth agreed. Mendez was a religious leader.” Howard said and they stared at him questioning.” Elisabeth soothed. and religion had always proved to be a stronger factor in the face of disasters than politics and ideologies. finally breaking news announced that. The idea of Kovinsky’s agents storming in on her little community kept rambling on her mind.” he went on. “Something must’ve gone wrong down there. Posing an ultimatum seems to me to a bit of a stroke of desperation. Linda.” 187 of 333 . Now we are in a state of insurgence. at seven thirty a. we just have to keep our senses. “They’ll destroy everyone and everything. At eight o’clock.

They all seemed to revive.” Elisabeth decided. They’re all brawns and no brains. simple to handle. all twenty-two of them. “First we have to break out of here. “We can blast our way out. “We have e-pods.” he clarified.” “Definitely. “Dan’s the only one who can get us out of here.” Howard said.” he went on. he’s got access. just a couple of push buttons and you’re off. “I know a way round.” Andrea said. they fully agreed.” Andrea said. That was where Albert was. She turned her face tot the intercom. it is a Titanic situation so to speak. They are meant to hit the nearest humanized targets.” “We’ve got to get out of here and the sooner the better.” “Only twenty-two?” Andrea echoed with raised brows. but how do we reach him?” Elisabeth asked herself. I suppose they’re all still here. They are destined to the people who are vital to the organization. but we’ll use them first. At the sight of it. “Evacuation pods. The others have to wait their turn for the shuttles to come. They’re two persons one way ticket lifeboats. “Yes. which are Mars and Phobos.” Andrea said. perked up by Howard’s gateway plan. you wait for your relief. designed for onceonly use. She was thrilled having learned that the pods could be aiming for Phobos. looking at Elisabeth. depending how they have been programmed. “I agree. 188 of 333 . Once you have landed. Not much of democracy around here. She explained.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I know. smiling at the outlook of getting away with Kovinsky’s designated pods. Andrea nodded in approval and the others looked ignorant. but these bastards have been trained to do as they were told.

” “And that is?” “A message we can only share with him. “You’re going to use the same trick as you did with Jesus?” “Sort of. “Such as?” “Well. I’m sure he’ll get the hint. but you just can’t ask for a suicide kit without going through the proper channels. it’s about time Kovinsky’s ultimatum is expiring. I don’t know what to begin with. and I think I know how his mind works. you won’t raise suspicion? What if Kovinsky finds out?” “We’ll have to gamble that Kovinsky is glued to his communication set. “I have no doubt that John is generous with these kits.” Howard cut in. “So you suppose. “Okay then. but no one had. just by telling him to come over to talk about whatever.” 189 of 333 .kit and let him bring it personally. now it’s the time to get it out. there are so many criteria. I want to send that message now.” Andrea said in a defiant voice.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth got the message.” Howard went on. Elisabeth. He will be too busy waiting for new instead of watching over Dan. we’ll simply send Dan a message he’ll understand. watching the news from Mars. “Why an e-kit?” Howard asked in wonder. “If someone has a better suggestion.” Elisabeth said.” “Maybe you do.” “It might work. They gazed at her as if she had just decided to use it on herself. Has any one has a suggestion how to put it in words?” “Tell him – ask for an e. You must have a damned good reason to start with.” Elisabeth concluded.

” Howard hung back. right? If he finds out one of us wants a kit. I’m the cat among the pigeons.” “And how old am I?” “Huh – about forty-ish if I’m correct. He’s not afraid of you people. They can’t have older people around here. clearly rumpled now. No one expects an aging person to stay around much longer. Elisabeth. “So. And also remember I’m persona non grata to my own community. No preliminary examinations.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Let’s consider age. if I’ve decided that my world’s tumbling down because of Kovinsky’s bad treatment.” “In that case.” “That’s a lot of criteria. It was obvious he had no wish to continue their weird conversation much longer. it’s I he’s concerned with.” Andrea gave a yell. No more Elisabeth McIntosh. no doctors or shrinks around you. and maybe I know too much for his good night’s rest. From then on.” 190 of 333 . we all agree. “Look.” Howard replied. and that would suit him perfectly. “I see what you mean. and use the kit as your excuse. they just eat up the supplies. He’ll testify that you’ve put an end to it. Why shouldn’t I just put and end to it? Remember I’m a traitor in his eyes and an enemy of the state. Kovinsky’s gone crackers. and he knows I’ll raise hell if I come out alive here. it’s the perfect way out. it’s easier to lay your hands on the kits. chances are that his pervert mind will convince himself it is I who’s given up.” “What age are we talking about?” “Forty-five is the minimum age. I’d say they’re less reluctant if you’ve reached a certain age. so my life’s over as I’m concerned.

If Dan did not come over.” It was just a way of comforting them. Then.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “You’re perfectly right. She pushed in Dan’s code number and then softly spoke in Elisabeth’s message.” “Probably he’s out for lunch.” Elisabeth stubbornly refuted. “He hasn’t got the message. Then she canned the intercom and they all stared at it. Elisabeth. I’m coming in now. Dan. Send the following message to Dan: ‘Emergency – bring euthanasia kit yourself– I want to say farewell to you. “Maybe we ought to try again.” 191 of 333 . “Elisabeth. That’s what I’ve been thinking myself.” Andrea said. but I needed some time to convince your wardens with the help of Mister Booze to look the other side if you know what I mean. “Or maybe he doesn’t understand what you’re talking about. Nothing came about. He opened the door with his access card and came floating in. “Just wait. carrying a pencil shaped red plastic canister. he’s a long way from here. Andrea. After a while. let’s not waste any more time.” Dan was alone. it’s me.” Howard suggested and it was such a funny remark that they had to smile despite themselves. they all heaved a sigh of relief. “Sorry to have kept you waiting. they would not have any chance left to get away.” Andrea started to work on the intercom. Linda said what they all were secretly thinking. guys. the intercom cracked and they all jumped to their feet. and when they heard the static rustling coming to life.” “He must have gotten it. So. I’m almost at your doorstep. but she too was starting to grow fear. waiting for some sort of response.

They went out. Thanks to Dan’s access pass. She realized habits were hard to overcome with a person like Dan. No hulks bouncing into them. Dan used his pass again and they went up. I am surprised I could lay my hands on that kit at such short notice. We want you to take us outside. “That’s why we’re using them. Dan. Dan. Dan. really. She felt a shiver across her spine looking at the infamous canister. guys. Three floors later.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Dan was beaming. I’m glad to be with you. ready made and courtesy of Mister Kovinsky.” Dan could not stand Elisabeth’s harsh sounding voice. who had been a submissive law and order guy all his life. Elisabeth.” Elisabeth held her temper. You can’t use the e-pods. Inside there was enough poison to kill an elephant. they had no guilty conscience. now and straight to the e-pods. It’s our way out. Lead us along. I didn’t even have to fill in the paperwork. congratulating and wishing him a hearty welcome. and you’ll be our guide. they’re for the executives only. The guy from the morgue called staff and for some odd reason.” Elisabeth said. they landed up at an elevator. he could bamboozle the sensors. it’s strictly forbidden zone. Dan put the kit back in his breast pocket and fluttered his eyelids. “What? Me? Now?” “That’s right.” “The e-pods? Are you nuts? We can’t get in there. they stood 192 of 333 . so he grumbling submitted himself to his new fate. which kept quiet while they were crossing the perimeters. and here it is. After a couple of curves. Who’s going to use it?” “Nobody. You know the way out and you’re coming with us. and they all surrounded him. It looked like Dan’s wile with the liquor paid off. “Boy. Here’s the box.

each in their own launching path. going up and down. The door slit tight again and a small monitor screen came to live. they were falling fast before the rockets took them up again. in a serial of high-pitched explosions. Kovinsky would show no mercy. a stretch with dim inspection lights and the further they half ran and half walked. which they did with trembling hands. the more gravity took over. Dan was alone in his pod.” Howard shouted. The gates did not need any clearance admission. If they would catch them at this very moment. The pod had no windows. flashing a message to put on the harnesses. and it made no noise at all. only dim red lights. Another door with a “Staff only’ stenciled on it. “Just push the green button and climb in. His voice was agitated and he kept looking over his shoulder. 193 of 333 . which was the most frightening. Elisabeth had the creeps too. they stepped on it and they ran lurching to the lock gates that held the e-pods. but this time. while Howard and Andrea took the next one. Elisabeth pushed the button. and again Dan proved to be worth his weight in gold.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert in a deserted gangway. they just opened with a slight push and there they were. they had to take that bouncing road. “They’ll be here in a minute. all pods sitting neatly in a row. sideways. they were out in space.” Dan yelled aghast and at his words. Without further ado. Linda was screaming when they rushed out of the Wheel and into the void. It was like on a roller coaster. the bolts cracked off and before they knew. a blaring siren went off that scared the hell out of them. She clumsily climbed in with Linda on her site. the small metal door slit open and at the same time red emergency lights inside switched on. showing them the pod’s belly. They had not prepared for this kind of trip to hell and for a terrible moment. but it was too late now to reconsider.

Linda screamed her lungs out when the pod hit the surface of Phobos in three big jumps. but saw nothing but a thin vertical strip of dull rock. They heard the soft whooshing of oxygen and Linda was fast breathing. they could not stay inside for long.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They were pressed against the ceiling while they were falling down. The pod had only two buttons: green and red. The desolate looking pockmarked potato shaped rock of Phobos came nearer and for a fearful while. suffocating slowly up to the point that you knew you were going to die with their last breathe.” she whispered. though Linda had to throw up and her breakfast came out in perfect little orange balls. They instinctively lifted their feet. but then they came to a sudden stop. though she herself was enduring a thousand terrors. She could not detect air indicators. To her relief the screen told them they were on their way to Phobos and they would land in ten minutes. a sinister message which could only mean. “We’re going to die here. the pod having landed on its side. Elisabeth was certain they would crash into it. pushing them back to the floor. Nobody had told her what the next step would be. The stench of her bile filled the space. They could not get out. scraping and sliding across the rocky surface. 194 of 333 . Pushing the red button would mean a fast and merciful finale without the mortal fear of being stuck in this coffin. They stared bewilderedly to the screen that showed what their outside camera picked up. fearing the floor would tear open. but then the rockets backfired and the pod slackened down. the pod did not reach its destination safe and well. the final solution was here before their eyes. The red one read Life support ending. Elisabeth held her in her arms to comfort her. Elisabeth was grateful she had Linda at her side. which maybe was for the better. Elisabeth had a fit of panic. that in case.

Try to relax. trembling all over. light shone in. “Mom?” Albert was staring at her with his mouth open. Linda eased down and tried to suppress her sobbing. We are safe now. Linda shrieked as they were brutally pulled away. Then it was over. Then.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth put her arms around her again. She came to her senses. A hole in the pod was ripped out. and with every surface bump. Albert. sounds of human presence and it was like music in the ear. metallic sounds coming from outside. they heard sounds. and faces were glaring at them. no sound that could mean rescue. the pod must be sending distress signals to him and he should know by now. “Don’t be afraid. Albert will pick us up soon. Elisabeth tried to keep herself together. 195 of 333 . When the bouncing stopped. He cautiously held her up and she clamped on to him. not believing what he saw. still overwhelmed by the frightful experience. and that Albert’s trusted face was close to her. Hissing blowtorches were torturing the pod and jackhammers were torturing their ears with loud banging. Linda. The silence outside was absolute. a mighty fist clung on to the pod and pulled it with so much brutal force that their heads bounced into each other.” “Are you alright. She was still not fully aware they had landed in one piece. we’ve got to spare our air. “Help us out of this frigging’ thing.” At her comforting words. The screen view and the light suddenly died down and it was as pitch-black as hell. Mom?” Albert said in a worried tone. It was like a monster that was dragging them along to its den for its tasty lunch break. stretched her hand and her fingers gently caressed his face. they were smashed about in the scraping metal.

they landed up in the tiny sickbay where an energy stimulator revived their senses again. The female workers shared their company and made them feel at home soon. I don’t know where they are. They were in an entrance hall immersed with floodlights. They had a hot cup of chicken consommé and little by little. “I’m going to look for the others now. There were about thirty workers on the satellite. most of them with an engineering job. This small solitary commune of workers seemed to have a nice life on that small potato that passed the Martian hemisphere twice a day.” She kissed him on the cheek and then they were off. They welcomed them heartedly and soon Elisabeth and Linda were feeling at ease. Albert.” They were helped out of the pod and for a while. taking a down sloping tunnel entrance.” “Do you know where they are?” Elisabeth hastily asked. they had bruises all over. watching them with curious eyes. about twenty-five males and five females. After an hour. Just go with these guys and have a hot shower first. they got hold of themselves.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I’m okay. The people helped them into a standing-by tractor. Albert stayed behind. but otherwise they were okay and after a hot shower. “Where are Andrea and Howard and Dan?” Linda asked. they had to adapt to Phobos' zero gravitation. Albert was not alone. apparently some sort of garage with tools and machinery. 196 of 333 . about ten men and women were standing in their magnetic boots. Albert returned. “Still outside. There are two more pods. thanks heaven we’ve landed here and in one piece. alone. I’ll see you in a while. Mom. but don’t worry. In the bathroom. please try to find them. Linda and she inspected their bodies. carrying them into Phobos’ bowels. six thousand kilometers from Mars.

but if they’d landed on this rock. He should know the answers. “Mom.” “You mean that the other two pods might have landed on Mars?” “They should have. it’s like this. Phobos is a small rock. “Where are Howard and Andrea and Dan?” “I’m not sure.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth saw traces of fatigue on Albert’s face and she found it wisely to let him come to his senses first. who then would come to rescue them? The dome was sealed off hermetically and surrounded by Kovinsky’s people who would not give a damn. the other pods will probably have decided to land somewhere else. we should have picked up their distress signals by now. She desperately hung onto Albert. these pods intercommunicate with each other to take different routes for safety reasons. about the others. She poured him a cup of consommé. ” “What do you mean. Albert drew near Elisabeth. E-pods are programmed to select the best landing zones. “Well. Albert?” she asked agitatedly. We can haul only one pod at the time in for safety reasons. We cannot handle more than one pod at the same time. 197 of 333 . accidents will happen. otherwise. Albert seemed to evade her questioning glance.” His words had a sinister undertone.” “What do you mean?” Elisabeth suddenly felt frightened. I mean. She was aware something had gone terribly wrong. So. knowing something was going wrong. in my opinion they overshot to Mars and in deferring directions. They might crash into each other or the rescue efforts would take too much of our time. So. looking crestfallen. If the other pods had landed on Mars.

When we need one. Mom.” “How much time do they have in the pods?” “You mean. I’m afraid it’s up to the dome to rescue them. “There are three people waiting for our help. Albert. They were sitting at the dining table.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 21. Mom. now fully realizing that she had lured them into a deadly trap. He knew the drill.” “Unless they push the right button. “I’m sorry.” “Albert…” “Sorry. I can’t just sit here doing nothing. we can’t do a thing about it. but Kovinsky should get what he deserves. knowing they might be dying.” Albert said in a calm voice. oxygen-wise? About five hours – six if they can get out before their brains melts.” “Can’t you go there with your shuttle?” “We don’t have shuttles. This rock is not suited for launching facilities.” The Wheel… That meant Kovinsky. “Oh my God… it’s my fault. Mom. strapped in their belts. Mom. slightly moving with the moon’s fast orbiting course and tenderly holding hands. what you did was an act of sheer bravery. we call the Wheel. “Don’t accuse yourself.” 198 of 333 . and I hope that sonuvabitch will end up in hell. Albert did not know the answer.” she whispered. Mom.

round-eyed. just see they’re sending a team down there and on the double. 199 of 333 . Mom. but first he has to rescue the pods.” “Have you been able to contact Earth yet?” “I’m sorry. knowing she had to face Kovinsky again. and that’ll take at least another week. Albert. Can’t do.” Albert looked at her. That is to say.” “That’s right. I can’t reach Earth until the next shuttles arrive.” “What proposal would that be. if Kovinsky would be willing. “You’re going to surrender to him? Do you know how he’ll react to that?” “I don’t know.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “So they have approximately four to five hours left.” Albert went off and Elisabeth leaned back with closed eyes. they managed to take the burden of her shoulders while they were anxiously waiting. but he knew his mother could raise hell. “Call him up. She looked Albert in the eye. I want a truce. She felt worn out because of the horrific flight. It seemed to take an eternity. and they surely could do without it. Mom?” “Never mind. What do you want me to tell him?” “Tell him – tell him I want to discuss his proposal. but I’ll soon find out. Kovinsky has cut off all external lines. It will take a rescue team from the Wheel about an hour to find them and take them back.” Elisabeth had already made up her mind. but thanks to the making of Linda and the other women. who acted as her fellow-sufferers. she was not sure how he would react.” Albert had mixed feelings. and as Albert had pointed out. Mom. I’ll call Kovinsky. She was feeling awkward. “Okay then.

” “I see. and no one else. “What’s the meaning of all this?” 200 of 333 . watch carefully. but she could not back off anymore.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Albert was back within half an hour.” Albert said. it won’t take long before they’re here. Mom. “Now we’re entering the cave. Albert? I can use all the support I can get. Right then. The camera showed human traces. Albert. wires.” She was thankful for his attempt to take her mind off the upcoming event. That image was so weird. Mom. You may recall I have told you we ran into some weird things. So what could be interesting for me to know?” He fast-forwarded until they watched images of a caved crater. The template letters on the door caught her attention. It read ‘USSA’.” Albert shook his head sadly. This rock had been used for military reasons before. They will drop their package on the Wheel and on their way back. He had a palm-size video device in his hand. Mom. “I’m going to show you the video we’ve made when we first explored Pho’s surface. let’s prepare for it.” She was so relieved that at first she forgot what fate was awaiting her. “I remember.” The camera’s flashlight focused on a gunmetal colored door. the remainders of a meteorite impact long ago. maybe for a long time to come. pieces of equipment. they will pick you up. “Can’t you go with me. just as Albert had told her. and we were right. She would not see Albert again. “He requested you. Elisabeth stared transfixed to it. and a fuse box. I want you to see something. She had made a terrible choice: rescuing her people and losing her son.” “Before you go. You better prepare for the journey. “The rescue team is on its way.

we simply can’t make out. Since we are no part of the military. or it could mean a lot. alone. No. We don’t know what it means.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Bear with me.” “I’ll see if I can find out. and just now. “What does it mean?” “We’ve been discussing this. and having done a great job with it. It read ‘USSA Property ISS Phobos E-Sys– restricted area. no farewells and no weeping. Mom? I mean. but she was strongly aware she was going to stir up the hornet’s nest. Albert. we were as surprised as you were. “Don’t worry. They hugged and off she went.” He could not help smiling. “You are not going to jeopardize your life. She even did not want Albert to wave her out. and we’re thinking that ‘ISS Phobos e-sys’ means that there’s a military computer server hidden behind that door. We think it’s a network structure that's linked to the Wheel.” He was kind enough to put it in less threatening words. This was not the time to get sentimental. Just remember I’m your mother. her eyes fell upon a small metal engraved plate on the door. What I’ve figured out is that some time ago – could be ten years as well – this rock had been declared military zone.” The camera zoomed in.’ she said. are you. It could mean nothing though. She did not want to make a fuzz of it. you’ll see for yourself in a second. It was time to leave. but it sure is a hell of a mystery. He led her to the wardrobe where they helped her in a worker's space suit.’ She turned to Albert. asking the wrong questions could be a bit risky. perhaps Kovinsky would be the one to pity. The intercom beeped. 201 of 333 . recalling how she had raised him on her own.

took her hand and stroked it as nothing had happened since her escape. She had taken all that trouble to escape from it. She was actually welcomed as a guest. and anti-static moccasins and he looked keen and perky. who seemed to have gotten strict orders not to talk to her. She sat in the back with no sight outside. helped her out of the wear and into a fresh overall. four men wearing matted helmets were waiting for her. 202 of 333 . and now she was back. They put her in a kind of corporate skyscraper anti-chamber. The first things on her mind were her fellow-escapees and she asked him where they were. Two women. They did not lead her to Kovinsky’s office straight away. And Kovinsky was waiting for her. but nothing of the sort happened. but instead. and wanted her to be on her knees before he entered. but instead they went to his private chambers. He was dressed in the latest fashion. she had gotten cold feet and sat frozen at the sight of him. Her guards were the typical silent type of agents and they made her feel as their prisoner. It did not take a long time to reach their destination and when they arrived on the Wheel again. their shuttle’s door invitingly opened. The arrival was less worrisome than she expected. black woolen trousers. expecting at any moment a fire-spitting Kovinsky storming in. She had feared there would be hell to pay. only then she started to panic. Obviously he was stalling her on purpose. She sat on a crackling leather coach that must have arrived from some large British mansion on Earth. he sat at her side. which she was thankful for. an hour later. very trendy in light earthly colors and modern furniture. Everything happened in silence. expensive white silk shirt.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Outside the airlock. He made a good job of it. She felt very small. By the time he came in.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Don’t worry about that. Why don’t you first refresh yourself before dinner?” She wanted to ask more. I know you have been through a bad patch. we see that you feel at ease. like grownups do. gallantly inviting her in. It even had a four-poster bed with a ceiling mirror. Just have some patience.” She did not know how to deal with his one-way talk and decided to give away. Why don’t you slip into something comfortable and then we’ll dine together. Elisabeth. then he was barking up the wrong tree. just push this button here. “First. No hard feelings. He had even thought of a wig in her old hairdo. That life was over and if he was fantasizing about middle-aged vamps. Elisabeth.” Then he discretely closed the door behind her. His bedroom was opulent. and I hope we’ll continue in a more apt way. but he lifted his hand with three golden rings that sparkled in the lights. but then decided not to wear it. she might as well take part in his little charade. the opposite door leads to the bath room. strongly felt the urge to put it on. He led her to the en-suite door and opened it for her. 203 of 333 . They are safe in the station. She took it up. Elisabeth. “This is the bedroom. They are in quarantine as a way of precaution. I’ve kept my word. If you feel you are ready for dinner. She immediately went into the bathroom and cleansed herself with hot water. If it would take to be a good girl. Women’s cloths lay on the bed: a long silk black floral gown with a deep vee front and long halter straps tie behind the neck and a black ruche waist. All that must have cost megabucks. Brown leather round toe pumps accompanied the robe. Someone will come to fetch you. and she flattered herself he did all that trouble for her alone.

Elisabeth. to be handed over in due time. She took a deep breath. really. and in some sort. there was no verbal contact. she was ready for it. What may come. Why don’t you wear the wig? It would perfectly match your beauty. he had the decency to consider her measurements and she had to admit she looked terrific. she told him she did not want to be remembered of things bygone. let’s enjoy Earth’s pleasures first. Her slim body showed perfectly in the skin-tight outfit. giving him ample time to take her in.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert At least. She pushed the button and a woman came to fetch her.” While sitting down in one of the rococo chairs.” 204 of 333 . inspecting herself in the floor-length mirror. Well. no paintings on the wall. “You look marvelous. and closed the door discreetly behind her. But something was missing. There are five hundreds wigs waiting here. His mouth fell open at the sight of this lecherous image and he greedily absorbed every move she made before she sat in front of him. “That’s a shame. stately striding towards him. we can discuss that later on. apparently patiently waiting for her and she resolved to make a show of herself. Even bald headed she knew she still was attractive. and it did not miss its effect. Kovinsky’s decorator had done a marvelous job with the interior. Her feet sunk in high-poled wall-to-wall Berber carpet. Concealed light made the room look like a love nest. Again. His love for eighteen hundred century interior design showed off in genuine leather looking wallpaper and elegant furniture straight from some French Loire castle. It looked cold and lifeless. The woman led her to the dining room. Kovinsky was sitting at the dinner table. it added to a sensuality she had never expected. There were no flowers.

with lace tablecloth and a gilded candle burned softly in a golden candelabrum. One of his goons. She should not be drinking that much. He was hitting hard on her. Their faces were blushing and Kovinsky was 205 of 333 . Elisabeth?” Kovinsky asked while lifting the cloche cover to reveal two whole perfectly cooked lobsters on the silver plate. Soft classic music resounded from walled speakers. On the table was set English China and silver cutlery and real napkins in silver etched holders. even with a man like Kovinsky. After two glasses of wine. spreading a sensual scent of roses in the room. Elisabeth felt her blood throbbing and she got out of her stride. they drank more wine and nibbled on buttered crackers.” she said. It was a long time since a man had made passionate advances to her. and she had to admit she felt flattered. but that was weeping crocodile tears. “You look like a goddess.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The diner table was dressed for two. she felt light in the head. dressed in a white valet jacket pushed a trolley in and then left again. “You certainly don’t save on your food dollar. overlooking the magnificent picture that reminded her of better days on Earth. His voice had turned hoarse. “Do you like lobster. Kovinsky took the chilled bottle of vintage champagne from the ice bucket and poured their glasses in. Suddenly.” he uttered. He just kept staring at her with his mesmerizing eyes. They did not talk before they had devoured half of the delicatessen. She was by now famished and her body reacted violently to the delicious smell of the rosy meat. Elisabeth. Lobster? Here on the Wheel? It took her breath away watching Kovinsky putting half a cut open lobster on her plate.

the arrival of the valet interrupted their waning conversation. Kovinsky pushed some button under the table and the valet came in. John?” She began to like his little seduction play. Suddenly. he had turned her chair.” To her relief. lifted her dress up. I knew that before. clasped his arms around her legs and buried his head in her lap. Kovinsky licked his lips. Elisabeth felt a bit nauseous with all that food and the alcohol made her sluggish. he certainly had no harm in mind. 206 of 333 . “You’re a beautiful woman. Her first reaction was to take the water bottle and poor it over his head. She willingly watched Kovinsky taking the desserts off the trolley. who was also beading in sweat. It was getting hot as well and she felt sweat oozing from her neck and down her cleavage and Kovinsky. The wine bottle was empty. The valet took the trolley along. Kovinsky poured their brandy glasses to the brim. Elisabeth. she felt her resistance drop. He sloshed the wine in his glass and then drained it in one gulp. Elisabeth.” “And what do you see in full. With this kind of reception. Sensations of lust and repulse fought while his shaking fingers reached her thighs. but this is the first time I see it in full. rich and sweetened sabayon. walked around the table and before she knew. “A bottle of VSOP brandy and coffee please. Mars does credit to you.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert staring at her with yet another hungry kind of gaze and she did not bother.” Kovinsky ordered. “You look gorgeous. followed the transpiration trajectory with fascination. freshly made and it tasted like heaven. His eyes were radiating and his skin was feverish. he stood up. but when his hands explored her shins.

her son’s life included. Kovinsky was in her hands and if she blew this moment for him. The en-suite door opened. “I hope you’ve got what you wanted. not here. heard muffled voices and sounds.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Then. If you feel like having breakfast with me.” She mumbled she did not feel like eating. She saw marks where his teeth and fingernails had explored her. She closed her eyes. 207 of 333 . neatly dressed. and at the same time relieved as she had passed the test.m. Next morning. “I hope you’ve slept well.” she muttered. sweat streaming and his veins were throbbing a wild rhythm. looked down on her with a victorious grin on his face. just beat the gong and I’ll be joining you. Then he finally fell back. and Kovinsky. but a strong cup of coffee would do wonders. but could not work out if they hailed from Kovinsky’s quarters and she felt disorientated. a little devil in her whispered that she had to take advantage of it. He dragged her to the bedroom. pushed her onto the bed.. She stayed in bed until eleven a. He let his eyes wander over her body and she drew the sheet to her chin. heavily breathing.” she muttered. It was wonderful and I am very happy you have decided to join us. She felt dirty and abused. “In bed. not bothering about anything anymore while Kovinsky was growling like a beast. John. She pulled her dress down and wandered off into a dreamless sleep. she woke up with a huge hangover and an acidic stomach and the first thing she noticed was the empty pillow next to her. it would be the end of their socalled relationship and she might blow everything else. Elisabeth.

While she was washing up. they had made up the bed and laid out a new white overall for her. she was not one of his little whores about the Wheel who would certainly serve him well. She should not forget to ask Kovinsky how long that isolation period lasted. She hit it. She drank her coffee and felt pretty better. Elisabeth?” His voice was smooth but very much inconsistent with his freezing stare. staggered to the bathroom. His eyes had a cold look again as if nothing had happened the night before. took a cold shower and rubbed herself until she felt properly fit. John? Did you forget you have sent your troops to the dome? And what the hell are they doing there? Having tea and biscuits outdoors? I want to know what is going on. It made her feel angry. You don’t have the right to invade us on false pretensions. Her mind drifted to Howard. “Okay. fresh from laundry. John. John. He seemed to be starving. Andrea and Dan. pouched eggs and crispy bacon. let’s talk about the community. “What I want to know.” 208 of 333 . she switched the intercom TV channel on. He showed up twenty minutes.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert As soon as he had gone. hardly looking at her. Breaking news told her the settlers seemed to offer quite some resistance and the troops had still not figured out how to enter the site. “What do you want to know. sat down and while waiting. I think. standing motionless at the door like a robot waiting for her order. I’m entitled to. gobbling down toast. A copper gong was standing at the table side.” He sized her up. She chose orange juice and strong coffee. A hulk came in. followed by a valet with a trolley while she was drinking her juice. She dressed and went to the diner room. she got up.

and all those wonderful people who had laid their fate in his hands.” As far as she knew. this won’t solve a thing. after that wonderful night we had together. And now you’re sending fresh troops over and they’re parking somewhere outside. “I was under the impression we were on the same wavelength. his attitude expressing he got it all together. Elisabeth.” He forgot about his breakfast and started to tell. Elisabeth. and now we’re taking over when it’s still time. “Farce? Have these last months been to no avail to you? Have you ever wondered why our community works? You come storming in with your makebelieve turkey. all that work and energy and 209 of 333 .” She was holding her temper by the skin of her teeth. Elisabeth. Let me clarify my point of view. and then you accuse us of sabotage. getting people loaded. It all had been for nothing.” Now she was fuming. Elisabeth. “The President has ordered me to make an end to this farce. She took a deep breath and sunk in her chair again. he had betrayed her. and encase the site like we’re a bunch of terrorists. There seems to be some misunderstanding between you and me. or whatever false pretext you can come up with. “Don’t take it too hard on you. John poured her another cup of coffee.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert John laid his fork down and looked at her inquisitively. I’ve received direct orders to settle things straight. really. you have done a wonderful job. which by the way is the President’s too.” “Calm down. leave us with your goons. It’s no big deal. but when he had stopped. her body shaking all over. “False pretensions? The President does not see it that way. he could see the haze in her eyes.” “Settle things straight? And what does that mean?” Her voice had raised an octave. She did not interrupt him.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert devotion. Bellum is sending USSA over to take care of business. “John. but then decided she was entitled to the answers. And then you’ve informed Bellum they can’t keep castle and that it’s high time to bring in reinforcements and take over the community.” “USSA? The Military? But why. Bellum decided to come up with a plan to show he was still on top of things. call your troops back. He explained that the media had been snooping around and found out about his fine fleur. We’re just protecting hearth and home. It was the typical reaction of leadership in peril. preparing to emigrate to Mars. How would the community react when they would come to realize that Kovinsky was messing around with them? Her voice was soft when she finally reacted. Then.” “What do you mean? What’s Earth’s got to do with it?” Kovinsky was sitting on a fence. The colony will not experience any hardship. for god’s sake? Haven’t we gone through enough wars on Earth that you must cause them in space too? Is everybody going out of their minds?” “It’s out of my hands. that’s all I want. In the meanwhile. the troops are guarding the perimeter in their ships and they do not intend to enter. Elisabeth.” “Can’t do. it’s not my responsibility.” “You deliberately mislead us. and they got up on their hinds legs. The first thing they did was finding lightning rods to shift focus from thorny issues that could jeopardize whatever they 210 of 333 . accusing us of mutiny so you can to send your muscle over. Elisabeth. They’ll be here in less than a month. Politics on Earth are having their own opinions. Elisabeth.” “That’s not really how I see it. That’s something I’ll leave up to Bellum. my people are protecting the turf.

I can’t do that. The room was nearly empty. only a couple of workers were having their daily drill. you’ll have to deal with me.” It sounded like ‘I’m not taking any prisoners’ instead. they had found their scapegoats on Mars.” Thunderstorms? “I don’t believe you. John. Elisabeth. I’m not holding you against your will here.” “I’m listening.” “As much as I want.” Kovinsky seemed sincerely concerned and he was very much willing to find a solution.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert were doing. I bet you’re cheating again and even if you speak the truth. It was the same history of ugly politics all over.” She jumped up and stepped to the door. Elisabeth was so teed off that she furiously kept treading on the walker. you must promise me you won’t set free your wild dogs and give me the chance to explain to my people they’re not in danger. Don’t be afraid. one that could be to her advantage if she played it well. Elisabeth. She headed for the fitness room where she had spent so many hours before embarking for Mars and she stepped on the walker. John. I won’t blow up your precious headquarters. The shuttles are down with the thunderstorms. if you want my cooperation and make a success of the settlement. If you want me to join forces. Elisabeth. “I want to return home – I’m talking about the dome .and make certain everything will be straightened out.” “You’re completely free to move along. “I’m just going to blow off steam. “John. She spun around. 211 of 333 . The hulk tried to bar her way but at John’s hand sign he let her pass through. Elisabeth bitterly said to herself. In their case. I don’t want to see you again as long as this sham is going on. you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks.

it would have gone round the station by now. She could not remember he even had copulated. doctor. My name is Barry Lyndon.” he said with an amused tone in his dark and deep voice. rubbing her legs dry. I didn’t want to disturb you.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The way Kovinsky had mistreated her was beyond imagination. She instantly smelled he was a secret agent. she swung her head to see who it was. she bitterly thought while upping her walking speed.” She wondered how he knew her name. She eased down and coming to a halt. “You’ll wreck the damn thing if you keep on tread milling like this.” She stopped rubbing. she wanted badly to repay him. She gestured him to keep her at bay. it was ever so unexpected. She was full of revenge. We have a mutual friend. She could pick them out easily nowadays. She was so tight up in her fury that she did not see a man steal upon her. She decided to play it cool. casually walked to the bench and sat astride. a tall and beefy black man with gray temples and strong muscles that rolled in his workout outfit. His answer came as a shock to her. “Are you running the place by any chance?” she snapped. Though she had passed out most of the time. she looked upon his way of lovemaking as being obsessive as he had only been interested in oral sex. She recalled the night before. What’s about that mutual friend?” “Margaret Rinsford. She had only felt his tongue wriggling obsessively around. fire away. he had probably not. “I’m sorry. She grabbed her towel and stepped off the walker. He had not ever kissed her on the lips. 212 of 333 . A man in his forties was smiling at her. but then again. “Okay.

but she’s dead.” She again had trouble coping with his words.” He did not look though like having come to grips with his unfortunate past yet. whomever. was a bit too much for her. still in his workout outfit. It’s free of bugs and scanners. let me first have a shower and dress up again. He came back with the brew. “Marge is my ex. realizing this man was about to reveal something of great importance to her.” She hurried up. not having considered Margaret as the wife of – well. she stared at his square back. “Let’s have a cup of coffee in the mess.” “Okay. bare stripped. sat down and pushed off without further ado. doctor.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “She’s in your group. “I can see your concern. filled with ten kitchen-size tables and some vendor machines. She followed him through a patch of corridors without talking. you know what I mean. We’ve separated after our daughter’s death and that was a long time ago.” she said. “We had a daughter. He had been waiting patiently for her.” the agent went on. “But don’t feel strongly about it. 213 of 333 . in front of Marge’s husband. He pushed the buttons for coffee and while she sat at one of the tables. not knowing what else to say. isn’t she? How’s she doing?” “How do you know Marge?” Lyndon noticed the suspicious look on her face. trying to figure out if this might be another Kovinsky trap. He added a little extra.” Sitting here. “I’m sorry to hear. The mess was army type. we won’t be disturbed there.

doctor. If Marge agrees. just for once. doctor. I have finally come to terms with reality. realizing she was not alone here. but what will happen once they find out?” “We’ll be off before they know. “Don’t be sorry. “I’m willing to work with you. She felt hope rising.” she completed and he did not contradict her.” “I won’t.” “Do you know something that I should know?” “I can’t tell you right now. But I’d like to see her again. “You know there’s an army coming down from Earth?” “I know. but there are rumors going around…” She cut in between. before…” He broke of his sentence. “Can you do something about it?” “I’m afraid I can’t.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Lyndon sensed her embarrassment. I have bad feelings about the future.” “You can’t go back then. Barry. and we’ll find a way to clear up this mess. Unless…” “Unless?” Lyndon’s face neared her and she caught his conspiratorial look. “I don’t know how long I’ll live. “Unless you and I escape from her and go to Mars. there were others who were also concerned about Kovinsky’s bad moves. I really want to see her and talk things over. realizing he was telling too much. “Before hell breaks loose.” 214 of 333 .” She was not sure whether she should be thrilled or mistrust him and he noticed her internal conflict. and I’m strongly opposed to it. I’ll stay with her and in your settlement.” Her heart missed a beat.

We don’t even have a quarantine facility. “Why don’t you return to your room and have a rest. If he spoke the truth. on one condition: that my friends can go with us. 215 of 333 . I want them to join us. He was one of them and it could well be a trap as a far as she knew.” “Quarantined? There’s no one quarantined. She wanted so much to get back that she was prepared to do whatever he wanted her to do. She was still in doubt if she could trust him yet. I’ll contact you when everything’s ready. Lyndon noticed the grief in her eyes.” His face showed question marks.” She was now more than prepared to leave it up to him and felt comforted that she had found an ally.” “Three of my friends are quarantined here. though it could not take up the loss of her friends. doctor. why should we anyway?” She stared at him bewildered.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “There are colleagues of yours at the dome’s gate. Barry. Howard and Dan would be dead by now. but again she did not want to hear the gen.” He was talking in riddles. “I’ll join you. doctor? May I call you Elisabeth? We’ll have to be fit.” “Never mind. Andrea. “Your friends? I don’t know what you’re talking about. it could only mean that Kovinsky had not rescued them. we won’t use the dome’s gate.

despite the fact he was one of them. Over the last days. He was to the point. She was so frantically busy cycling. Elisabeth. “I’m just letting steam off. he had no time for her. security measures had tightened up. Elisabeth.” She startled and stopped wheeling. Kovinsky could not allow himself to waste more pods. Since her exploit. Lyndon had charged her to stay in her room. You’ll need it. It took Lyndon two days before he was ready to swing into action. like briefing her on battle tactics. Barry. Two of his colleagues had volunteered to join them. he would have to come up with good arguments to the board why three of them went up the spout. and she felt secure with him. she had asked herself how Lyndon would be able to steal a pod. while she was in the fitness room again.” They went to the bench and set down. She listened watchfully and agreed upon everything he said. They would come and fetch her when everybody was having their lunch break in the mess. He paid her an unexpected visit. To their luck Kovinsky was involved in extensive video conferences with the White House and with the upcoming arrival of the USSA. In five hours. they would be on their way to Mars. He was an attractive man. pedaling as mad in a simulation game that took her across the Canadian Rockies. 216 of 333 . They broke up.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 22. trying to push back the sad memories of her deceased friends that she barely saw him sneaking up on her. Otherwise I’d go insane in this asylum. She could not help smiling.” “That won’t last any longer. “Save your strength.

She estimated that they were halfway the Wheel now. using an electronic passkey. After a quarter of an hour – using empty corridors – they stopped at docking station D8/2. but then she recognized one of the crew members and her memory flashed back and it all fell into place. the same who had transported them to the Wheel. They heard the voices between the bridge computer and the 217 of 333 . and nodded them in. She found her old nest back and instantly took possession of it. They all knew the drill. the ship’s engine came to life. she undeniably felt gravitation getting lower. they would all hang. He grinned at her with his mad facial expression.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Lyndon and two other agents. still remembered all those spots where she had spent the first part of her new life. who were clearly together in the conspiracy. The ship had a vague ring to Elisabeth. it was empty. “What now?” she whispered nervously. which meant they were heading to the inner hubs of the Wheel. Otherwise than an old freighter. She shivered. They watched Lyndon breaking in on the docking station passengers’ gate. The ship seemed to be waiting for them. If Kovinsky would learn. no questions asked and as soon as they were settled. but one of the agents put a finger to his lips. Seeing him was like seeing an old acquaintance and she would never have dreamed she would welcome him back as a dear friend. She felt moved. as her feet moved lightly and her body weight had put on sensibly. The crew helped them inside. staring blankly to their passengers. the same whom she had been living with during four hard months. She could dream her way across the ship. Captain Elderly was waiting for them. Then the door slit open and they hastily stepped into the docking station. came to fetch her and lead her through one of the gangway labyrinths that linked the hubs. Two men were standing near the ladder. As they were on foot.

we’ll have to stay on Deimos until the storms have died. but before that. It was the perfect hideout for smuggling freighters. it had landed up on Deimos. She could smell his body odor. Her fear of reviving the e-pod nightmare was unfounded. 218 of 333 .” Deimos. It took the ship half an hour to arrive. everything was okay to her. the slower moon. In the course of time. Deimos was of not much interest to the Wheel. As soon as they were space bound. It was night. “Elderly has agreed to take us to Mars. Lyndon drew closer to her. It contained everything for a medium long stay and could withstand any meteorite impact. there was nothing to do and it was too far off to everything. They were sitting in a metal prefabricated cage.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert pilot. was about the same distance to the Wheel as to Phobos. and even in these awkward circumstances she felt like there was something of an erotic magnetism between them. used by men who did not bother to wash up more than once a week. Elisabeth had been so lucky not having to live in one of these shacks at the time. though. Elisabeth was on the brink of breaking down and Lyndon was aware of it. Elderly and his people had built up a kind of pirate’s nest where they could stock their contraband. and due to Deimos rather shy way of orbiting. the Wheel was not visible for some hours and Elisabeth was happy with that. It smelled of stale sweat and lubricants and only one sparse light bulb threw long and gloomy shadows. it was strong and masculine. It went all so smooth that Elisabeth could hardly believe she was on her way back home. As long as she was away from Kovinsky. It was filthy. the same type once used by the first workers on Mars.

He is too vulnerable at this stage. you will need all the strength you can get. Elisabeth. she felt stronger she should be able to find a way to beat him. let me tell you a few things about John Kovinsky. and he turned into heavy bipolarization. power. I’m sure he’ll be on our side when we get there. but the otherwise successful surgery had a devastating impact on his mind. They changed his reproductive organs for bionic ones. but she wanted to show Lyndon her willingness and she got hold of herself and paid attention.” she said. Soon he developed megalomania as a compensation for his impotence.” “Don’t worry. strapped to a canteen table that could barely hold two persons. Kovinsky had been treated with cancer therapy about eight years ago. and omnipotence.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elderly and the men were out again and Lyndon and Elisabeth were sitting in the four by four-metal shag. Soon we’ll land on Mars and from then on. “For what it’s worth. enjoying their company.” She was not much in the mood for learning anything more on Kovinsky. and frankly. Lyndon caressed her palm with his thumb. after returning from the second expedition. “I really must get back to the dome. Knowing more of his hidden background now. Elisabeth was now able to recognize all the psycho pathological symptoms that lead to delusional fantasies of wealth. They sat closely together. Horner is a close friend of mine. and she took no offense to that intimate gesture. Elisabeth. not all of his agents are willing to follow his 219 of 333 .” She sent Lyndon a grateful look. He will not take a move until the army has arrived. In the meanwhile. Elisabeth. why don’t you get some sleep. “Don’t worry about Jim. It became all so clear and she even felt some remorse with the poor soul that John had turned into. Just give me enough time to get everything organized. “It’s all clear now and I know what to do. things could get heated up a little.

” “No guns. She told Lyndon about them. and then there was still Marge. Then she recalled something she had forgotten with all the commotion: the vanished pods. “He can provide us with heavy artillery if necessary. I bet the ones who are keeping an eye on the dome are fed up by now just having to follow conflicting orders. Frankly I wouldn’t have it the other way.” She did not ask further. no war.” She had put her foot down and Lyndon promised her he would do everything in his power to prevent escalation. Barry. I’m not going to renew my vows if it’s that what you’re thinking. “Why does Elderly work with you?” she asked Lyndon. But this was not the right time.” That was another aspect of megalomaniacs. “I admire that in you. “It’s only for the sake of old remembrances. Many world leaders had worked on their own destruction with their whimsical behavior thereby leading their nations’ fall. I just want to put the matter of our daughter to rights.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert mad incoherencies. Elderly was their dispatch rider for certain matters in exchange of immunity across the MEA territories. if I can prevent it. and then regained his presence of mind. and I’ll certainly do what has to be done. He was in two minds with her question but then decided to cope. knowing this was something between him and Marge.” Their eyes met and they could both read what was going on between them. 220 of 333 . Elisabeth. “We’re in a kind of ‘stretch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ relationship.” she asked. I want this settled peacefully. Elisabeth. “Barry told her. “What about Margaret. He looked surprised.

It will ensure us that John won’t be able to spot us. Elisabeth. “Captain Elderly has come up with a plan. Memories flashed back while Elisabeth watched the approach to the site. As soon as we send a message. emotional souvenirs that she could not share but to her only. he will pick it up and he will be able to locate us. Though she had not spent much time in the camp. It taxied towards the entrance of Base Camp. He told them they would take a roundabout way to mislead the besiegers. and then land on Base Camp.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “If they haven’t hauled them in. I’m afraid we’re too late. It took them six long and scary hours before Mars came in sight. but Lyndon had the decency to ignore it. Time has expired and I fear the worst. old images called up recollections she had long forgotten. Her mind opened to release faded memories. they could precede their voyage to Two Dome. and from then on.” That came out as a declaration of love. I’m afraid we’ll have to ask them face to face. It was noon when the ship smoothly touched down. Barry.” She looked dejected and he tried to cheer her up. Elderly had made some repairs to his old ship and when they came around. while they slit into the suits again and took their seats.” “I have to know. 221 of 333 . he had a big grin on his tanned face. I’m really excited I’m with you at my side. Is there any chance you contact your friends in the dome? If only for the sake of your comradeship. Elderly handed out portable halogen floodlights before they got out of the spacecraft. Barry.” “We don’t want John to know where we are.” “Thanks. without your help things would look desperate. Lyndon shook hands on it. and Elderly roared the engines up. Elisabeth. He needed some scrap there anyway.

you’ll have to figure out how to do that without having us blown to smithereens. It was large enough to let a truck pass. one of Lyndon’s men. “Why don’t we use the equipment around here. Only a five centimeters thick metal door separated her from the way out and homeward bound. They all clustered round the bulldozer. They followed him and his mates through the lot until they came to the decontamination space. with accommodation options. but it was dead.” They all stared at the gate and Elisabeth felt kicked in the teeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert At the look of it.” Hank. we’ll have to blast our way through.” He was looking at a six-wheeler. It’s a bulldozer basically.” “Could you fire up that engine?” Lyndon asked. “The door won’t open by itself.” Lyndon wavered. buddy. It looked like a sub frame on man-size wheels. the camp was left out in a rush. It can take all of us. tools and abandoned vehicles stood in a disarrayed heap in the main hall. “There’s your exit. “This gizmo here should still work. There too all sorts of material were stashed. If they could not come up with a proper solution. If you want to go on. Elderly let his light shine on a gateway locked by a metal door. much to Eldery’s joy. His voice reverberated in the helmets and gave Elisabeth the creeps. “I’ve driven one of those during space training. A heap of junk blocked it. All sorts of machinery. proposed. all would be for nothing. “Using explosions? Are you sure?” “The only way out. leaving everything behind what was too heavy or too scrappy. though the solar energy generator was still intact and in working order. iron and plastic things piled up.” he said. with a small capsule on top of 222 of 333 . They checked the nuclear energy supply system.” “What’d you mean. The strong beam of the flashlights disclosed how the place had turned into a scrape yard. if we can hook it up to the sun panels.

“Could be good to go. To their relief the outlets were still working. had a proposition. the other guy.” Marvin shouted to Hank. “I’ll hook a couple of spare batteries on I’ve found here. It’s from the same company that makes disposable long johns. These things were meant for long life use. Marv.” Hank said in a sardonic tone.” They looked about for a drill. and still working. “Maybe we might find a drill somewhere that still works. That bulldozer is meant for shuffling big rocks away.” Lyndon said. “If we could bring that thing to life again. Marvin was punching holes in the gate to weaken its resistance.” “Damned right you are. “Ten years old. There were no windows or portholes. so it should do the job. tapping him on the shoulder. we could use it to smash the gate. while Hank.” 223 of 333 . we should be able to bring them to life again.” he mumbled. who seemed to have the most technical expertise. and the solar energy generator soon filled the hall with its roaring noise. Marv. That way it will reduce the resistance when we ram it.” Marvin. Mark hooked it on. Only the driver had a small chink that could pass for a windshield. and as they don’t need any liquids. thanks for the suggestion. even Elisabeth tried to do her bit by removing the stockpiled up junk from the gate. “That’s what I call American craftsmanship!” “Let’s hope so. Reddish dust covered it wholly and it did not look much inviting. was checking on the bulldozer’s engine. It was an easy job with Martian gravity. “I’m going to drill holes in that door. They got their hands on a solar driven laser drill.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert it. It had a large triangular plough attached in front.

the bulldozer started to move forward. The cargo hold could hardly accommodate two more persons and Elisabeth and Marvin sat in contorted postures. The faint dashboard lights threw ghastly shadows and Elisabeth had a sinking feeling. It was gloomy dark inside. the engine block bellowed to action with a burst of black steam. It was gloomy outside. I’m going to ram that blasted door. folks. Lyndon in front next to Hank who sat at the steering wheel and Elisabeth and Marvin in the back. They burst into the gate. Hank stopped the bulldozer to a halt. He clutched the bulldozer into full speed. 224 of 333 . smashed it down with a cloud of dust. “Brace yourself. first hurdle taken. He and his crew took cover behind a pile of metal boxes in case the engine would blow up in their faces. give us a second to cover our asses before you crank that piece of shit. “Guys. shook off the dust and gently wobbled on its wheels. the faint sunlight was covering the surface with long and pitch-black shadows and the sky was gray. folks. We’ve got still a long way to go.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He plugged the energy cable in the jack and at the first try. The energy supply came boosting in and no more then five minutes later the bulldozer was loaded and chugging. and suddenly they were out and in the open.” he said. The storms had downed. people!” Lyndon yelled and they followed him inside and took seats. They could not lift their heads and they were forced to pull their knees up. let’s move on. Good luck!” Elderly called out. “Okay. The cabin was even narrower then it looked from the ground.” Lyndon said. Hank geared the block up and with a heavy jerk. “Let’s move in.

their only other problem was their oxygen supply. “That depends on the power supply. Hank was deeply concentrated on steering clear of the traps but he managed to keep a steady speed. “We’re trained to such occasions. we’ve taken survival courses in the prospect of settling an FBI agency on Mars. we should reach Two Dome in about twenty hours and then have Jim pick us up. is this thing able to do that?” Elisabeth went on. Nobody reacted. “I hope the engine will keep up. they would strand with few hours of air left.” Hank took the airstrip as far as he could manage before making a U-turn to the rougher ground. they would have to overcome a lot of small craters. If we can proceed at a steady speed of say ten kilometers an hour. Lyndon did not want to tell Elisabeth what would happen if it ran out. We can come through if we take the proper measures. They all knew it was a one-way ticket.” Lyndon was much concerned with their energy status.” “Twenty hours? Can we do that? I mean. pits. “It should. If the bulldozer failed on the way. they can handle everything. Lyndon turned to her. He sounded worried. It was like sitting in a rowboat after a shipwreck in the middle of the ocean with no food and too much passengers. 225 of 333 . The engine’s racket droned through their bodies and soon. “These things are made for Mars. but what they saw was not much encouraging. Just relax and don’t waste any more air than you need. If the bulldozer would not let them down.” Hank shouted. groves and treacherous torses. The searchlight could cover an area the size of a ball field. they were covered with creeping in red sand.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “How long will it take?” Elisabeth asked Lyndon.” Lyndon shouted back.

had more trouble keeping his eyes open and he too slumbered away. If this went on. No one felt the need to talk. She had to rub off the sticky sand from her visor constantly.made them lose body fluid at speed rate and she had drunk every drop from her half liter water container hours ago. with Marv sitting immobile like he was napping. Lyndon was constantly checking the positional coordinates and from time to time passing fluctuations to Hank in a subdued tone. who was older then Hank. 226 of 333 . Marvin. Her legs were numb and she could not feel her lower parts anymore. she might experience inflammations. From time to time. and the condensation damps dripped across her body. She did not feel much hunger. the pebbles ricocheting against the metal and the contraption’s deep animal growling. The heater made the suit humid and clammy. a regular pattern that freed her from growing into panic. and then dozed off again. the thirst was much worse. Being encapsulated for hours with the air-conditioning at top level – they were traveling in minus 150 centigrade . and the bumping into hard rocks. Hank sat at his wheel. She tasted iron at the back of her mouth and felt bile in her throat. she dozed off. Elisabeth felt wretched with the bulldozer’s rocking and rolling. She felt like living in a hot and dark cocoon with vague shadows moving around her. Squeezed in. absorbed by the dangers that laid ahead. she had no way to stretch her limbs.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 23. and he was working hard to keep a straight course. the pits and the ridges. then woke up with a start at the next bouncing.

and then his lips sought hers and soon they were tongue kissing.” Lyndon’s calm voice broke into her headset. a pink sky opened with sparse clouds peacefully drifting over by the higher layer winds. Barry. It did not sound much reassuring the way he said it. He leaned to her. gentlemen.” Lyndon said. she felt miserable knowing it had just been a dream. It took him a while before he answered. She tried to get a glimpse of the surface in the small windshield. We’re on solid ground now and can speed up a little. Hank’s windshield wipers were fiercely trying to get rid of the persistent sticky stuff and he could hardly see what was ahead of him.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Night fell and it was still darker then before. she was all sweaty and burning up. “Still five hours to go. “Readings. Elisabeth had drifted off in a feverish sleep. but could not see a thing. being so intensively engaged with his navigation job that she had to repeat her question. The headlights reflected the omnipresent dirt that whirled above surface. It made her revive again. When she woke up again. She dreamed about Lyndon.” He had sounded like he had whispered in her ear. “72. Marv. Barry.” 227 of 333 . It was getting lighter again and suddenly dawn broke. so I’m afraid we’ll have to put our heads together. She watched them look at their wrist computer and then pass the data to him. She stared at Lyndon’s sturdy contours and for a moment. his handsome strong face a couple of centimeters from hers. “I’ve got 81. “How far still?” she asked Lyndon. Still five hours? “How much air do we have?” she asked in a troubled voice. “83 minutes.” Marvin said in a calm and steady voice. It seems I’ve done more work then you. She began to fear that something was not going according to plan. the long and frightening darkness had gone. “We’ll see. gentlemen.” Hank said.

Now she came to face the terrible truth. wrestling to come to surface only to find out she was headed to a wild rapid. but I’m afraid we’ll have to make some drastic decisions along the way.” Marvin said and so did Hank. Maybe you might pray for our rescue while we’re discussing the matter.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What’s going on.” “Don’t be upset. Of course. “Just drive on.” She felt like falling into deep water. She had a dry throat and a throbbing headache. 228 of 333 . you idiots.” “I don’t get it. “Well gentlemen.” Elisabeth yelled. all four of us. You just can’t quit now. we’ve come a long way. we will drive on.” Elisabeth went on. we could be there just in time.” Silence again. I’ve tried several times.” Lyndon said. tell me better news.” “Our only hope now is to get in contact with Jim Horner. why don’t you rev up that damn engine. “We’ve still 140 minutes to go. but this board radio doesn’t reach far and we still have too much static. His voice did not sound sarcastic. it’s been a privilege to work with you.” His voice was so toneless that she first did not grasp what he was trying to tell her. Elisabeth. Barry. Barry?” Elisabeth asked. They would all die before they had reached their destination. still refusing to admit what was happening before her nose. “I don’t want to hear that. Barry. “Don’t give up now. we don’t have enough air to make it all of us. “Likewise. Elisabeth. so it looks like we haven’t enough juice to get there off scot-free. “To keep it simple.

to finally die convulsively in the dirt.” Why didn’t she have to worry? What was he hiding for her? She suddenly became rebellious. please Barry. She did not want to die.” Lyndon said. “Nothing’s right here. “Don’t give up. to see her people.” “Are we all going to die here. as if she was not there. They did not ask for her reading. Elisabeth. coming from the grave he was digging for himself. His voice sounded hollow. trying to get out in a last attempt to save herself. not in this eerie rocky desert and under these weird skies. “In half an hour we’ll decide. her mind would not accept the cruel fact. I hate all this. it won’t be that hard. She remembered him saying they had been trained to such occasions. “Don’t worry about you. in a creepy bulldozing coffin. and there was no backup plan. to be home again. Elisabeth. Get us out of here. “Easy now. Barry?” she asked in a thin tone. she was certain they would sacrifice her for their own lives. and in her embroiled mind. fight to the last minute. she did not deserve this kind of death. It’s alright. 22 to Hank. in a soiled space outfit.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She could almost sense that Lyndon was giving up on the outlook of rescue in time. 34 to Marvin and 38 to Lyndon. they could hear the tremble in her voice.” 229 of 333 .” Elisabeth begged. Barry. call Horner to come and rescue us. Now this was one. suffocating with the others. not here. The next reading was fifty minutes later. She wished she could hold him in her arms and comfort him. She wanted to live. Still ninety minutes to go. please do something.

don’t favor me.” “Keep still. he seemed to consider it from all angles. Hank had eased down to a stop. but then Lyndon broke off the connection.” Elisabeth tried to see their faces through the dust-covered helmets. but she was looking at dehumanized outlines and only the cumulative heavy and accelerating breathing told her the men were building up a lot of tension now. 230 of 333 . “Gentlemen. we all know Elisabeth’s too valuable to the settlement. “Gentlemen. “Barry. Lyndon put the reader down. “You can’t do that. we’ll have to draw straws.” Lyndon did not argue. shut off the engine and a deadly silence entered the vehicle. Marvin took side of Hank’s decision. She now realized what they had in mind with her all the time. we’ve made up our mind. She started to cry. they were certain they heard voices in the air. in their feverish minds. Elisabeth. trying to catch a human sound. and they all intensively listened to the static noise. it’s clear that the calls don’t come through. they would sacrifice their lives for hers.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Her pleading voice persuaded him to make a last attempt. and sometimes. we all have a life to live. and it’s time we should prepare for the final solution now. Try to get her in the dome alive. Who’ll be first?” Lyndon’s words made Elisabeth shudder with tremor. He called up Two Dome on every minute. long sobbing weeping while the men were conferring. Lyndon. So.” His imperative voice shut her up. I think you should take care of Elisabeth. Elisabeth watched them hovering over who was to stay and who was to go.

When Lyndon tapped her on the helmet. a small container that could be plugged in the oxygen pack. It guaranteed a merciful death in five minutes when stranded in nowhere land. he was trying to hold back his emotions. Marvin and Hank agreed we had to live on. She was in shock after she had learned what had gone on right before her nose but she mechanically helped him to remove Marvin’s and Hank’s corpses out of the vehicle. remember that if something on the way would go out of hand and you’d be the sole survivor. Elisabeth did not want to hear the deals they made. while Lyndon hooked up the agents’ oxygen to his and her outfit. He convinced her to help him take the bodies out because it would gain on their energy supply and they would move much faster then. “It’s over. They’ve given their lives for us. having witnessed how his friends and partners in fate had chosen deliberate death. She did not notice how Marvin and Hank’s lives were slipping swiftly away. she came out of her trance and put her receiver back on again. 231 of 333 . Elisabeth.” His voice sounded harsh. They had to let them go and saw them hitting the ground in a pool of dust. the exchange of best wishes and finally the unplugging of the oxygen containers and plugging in the poison. She did not want to hear anymore and she shut down her receiver and introverted away from the hideous reality. It carried the name of ‘extra H2O’.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The almost clinical triage to decide who was to die and who not was too much for her. The workers’ suits contained something that few knew about. Then Lyndon took Hank’s place in and Elisabeth sat beside him now. but it was a lethal mixture of hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide.

“I’m coming over. “Pelsmaker? No. talk to me. bro. just kept on driving. “You mean Abbas and Hapsburger? They’re okay.” She felt shattered. Lyndon did not talk. so get that door open.” Elisabeth let out a sigh of relief. Jim.” Silence again. keeping his eyes on the terrain.” “Cut the small talk. but she was aware what that ‘hopefully’ meant. Stay put. Lyndon was softly speaking and it took her a while before it dawned on her they had arrived unharmed. So. dammit. “Is that you. he didn’t make it. have the others made it?” Elisabeth cut in before he disconnected. nobody knew where she’d gone. hopefully I mean. “Is Dan Pelsmaker there too?” she added out of breath. are you there. thinking of John and Jack. “Jim.” Horner burst out. We’re waiting outside the service pipe and we don’t have that much juice left to hang out any longer. will you. “Watch your language. then Jim was back. 232 of 333 . Howard and Andrea had made it. I’ve doctor McIntosh at my side. her first glimpse was a small pockmarked cupola hewed out in a rock face. It’s Barry. they heard murmurs in their headset. The second she woke up again. “Where she’s been.” For some seconds there was only atmospheric noise but then Horner’s voice came bursting in and Elisabeth gave a scream. Bar? Where the fuck are you?” Lyndon took covert glances to Elisabeth. Barry spotted it and tapped her consoling on the arm.” “Jim. They managed to pull through. and that he was calling the dome.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She was ever so dead tired that she was unable to keep her eyes open. we’ve been waiting for her.

Jesus. Barry. We’re same skin. There was a lot of hugging and crying and hollering before they came to their senses and marched off to the reception area like a triumphant parade. They linked arms. a door opened and Horner. Elisabeth said to herself. Not to worry though.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Okay. widely grinning. “Brotherhood. Linda and Pete stepped in. It's so good to be back home. Jim. level with me.” They left the bulldozer at the doorstep. After they had dressed up again with new suits from the wardrobe closet. How do we get in?” Horner told them in cut words. On the go signal I want you to jump in as if your lives depend on it. looking at a massive metal door blocking their way some ten meters further on. Now. and they dove in. “I’m really glad Jim's on our side. They yelled ‘hurray’ and shouted with joy. the door slit up. looking over the moon. She was smiling all the way in a sort of 233 of 333 . pushed the shaft door open and stood bunched up in the narrow corridor. we’ll be there to hail you in. which could be close to the truth. The settlers were waiting for them.” Elisabeth said sincerely. Lyndon flashed a look at Elisabeth. the blurring high-pitched tone went off. we’re going to pressurize the airlock behind that door.” They waited bold still for the signal. “Glad you made it in one piece. guys. Horner told them to take their helmets off and then they greedily sucked in the chemical air that sensed like vanilla cream. they stripped to their underwear and stepped into the decontamination room and let the frisky shower water run over their heated bodies and they lustfully drank the water like thirsty animals. Then. Horner’s voice came bursting in. Elisabeth.

they’ve been through hard times. that when she finally hit the sack. and at the same time she wept for Dan. Elisabeth sadly thought. So. all two hundred and fifty – no.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert delirious manner. Barry raised his voice. “Folks.’ They all agreed. the shock of having returning safely had worn her out so much. Barry was right though. She hugged Howard and Andrea. why let them have a good night’s rest first and tomorrow we’ll thank the Lord for their salvation. minus one. They were all there. she instantly went out like a light for twelve hours on end. 234 of 333 . Elisabeth took all the faces greedily in and felt like she had been come out of death again. I suggest we leave these people to come to ease.

but Howard and Andrea had taken care of them already. which made the pod jump up again. to land down some fifty meters further on. were capable of holding their breath for ten minutes long in minus sixty while hopping 235 of 333 . Both agents however. The agents had grown fond of the settlers. first thing she did was asking about the toy pets. the instance a normal person could hold his breath. they had been pulled over. Horner did not know about Kovinsky’s foul playing. First. they had decided it was time to go. and no rescue party had shown up. Howard and Andrea had made it on their own. which caused instant death. They had freed themselves from the pod by pushing the chicken switch. the time of rescue had passed. Hearing that Kovinsky’s party had not come to the escapees’ rescue. Then three minutes later. but to make them harmless instead. While waiting for help in the pod. and the settlement had gained three devoted members. As he had figured out. The hatch was blown out. and bit by bit. he came up to Elisabeth to tell her the latest news. he was so enraged that he spontaneously joined ranks with the community. while sending out a last distress call. Both ISA agents had gone through severe and rough survival training before they engaged. draining the rest of energy supply. as was decided by the makers.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 24. which did two things at interval times. as they had become a vital part of their community. After Lyndon had spent fraternizing time with Horner and his two agents. and with the last gulp of air turning into dioxide. it fired off its last energy blast. They had made the wise decision not to destroy them. When Elisabeth had come to her senses again. they became aware that it was not coming. voluntary underwent the depilatory treatment.

I’m talking to you for I am going to die as a result of terminal leukemia. I would suggest you try to break in the Wheel’s server on Phobos. They dug something up that Dan had brought to safety. with every success the number of enemies grow.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert over rocks and ditches. and had patiently waited for help. monitored by the medical bots. Horner had picked up their distress signal and had waited for them. but as you know. thanks to Mars I’m a dead man. and made it in time. They ran for their lives to the pipe. He had not dared to push the red button. I’ve grown fond of you and I watched your experiment growing into something wonderful. A serious warning. He had landed further on. Instead. I am really sorry I cannot stay alive and watching how you pursue your great work. But I don’t want to leave life without telling you what you have to know. they were in sickbay. Yes. For the time being. You might fall into a big surprise. a flash memory card buried under his tongue. and I am certain it will go on to be successful. Elisabeth: keep away from John and do everything in your power to keep him out of your community. My genes are totally fucked up since my stay ten years ago. when he realized it was over. he had used the euthanasia kit he had taken from the morgue on himself. Howard and Andrea had tracked him down and searched him over. but with you as his opponent. He wants to call the shots here. he would never win. They were suffering from radioactive burns. Elisabeth and Lyndon sat together while they listened to his last will. she wanted to know was how Dan had died. He died a calm and peaceful dead. It was a recorded message from Jack. but otherwise their constitution was strong enough to pull it through. I really would love to 236 of 333 . I’ve never had the guts to tell you what happened with the last expedition. “Elisabeth. Enemies like John Kovinsky who envies you and who can’t bear that you paramount him. Dan was not so fortunate. Then.

The satellite dish section was still intact. the community did not know about Kovinsky declaration of war.” Horner said with a grim face.” Elisabeth explained. rubbed his bald head nervously. Margaret proved to be a stubborn castle keeper. the reflex of switching off her personality was still vividly present and she did not want to bargain about it. Having followed orders all her life.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert be part of it.” To Elisabeth’s surprise. “You can’t blame her for wanting her old life back. You cannot have sick people on board. here’s a hint for you: jack doggone. but she refused to come out unless Kovinsky ordered her to do so. Farewell. they did not know his agents were watching them permanently and that the US Space Army was heading their way. In case you can break into the server. as I want this message to be short and kept away from nosily eyes. but I am afraid I would just be a pain in the ass. You might be the winner. Kovinsky had ordered Margaret to guard the satcom section with her life. I’m stopping now. you know that. He was sitting on the bed. “She’s desperate to please Kovinsky. Also. “She seems to have the time of her life. and remember: castle keep at all times. Never give up.” 237 of 333 . She had transformed it into a permanent command post that she besieged with her seven chosen soldiers. But Dan’s death and Howard and Andrea’s miraculous escape triggered questions and soon the community had bad feelings about what was going their way. Kovinsky’s accusation about the sabotaging turned out it was a big frame-up. They had a direct line via the intercom with the satcom and Elisabeth tried to put some sense in her head.

but he managed to persuade her to open the door for him and let him in. and when he came back a quarter of an hour later.” He ordered everyone to keep off the premise and they returned to their own quarters. Barry?” Elisabeth asked Lyndon.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Horner shook his head. but Lyndon brushed it aside. we’ll have to storm in. and Margaret’s agreed to come out.” “Thank heaven. 238 of 333 . He would go to Margaret by himself so that she would not be alarmed and be willing to reason with him.” “What things?” Horner sounded annoyed. and truthfully.” Lyndon came up with a plan. “When is she going to hand it over?” Horner asked before Lyndon could answer her.” Horner shrugged. “What have you told her. “You’re a hell of a woman. they knew he didn’t have to clarify. “Just give her time to pull her self together. explaining what’s going on here. but Marge’s posing a real danger to us. we’ve come a long way. Lyndon kept Elisabeth's company. she found it a comforting reflection. She asked for a favor though.” Horner mumbled. she wants things straightened out first. willing to clutch at straws. She’s already sent her crew out. “We’ve settled it once and for all. they knew the moment he walked up to them. We need the room. that we wouldn’t wait outside for her. It took him some minutes to talk Margaret over the intercom. Elisabeth. closely as if he was her bodyguard. She’s been there for days and maybe she wants to have a small farewell celebration on her own. I want to send messages to Earth. “Okay then. “In half an hour or so. we can wait a bit longer. If she doesn’t open the hatch. smiling all over. sounding elated herself. He held out his hand to shake upon it. standing up for everyone. They all agreed.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert About half an hour later. followed by Elisabeth. Marge was gone. Elisabeth did not go in either. The lights had gone out and they had to wait for flashlights before they could see the ravage done. she walked back to her room and locked herself up. A bluish fog was floating at the ceiling. She was more in a stew about him than about Marge. shaken up and. Lyndon ran off. trying to find their way across the mess. guiding them towards the satcom. They arrived out of breath and came to a brisk stop at the serrated hole in the wall that was once the entrance to the communication room. It was a long way to get there. They looked out for Margaret and discovered her body shriveled up in a corner. Clouds of acid fumes penetrated their nostrils and caused them to heave. He did not come nearer. She resolved she should stick at his side at any time. Lyndon stood frozen. The smoke alarms came to life and the howling and screaming began. a heavy explosion shook the site to its foundations. and some of the people. It came from a fair distance. The blast had ripped off her jumpsuit and her right side was carbonized to the bone. in a daze. but chances were that Lyndon would blame the fault on himself. Her mind drifted away from Marge to Lyndon. The explosion had wrecked the room thoroughly and left the walls scorched and crinkled. but it was so powerful that the shock waves caused so much pandemonium that cups fell off the tables and people had to latch on not to tumble down. Jesus heaved his stentorian voice and calmed them down. she turned back. but black smoke billowing their way. whatever they might have talked about. The explosion had been so powerful that all equipment had melted down. Jim and his pals were already in. 239 of 333 .

They could not keep bodies for a long time because ammonia would set free from the decomposition. if I had known…” He didn’t react at first. and they carried her to the combusting furnace near the nuclear plant to cremate her the next morning.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The agents took up the sad task of moving Marge into a body bag. Lyndon was not asleep. she was lying on her back and Lyndon was making love to her. “I’m sorry. Elisabeth. still dressed and he clearly had not slept a wink that night. leading a working party to fix up the sitcom section. Barry. She felt remorse because she had not come over to him last night. while she took it for granted that he had spent the night in lonesome mourning. Barry. His face showed lines of deep sorrow. “I just can’t bear it that she has died for nothing. it could have been a technical malfunction for all I know. Then. He evidently had listed all the points during his staying up and he had sorted everything out. She felt his strong body move when he turned to her. Early morning. and before she knew. then pulled himself together.” His rather clinical observation surprised her.” She moved closer to him and gently took his face in her hands and kissed him softly on the lips. The door was ajar and she peered in. She sat quietly at his side and put her arm around his broad shoulders. 240 of 333 . “Don’t put the blame on yourself. We may be lucky the explosion didn't affect much damage to the place. He requited her signals and they kissed again. She was my wife and ---” “Say no more. he sat on his bed with a faraway look in his eyes. his emotions got the upper hand. while Horner was away. We don’t know what happened. Elisabeth paid Lyndon a visit.

they’re dead now and who knows who else will follow. let’s not spoil this precious moment. I’ve been thinking…” “I’m sorry. “Elisabeth. Barry. “Don’t talk. tell me what’s bothering you.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He used such vehement force that she was defenseless against his passion and she let herself go without restrain. Afterwards they laid closed-eyed side by side.” “When the army troops come in. Barry. Why should Marge do something like this? “Maybe she had decided this community wasn’t worth all the trouble. she rested her head on his hard shoulder. it could be messy. but then again.” “I’m not really sure if it was an accident or if Marge has done it deliberately.” Her words sounded cold. Barry.” His words frightened her. 241 of 333 . “Killing yourself has nothing to do with symbols. “Elisabeth…” She put a finger to his lips. It’s been so good. Marv and Hank. Barry. he’s done already too much damage. resting on one elbow. we can only conclude that she wasn’t fit for Mars. but at the sound of the awakening community. But if it’s true what you say.” She wished they could stay that way until the end of times. “Negotiate? Not with John Kovinsky. Maybe it was a symbolic act. Marge.” Lyndon circumspectly went on. Is it worth to sacrifice these good people? Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate?” She turned to him. and for the first time in years she had an orgasm that nearly knocked her out. she knew the spell was broken. Dan. Margaret was Kovinsky’s choice and not hers.

as he clearly stepped out of line. She really hoped Lyndon was right about everything. Barry? Jim has rescued us.” “I don’t know. I’m as good an agent as he is. Barry. Howard had suggested that before. She thought of Kovinsky’s troops watching them outside. trust me. Elisabeth. He has no way of contacting the Wheel with the explosion and all. but if the military is going to take over. We should keep a close eye on him. Barry. If you think about it.” Lyndon stopped arguing. 242 of 333 . and if it was true. it seems kind of strange that he so quickly deserted. She was not sure of anything. His hand glided to her right breast and cupped it in a full grip. He let his tongue wander along her neck and nibbled on her earlobe and she forgot his defeatist remarks. Kovinsky will be in a lot of trouble. then Horner was double-crossing them. We can’t give up on our mission. I don’t know where he hides it.” If she remembered well.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Elisabeth. but if you say so…” “I’m just telling that it might be possible that this whole craze is just meant to bring us to our knees. I have the strong impression that Jim knows more than we do about what’s going on outside. what with the USSA? Is that a trick too?” “I’m not sure.” “He has. It would be the right moment to start negotiations and let him know we’re not impressed by his insane hoaxes. I don’t see it as deserting and I really want to believe he’s on our side. and Jim could be part of it. you know that.” “Why do you say so.” “That’s out of the question. not anymore. He’ll consider it surrender. but somewhere some transmitter must be around. “But then.

partly because Marge had betrayed on them. I fear no evil. Jesus had put up soft gospel organ music and had dimmed the lights to create a serene mood. Barry. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He leads me beside still waters. and partly because they did not want to remember how vulnerable they too were. 243 of 333 . Jesus introduced a psalm they all knew. almost all settlers gathered in the auditorium to attend a memorial service. “There’s your answer. Jesus made a heartwarming speech that did not do her wrong. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And they would not leave Mars. Then. He restores my soul.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert That evening. He makes me lie down in green pastures. Mars had become theirs. he talked about the community’s future.” Elisabeth whispered when Jesus had finished. They would have to be strong and listen to what God was telling them. and it made them grow stronger then ever. A camera was put in the furnace room and showed Marge in her body bag on the conveyor belt. Not every settler had joined the ceremony. He made them revive the thrills and how they had been able to survive so far. I shall not want. Some settlers softly cried. held by Jesus. He did not talk about dead. The bag was covered with cut flowers from Sharon’s personal green house. It was so fitting that the words brought comfort to their souls. though.

It just showed how close life and death were. Your rod and Your staff. so you might say his death had a purpose. He died with lung cancer. Barry. and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. they comfort me. someone pushed the remote control knob and the bag started slowly to move towards the oven. “Walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Elisabeth had not wept. “I know what you mean. The rite was over. my dad took me to some congregation church in southern Alabama. and knowing that Margaret had found peace now. Elisabeth.” Lyndon’s laconic remark did not shock her. “Anyway. I’ve decided it’s time to start organizing some things. She was aware she had to show strength to her people. Elisabeth. “Like what?” 244 of 333 . When I was a kid. felt like a chastening. that’s terrible to hear that.” she said to Lyndon while they returned to her room. Nobody spoke much. It did not really help him in any way. his life insurance helped me through college. his voice sounding more unwavering now.” “Oh.” “Well. Surely. At a wink. Then the screen died out. that’s what I feel we’re going through.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert for You are with me.” Lyndon said. they all were impressed by their first death within the domes' walls. goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. It reminds me of the good old days. making them realize how vulnerable they had become.

“Jim Horner…” she tried to tell more. but Lyndon managed surprisingly well to keep a balanced rhythm and when she came. but he put her gently to the floor and regained his severe stance. which worked her up instantly.” “Still. Martian gravity did no good to the men. the community doesn’t want to feel in danger. Lyndon came in and she noticed a strange glance in his eyes. I need it. Elisabeth. “Oh Barry…” He drove her against the wall and lifted her higher to bury his face between her breasts. He put his arms around her waist. Forget what I have been telling about him for the time being. Barry.” Though they had made love that morning. 245 of 333 . Lyndon had made coffee and while pouring their mugs. he handed orders out to Horner and Horner seemed to submit to Lyndon’s self-proclaimed leadership. she suddenly got butterflies all over again.” He kissed her and then went out again.” She vanished in the adjoining bathroom to fix her looks and while she was drying her hands under the heater.” “Relax. Barry?” She asked in a concerned voice. this makes everything right again.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Like figuring out what to do when the troops come marching in. “Thanks. wrapped in a bath towel. Elisabeth. “Let’s make love. leaving her with the butterflies. “What’s the matter. I’m going to take some measures. she let out a scream of lust. We both need it. I have asked Jim to come over to discuss matters. We still need him. lifted her from the floor as if she was a doll and grabbed her in a firm grip. but he ripped her towel off. Horner had arrived. She caressed him tenderly while he searched for her nipples. When she came back in the room. She felt the desire to go on and on.

“He once told me his version of Darwin’s evolution theory. but it did not show on him. Sometimes sacrifices were acceptable if they could spare the lives of hundreds.” Both men stared at her. Sticking like glue to their masters. pets. She had to admit Andrea and Howard were right and now she agreed that taking a life was not always morally objectionable. Next point on his agenda was Jack’s odd message. Lyndon shrugged his shoulders as to express this conversation was not of his concern. Elisabeth kept staring at Lyndon with mixed feelings. He said something about people being dogs. He was convinced that Jack had left an encrypted message in his text and somewhere they should find more. Barry.” Lyndon looked doubtful. What made it that a man could be on his feet again so fast after he had his moment of pleasure? She knew she was still blushing and tingling all over. trying to find out what she meant. “I know what it means.” Horner muttered at last.” Her voice trembled. “He wanted to tell me he was no longer obeying orders.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert While he was talking. She more then ever was convinced Kovinsky had deliberately led Jack to his dead. Horner was trying to make sense out of that jack doggone. Dog gone.” Horner mused. “Oh my God!” Elisabeth shouted out. They had printed it out and Elisabeth read it aloud. They had been making love like wild beasts only some minutes ago.” she completed. 246 of 333 . “I bet it’s an access code. the mysterious code word Jack had lumbered them up with. while Lyndon was a cool cat as ever. “Jack’s no longer dog. but Horner seemed to catch up promptly. “He didn’t want to go on with that sick game and he knew how to hit Kovinsky.

and she was aware she would choose Lyndon if she had too. but she knew something had put a wall between the two men. The answer is there. we’ve got enough trouble as it is. “We must break in. 247 of 333 .” Elisabeth turned to Lyndon resolutely.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I’m thinking something else too.” she hastily chimed in. it’s not worth our lives and that of your friends.” Lyndon looked like he was pissed off. “Let’s leave it for the time being. It could mean a password to a hidden message. as you said. Elisabeth was aware of a clash growing between these two power figures and it was about to explode in her face. Barry. we’re up against the wall. “Barry. but maybe my son might help us out. Barry.” “In that case we should find out. a message how to deal with Kovinsky and everything else. on Phobos. even if she proved wrong. Elisabeth. Barry. He and Elderly and ---“ Horner cut in between. Elisabeth. don’t you see? What is the matter? Don’t you want to fight anymore?” Horner looked pugnacious.” Elisabeth could not grasp why he so suddenly refused to cope with them. “So what. Stay away from it. folks? Are we going back. is it that what you want? I don’t want to risk my neck a second time.” “Clues hidden in that server?” “That’s right. “Yes.” They calmed down. “We’ll try to find out what to do without stirring up the fire.

To Elisabeth and Lyndon the drug had an overwhelming outcome. and having consideration for their environment. their trip’s dramatic aftermath. 248 of 333 . Lyndon was dressed in a white long robe and sitting stoically in a high-backed chair with a former hairdresser at his side. it was perfect for discontinuing the urge for alcohol. and synthetic drugs. Lyndon stood up and made a flippant bow. He let the man cut off his curly hairdo while a choir of five girls was singing a song that Linda had composed to the occasion. According to Linda.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 25. There were still other striking effects with hoasca. more willing to accept the communal living. He had to undergo the haircutting initiation in the presence of every settler. Then hoasca tea was handed out. His hair would be symbolically burned in the furnace. Honeysuckle incense was burning and coiling up in the dim light. had made them more vulnerable and the drug offered them a sense of accordance with life again. Sharon had succeeded in growing the seeds in small quantity in her little greenhouse. It was time for Lyndon’s initiation as a new member of the community. They felt the need to practice good deeds. The almost unbearable weight of responsibility on their shoulders. People learned to stay calmer. a procedure Linda had worked out. more confident. watching their words. but it worked well as a common agent. The performance took place in the auditorium. nicotine. The tea was not made adequately strong to produce hallucinations. and got a round of applause and more chanting instead. The auditorium was transformed into a temple of serene happiness.

Liz. after another arousing night of love. seemingly more susceptible to the drug’s upshot. Barry?” She whispered. Lyndon was an insatiable lover and he carried Elisabeth to seventh heaven. not even me. He just locked everything and every one out of her life. “Hear me out. 249 of 333 .” She sluggishly opened her eyes. he decided he should prepare her for what had to come. She practically dragged him back to her room where they ardently made love. Liz. He sat up. his torso still covered with a fine layer of sweat.” Lyndon went on. “I want you to pin back your ears. Liz.” “Do I want to know more bad news. He had this kind of impact on her. though he did not tamper with their daily life. shielding her away from reality and by doing this.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Elisabeth. he put her in a depending situation towards him. As long as Elisabeth was not fit to do her job. melted at the sight of the hairless Lyndon in his white angelic outfit. which she otherwise hated. Bit by bit. Elisabeth lost her impact on the community. At some point. obsessively wanting to be near Lyndon and every time they were together. they imperceptibly slipped into his or her place. I have to plead guilty for something. “I feel I need to tell you. staring at him dreamily. I need you to know there are matters that we can’t have power over. not really wanting to get back on her feet again. he took over and gradually gained complete control over the community. still dazed by his tremendous and tireless sexual explosions. Lyndon did not bother how she was alarmingly slipping away. it had become an addiction and she was constantly yearning for him. She even did not mind him calling her ‘Liz’.

I know their kind. Barry.” she softly said. staring at the ceiling. he’s just a fancy talking preacher man.” He was good-humored again and she sighed with relief. caressing his head. she found herself between the devil and the deep blue sea. She told him they could perfectly have shared leadership with the two of them. the community will approve too.” “I can’t introduce you as our leader. but on the other hand. you can’t.” He rolled away from her. You can’t manage that. I know how to resist them. She did not want to lose Mendez over a trivial thing like leadership. Lyndon snorted. You must give over the overall leadership. “Mendez builds up castles in the air. “You’re in no position anymore to decide what’s best for the community.” he grumbled. you know that. it’s not your kind of warfare.” she went on. I can deal with the army. frowning. He can’t cope with people like Kovinsky. compared to Mendez. we don’t want leadership here in terms of how you see it. Lyndon ran the works with more competence. who had proven his worth at countless times and now. We’ve still got time. Liz. they’re just a bunch of worthless freeloaders. Liz. Weed another type of leadership now and as long as it takes. she knew he would not agree. you can’t have him running things here. you know that too. I know if you approve. now leaning on one elbow and staring down to him. “Think it over.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Listen to me. but at the same time. “You don’t see my point. by making him another proposition. She sensed his rising temper and tried to smooth it down. and besides. Liz. Liz.” That was a real insult to a man like Mendez.” “We’ve agreed that Mendez will be our spiritual guide. “Why not?” “Because they won’t accept you. she had to admit that. This wind was blown away for the time being. 250 of 333 .

While she was preparing a banana milkshake. Elisabeth noticed Horner was restless and she asked him if something was wrong. “You mean. Elisabeth did not know what to make of that.’ “Don’t believe it. Elisabeth? I mean. you don’t show up lately. designed specially for purpose in space. but we’ve rounded up our investigation on the explosion. someone has brought it in to deliberately kill Margaret? 251 of 333 . It was a smart bomb. Jim.” “Well. there are rumors…” “What kind of rumors. he’s sticking his noise in like he’s running the show here.” “Found out what?” Horner explained in simple terms that a device known to agents only had caused the explosion in the satcom. I was a bit setback with what we found out. dressed up and then Lyndon went out for his daily inspection. The agents had recognized the highly flammable stuff that would act like a huge torch with all that consuming purified air. I mean. and people start to wonder if … uh… if Bar’s taken over. This was an unexpected turn. It made no collateral damage and therefore suited a place like a Martian settlement perfectly. I’m just still tired and Barry’s just helping me out for the time being. They had agreed not to take their findings to Elisabeth before she was ready for it. and well – to be frank.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert They had a shower. and I hope you’ll be old little you again shortly. Jim? Tell me about it. She remembered Lyndon’s observation about the agent. They sat at the table drinking the shake. Horner came by and when she asked him if he would like to join her. he agreed. and people like to gossip. and she decided to leave the options open as long as they had no proof of Horner’s double play. Now. I hate to be the barer of bad news. “Are you doing alright.” “That’s good to hear. They are only rumors as you say.

” She watched him with rising concern. and fortunately. no questions asked. We don’t want to sound the alarm. We’ve got enough worries on our minds as it is. still stirring his milkshake.” She tried to sound airily. “I mean – Kovinsky ordered me to work as his personal advisor.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “That’s what we’ve made of it too. She had to play it cautiously. But you ought to know Kovinsky had figured that out a long time before. Elisabeth. And there are only four persons who qualify for it. “We can’t rush into hasty conclusions.” She stared at him tacitly. Horner lifted his head and he stared at Elisabeth with glazed eyes.” “You and Barry and the other agents. she had to accept that. Elisabeth. and his men would be in it as well. He nodded. Maybe in time we’ll find the answers. to be precise. “It’s nothing to do with you. at the selection program. You know I was appointed security officer here. “I feel responsible for the death of Marge and Dan.” she rounded out his sentence. Horner was still focusing on his own thoughts. so it was up to Horner and his two guys. and we just can’t go on being suspicious of everything as long as we don’t know the facts. It was out of the question that she would accuse Lyndon. Jim. absentminded stirring his milkshake. “You don’t know everything. so we have decided not to go paranoid about it and leave it an open question. Jim.” she tried to comfort him. He wanted me to select two settlers who would meet his own demands. “You’re right.” he muttered. She had already made up her mind. Horner was part of Kovinsky’ plot.” 252 of 333 . Then something unforeseen happened. but he shook his head.

” Her feelings of mistrust toward Horner softened up a bit. she had cooked up hamburgers. and in retrospection. She felt down with the accumulation of bad news and she longed for him.” he said. now that the pieces come together. She trotted out platitudes to convince him not to take it so hard. ” 253 of 333 . and that she should not worry. she had prepared a meal for him. “I knew there was something going on with Jim and his gang. and when he came back from his round. It was good to have Lyndon on her side.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Now that last puzzle fell in place. which had arrived deep-frozen with the agents. and that’s troubling me. another thing she had turned a blind eye to. he’s changed. Against her own principles. Lyndon was very pleased with it and he wolfed them down while she was patiently waiting for his conclusions about Horner and his gang. what Horner had said. agent’s stuff. Lyndon listened without interrupting and decided he would keep an eye on him. the mysterious other advisor. Elisabeth was looking at her double. I feel I have to apologize for that.” “Why do you assume he’s changed?” “He doesn’t give me fresh data anymore. They are avoiding me. “Since we’ve come back. Her stomach turned over with the greasy smell while the meat was cooking. she called Lyndon over the intercom in private mode and told him briefly. but when he left. She was grateful when she switched off the intercom. and I’m to blame for their death. you know. and I’m beginning to believe he’s involved in it. “You mean you were working behind my back to go over my selection? Is that what you’re saying?” “That’s what I’m saying. I was the one who plucked Marge and Dan. Then he leaned back and drank a beer.

not even bothering to thank her for the work she had done. It’s just about work.” Calling her baby had a sensual ring to her. not bothering about what was going on outside her dominion while it was crumbling down. While she was shuffling the rests in the grinder. she felt even more confused. He left her in a hurry. it sounded like an invitation to dance. baby. Lyndon got up and said he would poke around to catch up. Something was going deeply wrong with her. Then. Here she was.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What kind of stuff is that?” Lyndon flashed a smile at her. 254 of 333 . “Don’t worry about that. living the life of a homemaker.

Jesus was the first to put up what was on their minds. Lyndon did not show up that night and. She invited her ex-group leaders for a meeting in the recreation hall. “Yes. was of no concern to the community. but they don’t belong here. 255 of 333 . “Elisabeth.” Elisabeth had a bit of a shock. I mean. Without him at her side. They all came – except Pete and Mike. who where always there if they needed a helping hand. it’s their fault Marge has died. for the first time in seven nights. Howard and Andrea. and every one was delighted that Elisabeth had returned as their prodigal daughter. both keeping everyone in high spirits. Where they suspecting something? “Why do you say a thing like that.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 26.” Her heart was stammering but she managed to keep herself in hand. Jesus?” “By word of mouth. we’ve heard rumor that the special agents are living on beef and beer. who were not interested in leadership anymore and had become part of the anonymous crowd. she slept alone. Sharon with her garden and Martha with her time barter. They all managed well. she came to her senses and took the decision it was time to take up again where she had left. and what they were doing with it. we’ve heard that Marge was killed after Lyndon left her. Is that correct?” She did not give a straight answer. The empty space Dan and Margaret had left was tacitly consented. Jesus and Linda. and reluctantly she said they lived their own lives. It was like a homecoming party.

we can’t waste our time on gossip.” “I don’t give a damn about your so-called leadership.” They dropped the rumors and told her the latest news. “Since when do I have to get your permission. She stumbled and had to hold herself to the table or she would have fallen. Jesus.” “We also heard that the Wheel has in mind to invade upon us. I can’t say no more. “I hear you’ve arranged a meeting with your friends without telling me. and I’d rather like to talk about our future now instead of gone-byes. in reaction. Look.” “Klatches? Barry. Marge took it too hard on herself.” Sharon said in turn. I don’t mind you sticking your nose in the community’s affairs. Lyndon was waiting for her.” His eyes suddenly filled with frenzy anger and before she knew. This fuckin’ place is in acute danger and you’re having klatches instead of working on our defense. When she returned to her room. but try to be reasonable. We don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. “That’s chitchat. She felt he was trying to corner her and. his clenched fists resting on the tabletop and he leaned towards her in an intimidating way. Marge and Barry were man and wife once. people.” His cutting words threw her off balance. but by the look of it. Just tell me what’s on your mind and how the community is doing. her words came out bitchier then she wanted. Jesus.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Don’t judge rashly. Barry? I’m still one of the leaders around here. and it was all so refreshing that she warm-heartedly listened and forgot time. You do your job and I do mine. his face spelling trouble. 256 of 333 . he jumped over to her and gave her a big blow on the jaw.

I’ll run the show from now on. She stood in the hallway. It showed like war paint.” “Barry…” Her eyes brimmed with tears. She was not sure of her Darwin experiment anymore. In the afternoon. but he did not notice her desperation. she contemplated the situation levelheaded. Sometimes. Liz. she had not heard that howling sound before.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What… Barry. 257 of 333 . She went to the bathroom and stared to the red glow on her face in the mirror. baffled by his uncontrolled reaction. She needed time to try figuring out how she could render her leadership to Lyndon’s approval. why do you…” she was hardly able to talk. jumped up and cleared out and left her completely shattered. went inside and shut the door. A flashing red fluorescent strip on the wall showed them the way and it led them straight to Horner’s quarters. Horner and his men decided to go outside to evaluate if there was away to fix the dishes. She was not sure what it meant. After she had calmed down. She did not recall ever having been beaten before. man had to take matters in hand. Don’t tell me what I’ve got to do. Lyndon was so absorbed by what he saw that he did not see her coming. “Don’t do that anymore. It took a while before it occurred to Elisabeth a siren had gone off. Lyndon stared at the monitor that was split in three windows. She went after them. He had not beaten her that hard. Lyndon was stressed out and maybe it was her fault if he could not handle the situation well. it was the humiliation and the awareness their love was gone. seeing some people were passing her by hurrying to the source of the sound. Lyndon stayed in Horner’s quarters to monitor them along. Her right cheek was glowing with pain. She begged the crowd outside to back off.

” He just grumbled. the helmet camera’s were bouncing wildly up and down and then all three pointed to the sky and there was only a frozen image of blackness with some gray stars in it. She could not hold back anymore. There was no sound coming from the agents. staring with bulging eyes to his face. Then he turned to her. She sat quietly at his side. She wanted Lyndon to ask what was going on. Can’t you see for yourself. “I mean that they’re dead. woman?” She watched the monitor again with desperate fear. but his eyes seemed to glow in a frenzy way and she swallowed her words. They were rather blurred but she could clearly see they showed trouble. Barry. but we’ll never know.” 258 of 333 . still fumbling with the buttons. watching the images on the screen. like they all had taken the same picture while laying flat on the ground. showing what they were looking at with their camera eyes. ‘What’s happening.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert each designated to every agent outside. but the images did not change anymore. We just lost them. “What do you mean?” Lyndon eyeballed her fiercely as if she was to blame. not wanting to accept what Lyndon had just told her. please tell me. “Something’s fucked up out there. “But I don’t understand. “We’ve lost them and the hell I know what went wrong.” “What…” Elisabeth mumbled.” He had come to his senses again. his face all sweaty.

he grabbed her by the waist and pushed her back towards the bed. She felt compassion with him.. They both wore anti-radiation suits. Just tell them the siren went off by accident or whatever. Barry. when she was alone again. Tell them whatever. walked out and left her. Liz. and now with my friends out there. I’m sorry I’ve slapped you.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He looked her sharp in the eyes. She passed the message to the community and felt she had betrayed on them.” she said in an obedient voice. He got up. Liz.” she whispered and took his hand to caress.” 259 of 333 . “Thanks. She did what he had asked. which made them look like white angels. as she was aware what he had to go through and she felt remorse as well because she did not support him all the way. beaten and miserably lonesome. I don’t know anymore. Elisabeth. “That’s okay. but do not tell my friends have just died. Howard and Andrea came to pay her a visit. Late that afternoon Lyndon came back to her room. their eyes had a sinister glow.” He sank down on the edge of her bed and buried his face in his hands.” “Okay. we’ve come to the conclusion that Lyndon is a double-dealer and we want you to know. Howard pushed off before they had taken their seat. I’m so much fucked up lately. let’s make love. That night. calm as ever.” he hoarsely said and his sexual delirium was so strong she could smell it and she was only able to nod her approval. but beneath their face mask.. Barry. “Elisabeth. I’ll do that. “I need you. Then. “Don’t let the people know.

She noticed both agents exchanging nervous glances. putting up a mental barrier unwillingly. they ought to be in the hands of skilful neurologists. and if this doesn’t stop. noticing that Elisabeth was stubbornly protecting Lyndon. don’t call him that. I’m going to offer surrender to Kovinsky. “We’re sorry if you feel that way. and we have sufficient reasons to provide evidence. What were these two killers thinking? “Dammit. I can’t live with that. “Give me evidence then. It was like something that had been pulsing at the back of her mind and it suddenly came out unexpectedly. Howard.” Elisabeth said. Elisabeth. it’s his way of acting like that. We just want to emphasize that Lyndon may not be the one you think he is. and we’ll gladly be of assistance if you can’t see for yourself what Lyndon’s doing to you and the settlement.” 260 of 333 .” She had a bit of a fright.” Andrea had said it in a mild tone as she was addressing an old and bewildered woman. She also noticed they looked ill-fated.” Elisabeth hit the roof. He’s the Trojan horse here.” Elisabeth bitterly said. Howard. I suggest you start listing all the points.” “Invasion? What do you mean? Barry’s going to open the gate for them?” “Don’t play dumb with us. “He’s more than that we took for granted. Elisabeth. while we’re still alive. I’m getting fed up with all the insinuations and all that tittle-tattle. he’s doing the best he can.” Andrea coolly said. Don’t you realize what you’re doing? You’re turning everyone into paranoids and soon we won’t trust anyone anymore. Their exposed bodies in Martian air had done them no good. We think he is plotting with Kovinsky to prepare the invasion. Andrea. having said that. ‘We’re ready for that day to come and if you can’t accept the fact.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Double-dealer? Barry is a special agent. “Three of the lives ending containers are missing.

and he decided to take the proper measures. this is like telling me he has murdered those poor people. Just now.” Elisabeth tried to refute her words. “You can’t prove he’s done it. not willing to see the truth. we concluded that they were outside and that Lyndon had taken care of them. Lyndon’s the only one who had a good reason.” 261 of 333 . “We’ve found out that the agents were missing and by simple deduction. “If you don’t want to accept it. “And you’re accusing Barry?” Her voice sounded so strained that both hesitated to go on. “He’s the only one who had access to the suits. We are sure they were driving at going for help once they had made contact with the Wheel.” Elisabeth jumped up. sneaking past Kovinsky one way or the other. and he will strike when and where you don’t except. Lyndon was aware of that. “So you know. She could kick herself. Elisabeth sensed what he was insinuating.” Howard went on. For all I know.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “So?” “Someone took them and used them.” “Don’t talk nonsense. Elisabeth.” Andrea stated in a low voice.” She stared at them in turns. it could be you. but then Andrea dealt with the problem directly. “They went outside to fix the dishes and some terrible accident happened and Barry found it better to hold the news back until he’s discovered what had gone wrong. just remember we have a killer around here. Elisabeth.” It was out before she knew.” “And what might that be?” “Horner and his guys knew what he was up to. beside Horner and his agents.

She was enduring more and more from him. “I don’t want to hear anymore. she had accepted that he wanted full leadership. Elisabeth. “Don’t leave now. Lyndon was the only one who knew about suits and the poison containers. She was living the life of his slave woman. Lyndon did not want to solve the mystery of the dead agents. We’ll just see what’s going to happen next. Then too Lyndon had known what to do. The words vividly brought up the memories of their desperate escape. We’ve looked around. “Can’t we go outside and check out what has happened?” “Lyndon did not want that. He could have easily mixed the air while the agents were preparing.” They sank down again. he would likely kick her out of the community. while the community slipped away from her. All she had done instead was running away from the mess they were in. Just go and do not accuse Barry of being a murderer anymore. “Wait.” she hissed. and at the end. he got up to leave. He could fix them with his eyes shut. but she had refused to see it. and with a sigh.” If they were right. but couldn’t find any. We were going to do it anyway. Elisabeth shivered. we didn’t mean to hurt you. Tell me what you know. Another astronaut who stayed inside usually did this. Lyndon must have stashed them away. and escape in sultry sex. Howard and Andrea were right. These were his friends and partners for crying out loud. Howard told her that outgoing astronauts always performed a last checkup before going out. It was just a matter of a short time before the blend did its work. Elisabeth felt defeated.” Howard said. She was aware that Lyndon’s behavior had changed since he had landed in the dome.” she said in a soft voice. but we found out we don’t have any spare oxygen tanks left. 262 of 333 .” “Okay. This could only mean one thing.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Out.

“He has burned all our bridges. she burst out in tears.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “He does not want us to know the truth.” They could only endorse her words. feeling like a betrayed woman.” she whispered. and after they had left. We’re at the mercy of Kovinsky from now on. 263 of 333 .

Lyndon had connected the intercom to his portable receiver that sat on his table. She sat down in his chair. loud and clear. She managed to shun Lyndon for the next couple of days. you have a personal message from John Kovinsky. “It’s for you.” He just said and stood up. “This is an automated transmission coming from COMSAT3 transferring through TRANSSAT23 on Mars. His gruff voice came through. he should not be aware he was under suspicion. calling Doctor Elisabeth McIntosh. She entered his quarters. It put itself a kilometer from the dome down and hooked up to the Dome’s main intercom system. Then.” Kovinsky? She held her breath. “Doctor McIntosh. She still refused to accept that Lyndon had carried off his partners. telling him she was not feeling okay and he agreed not to come around for the rest of the week. Howard. a deus-ex-machine fell from heaven. Andrea and Jesus accompanied her. In the meanwhile. staring at the receiver and then hesitantly answered the call. 264 of 333 . Kovinsky sent her a message.” The suave automated feminine voice repeatedly kept going on until someone working for Lyndon came to fetch Elisabeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 27. She had to play it cautiously. Please hold this line. He sent a communication robot over. but inside. she knew someday she would have to deal with the facts. where he was listening to the monotonous call with a grim face. He did not even turn to her when they burst in. it took all her attention how she should keep him away from making the community his own.

Albert’s voice came through.” Elisabeth nodded.” After a short time. don’t worry. Elisabeth. We don’t know when the next ship back to Earth was due to arrive. You can’t just tell me more lies. you’ve given me enough of them.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “John Kovinsky talking. “This is no lie. I want proof. And don’t give in. Her mind whirled. Albert had fled. They do not have any right to do this. “Do as if you’re willing to negotiate. Elisabeth.” Elisabeth said. She helplessly turned to Lyndon. “He could be telling the truth. thank you for calling in. Elisabeth. and then to Howard. “Mom. bloodshed will happen. he was not – he had not mentioned that.” Andrea leaned over to Elisabeth.” Albert hostage? Albert wasn’t there. No. because – “ The sound abruptly cut off and Kovinsky’s voice came in instead again. Now let me tell you our terms. “Tomorrow we will come in. Elisabeth. Albert was in a spacecraft on his way to Earth. Elisabeth. and we want you to open the gate. Listen for yourself. and your son’s life will not be spared. She felt Andrea’s comforting hand on her shoulder. I’m sorry to say I have rather bad news.” 265 of 333 . she had a lump in her throat and her voice rasped when she asked Kovinsky for his claims. “You’ve heard enough. who did not wink. trying to grasp the horrendous truth. I’m afraid to tell you your son Albert has been taken hostage. He sounded worn-out but it was her son all right. If not. Just listen to what he says.” “John. USSA has arrived and has taken over Phobos.

his body tensing up. “Elisabeth. Elisabeth. She finally saw him who he really was. Elisabeth sat bold still. Albert’s life to swap with her community. It’s not worthy.” Lyndon kept shut.” Silence at both ends. Barry was one of them.” “Do it.” Andrea said. Elisabeth. is there something I’ve got to know? Are you in his league too? Give me a straight answer for a chance. give in. Barry. Give me back my son and then we’ll talk. John. “You’re always welcome.” “You’ll have to surrender and step down. You don’t need to bring in brute force.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Her blood rushed to her head and she felt dizzy spells and was nearly up to the point of fainting. The community will be run by us from now on. “Sorry. She turned to the intercom again. “We have no other option. you know that. “Remember your son’s life is at stake.” Lyndon said. I’m sick with all that chicanery. Elisabeth. now sitting upright.” Lyndon mingled. 266 of 333 . pulling her away from the table. Her eyes shot fire. He was the gatekeeper ready to open the door and welcome hell in. besides. this was a dilemma not viable to consider. The scales fell from her eyes. John. she had her proof now. they’ll destroy the community. but she managed to shake it off with a deep breath. I cannot deal with you like this. “Why are you taking his side. and then Lyndon jumped up and grabbed her by the arm. her mind in turmoil.” “If you give in. Lyndon tried again. Kovinsky will certainly take your position in consideration. not taking heed of Lyndon.” She seemed to startle at his words and gazed at him.

With the other hand he pulled something from his breast pocket and stuck it up to Jesus’ chest. he took Jesus in a firm grip. woman? They’re going to break in and Kovinsky will have your son for breakfast. We do not want your kind around anymore. His voice was steady yet menacing. Try to get some reason in that thick skull of yours. you’ve done enough trouble. He lay trembling with small convulsions.” Jesus stepped in and pushed Lyndon back. while Andrea used her foot to kick him in the belly. she and Elisabeth carried Jesus out of the room. his hands clawing to his chest. “Elisabeth. “You don’t talk to Elisabeth like that. scram. his face wincing with pain.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Are you insane. Lyndon’s eyes bulged and with a savage snarl. Elisabeth knelt at Jesus’ side. or you’ll end up like him.” she hissed and Lyndon calmed down and slightly nodded. Though not more than five foot ten. Then Howard came after her. “He’s got a stunner. go back to your master and go lick his ass. got him in a hammerlock. man. are you still there?” Kovinsky asked. His lips and his eye bags were turning blue. A short electric spark and Jesus produced a bloodcurdling scream and dropped down. Andrea grabbed the stunner from the floor and pushed it to Lyndon’s neck. but they managed to get him into the corridor where other people took over. They had Lyndon on his knees and then pushed him with supreme effort to the floor while Lyndon furiously used all his strength to free himself. keep off. without further ado broke off the communication. he was heavy. and then. pal. While Howard took over from Andrea. unsure by his unexpected street talk. “Don’t move an inch. So. he 267 of 333 .” They all gaped at Jesus. growling like a raging bear. watch out!” Andrea shouted. Howard jumped behind Lyndon’s back.

which Elisabeth appreciatively granted.” She nodded. I’m sure he’ll agree I’ll put up a fight and he wouldn’t have it another way round.” She returned to her room. and then lifted her head to glance at both agents. Elisabeth. Some people offered to nurse over him.” Howard tried to reassure her. It proves he’s the one we were thinking he was. “I’m positive Kovinsky will call you back. He would need a new heart soon or he would die. with Howard and Andrea at her tail. and Jesus sagged into a coma and his heart went into hibernation. but Albert knows too. that had simply not been on the list. and he’ll watch out hurting Albert for personal reasons. They hastily carried Jesus to the sickbay and put him under the scanner. The sickbay robot gave him a couple of shots. Her eyes were hard.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert slammed the door shut and told some of the men to look out that no one were to enter the room. This community will stand. Elisabeth. he had to go back to the Wheel where they could help him out temporarily before returning to Earth. In the meanwhile we better prepare for what’s coming our way. “What about Albert?” Andrea asked. The robot examined him quickly and the computer voice told them his heart tissue was damaged. we’ll fight. Andrea. “You’ve shown you’re not one of his slaves. Then she. “From now on. They did not have bionic surgery. “I know. “Lyndon has altered the stunner’s qualifications and made a murder weapon out of it. If Jesus needed a new heart.” It sounded like an epitaph and Andrea wisely did not go into it. Howard and Andrea left the bay.” 268 of 333 . Howard broke their silence. Elisabeth looked beaten.

but he hadn’t the chance to work it out. “I do.” “Jack’s dead. but only these last weeks we were sure 269 of 333 .” “And when we’re in the Wheel. ISA knew precisely what was going to happen.” “My God. and we’ll have our access thanks to Jack.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “What do you propose. jack doggone. Elisabeth. I hope you’re right. but we have. we know a way out. “I know. “First of all. we can sent a message to ISA and tell them what’s happening here. Andrea. “ISA? Do you think they know about Kovinsky?” “Trust us. What we’re going to do is using the STD as our go-between and with a bit of luck we’ll have our entrance in their system no time. the communication robot that Kovinsky put op here.” Elisabeth came to an abrupt halt. He gave us the password.” “Yes. but he gave us something that’s more worth than a door key.” They had arrived at her place and sat down at the same spots they had been no more than an hour ago. “You can break in?” “That’s right. as you know. That STD. “You remember Jack’s text message? And that intriguing word at the end?” Andrea went on. can work as our gateway to the Wheel. and were certain to predict some 80 percent of what was going to happen.” Andrea nodded. I want to know Kovinsky’s plans before he decides to strike. We have been screening Kovinsky’s psychological profile for a long time. Elisabeth. Howard?” she calmly said.” Howard went on. Jim considered it a kind of password too.

Elisabeth. That’s why we have to take him away.” “You mean with evolutionism and all? Really. to see to it that he doesn’t rip into a fight over Mars. Elisabeth?” Howard asked. Kovinsky needs Lyndon for his knowledge of the dome’s weak points. we’re going to swap hostages. “It’s way over that stage. Religion without science is blind.” “What do you propose then?” “First. “Why is your son called Albert? It’s not a usual name. aren’t we?” 270 of 333 . At last. guys. “If I’m correct it was Einstein who said and I quote: science without religion is lame. you gave me hope again.” “I see what you mean. I’m positive we can bring Albert back to you.” “This is not an experiment anymore. Elisabeth. amused by that anecdote. far from it. Lyndon for your son. lately I’m not sure if there’s such thing as evolution. we’re still acting like primates.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert he was starting to lose his marbles.” They both smiled.” “Just leave it up to us from now on.” Andrea joined in.” “My late husband was an admirer of Einstein. it would mean the world to me. “And do you believe in Einstein.” Howard said. he has no use of Albert. It has become a society.” “I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Elisabeth. Andrea. I was sincerely contemplating of ending this experiment before terrible things would happen.” “Tell me.” “If you could do that. noticing how bad Elisabeth must feel with her decision to sacrifice Albert for their sake. so he wanted our son to be the next Albert.

we’ll find out about the STD. It branched off the incidence of light. She had once turned it into a warm nest. 271 of 333 . with the intercom ready. Elisabeth made them mugs of hot oolong tea and after a while.” After they had left. which was certain proof that Lyndon had indeed messed up their supply. Elisabeth stayed in her room. urgently demanding him to report back. but that belonged to the past now.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Not every human is. Elisabeth felt a stabbing pain in her heart. first thing first. We've got to find out what happened to the agents. That was over and it would never come back. They also had their hands on Jim Horner’s transmitter.” she said. she knew that her lover was a coldblooded murderer. So. they had been accusing Jim all the time for being their Judas. in a way that it became invisible to the naked eye. Howard. Howard told her they had searched the dead agents and found the oxygen containers empty. Horner’s last communication with the Wheel dated from the time he had decided to join the community. ‘But sometimes. at last. Both ISA agents were back within the hour. But she did not feel any regrets. She remembered their vehement lovemaking vividly. while Lyndon was gearing up his evil mission. it’s hard to tell.” Howard changed the subject. We’ll have to go out for a while. They looked ill at ease after their excursion. having used up their already weakening energy. Howard put it on to read its log. “Now. All that mattered now was getting Albert back. The last message came from the Wheel. The good news was that they had managed to reverse the connection between the STD and the Wheel. they revived and made themselves comfortable. It was attached to his suit and covered in a photon resistant packing. At the same time. She stared at the berth where she and Lyndon had spent so much wonderful hours.

“Mmmm… I wonder if…" She called up the list. but one of them drew her attention. I’ll download the recordings anyway. she had an anxious foreboding.” “Go on. we’re in the Wheel’s bowels.” “Maybe the message sits before our nose. “I’m afraid he’s passed that stage a long time ago.” she said.” “I better download it. I’m typing Dan’s login code. Two Dome. which they did not contradict.” Andrea mumbled.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “If Kovinsky would know he had offered us a gift. “Nothing we can use at first sight. “Okay. while scrolling down the list.” She saw Andrea typing in ‘jack doggone’ and a list of words popped up. Andrea.” She clicked the map open. “SDT/2D.” Andrea gave away a little yell. “Are you ready. Howard stooped to see better while Elisabeth did not want to come closer. “A lot of technical text material. Maybe it is just about monitoring.” Andrea muttered. he would freak out. Andrea logged in. Elisabeth? We might fight skeletons in the closet. They all stared over her shoulder. “Apparently they have installed cameras in the premises. “We can’t stroll along too long without being noticed. “One Dome. A bundle of video files. I bet that’s us.” “2D.” 272 of 333 .” Howard suggested.” Elisabeth said. She held a pocket computer in her hand. let’s hope so.” They all stared at the small screen and Andrea looked up to Elisabeth.” Andrea said. Andrea rummaged on and came up with a video directory.” Then. “Try One Dome. It read ‘The truth about One Dome. and here we are. Jack had written a statement.

She started with the last video. It sent continuous data to the screen. she had decrypted the files on her computer. “Tell me later. was apparently transmitted just before the fatal accident. ‘Acute condition – new heart pump needed in 92 hours. 273 of 333 . His condition looked to be steady. talking and laughing. his true followers dropped by.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The download took only some seconds and Andrea logged out again. It was an instant hit. I’m going to see Jesus again. or would they surrender and turn the community back to Kovinsky? She knew she needed an angel of mercy who would take them by the hand and pull them over. Would they be willing to fight for what was dear to them. The odds were that Kovinsky was probably getting his assault troops together right now. It showed Margaret and her crew sitting at the table.” she said. She still had not found the backbone to tell them what was to happen. two by two to see him. probably Margaret had done that herself. Elisabeth came closer and almost screamed out as she watched a living Margaret just some time before her death.’ Jesus was not alone. They stared petrified at the footage. Elisabeth saw Jesus still lying quietly. and they stood wordlessly at the side of his bed.” Arriving at sickbay. but there were no angels of mercy on Mars. A robot was massaging the heart. which. looking at the date and time. “I can’t watch this. softly weeping and praying. After a couple of minutes. The sound was off. His body was constantly checked upon and he had an oxygen mask on and IV for nutrition.

” Elisabeth softly said. then escalated and soon larger groups and coalitions were forging. If something could go wrong. “I’ve read enough. She sent a thank-you to Jack wherever he was now. A nightmare had developed within months.” His prose was very much to the point. And now. That evening Andrea and Howard dropped by. At the same time. Eventually the community broke down. “Here’s the transcript of what Jack wrote. Kovinsky wanted to seize the victory and claim his faithful rights. Andrea got a paper out. The official explanation was oxygen deficiency. looking concerned. 274 of 333 . it finally dawned on her why they had given her carte blanche. caused by miscalculated dioxide levels. Her experiment had everything the previous expedition had lacked. It’s not really a happy one. One Dome was abandoned in a state of panic. Report written by Jack Armstrong after the second Mars expedition in respect to One Dome.” Elisabeth was intensely reading while both agents were minding their own business. Every possibility that would lead to failure had come true. men and women screaming with fear of death. with people trampled to death while boarding on the shuttles. It was about people not being able to live together. A war fought in a secluded netherworld. it would. children separated from their parents. and then decide if you want to watch the video too. and the fighting started between small gangs.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 28. a nightmarish episode that turned into complete bedlam. taking the shape of real war parties. It was more than technical flaws though. Read it first. he didn’t waste more words then needed and it made clear what had gone on in One Dome. “To whom it concerns.

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She turned to the agents. “I know now we’ve made the right decision to stay put. I will not surrender.” Andrea nodded her approval. “That is good news, Elisabeth. I suggest you should watch the sitcom video too. It will take your last doubts away.” She nodded and Andrea opened the video file on her reader and they watched Margaret again, talking and laughing captured by a 180 degrees pan cam. Andrea fastforwarded the video until they saw Margaret talking in the intercom. Then she ordered the crew to leave the room, and then Lyndon came in. He was softly talking to her, both were standing up. They could not hear what they said, but their conversation suddenly turned into violent arguments. They were both screaming, making wild gestures and for a moment, Elisabeth was certain Lyndon was going to hit her, but then she saw him shrug his shoulders, and they calmed down. She felt a twinge in the chest when Lyndon put his arms around Margaret and held her tight. They did not move for some seconds. Then he whispered something in her ear, she nodded slowly and he let her go. He took a small device from his pocket and laid it on the table. She stood with bowed head, did not look at him anymore, while he walked out again. Elisabeth stared mesmerized to the screen, not knowing what to make of it. “Now comes the hard part,” Andrea muttered while she again pushed the fastforward button. They suddenly saw Margaret move. She sank down in a chair at the table, her head leaning in her hands. There she sat for about half an hour, Andrea explained, and she skipped the recording up to the point when Margaret took the device in both hands. Andrea zoomed in. It looked like a palm size black cylinder. “Brace yourself, Elisabeth,” Andrea muttered again. Elisabeth held her breath.

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Margaret looked at the cylinder in her hand for a minute and then, resolutely, made a screwing gesture with the other hand. She put the device back on the table and sank on her knees, praying like a child at its bedside. Then hell broke lose. There was an orange flash, a whoosh of exploding air and the camera had gone. Elisabeth stared at the static snow speechlessly. The accusation of sabotaging the satcom had become true, though with postponement. “She killed herself,” Andrea whispered. They were both watching the monitor snowy image with horror. “Why?” Elisabeth asked to the screen. “We’ll never know, will we? We only know it came from Lyndon and that he somehow managed to talk her into it.” “Oh my God, why did she do that?” “As I said, we’ll never know, we can only speculate. But I don’t think we should, it’s over.” It was not over yet, Elisabeth decided. “Can you manipulate this footage?” Andrea widened her eyes. “Manipulate? Why?” “I want to use it against Kovinsky.” “I doubt he’ll take it to heart. He had his explosion, his evidence of sabotage. Margaret was of no use to him anymore.” “I’ll see that it will. I want to cut out the suicide part. I want it to look like Lyndon has caused the explosion.” Andrea and Howard widened their eyes some more. “I’m beginning to understand. I didn’t think you had it in you, Elisabeth.”

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“I’m a fast learner, Howard. So, can you do that?” “You need someone who’s familiar with this kind of stuff. I think Pete would be the right man to it. He knows some things about imagery.” “Perfect. He just has to cut out the part where they hug and just before the blast.” Andrea looked exited. Being an agent herself, she appreciated Elisabeth spy trickery. “And after that’s done, I want you to send the fixed recording back to the Wheel in case Kovinsky will ferret about. And then, I want you to show it to everyone, in the auditorium and within the hour. This is the final straw. I will make a statement. If the community wants to fight, we will do it. If not, I’ll arrange a meeting with Kovinsky.” Andrea put her hand over Elisabeth’s. “I’m sure people will back you up one hundred percent, Elisabeth. We won’t let you down, I promise.” She went off to catch Pete. Suddenly, the intercom came briskly to life. “Doctor McIntosh, you have a personal message from John Kovinsky. Please hold this line.” She startled and turned her eyes to the intercom. “Are you going to answer it?” Howard asked anxiously. “Put him on, I want to hear what he wants.” “John Kovinsky talking. Elisabeth, we seemed to have been interrupted. I need to know your decision right now. Do not disconnect, this is my last offer. I will give you your son back in exchange of free entrance. No soldiers, no combats, just a peaceful meeting.” “He’s giving in,” Howard whispered. “You can negotiate now.” “Thanks John, you know I want Albert back, but you also know I want the community to keep out of danger.”

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“Elisabeth, we have been monitoring your people doing something with the STD. As far as I see, they have broken in on us and we are working it out right now. Don’t make it hard on you, it’s not worth it.” “John, is Lyndon working for you?” Kovinsky at his turn seemed set back by this unexpected question. “Why do you ask, Elisabeth? Is that important?” “It is, John. He has murdered Jim Horner and his men and Margaret has died because of him. He destroyed the communication with the station and put us out of control and into your hands.” “Elisabeth, I’ve just got a message stating that you’ve been peeping in Jack’s files. I have decided to shut the STD down. I have to see first what it’s all about. Whatever the outcome, I want your decision within the hour.” Shutting the STD down? She had to stall him while Pete was working on the recording. “If you shut it down, we’ll have no communication at all, John.” “That’s true and so, I beg you to be reasonable. Your son or else, you can make out the picture yourself.” “I want to make a proposition first. I want to trade Lyndon for Albert.” “I am willing to negotiate. May I ask what have you done with Lyndon?” “He’s in custody right now and I’m intended to let him talk.” “Let Lyndon talk? So what?” “We’ll broadcast a full statement of what’s happened to One Dome.” “What happened to One Dome?” “Jack has stated that you were one of the culprits who saved their own skin while people were being stampeded. You can read it in his files.”

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“There were circumstances you don’t know about, Elisabeth. It’s Jack’s words against mine.” “Only one out of three arrived safely on the Wheel, John. What happened to the others?” “It’s been ten years ago. I don’t remember.” “Come on, John, I have a list here of survivors who are willing to break their oath of secrecy.” That was pure bluffing but Kovinsky seemed to have trouble to deal with it. “Right, you’re blackmailing me. I didn’t expect that from you, Elisabeth.” “I’m not completely living in an ivory tower, John. Don’t underestimate me, please.” “I don’t, Elisabeth; not any more. You win, I’ll send a party over for the swap.” “Thanks, John, and I warn you, don’t fiddle with us. We have some guns around here, courtesy of your little helpers. And we know how to defend ourselves underhandedly.” Kovinsky’s voice sounded like he was grimacing. “You’ve learned your lesson well, and I appreciate that, Elisabeth. As far as I can see, you hold the ball now, but the game is not over yet. After the swap, I want your decision and it will be final. It’s up to you.” He broke off. They could almost sense his malice. “That went like a bomb,” Howard said admiringly. “Now we’ve still have some time to act properly.” “I first want my son back,” she said. “Then we’ll see.” “Should we not call up the community first? They’ll have to be prepared and we don’t want a panic on our hands.” Panic... that’s what happened to the last expedition.

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“You’re right. I suggest you rally the people go to the auditorium and show them the video, while I wait for Albert’s arrival at the reception.” “Sounds okay, Elisabeth. We’ll order some of our best people to stand by you. Now, let’s rock.” Howard jumped up and walked out to prepare Lyndon for the swap and to select twenty tough looking and armed settlers to accompany Elisabeth to the reception hall. Albert came in half an hour later, accompanied by ten fully armed USSA soldiers. They stayed in the jet way and did not come in. They had set Lyndon up ready to go. He had not put up a fight, knowing it was over for him. He was ready to leave. Before they put his helmet on, his eyes met Elisabeth in a collected way. “Elisabeth, you’ll end up a spinster, you’ll die an old maid. You could have shared everything with me. Think about what you’re missing.” She did not go into his conceited invitation. He did not exist anymore. They put the helmet over his head and she instantly forgot about him when Albert walked up to her. She threw herself in his arms, so much relieved that everything had come together and that they were together at last. Lyndon had gone before she knew. Back in her room, she looked Albert over. He was in good shape. Kovinsky seemed to have looked after him. “Have they treated you well?” she asked, sounding like the caring mother. They sat close together, drinking fusion tea. “Everything’s alright, Mom, but the army is standing by. Have you made up your mind? Kovinsky told me he wanted your decision upon my arrival.”

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“You mean mind control? Not yet.” It sounded like Kovinsky was talking through Albert.” “You’re right. But you were faster. Albert.” “Insane or not. the community saw the fixed video recording and had learned about Kovinsky’s maneuvers and they unanimously agreed they would not hand the dome over. We’re not prepared to give in. 281 of 333 . he had to wait for the Secretary of Space Army’s permission. this could turn into a bloody war.” “I know. but strangely enough. but don’t forget: half an hour. Albert. but first.” He did not say anything back.” “We’ve made up our mind. She asked him if they had brainwashed him. This is not a regime. but you can always make a better deal. Kovinsky was back a minute before deadline.” “He’s insane. It’s a big no. Elisabeth did not need any statement to bring them across.” That took a heavy load of her mind. We don’t want another Kovinsky around here. “He’s really pissed. she was not scared. I need the community’s approval. realizing she had to carry the full weight with nobody very keen on taking over. They pledged they would even fight until the end. Elisabeth said to herself. instead shut off the connection.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert It took her back to reality. While they were talking. She felt like an early Christian walking head-up into the Roman arena to face the wild animals. John. Tell me now or we’re done. “Elisabeth – sixty seconds. Mom. It is war. and I’m afraid he’s going to let the troops in.

Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Religion… her mind wandered to Jesus. His recovery was in the hands of Kovinsky. How many sacrifices can you bear? How many martyrs did it take? 282 of 333 . He would die if he stayed here.

Elisabeth hurried to sickbay. She told him Jesus had mentioned something about water and it had to be kept away from them. Albert. She knelt at the bed. “No.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 29. “Water…” Jesus was awake. They let her through. “Jesus.” Elisabeth said in a desperate voice. Mike and Linda. “Water…” “Here’s some water. Jesus. bug-eyed. he needs to be operated quickly. He warded it off and the mug fell on the floor. “Do you believe in clairvoyance. Elisabeth?” Linda asked. Mike went to fetch tea. The nurse had a hypodermic in her hand. are you alright? Don’t sit up yet.” Elisabeth urged. They went out the sickbay and into the cafeteria. A self-proclaimed nurse was in lead. burst in. his oxygen mask dangling at his chest. who were a couple now. Linda?” She knew Linda was into occultism. hurry before they –“ He suddenly sunk back. helped by some of the people from his group. “You need to shut off the water. gasping for air. He was sitting upright. keep the water away from them. “Why do you ask. 283 of 333 . the paranormal things. They cannot live without. He stared at her as he noticed her for the first time. Howard. “How is he?” Albert asked in a worried voice. Elisabeth looked at her in wonder. “He has a setback. Andrea. ready to administer. asking for water.” He was clearly delirious.” Elisabeth took the mug from the nurse and passed it to his lips.

He told them that the North Pole took care of the Wheel’s water supply. we can imagine what will happen. just what we need to gain time. You want the North Pole plant to be shut off. “You recall.” Linda went on.” Elisabeth turned to him. we use a catalyst to convert water to hydrogen. you’re right. and it has to do with the water. now much rapt about it. I’m afraid I don’t follow you. but it would last for at least three months before everything’s set. Mom.” Mike said while distributing the cups of tea. beam up the stuff with laser technology to the Wheel where it’s reconverted and bingo. “A vision? About water?” “Maybe he was trying to tell you something.” “Jesus sent us a message to the defense of our community.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Maybe Jesus in his state of mind had a vision. Albert grinned. “Basically.” 284 of 333 . Albert. “Are you thinking of sabotage?” “Sort of. “God. He addressed his mother with increasing excitement.” “And what might that be?” “I guess Linda’s making sense. Elisabeth. “If the Wheel doesn’t get the stuff anymore. “The only other place he might pull water from is Ceres. that I’m working on an elevator between Pho and Dei to establish a new line for hydrogen cargo transits. “Explain that to me then.” He started to explain to the others.” “I vaguely remember. we have potable water.” Linda went on.” Howard sided with him.” Albert burst out.” “I see what you mean.” Howard cried out. Kovinsky will have a lot to explain.

and do it fast. But you’ll be out there. “We should arrive there in less then forty-eight hours. Al. “You know Kovinsky will be here before you’re back. Maybe we can stall him in the meanwhile. just hold the fort. “How long will you be off?” Elisabeth asked. we’ll hold the fort. having endured so much radiation before. and the best way to do that was eliminating its leaders. “We’ll make up our tactics and see what we can do. “Come to think of it. do it. Andrea went on. Together.” Howard said.” She could see why Kovinsky wanted to put a lid on his own sordid past. His troops will besiege us and who knows what comes next. and what will happen if they catch you?” “Don’t worry. Albert?” “I’ve learned while in captivity that Kovinsky wants the community in his power before Bellum arrives. She would be the first in line. much taken up by his newfound role as heroic liberator. and take care of the tool robots in a couple of hours.” Five days.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Time for what.” Albert said. Elisabeth. “Okay. why don’t we use cameras for visual aid? They are self-supporting and they can broadcast 285 of 333 . So. Mom. “I’ll stay with you. Do you have someone with a military background who knows about strategy and tactics?” Andrea came to her rescue. Albert going away with Kovinsky on his heels and Howard.” Andrea would certainly hold grounds and Elisabeth felt more reassured then before. She had a nasty feeling about it.” “We’ll take the quads and we’ll go off as soon as possible. The only way to do that was to silence the community. we’ll be back in five days at the most.” “We’ll take Jim’s transmitter with us.

” “Before Marge had been cremated. we’ve dug up the chip they had implanted in her skull. Howie.” Albert whistled. “Let’s hear it.” “These transmitters are all the same for every soldier. that’s real mind-blowing.” They seemed to make a good partnership.” “Then we can use the chip as a transmitter to intercept their messages. I have an idea how to take the troops off our backs.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert the images on the wide screen. Ideas seem to pop up at light speed. Her mind flew back to the cargo shuttle on its way to the Wheel.” “Thanks.” “I’m with you so far.” “I hope it won’t go against the grain for what I’m about to tell you. “I’m not sure I know what you’re telling me. feeling much more goodhumored with every new suggestion. “Wow.” “Just tell it.” 286 of 333 . I’ve been through a heck of a time lately and I’m sure I can bear whatever falls down on me. Andrea.” Andrea said. and send out fake orders instead. Elisabeth felt relieved while they walked away.” Elisabeth remembered. Their implanted codes work the same way. Elisabeth. Al. Now. Marge had involuntarily been powering up her service transmitter. thereby causing enough racket to drive the troops insane. Andrea. let’s move on before those bastards fall in from the sky. Andrea. making Linda feel bad vibrations and Dan freaking out. “Elisabeth. Howard has recovered their frequencies and we can alter them in a way we can take advantage of. As it happened. That way you can see them coming and make quick decisions. Elisabeth thought.

Next day. Andrea. while Albert and Howard were still on their way to the Pole. but instead of fear.” “We’ll send so much meddling signals that they’ll start to see ghosts and turn to friendly fire as we call it. several shuttles landed and troops in orange camouflage suits jumped out fully armed and moving in an orderly way towards the site. And they came. if you don’t mind. It was the best propaganda tool. Elisabeth. These people do not deploy initiative on themselves. Andrea. Andrea zoomed in to the south side. I’ll go now.” Albert and Howard had installed portable ground-view cameras at the gateway and the service shaft and put the images to the wide screen. But I’m sure Kovinsky will soon find out and bring them back on the right trail. The first military invasion on Mars was happening before their eyes. 287 of 333 . They have to take orders from a complex network of satellites. I’m sure they’ll think twice before they launch another attack. It only turned the settlement into people determined to defend their proper rights. It showed split screens. They had never imagined something like that would happen with their non-violent community. they grew anger. each one representing a camera. where the shaft was located. ground stations and STD's. If that could happen.” “Now I see. The only effect Kovinsky’s sad display of power had on them was that of resolute conviction. and sometimes tactical computers take over for minor combined actions. I have some code writing to do. That would be wonderful. they act like blind moles.” “That’s right. They could clearly see the blast of the exploding doorway. so they could see which way the soldiers coming.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “That’s heavy.

Andrea turned the sound louder and grabbed her pocket computer. Howard had installed an infrared camera at the shaft’s entrance. The troops had no idea they were captured by the cameras and they approached with plenty of over-confidence. A diagram of the service pipe appeared. A strong voice suddenly broke in from the speaker. spreading out an encircling maneuver. Andrea turned to Elisabeth.” Andrea explained. She was concentrated on the shaft’s camera sight.” Andrea touched the monitor screen. which had been turned into a command centre. “As you can see. “They’re halfway in. let the fireworks commence. They eased down and everything moved in slow motion now like in a mute TV-show. They had withdrawn to Jim Horner’s former quarters.” 288 of 333 . but her eyes had a gentle glance. Staring at the screen and watching the troops enter the shaft.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert The troops approached from the east and the west. Two hundred meters. We can intercept them and transform them. showing red dots that were moving towards them. No resistance.” They could see shadows cautiously moving in the shaft. In a moment I’ll start scrambling up those data and we’ll see what happens next. “Target approaching. Andrea. A serious of code numbers emerged. where they could watch the troops coming in. “These are the access codes of every soldier in the tunnel.” “Cross fingers. Her face was stony as always in times of tension. their skull transmitters are sending data to the brass or whatever’s manipulating them. It’s time to rock. which was illuminated by their small headset flashlights that turned their path into a strobe lighting hallucination. for Elisabeth and Andrea’s eyes only. which made them startle.

” “I don’t see the enemy. Several hit the ground and were dragged out or left behind by their friends in arms. stopping short and the flashlights were jumping up and down. They had beaten off the dogs of war. It’s a total victory. but it had not missed its effect and the troops were gone before they knew and they were safe again. lieutenant – what’s ya saying?” “Bogeys. tumbling over in total confusion. Again. Suddenly the troops seemed to be in utter confusion. Andrea shut the screen off. Voices mixing up. It’s me. “I believe we’ve seen enough of it. dammit.” Andrea mumbled pent-up. and we pointed out who the attackers were. We lead them to suppose they were under attack from all sides. Jack was right. Where the fuck are ---“ “Don’t shoot. we’re surrounded.” “Hey. Turn back. She did something on her computer. while withdrawing in disorder. 289 of 333 . Mallet.” It was like a cruel video game. And the message came through. you bastards. God – I’m hit ---“ “Fuckin’ bastards – don’t use the goddamn grenades for Chrissake –“ The soldiers opened fire at random. They had used intelligence over brute force and it had paid off. what’s going on here. bogeys behind our backs. People acting like dogs. people. lieutenant.shit ---“ “Hell. not by guns but by cheer wit.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “They should get the message by now. “Look out. aaaah --. The sound of earsplitting explosions was even heard without the speakers on. Elisabeth thought.

though she did not explain why and the settlers seemed to accept it. Don’t you think it’s the right moment to do so?” one of the settlers asked and several agreed. Applause again.” The people watched her attentively and Elisabeth was aware of it. If you wonder how I can get through to you. Elisabeth. Elisabeth just now saw the troops moving out from the service shaft and then the screen windows were empty again. and she knew now everything was going to be all right. Elisabeth. they would give them a good trashing. I do not want them to return in body bags. They still looked upon her as their leader. Elisabeth seemed to be uptight. so that we can work it out. Andrea asked her why. the weight was on her shoulders. what can I say? It’s obvious we cannot send any more troops in. Quite a performance. They were back in their control room. Then Kovinsky came in strong and they all jumped when his voice resounded in the hall. I did not expect you would put up that much resistance and you seem to have some kind of a secret weapon.” 290 of 333 . the troops have placed several intercom connections around the periphery. Elisabeth. “Congratulations. we won’t have any wild card left. I’ll call you in an hour back. You’ve driven us back and how. And I wouldn’t know how to negotiate on nothing more than wishful thinking. Again. If you want to contact me. They had gone.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert When they entered the auditorium. Well. the community rose to a man and gave them a round of applause. just use your intercom. I hope you do. “They want to negotiate. Elisabeth said they needed some more time. but if they would. She assured them the troops would not come back. “If Albert and Howard don’t manage. I dare say. if you don’t call me first.

And which strategy do you prefer?” “It’s needless to say that punishment doesn’t work. nuclear weapons ware massively built. mutual assured destruction. Andrea.” “That’s nicely put. At the time.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “It’s the way it works. It had a name. America won.” Elisabeth said with a gentle smile. when Earth had two superpowers that continuously tried to take the lead. Using punishment was a strategy of threatening with retaliation if attacked. it was long before I was born. they had not. You should have gone into politics. We’ll impose our way out. It’s a dangerous game and there are no winners. slamming their breast. They just kept on overawing and beckoning until one would give in. but by the best gorilla technique. It’s only imposing. With denial. that's like gorillas challenging each other. All that boasting and bluffing. it’s what every nation does when feeling in danger. it would imply the use of weaponry and eventually lead to escalations. well.” “Deterrence policy. Deterrence was considered as a way to reach a negotiated settlement. Though they could have used it. screaming and jumping about to show who’s the boss. being an agent I had to study international politics. I see what you mean.” 291 of 333 . We will show him he can’t. She had grown to like Andrea and did not see her as a hit woman anymore. “As a matter of fact. and it finally paid off.” Elisabeth said. Andrea looked at her questionably. At the end of the day. not by arms. a government maintains defense systems with the purported aim of neutralizing or mitigating attacks. They chiefly used two kinds of deterrence policy: by punishment and by denial. “I remember that from the past.” “Uh-hu. Elisabeth. It will not help me much around here. will it? It’s Mars versus Earth we’re playing here. Only a character like Kovinsky is convinced he can still be the victor.

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“So?” “So, as far as I see it, we have two means: the North Pole water plant, which will undoubtedly lead to another influx of troops and Kovinsky proving we’re just a bunch of terrorists and saboteurs, or showing we want to cooperate to live together in peace.” Andrea stared at her in unbelief. “You want the water operation called off?” “Yes. It will lead us to nowhere, except that the Wheel will start to hate us and Earth will be notified of our inhumanity.” “But the guys are underway; we can’t reach them anymore. They’ll put the water works out of order and then it’s too late.” “We can call them back.” “But how?” “I’ll make a deal with Kovinsky.” “Again? You’re out of your mind, Elisabeth. I don’t trust he’ll negotiate on your terms.” “He will, and I’ll make him an offer he won’t refuse.” “Do we still have offers to make, Elisabeth?” Andrea sounded sordid now. “Let me do the talking, Andrea. I prefer doing it in privacy, between the two of us.” “Okay, it’s your call. But I strongly object, and if it doesn’t work out as you plan it, we’ll have to switch to some Plan B.” “Trust me, Andrea. There’s no need for a Plan B, or a Plan C. Everything will turn out fine.” After Andrea had gone, the weight on her shoulders seemed to double. She counted the minutes off and when Kovinsky was back, she requested to continue their conversation in private mode.

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After a while, he replied. “The auditorium’s PA has been shut off, so we can talk privately.” “John, you now know we have something up our sleeves. Why don’t we settle down this dog fight and try to reason for a change?” “I certainly would, Elisabeth, but the President is on his way and I want to show him we’ve everything in hand here, which at the moment we have not.” Was Kovinsky hoping for some kind of initiative on her behalf? Was he willing to sit at the table and discuss peace? Kovinsky, being a megalomaniac and bipolarized person, she had to be gentle with him and leave him in his pride and delusions. “John, what is so crucial to you that Bellum has to know?” Kovinsky wavered; she intuitively grasped he wanted to level with her. “You know, John, before you turned into some type of conqueror I kind of fancied you. Maybe we could turn that to our mutual gain if you only listen to me.” “I’m always all ears to you, Elisabeth.” “Okay then. If I sound like the schoolteacher I am, don’t be annoyed. I just want to demonstrate something.” “I won’t, Elisabeth, so fire away.” “Here we go. You know that all nations are born from violence.” “I can live with that, Elisabeth.” “Most people don’t like violence; they want peace; they want to prosper, have families, see their children grown healthy and happily. They do not want all that misery caused by wars, but some do and they get a kick out of destruction or they want fame and fortune by means of aggression. The best way to achieve it is offer their services to the weak communities who cannot or will not fight. The warlord, smart as he is, creates conditions that will persuade the communities to beg for their protection against other

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warlords. From time to time, the warlords engage in conflicts, just to show how needed they are, until one of them skedaddle. The community will honor the victor, who will take the opportunity to seize the defeated ones to his assets also. A nation is born and to keep it short, a state, taxes, military service and institutions are not far away. And that’s what I’m afraid of. You are the type of warlord defying the other warlord to take away his land.” “Nice tale, Elisabeth, but I don’t seem to see your point.” “My point is that I’m not a worthy opponent, John. It is not a feat if you defeat me. Actually, I’m sure it will be your Pyrrhic victory. Nobody will pay homage to you therefore; you’ll end up in history as the man who fought a woman over a red rock that nobody’s interested in.” “I don’t see it that way, Elisabeth. People will lionize me for my work here, and they will forget in time what really happened here. That’s what history learns. The downside will double up into the past.” “You may be right, John, but you won’t know. You and I will be gone by then. I’m still persuaded that we should be better off if we cooperate, instead of flying at each other’s throats.” “I’m still all ears, Elisabeth, so what do you have up your sleeve?” “As we speak some of our people are killing the North Pole water plant and as such, you will not have water for days on a row. That will mean squabbling at the next board of directors meeting, John, and I do not have to emphasize that some of your people on the Wheel will not approve your conduct either. If they can’t have drinkable water or have their daily shower or their meals properly cooked, your place in history might be that of a bummer, John.”

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“Damn it, Elisabeth, that’s immoral what you’re doing. I can have you shot on the spot.” “But you won’t, John, since you won’t gain anything from it. And when Bellum arrives and finds everything’s in a mess and my people and your people on the brink of revolting, I’m afraid you might be pretty stuck in a jumble.” Kovinsky had trouble holding his temper and Elisabeth could hear him heavily breathe. She was not sure if her deterrent politics would work on him; she just had to take a bed on it. Then he was back, cool again. “Okay, Elisabeth, we can do it the other way. So, what’s your offer?” “I propose that from now on, we live together in harmony, at least until the President arrives. You know his findings will lord over everything you fight for, so why not pretend we like each other and help each other out?” “You won’t let me in, if it’s that what I’m thinking.” “No, leave us alone, John. Take Base Camp and One Dome for all that matters. Make it a livable place again, wipe those bad memories off and start all over again. You have the intention to rebuild the place after all, but we shouldn’t tarry.” “That’s not a deal, Elisabeth. I was going to take One Dome anyway.” “I’m not finished yet, John. Further, more, I want you to pick up the bodies of those poor people lying outside and in the shaft, and take one of our people to the Wheel to have him cured. And let my son and his friend come back to us in one piece. You can pick them up on their way to the Pole, you’ve still got time.” “That’s more than I want to hear, Elisabeth, but okay then, let’s shake on it. I’m afraid though that Bellum will not show the same patience as I have. There will come a time that we will need to expand, as more and more settlers will pull in. And then your

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perfect community will be invited to join, but I’m afraid ‘invite’ will not be the proper word they’ll use.” “I’m aware of that, John, and we’ll be ready when time comes.” “By the way, Elisabeth, do you know the history of Rome?” “Rome? What do you mean, John?” “Well, talking about warlords. Rome once was a small village with a strong warlord type of man or family. Some villages were only happy to call them up for helping them out of trouble, whatever that was. Other villages were aware they were successful in doing so, and so they asked for their help as well. The Romans found out they did not have to work their fingers to the bone anymore. All they had to do was offering their services, receive the grateful gifts and have a ball. Before long, they were on their way to world domination. So, I don’t think your comparison applies to all circumstances, Elisabeth, in my opinion you should be glad I’m not a Roman warlord.” “Sounds more like the mob boss to me the way you describe it, John. Maybe their opponents were simply no match to them. Policy of mutual assured destruction at an early stage.” “What?” “Never mind, John. Just do what you have to do, and we’ll be friends for ever.” Kovinsky promised and after they had parted, she stared blankly at the intercom and began to pray. She prayed for the welfare of her community, for Albert’s safe return and Kovinsky’s horse sense.

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30.

Kovinsky kept his word. He did not carry out his threats and his troops picked Albert and Howard up, who were about to reach their target and they delivered them back in one piece. They were not bothered anymore. Even Bellum did not hassle with them and stayed on the Wheel, and as far as they could see, Kovinsky soon started to turn One Dome into a construction site. Albert had found his niche in the community, fixing technical stuff. Three months after the infamous conflict, Sharon was pregnant and it was a surprise for Elisabeth to hear that it had involved her son. If everything turned out to be fine, she would be a grandma soon. The community was growing into a real society as Howard had said. They had named some of the rooms after people who had contributed to their protection with their lives. They included Jack Armstrong, Dan Pelsmaker, Margaret Rinsford and special agents Jim Horner, Hank and Marvin. Jesus was fortunate enough not to be on the list; he had left them with the next shipment earthbound. His days on Mars were over, but his spiritual work would continue and grow into a new religion, a Martian religion. Kovinsky’s workers were building the causeway between both Domes at fast speed. The towering excavators drilled the tunnel ends to knot them together up to a last ten centimeters thick partition located at the initial shaft’s entrance. These ten centimeters represented the last step to connect both domes. Then, the message came. The President formally invited Elisabeth to participate the ceremony of breaking down the last wall bit. She agreed on condition that they would not come into

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but she was not feeling envy. She saw a small magnet levitation train coming down. this was a matter between her and Bellum. It was time to meet halfway. her community would still be ruling Mars. she took the expensive clothing in. she felt compassion for this ignorant people. and fifty meters from where she stood. The doors slit open and there descended not Bellum. Elisabeth watched taped recordings of the rebuilt One Dome in its full glory. She waited patiently at the former entrance doorway. it came hissing like a steam machine to a standstill. she could now see elated people gathering for this exciting and unprecedented period in the history of America: the President moving his office to Mars. She had instructed her people not to join her. President of the Martina Federation. Bellum would join the banquet in One Dome before he would come across the tunnel. They would never know how to behave themselves and pull through. She ordered them to close the gate and stepped towards the decompression room. but John Kovinsky who walked offhandedly towards her. They were so out of order here on this planet. the spot to start negotiations and make everlasting deals.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Two Dome. A morbid reflection somehow secretly pleased her. and with it Kovinsky. She saw the last partition tumble down in big lumps and clouds of ten years of old dust. The tunnel’s completion was nearing. light beams piercing in and suddenly the opening was large enough to let a grown man pass. and everything that meant evilness to her. Watching the broadcast. Pressurized air was pumped down the tunnel and therefore she did not need to wear protective clothing. the jewels the invitees wore. She declared the former decompression chamber as their no man’s land. Where once death had lured. At the end. 298 of 333 . She knew One Dome would soon become extinct again. Elisabeth walked out the auditorium alone. While waiting for the workers to finish off the job.

We cannot cause another riot over some trivial issues.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert followed by a lot of clumsy moving broadcast people. John?” she hissed.” She was so perplexed that she could not free herself from his firm grip and before she knew. ‘Bellum can’t make it right now. I’ve got troubles enough already. Kovinsky changed his tone to a more intimate level. floating on its magnetic rails. at last we meet again. “Elisabeth. If you follow me. if we are friends again. once and for all. don’t be angry. he’s still acting before the mirror to prepare his maiden speech. The train smoothly drove in reverse. Elisabeth gazed at him as she if was seeing a specter. I want to know. He lowered his voice.” “Why are you doing this to me. John. representing Two Dome. “Elisabeth. I know we have to talk out a lot. “This was not agreed upon. She was sitting opposite at a circular table in a luxurious private wagon. she realized he had put her on the spot. but then he took her by the arm and in front of the camera’s. before we get to the meeting. But Kovinsky was alive and well and he embraced Elisabeth who stood frozen. but he did not wink and just stood there looking so triumphant as if he had just made the best deal of his life. I really hope we can settle our personal misunderstandings and preferably. Kovinsky had carried her to the train. and now coming to her senses again. please.” she went on.” Then he raised his voice to a volume loud enough to be heard and talked to the cameras. “Doctor Elisabeth McIntosh.” 299 of 333 . She felt out of place in the camera floodlights barging in. has been invited by the President of the United States at his inauguration speech.

having recovered his bearing again. you make up your mind.” She gazed at him in wonder. She tried to calm him down. Elisabeth. “I won’t be the party-pooper if it’s that what you mean. What do we have to talk about? Is there something you want to share with me?” She had spoken scoffing at him. and I want you to tell me what I need to know. have you ordered Lyndon to kill Margaret Rinsford?” She had phrased her question with the fixed video recording in mind. shifting constantly in his seat and waving frantically his hands. I suggest we first hear what Bellum has to say. Mine won’t change.” “I agree. Here. This was not the victorious John Kovinsky talking. and it made her tentative. while riding in a first class train on air. The train enhanced its speed and the computerized voice told them they were bridging the distance in less then a quarter. she saw his personality crumble to its naked proportions. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’d have the last word. this was the man who was showing her his true colors. 300 of 333 . you know that. I don’t know what Bellum’s going to declare. “If you’re in doubt. It was high time she fired off. We will weigh the pros and the cons. We then will make up our minds. Kovinsky seemed to have changed at the sight of it.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert That was a lot of machine fire talking on his side and she was aware that his bipolarity was actively working.” He spoke enigmatically. He was acting manically. I don’t know anymore where I stand lately. Elisabeth. I want you to be there. “John. John. listening to his real intentions. in this confined space. John. or better still. “Believe me or not. but he did not lose his stance.

it was all in the line of duty and they dropped the case. Barry. Elisabeth?” “I don’t. he was out of his mind. It was a personal reckoning. accusing her of having murdered their daughter. He put her before court martial. I assume he never got over it and when he heard Margaret was in the station. that’s all I can say. who was a second lieutenant in her regiment at the time.” “I’m afraid there is. you know how the army works. but of course. Then he broke up with her. their daughter. Elisabeth. Elisabeth. You are the pioneers and we owe you a lot. Rinsford and Sue. John. It was the time of the third world hostilities back then. but mind you.” 301 of 333 . Rinsford got a mental breakdown and raised hell. why did you tell everyone we had blown up the satcom while it was not?” “That was just provocation. We don’t want another One Dome incident. They were all enlisted. Now bear with me. I’ve made a tactical mistake here. Then. Sue was killed almost instantly and when Lyndon learned what happened. left the force to join us.” “So. “You know about their daughter’s death. tell me there isn’t more I need to hear. he saw it as his chance to get even. don’t you? But do you know the background of what really happened. but that’s come too late in the day. You’ll be guiding us through our difficult periods. you should know that. He gazed at her askew. for what it’s worth. he decided to tell her the full story. that’s only my assumption. if you catch my drift.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Her sudden move put him off. Elisabeth. “I’ve never given that order. What happened is that Rinsford ordered Sue. but she was demobilized. Please. That’s part of the game. I confess.” He was aware she was sitting on bananas. to go into a Sudanese reinforced minefield. I didn’t mean to harm anyone. I’m not a beast if it’s that what you believe. you and your people are too valuable to us.

She suddenly had a flash. “Magnetic fields. They stepped out and to her surprise. Before they came to a halt. but she hoped it would make him rethink. Maybe Kovinsky was just another pawn in the hands of powers behind the scenes. Some of them Elisabeth still recognized. Kovinsky showed her something that looked like a tiny hearing device. Kovinsky sounded trustworthy and Elisabeth was willing to accept.” Earth… That was not what Elisabeth wanted to hear. Weighty looking people took in folding chairs. grinning. not at this stage anyway. “John. Such a revelation would not take form.” Kovinsky clarified. She took a 302 of 333 . The train slackened down at the sight of the reception area and then they were in One Dome.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert It was a shocking story. have you ever considered you might be part of a big puppet show and you are just one of the puppets on a string?” “I rather see myself as the puppeteer. Attendants guided her to the first row where she sat opposite the platform.” She did not go on. and then. knowing in his state of mind. “We haven’t been sitting on our asses. Bellum started his pep talk. he first drew the attention towards her and suddenly she was in the spotlight. No one coming from Earth will have to adapt himself to Martian gravitation anymore. He did not explain but she did it any way. the star of the evening show. It’s like Earth. The cameras clicked and taped. She had to endure a standing up ovation. When Bellum came in. Elisabeth. How would they possibly live together that way? By hopping from one gravity to another? They had turned part of the reception area into a replica of the White House press room. He asked her to put it in her ear. the surface seemed to pull her down and she had trouble adjusting herself. if you forgive me saying so. but somehow.

Bellum was talking in biblical sentences about her community. and the day shone not for a third part of it. “The first angel sounded. He sounded like a whipped up fanatic. It took her a while before she heard Bellum was using the words of the Book of Revelations to his speech. burning as it were a lamp. so as the third part of them was darkened.” She could not believe what she was hearing. And the fourth angel sounded. and the third part of the sun was smitten. and there fell a great star from heaven. and all green grass was burnt up. but he was not around and she tried to concentrate on the speech that seemed to linger on and on.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert stealthy look at her row to find Kovinsky. and upon the fountains of waters. and they were cast upon Earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up. He talked about the seven angels and their seven trumpets. and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood. Then she forced herself to pay attention. And the second angel sounded. and the third part of the ships were destroyed. She asked herself why they still wanted to worship this man in front of her. In spite of herself. This was not going the right way. She concentrated on the words. who had fled his country and the planet. she drew herself to his speech and remembered what Kovinsky had told her. 303 of 333 . just to continue where he had left. and the night likewise. and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea. and had life. she said to herself. And the third angel sounded. He was explained how he was going to rule it on his own terms. died. and the third part of the stars. and the third part of the moon. and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood. and it fell upon the third part of the rivers.

she had to bring it to his mind that everything was going the wrong direction. who would bring Mars down just as he had done wittingly with Earth. The third part of everything… was he referring to those who escaped their tragic fate with the second expedition? Now she had her proof what Kovinsky in his blind drift for power had never seen. Her mind drifted to Jack Armstrong. John was talking to her through the hearing device. I’m watching you on a screen. He had manipulated everything in order to take over the dome and use the people to his own purpose. they would have to die for the sake of his own life. Kovinsky was really a puppet. He hadn’t dared to reveal that to her and he had just wagged his finger accusatory at Kovinsky for all that went wrong. do not nod or shake your head.” 304 of 333 . It would have been his job to lead the insemination operation. are you hearing what he’s telling us? Just wink your eyes. a blind and misguided dummy. No. She startled for a second but kept her stance. a tiny voice crackled in her ear. Armstrong was something in eugenics. “Elisabeth. Kovinsky was just small fish. but where was he? Then all of a sudden. He had been part of that big scheme. this was a religious extremist. that could not be a coincidence. who had been behind it all. She had to warn him. They would become his slaves. Now she knew what was hanging over their head. She sat frozen in her chair while the truth overwhelmed her.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert This was not an enlightened man. leading this new world with the true spiritual leadership of the Forefathers. ignorant bait thrown on Mars. there was no doubt about that. Compared to Bellum. It was Bellum all the time.

“Okay then. She came straight to the point while she sank in one of the posh seats. we should make it snappy before things get out of hand. Okay. So. but Elisabeth managed to leave unseen. how about it?” 305 of 333 . what do you make of his speech? Can you live with a man like that?” He dredged up a smile. “You don’t appreciate the fruits of the loom anymore.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert She winked. “Thanks Elisabeth.” “We don’t need an extremist on Mars and I’m afraid we don’t seem to be able to live together as well. Kovinsky was sitting in the box. nibbling on nicotine sweets. first box as soon as he has done talking.” he wrapped up. She would not believe it. waiting for her. that he had trespassed the safe zone and joined her in forbidden land. Listening to Bellum’s prophecies. wink again. but tell me in all honesty. you in Two Dome and we in One Dome. he too had seen what it was coming to. where the train was still waiting. I’m done with Earth. but John had just told her he was with her. tell me. I’d like to hear your plan. Now if you trust me. The celebration that Kovinsky had referred to was held in the auditorium.” He did not sound repentant and she had to be careful not to blow their precious coming to terms relationship.” “No. “Great. John.” She winked again. “So. he replied he had to admit that her words about him being a puppet-on-a-string had made him think it over. why are you so suddenly swapping sides? Is that a new plot of yours? ” He looked serious and with a grave voice.” She winked one more time. “And Jack was right. I’m on your site. join me in the train. and I’ll never will again. “I should have listened to him. happily living apart together. and return to the reception hall. I agree with you we both have our own little kingdom. Trust me. John. Elisabeth.

In fact.” “That’s good to hear. not as enemies. I just want to be left alone and mind my own business. 306 of 333 . The United Nations will have to recognize you as a new country and you will be the first political leader on Mars. He leaned over to her and she felt his body heat. and he did not show it otherwise. Elisabeth and I apologize. that she almost forgot his malfunction was in full gear again. How does that sound. He was so convincingly working on her. Maybe it would turn out all right in the end. In addition. but not too intimate either. would you not reconsider our relationship in other terms? We should not be enemies. That way you will have the status of a nation. John?” she asked him teasingly. and a heavy weight fell off her shoulders. I’ve done a lot of damage.” “Further more. but it’s to your community’s advantage. That’s your prerogative.” “I know. but it didn’t get into that thick head of yours. John.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “That’s what I’ve wanted to hear from you. I’ve quit my presumptions being a Roman emperor. You first had to show muscle.” “Are you hitting on me. Bear in mind that there is still an army waiting to take its chance. and you don’t want that on your back again. which means you will have sovereign immunity.” She inadvertently had to smile. Something in between and maybe. you might establish your own army for all I know. but that won’t happen anymore. and in time. we will bargain over goods and services as equals. John. Even I won’t be able to harass you. Elisabeth. His lips stroke hers and she responded his kiss. Madam President?” “I don’t want to be a stateswoman.” “I know. we might grow closer. I have my attorneys commissioned to draw a constitution for Two Dome. John. It’s peace pipe from now on. “Elisabeth.

It was just a question which crossroad to take. She felt impressed by the way he handled things. It was an enchanting sight and Kovinsky looked like he was gleefully surprised. and that this is not one of your red herrings. where several people were sitting in a circle and Linda was singing one of her compositions. She came to a decision. Just a word from him and everyone rolled up their sleeves. I appreciate that.” “That would be fine. At the halfway section. It could be a good thing and it could be a bad thing. Let’s move on then. I want you to see how we are doing and why we are not going to give in and turn to earthlings again. Okra flowers 307 of 333 . the trains slowed down.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 31. but she knew it could mean everything. That’s where the real power was. Elisabeth immediately guided Kovinsky to the recreation area. Bellum can wait. that you are really on my side. It would be a determined decision with a lot of unpredicted consequences. They were still fixing the hole into the tunnel. allowing the workers to step aside. Then the train continued its trip until they stopped about ten meters from the decompression chamber. I want you to see for yourself. “John. I want you to come with me to our home. John. “Promise me one thing.” He sent her an assuring glance.” He pushed a button on a panel and spoke some instructions to the automated driver and the train moved backward again. she had to remind herself that this man had a mental disorder. Elisabeth.

Elisabeth.” “You would be willing to die in other words. we would accept the consequences. but we go on. The hibiscus. like fish to water. will it? It’s meant to work for a thousand years without survey or maintenance. like every new civilization does. You know successful civilizations thrive on the old ones. the reactor will never shut down. which they had wiped out or made obsolete.” 308 of 333 . otherwise known as ‘gumbo’ also helped them with proteins and vitamins and skin moisturizing. which to Kovinsky was something of a blasphemy to his business organization models. It was their holy ground. Elisabeth told Kovinsky they did not care about timetables. who’re you going to call?” “We do nothing. it not only produced food and drink. then we won’t feel tributary to the old one anymore. People simply volunteered to do the plucking and cooking and everything ran smoothly. Elisabeth. but heating and oxygen as well. if you wouldn’t want to ask for our outside help. John. We’ve agreed. as Elisabeth explained.” “It was just a hypothetic question.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert dressed up the hallway with a festive yellow touch. That was the whole assumption.” “We just make advantage of it. I don’t. all of us. We all know we have a lot to thank to whom have made all this possible. and you gave me the answer.” “Anyway. spontaneously drawn to it. “Let’s suppose the reactor has a malfunction anymore. He put a question forward while they headed for their next destination. that if the dome cannot operate anymore. creating a new kind of society and if this one is successful.” “Do you see an alternative?” “No. About half of the population continuously spent time at the Pond. which of course was their pride and joy. They remain tributary to what they have destroyed though they rarely will admit it openly. Then she led him to the Pond.

Your community has nothing to offer but itself.” “I see what you mean.” “That’s right. doing what he’s good at. Your force lies in isolation. Some pregnant women were sitting in circles. And I fear you’ll never accept that it can live without Earth’s help. It caused a reaction in a Hegelian sort of way. They wore twined flower strings on their heads and they sat deeply in concentration. There shouldn’t be a gun in the community in the first place. We can take care that such circumstances will never prevail. John. They watched the scene from behind the glass door. It’s doomed to linger on forever. creating sterile surroundings with no future or purpose whatsoever. Lyndon almost put an end to Jesus’ life for the simple reason he had a gun.” “Let me give you an example. John.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Frankly. not a Martian.” Next came the meditation center.” “Your eyes don’t see what they should see.” “Don’t fool yourself. of happiness? I don’t think so. if Lyndon didn’t have that gun. he wouldn’t have done it. You’re an earthling.” “And?” “If he hadn’t a gun. 309 of 333 . Elisabeth. Will you save Earth from its destruction? No. or fall apart. It had been set up as a holistic health center and a session was now in progress. so that we don’t have to be afraid of the consequences. Your goal is here. I can’t accept your nice theory. Elisabeth.” “Are you going to lecture me on arms control?” “I just want to point out that Jesus would still be in good health. Will you bring them a message of hope. protecting yourself from the evils outside. which was one of the two unused restaurants.

Everyone’s welcome in our free clinic. People live for the community.” “What enemy? There are no enemies here. Here you will not find selfishness. He was so used to the medical industry blessings and their rational attitude towards matters of healthiness. they’ll never grow into adults as we know on Earth.” Kovinsky seemed to have some doubts about the unorthodox healing methods. Their own kids will grow up ignorant. and the community lives for the people. which I’m fortunate to say there are few. John. no hatred but love. they won’t be like adults on Earth. We listen. “It takes care of most aspects of our wellbeing.” Elisabeth explained. “Have you given some thought on the next generation yet?” “Seven of our women are pregnant as we speak. John. I have a strong impression people here are a bit playful in a sort of childish way. Isn’t that wonderful?” “In my opinion they won’t be able to face and stand up trouble whatsoever. In another room we give haptonomic courses for the ones with affection disorders.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “We’re showing much success with holism. we help.” “Not less then in maternities on Earth.” “That’s good news. Elisabeth. you will find selflessness. And they’ll never learn how to fight the enemy. that he found it hard to believe they would be able to tackle every problem. but now it’s picking up.” “Though one consideration. and we don’t need social security or ID’s around here.” 310 of 333 .” “Just as it is. Our forthcoming mothers prepare here for the births. I suspect you know what to do if all these women are in labor at the same time. but he was wise to skip it. They will break down at the first crisis they meet. It’s been going slow. and we care. We’re heading to a real society now. John.

And –“ She cut him short. knowing he would go on. we fight our planet for domination.” “I agree with you. Elisabeth. We have to admit that we just don’t fundamentally understand everything. but she took it serious. maybe we’re just getting too old. You cannot know God’s laws. “I won’t argue with that. Try to overcome that. but we want to offer these Martian kids a cause to live and at the same way learn from them. It had no use to him anymore. He’s evidently self-assured that he knows what God really wants and how He works. We try to shape nature to our own mindscape. Maybe it will be their kids who know the solution to everything. Call it natural selection or lucky strikes.” He meant it in a mockery way. “You see. But that is not the point. Not every life form responds to his theory. John. but we break up the Earth and then we flee to 311 of 333 . humans are not fit to play God. The point is that some species are favorites to God. John. “There is no such thing as natural selection of the human race.” “You’re right. Of course. I presume. too much earthbound to see what’s going on. John. whatever that means. Elisabeth. you are only presumptuous that you can in your infinite human wisdom. He wiped it inconsiderably off. We think we know what we are doing. trying to convince himself of what he was doing right. instead of trying to find out what it wants to tell us.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert A toy hummingbird landed on Kovinsky’s shoulder. I am not saying that Darwin was right either. John. We’re the same as we were a hundred thousand years ago. we cannot be Martians. I don’t care. It kept zooming for a while over his head and then flew away.” “With God’s help. your president is convinced he does the work of God. I’ve never accepted we would.

I don’t want your world to come into mine. but these exercises rightly satisfy our needs.” She had spitted out her words. John. Money hardens the soul.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert another hideaway and do it all over again. We don’t need tech stuff to fill our time. Adjoining was the fitness room. Martian gravity doesn’t allow us to do all kind of sports. and countries. people just moved their bodies in ways that Kovinsky reminded of tai chi chuan.” Elisabeth threw a sharp look at him. Maybe in your so called civilization it has an advantage or two. and Kovinsky looked like he was impressed. It had no proper fitness appliances. I’ve helped you on your way to your cloistered life.” “And nobody’s getting paid for it. we have a lot of creative people. but here nobody cares.” Kovinsky said in a wry voice. John. That’s what I’m combating against.” 312 of 333 . Besides. We even have our own theatrical company.” “I’ve not seen anyone watching TV. we became aware we were still acting as an appendix to Earth if we’d go on using them. we don’t feel the need to watch TV or play video games anymore. Does that mean you’ve renounced the values of modern civilization?” “As a matter of fact. after you had shut off all communications. writers. “As you see. I won’t deny that. people.” “So. It divides families. graphic designers and many more. It makes people selfish. We’ll do alright without you. if you can’t cope. “Still. Leave us. John. narrators. John. knowing she sounded like Jesus Mendez. but she meant every one of. “We don’t want money. musicians.

“It strikes me I don’t smell much of cookery.” 313 of 333 . but truly. now arriving at the kitchen where people were preparing their lunches. John. “Not much of variety in my opinion. Elisabeth. “Apologize if I act simple-minded. It’s just a matter of getting used to it. Everyone was working in a light mood. she thought. salmon. You really shake me up. John. “That’s because we don’t use animal fats. Let’s have a bite.” Already fifty people were preparing their lunch. She had gone a long way since that first meeting in the White House. haddock. even if I would return. They sat at in a corner at the long table and Kovinsky ran his eyes over the plate’s content. It’s not easy for me. trout.” He grinned.” “You’re sure you’re not Jewish or Muslim?” Kovinsky seemed to find it a great joke. Our fish-breeding pond provides us with good fish. They continued the tour. Don’t act like you’ve never eaten healthy in your life before. no tense hell’s kitchen with cooks working their asses off. having to admit there are other ways to manage things. clams. I mean fish and veggies. “We just want to stay healthy. We have mollusk.” Kovinsky said while they passed the numerous microwaves and steam cookers. Every part of the food process is natural and under strict surveillance. Elisabeth and John joined the food queue to fill their plate. don’t you get any complaints?” “Not at all. and taste it yourself.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert I don’t even want that insurance money anymore. being a control freak. I’m flabbergasted. and tuna.

just adequate to get a good feeling. looking like a married couple in their new kitchen. everyone cleans up his own mess. John. Howard aiming at Kovinsky’s forehead and Andrea aiming at his belly. Everything’s so spotless. as a reference to the color of a daily Martian sky. her crossing over. amber colored and tasting of mothballs. Later on. Howard and Andrea entered the room. too much absorbed with private thoughts. It had been the threshold. He did not talk much. they put the dishes into the dishwasher and watched the machine do its work. Elisabeth. You have built up a fantastic place here. She made tisane tea. Mars might grow into a new Eden. It’s just about social reflexes.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Sharon had produced a wine. I don’t understand. Sharon had added some cannabis extract to it. you’ve convinced me and I’m thinking to establish a Martin nation the way you do. but it had a good feeling after a couple of gulps. Kovinsky ate it all and seemed to enjoy it. a long time ago. After lunch. They both had a laser gun in their hands. and to be honest. She had called it ‘Martian butterscotch’. Maybe Mars is meant to be our real destination. They sipped and the beverage seemed to loosen up John. “I must admit I’m very impressed. and afterwards she had never regretted her decision to exchange Earth for Mars. they ended up at her place.” Elisabeth recalled how she had felt that sensation too. 314 of 333 . Elisabeth would really want to know what he was brooding over. But before she could go into that.” “Elisabeth. We do not want to create social classes. I think I’ve seen enough. It reminds me of the Venice condo I was living in at a time.” “We don’t need full time cleaners here.

” 315 of 333 .” “I know how you can pull it off. Andrea. Bellum has bamboozled us. staring at both agents. “How?” Howard asked.” Her voice had gained a resolute tone. both of you. That’s the right time to strike. Kovinsky did not seem to be surprised as if it was something he had been expecting. lowering his gun. “And what’s in for us? I mean. he’s with us now. not ours. We don’t need to be lined up as the ones who killed the President. no killing here or ever. “The day after tomorrow. Howard. “He’s right. you and me and John. She looked washed out. but it made no impression on the agents. Kovinsky came to her help.” Howard was not impressed. he’s your crisis. Andrea put her gun away too. He turned to her with a wry smile.” Now he had their attention. “You don’t have to kill me. “I – I didn’t know. Andrea seemed not to notice she was keeping the gun to Howard’s back instead of Kovinsky. She sat frozen. Is this your synthesis?” Elisabeth stared at him. “You don’t have to do that anymore. “Action causes reaction.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Just now Elisabeth remembered they had sworn an oath to get rid of Kovinsky and it was still valid. the second mate on the ship. The one who set all this up is our beloved President. Elisabeth.” Then she turned to the agents. Forget the past.” Kovinsky added. It’s him you want. Elisabeth came to their help. people. looking grim and determined. I’m just the repairman. John.

“I don’t know what you’re up to. you’ll pay for it with your own life. so they put their smart heads together to come up with an ingenious plan.” “God has willed it. They control the media and keep the population restrained and living in fear. the so called Big Five. enjoying too much the attention he got. and no busybody will stick his nose in from now on. I’ll be your lifetime guarantee. After the One Dome debacles. “But they can’t buy Mars. they had been the cause of it after all. and so they took primarily precautions. they can’t control Mars. “As you know our beloved President had won his elections with the help of his sponsoring friends.” Elisabeth hastily proposed and they agreed. Don’t misjudge us. we decided our Martian dreams were over.” ‘Trust me. They knew that. It’s a most interesting story about our dearly loved president and his entourage. And finally they want Mars because it has got out of their hands. it will go on doing what it’s meant to do. 316 of 333 . They consider warfare as another way of doing business. but we’ll be your shadow from now one. If you are wondering if I’m cheating. They have manipulated the outcomes at every re-election and lobbied up to heaven to have Bellum’s presidency to last forever. but they knew what was happening with Earth. let me tell you a story first. and if you don’t keep your promises.” Howard muttered.” “Let’s have a cup of tea first.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “No more presidents or whatever. Kovinsky did not pay heed to Howard’s spiritual outburst.” Kovinsky firmly said. She made it strong. we’re not one of your moron agents. “This colony – this community will deal with itself. hoping the cannabis would keep the tempers down. Kovinsky. they eased up and were ready to go along with Kovinsky’s tale.” Then Howard said. The tea did not miss its effect. They passed a bill to do that.

Kovinsky grinned at their pose. and drank up his tea before going on. and feeling strongly rejected. the Wheels. fascinated by his tale. found out what happened behind their back. “Not even ISA.” Elisabeth stated and Kovinsky shrugged. the monopoly over Mars.” Elisabeth added. The operation had cost them angry shareholders and bankruptcies. thereby putting ISA out of space business. “Then. Kovinsky looked at everyone in turn. The only option is to get rid of Bellum. They leased Base Camp and One Dome from ISA and began to build Two Dome without considering involving The United Nations’ right of veto.” “They’ve made you their fall guy and Andrea and Howard their gophers. However. They claimed Mars for themselves and got the whole bunch. I may add.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert some day. and so they decided to try it once more and this time they did not take risks. his eyes expressing sorrowfulness. nonetheless. It seems to me they’ve tricked you to. “I expected something like that from ISA.” Howard said in a calm voice. claiming they wanted a refund on their gone capital. but Bellum – alias the Big Five and the military – refused to do so. nobody will. they would have to emigrate to the stars. who sat with their cups in hand. Elisabeth. all in preparation of their migration. At the end. ISA.” 317 of 333 . The wrong skin. “Now I realize they did. Mars was the only option available in our planetary system. They submitted a complaint. but you won’t get them of course. they got full possession of both domes without having priers and without either Congress or ISA’s approval.” “ISA sent Howard and Andrea because they wanted retaliation for their lost possessions. you can take my word for it.” He squinted to his audience.” “Nobody’s going to kill the President. who had invested heavily in One Dome. the satellites and a lot more rocks. but I didn’t know you wanted my skin. It’s the other fellows you’ve got to go after.

“What are you going to do. Howard did not react.” Andrea said softly. “Okay. John? Nothing foolish. Kovinsky had won his life and both agents had accepted the deal was off.” “Not at all. and then start a war if necessary to repossess what they had lost. “What now?” Elisabeth asked.to kill the whipping boy from the other camp. Kovinsky breathed more freely now.” Again. Elisabeth.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “No. He accepted another cup of tea and drank greedily. and that should be the be-all and the end-all. They still have the power to do so. “We leave it up to you. 318 of 333 . it’ll be the only time I’ll use my rightful mind. She instinctively avoided his attempt to atonement. Do whatever is best for all. she felt a growing concern because he spoke in riddles. Kovinsky. He’s of no concern to us anymore and we are not going to stick our necks out for him.” “It’s over then. It was safer to use two of their whipping boys – forgive me the expression . And a lot of big cheeses who’d missed the boat were eager to get their own five stars condos on Mars as well. As a matter of fact. I hope. seemed to have second thoughts. I’ve heard enough. while standing up. but don’t forget that you are still our Number One enemy.” Howard said. bad publicity and political incorrectness of course.” Kovinsky said and a certain tone in his voice drew her attention. Elisabeth.” After the ISA agents had left. “I’ll take dare of the situation. and it did not promise any good. Kovinsky flung his arm around Elisabeth’s shoulders and tried to give her a kiss in his tea glow.

John. The community will accept you once they know who you are. Tell me you won’t be hurt in any which way. It had become more than just a society. You have a future here. “It’s just a little idea of mine.” He grinned. and if we can come to terms. On the other hand.” “I feel uneasy about what you’re planning to do. with me at your side. tell me please what you’re up to. 319 of 333 . and Elisabeth was not sure either if they really would accept him. not in a harmful way anyway. He would always be the odd man out. I don’t feel confident about anything now. you know I’m good at it and it won’t affect your little family. which she had never seen it that way.” He came to his senses again and had that collected look over him she knew so well.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “John. The picture of people loving him seemed too far fetched. but he had hit the nail on the head. It was her family now. Elisabeth. he had spoken of her family.

loud and clear. Do not leave that gate open and have it shut at least for the next six months. No one’s coming in. Elisabeth. now. They all disagreed to have him come. up to the moment the train passed the halfway section. John? What’s going on?” “Never mind that.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert 32. she ordered one of the people to push the button and the airlock closed with a loud hiss. Suddenly Kovinsky was in her ear. which the workers had added to the shaft’s gate. Just trust me. Just keep that goddamn gate closed at all times or forever if you can. It’s the only way to preserve the dome. now. Kovinsky suggested she would wear the headset he had given her at the presidential speech. please tell me. do you understand?” “Why.” “What do you mean. its headlights shining on the silvery metal shaft walls.” Reluctantly. Elisabeth waited for Bellum’s arrival. Elisabeth had learned that the First Lady was still on Earth. but Elisabeth pulled it off that it was for their own good. She and the leaders were standing by at the airlock. shut the airlock. Close that airlock. They silently watched the train approaching. only some hundred meters away from them. He called her name out. and they all were convinced now that Bellum had chickened out and left the others to save the sinking ship. “John. John? Is this a trick?” “No tricks.” “I’m not letting the President and his jesters destroy your work. I want to know what you’re going to do. to keep in touch with him during the ride. Elisabeth. “Elisabeth. Kovinsky would be at his side on the train with a bunch of Big Five executives.” 320 of 333 . as well as the vice-President. His voice sounded agitated.

” “It’s the one and only thing that’s not foolish. and if not. See you in a better life. who still stunned. He had done the only thing his labile mind was capable of doing. John. Elisabeth. She ripped the headset off.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “John.” “It’s something I’ve got to do. Elisabeth. please. 321 of 333 . but I still hope it will not be in vain. don’t be stupid. Her friends carried her back to her room. Name one of your smaller rooms after John Kovinsky. It’s no big deal. I am not the hero type. He closed the door behind her and joined Elisabeth.” Suddenly. don’t do whatever you’re about to do. Just now.” Howard said in a peremptory tone and they left. she realized the horrible truth.” “John…You scare the hell out of me” “Farewell. let’s talk. a pitched crack echoed across the shaft followed by far away rumble that passed by under her feet as the result of the explosion Kovinsky had triggered on the train. well. John had sacrificed himself for their sake. knowing in a small way I will have contributed to your community. They made her a cup of hoasca tea. he leaned towards her and lowered his voice. sat sipping her tea. I’d be obliged if something’s left of me on Mars.” “Hold it. she decided to join the others. maybe. “Leave us alone. I’ll give you a sign. Seeing she was coming to her senses again. but at Howard’s imperative look. If God exists. why did you do that for?” she cried out. “You goddamn idiot. Andrea stood wavering at the door. my life isn’t all fucked up. Elisabeth. John.

I know you’re still upset by what just happened. Then he continued. he patted her on the hand. Land of Two Rivers. like the Freemasons or UFO believers?” 322 of 333 .” He presented Elisabeth a new cup.” She wiped off a tear. which nowadays is better known as Iraq. Go ahead then.” She interrupted him a bit grumpy. “I reckon I’ll need to lecture you on history first.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “Elisabeth. everything will become clear. a truth might be a nice change right now.” At the sight of her unintelligible look. but if you’re willing to listen to what I’ve got to say. First. as it is the closest guarded secret on Earth. Elisabeth. Babylon. “It’s derived from a Sumerian word that means Lord. We know that the roots of human civilization as we know are located in Sumer. Howard. Why where they always speaking to her in spy code? “You don’t know ROOTS of course. which she declined and he poured himself in. Are you talking of some secret fellowship. Iraq. clearly becoming herself again. “I’m okay.” “That’s what I’m going to tell you. Elisabeth. Howard. I guess it’s as good as any time now to come up with some answers. all different names referring to the same cradle of western civilization.” Elisabeth began to feel annoyed again. “Cut the introduction. Let us start with the beginning. “You are certainly familiar with Sumer.” “So?” “Bellum was head of the ROOTS society. the truth. You better sit back and let me fill you in. Mesopotamia. do you know what Bellum means?” Bellum? The President’s surname? She hadn’t a clue.

it’s the answer to what we are and where we’re heading to. but then she remembered the nightmare was over. Howard.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “They all have something to do with it. I’m fed up with your kind.” “It’s not what you think.” “And what have you to do with it?” “Bellum. “What about Phobos?” “You remember that Albert discovered a door leading to the underground?” 323 of 333 . Phobos. I can appreciate your point of view though. because it was going to be destroyed by the fanatics’ movements.” “So. ROOTS has no mission anymore. She could see Kovinsky now in better daylight. ROOTS is the oldest one. I know your kind: Holy Grail and Templars and Druids and what have you more. I. the same roots. I can tell you.” Her heart missed a beat. Kovinsky wasn’t and that broke him up. trying to get in. It was ROOTS that organized the invasion of Iraq. about Lucifer who had defied his god. “Why do you say you were members?” “I say ‘were’ because our task is over. well. She remembered what the Bible said about the fallen angel. It’s the heritage of our mankind. Let me just give you a clue. for insiders only. I don’t want to hear more of that boloney.” “And all of them are dreaming of dominance and all of them love conspiracies. and finally starting to hate the chosen ones and looking for revenge. but thrown back. He was a lost soul knocking at heaven’s door.” Pieces fell slowly into place. you were basically part of some old boys club. Elisabeth. but to preserve its inheritance. not for the sake of oil. and Jack Armstrong were members of it. He wanted to be an angel but he turned a devil instead. Phobos meant Albert.” “They all come from the same source. Elisabeth.

started a program called ‘Preservation’.” “The best of the best? What do you mean by that?” “About thirty-five years ago. Phobos is not an army base. So. And Albert told me it involves the military. the U. It did not produce the expected results. NASA. when it became clear that the global economical situation was growing out of control. as most price winners were too old. and even with the lower criteria there was no guarantee that the offspring would be highly intelligent and suitable to a greater cause in life. In short: they wanted to keep their best sperm separated from the rest of the world. It reminded her of the first sperm banks. that were initially set up for Nobel Price winners. by DARPA orders.A.S. This was pure racism. and eventually. as the floods of third world people were threatening the western civilization. some hundred years ago. Its purpose was to insure that the best of the nation – and the ones that worked together – would be preserved in the future. It’s a sperm bank.” “Sperm bank? You mean.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert “I do. It’s basically a frost-free freezer composed from the best of the best. There was a setback though: most women refused to shop at the banks.” “Albert could not lay his finger on it. in its most profound denotative bearing. sent a hush-hush mission to Phobos to build a sperm bank and that’s about it. 324 of 333 . Genius was not a matter of continuation. Sperm banks had developed since more efficiently and became widely spread. for Bellum’s harem? Has he put it there?” Howard looked imperturbable. they collected whatever they could lay their hands on. This was an unexpected state of affairs that the eugenics specialists had not foreseen. “Phobos is a DNA storage facility.” She was shocked to hear that. they wanted the natural way as God had intended to.

and with their focused minds. racial supremacy.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Howard seemed to read her mind.” “Are you one of the chosen?” she put in rather ironically. Most people are living the lives of earthbound slaves. we’ll take care to keep it away from here.” she added. Jack had to die because of some lunatic who wanted to create Superman all over again. but that’s how it is.” “Comes as it may. Well. I’m afraid to say that in Jack’s case.” Elisabeth firmly said. but it did not work out as intended. he had expected her reaction. but he took it seriously. “Don’t worry. something they call their ‘soul’. you know that.” “Was Jack part of the experiments?” Howard looked embarrassed.” “Your explanation is as good as any. Elisabeth. and Bellum and the younger tycoons as well. “He was one of the first. and Andrea’s too.” “That was thirty-five years ago. masters dominating slaves. that was not of her concern anyway. Elisabeth. Bellum and his vassals want to preserve their panspermania beliefs for the future. “I am. the genetic influx must have failed.” “Just think about it. but reality has its own morals.” “If I understand you correctly. Elisabeth. but to me it sounds like Nazi horror tales. you know. yet they vaguely feel there must be something more. something of a divine nature. The program started on Earth by way of experiment eventually leading to the creation of ROOTS. Elisabeth. “I know it sounds bizarre. “Believe it or not. it’s meant for the other Dome. and we can really use fresh DNA. Howard smiled. They know that because of their handed down myths 325 of 333 . It’s a scientific fact that the western gene pool is diluting. Don’t blame it on me. they couldn’t come up with something better. Howard.” “Or something that made sense.

You see. Kovinsky had become a risk. say at the next United Nations assembly. people. especially because you’re on our site. Hey. we’ll do the universe as well.” She was more likely to incline why Howard was so keen on getting rid of Kovinsky.” 326 of 333 . Elisabeth. bear with me. In his frustration.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert and legends and the rituals we call religion. Howard? Why didn’t they just tell us the way it was?” “It was never the right time.” “I suppose you agree with Bellum and his kind. religion is nothing more than worshiping our teachers from the olden times. “And why the secrecy. But what has it to do with our settlement?” “You said it yourself. ISA’s top is part of ROOTS. I can buy that too. Bellum decided to give it a boost to helping them on their long and hard road to survive on Mars. I couldn’t prevent him from blasting Bellum and the Big Five ROOTS members. I won’t blame you for that.” “Okay.” “ISA or ROOTS?” “Both. which is why they sent me here in the first place. Imagine what it would mean when we brought it up. he would have destroyed everything that was deer to him. It was not about revenge. but we draw the line here and now. So. It’s time we pull all our cards on the table. it was about not befitting to the old frat club. We’re going to use our sperm bank kids to conquer the world and while we’re busy. Elisabeth: you want them to become the first real Martians and at the same time they must be better then humans on Earth. We were aware of that. It must be something like missing the boat to him. His reproduction system failed. Tell me. but your offspring will still be human. why did it go wrong with John Kovinsky?” “It didn’t work with Kovinsky.

but at the same time. “By the way. No. Howard stood up. Before she could react properly. he had left. but Andrea will return. She has decided to stay with you. It would be devastating to all the global political and religious institutional organizations and the impact on economy and social structures would be incalculable. I will report our story to my superiors. She felt gloomy after he had gone. We still have a lot of work to do before it all comes to an end. she was grateful to Howard. 327 of 333 . being aware that he had planted a seed. and that there would come a time that everything would merge.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert He had made a point.” He held his hand out. then changed his mind and gave her a warm hug. we’re going back to Earth for our medical treatment. who will use United Nations to enlighten the world what had happened. it was hard enough as it was. having lost another dear soul.

and John would become the first of the second generation of Martian leadership. I dreamed I was on Earth Rain pissing down outside I saw water drizzling down the window I felt a soft breeze dry as a Sahara wind Sitting under a palm tree 328 of 333 . but they were strong and healthy. They had all the looks of healthy babies. agreed to have one named after Kovinsky. One of the others. they did not look like chimeras or monsters from outer space. Mike. Elisabeth had become a grandmother and she loved it to be the first granny on Mars. Then the first Martians were born.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Epilogue And six months later. They called her grandchild Margaret. though smaller and under weight by Earth’s standards. the gate was still locked and they were hermetically sealed off from the outside. from space. They did not look like Hollywood Martians. was Sharon’s. John Kovinsky got his room. from Mars’s surface. a girl. and one of them would in due time launch the Martian Chronicles. from Earth. who was the proud father of three of them. They named Elisabeth’s former office after him and Linda and Sharon turned it into a tranquil temple. Mike had started to write poems. dedicated to Dan Pelsmaker. incense sticks were constantly burning and it soon became a center of spirituality.

It was snowing on Mars. Next morning. Elisabeth asked Albert how he had managed it. all settlers assembled in the recreation room to watch the wide screen. Then he came up with a big surprise that would become the talk for many years to come. sealed the area off and made a big announcement over the intercom. The former satcom room had been cleared from the sad remembrances and left empty for months. suddenly tiny white spots began to show up. He was working in it constantly in the company of handy people who had sworn secrecy. all I had to do was pumping up radioactive water and mix it with the soda pop. It at first was dark and empty. Then. multiplying by the hundreds and floating gently down.” 329 of 333 . and soon they were growing in size. Albert had read the poem too. the nuclear plant has been constructed right beneath the satcom. but then. “You see. At the settlement’s first anniversary – Martian equivalence to two Earth years . Albert had implemented Mike’s poem about the snowflakes. Mom. up to the point that his girl friend was asking questions about his absences. After the show.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert I saw snowflakes gently drifting Down in the star twinkling night And when I woke up I was on Mars I was home. it gave him food for an idea. Now. and though he was not in for poetry and actually found it rubbish. Albert took it in as his private utility area.he sent his workers back. The magic trick was highly praised.

that some small amount of radiation was good for the soul – these were her exact words – and it has a healing effect on the body in many ways. It contained radium emanation. “Don’t look so frightened. No alarm will go off. it isn't the real stuff. frankly. but Elisabeth was glad it was Sharon. Lyndon’s bomb had damaged one of the filter pumps. Sharon told me something I had forgotten.” She had to admit their tight mother and son relationship had come to an end. but it has the look of it.” Elisabeth found it a great idea. “I see. At night. “We found a way to transform it into snowflakes. By sheer accident. Radioactivity had been added to the Pond’s water as well. when the lights dimmed and tranquility came over the community. “No. Another woman had taken over. and she would listen to the peaceful silence and now 330 of 333 .Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Soda pop? Then she remembered they had stored the party drink away after Kovinsky had left. I didn’t want to start a panic. not knowing at first what to do with it. If some of the settlers felt nostalgia about wintertime on Earth. And they finally got rid of the Big Five’s leftovers. don't you think? Our own Martian postcard snow scenery. Elisabeth was lying in her berth. I did tell Sharon about it. Albert continued. But there was more. it might explain why we all look healthy and wise. Mom. “You didn’t tell anyone about the radioactivity.” “Oh…” She felt a twinge in the chest. also known as radon gas.” she said. which caused unfiltered water to stream into the Pond. it’s not dangerous.” Elisabeth asked in fearful surprise. this might be a fitting substitute. Well. Well. Well.

” That was an intriguing observation and it made her feel upset. they never found trace of his body back. 331 of 333 . they were. the way God had molded her to be. as the officials on the Wheel had stated. there’s no evidence he was on the train either. She would not be surprised at all. her years of ups and downs had finally paid off. and that was what counted. Maybe they would not become Martians. she could hear far away subdued thuds. it had become clear that this was her real destiny. Then a strange thing happened. They assumed it had totally vaporized. on Mars. caused by incoming meteorites. they were simply dust devils. but somewhere else. Everything in her life had come together. knowing him. To others. where he was safe from the blast. Albert? I’ve spoken him to the last minute. hovering fast between the rocks and jumping over craters and sometimes motionlessly staring into the outdoor camera eye. incinerating the President and his hotshots along the way. after having watched the news on the Wheels’ TV-channel he had linked onto the satellite dish. Mom. It was not about the genes but the way you looked upon life and yourself that made what you were. “I mean. After Kovinsky had blown up the train.” Albert said. he could have been transmitting from everywhere as far as I see it. “What do you mean. “Come to think of it. but in their mind. Some settlers claimed they had seen a white shadow in the shape of a man outside.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert and then. missing or hiding somewhere.” Elisabeth said in wonder. and she was overwhelmed with encapsulated feelings of pure joy. Here. but they just had no proof he was one of the victims. Not necessarily on the train. Maybe he was biding his time until the storms had died out. They did not know if Kovinsky was dead.

asking them forgiveness for his sins.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Those who believed were convinced something was watching over them as their guardian angel. End. And the legend went that it was Kovinsky. 332 of 333 .

Freedom based on mutual aid and altruism is the best way to discover successful variations. Variations lead to new life forms and new life forms to wealth and happiness.Darwin's Dogs Walter G Willaert Quote. Geysen – The Promise). it will die from frustration and dead-ends. A sound society does not straitjacket its subjects. E. There is no meaning in people living the same life as next door. A fertile society needs variations. otherwise. (R. Only a free society can mold into a successful society. 333 of 333 .

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