There’s blood up to the windows. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, to stack the bodies in the Mercer Building, to get ‘em off the Rail. But I can’t help wondering if the allusion to gore behind those art-deco panes is worse the actual carnage.

At least they’re off the Rail. At least there’s that.

My brother took his class—God, how many would that have been? 50? 60 schoolchildren?—to the History Museum just yesterday. Show them the Independence Day exhibit, remind them of the two decades spent fighting the Earth Alliance so that the Mars colony could be a world in its own right, beholden to none. Took the Rail, Line 4—site #1 of 15. Had they made that trip today, on Independence Day itself, then their screams would have been the first.

Fifteen bombs, throughout the city. Crippling not only the Rail, but also the ComNet. All com systems were shut down, in order to stop more bombs from being set off remotely. I can’t imagine what this did to the survivors, though, who counted on their coms to call for help.

As a paramedic, I’m only any use in the aftermath. Arriving at Olympus station—site #7 of 15—I was surprised at how helpful most of the “civilians” were. There were no gawkers, no brawlers, none of the usual characters that make my job more difficult than it already is. Only assistants. People moving debris and corpses, being directed by myself and the other emergency personal. We were all helping, those who could. And we stayed silent for those who couldn’t.

They say it takes a particular kind of person to live on Mars, a temperament out of place on Earth or the Moon. Looking back, on what we did on that day of chaos, of fifteen bombs and fifteen major disasters, I can see how true that statement is. And it fills me with an immense pride.

No one’s taken credit for this destruction yet, but it doesn’t matter.

Mars won’t be beaten. We spent 20 years under the shadow of the EA, after decades of carving a life out of red rock and poison air.

We are used to terror.