Garden of Mars
      

Asha Vaultiki glanced up at the shimmering dome protecting the city from the harsh environment surrounding it.
Man had moved out away from their first mother, Gaia or Earth as most called her, and was now spreading
across a new home—Mars. The planet was named for the Roman God of War, and the red soil was a reminder
of the acres and acres of blood-soaked ground that covered the Earth. She shook her head to force the images
away. Asha had left Earth to get away from those memories and the pain. Memories of death. The pain of loss.
She should have known better.
      
In the early days, being on Mars had given her some relief. Now as the cities were taking shape and more people
made the journey to a new home, she found herself dealing with all the memories and the pain. She took a deep
breath and shook her head again to clear it as she continued to gaze at the dome. The refractive nature of the
structure created an illusion of a blue sky—like Earth.

“Asha?”

She turned at the sound of her husband’s voice. “Sabas.” She held out her hand; even after all this time together
she felt her face light up at seeing him.

“What’s wrong?” He put an arm around her waist and pulled her to him.

“Just memories.” She turned to face him. “There are enough people here; they have brought the memories and
pain with them.”

“But no blood has been spilled in this place. Those that come here are seeking to build a new home, a place free
of the conflicts of Earth.”

Asha stepped back and shook her head. “It always starts with an ideal—then somewhere along the line it
always
seems to go bad. Small groups can live up to the ideals we humans strive for—large groups may try and some
even succeed for a time, but at some point, they will always fail. That is the curse they carry because of our sin.”

Asha turned her attention back to the dome, ignoring the sigh she heard from her husband. It was an old
argument between and one that would not be finished until they found a way to return to beginning.

~ * ~

“Sabas, it’s time,” Asha said the next morning. She watched her husband closely. His head dropped a little and
she saw a slight frown on his face. She knew he didn’t want to return to the beginning, but it was the only way
to stop the curse. There was a time he would have argued, both against returning and that it wouldn't do any
good. He claimed it wasn’t a curse, that it was free-will and all their returning would accomplish would be to
remove free-will from man and that would be the greater curse. As far as she was concerned—if that was the
price to stop all the blood being spilled—it was worth it.

“I’ll make arrangements for use of one of the long range transport shuttles,” Sabas finally said.

Asha smiled and nodded. “Thank you.” She turned to look out the window at the shimmering dome. Outside the
protected environment, the terraforming systems were still working to create a livable environment. Somewhere
on this planet, so far from their home, buried in the midst of the red soil was the place where everything had
begun.

How long she and Sabas lived together in that place while the rest of the creation continued without them. How
long before they—no, she—made the decision that now controlled man in so many ways. Their sin was what had
stained the soil of Mars—like the blood that soaked the dirt of Gaia. They had been sent forth because of that sin
and she had seen the consequences, felt the acid of bile burn her throat, smelt the metallic scent of blood spilled
and had her hands covered in the warm, sticky coating of fluid that flowed from the body of her son as she held
him and his life ebbed away.  

She wasn’t sure where they would be going, but Asha now understood the place it all began was here on Mars
and she would find it.