Author : Neil Griffith

Allan sighed and took a deep breath.

“I’m from the Olympus Mons colony, I was a kid when it happened.”

‘It’ didn’t require any explanation, all the worlds knew of Olympus Mons. With over 3000 people tragically killed, it was the greatest disaster ever to happen to humanity off of the surface of the Earth. The event was the Titanic of its era, it even had a classic twist of the folly of man, building a colony in the base of a giant mountain, said to be indestructible by an infamous quote from the colony’s founder. “Whatever disaster may beset the face of Mars, people may seek shelter at Olympus. No home is safer than the home of the Gods.” The largest habitat ever built at the time, no one attempted to equal its scale for a decade.

Because of the thousands of hours of surviving electronic footage, Olympus Mons was also one of the greatest documented disasters of all time. Despite that fact there remained one mystery, as much as was known about the events immediately following the disaster, very little was known of the actual cause. Many conflicting tales of what caused the east side of the mountain to collapse onto the superstructure of the colony cropped up over the years. The Mars government said there was an earthquake from rare tectonic stress causing a landslide. The survivors, however, always gave a very different tale.

“Did you want to talk about it?” asked the attractive woman Allan had just met.

Allan smiled and swirled his drink a little. He was used to this.

“It was an accident,” said Allan.

“How do you know?” asked the woman.

“My family remained inside the colony for almost an hour after it happened,” said Allan, “We were in a part of the structure furthest away from the collapse. My father took his EVAC suit and climbed into the wreckage in the upper part of the superstructure to rescue people. But if someone wasn’t wearing an EVAC suit when all the outer walls get ripped open, there wouldn’t be anyone alive to find.”

“Did your father find what caused it to happen?” asked the woman.

Allan shook his head yes and said, “Him and about a dozen others looking for survivors stood right in front of it. There was a drill rig still standing there, right at the highest point they reached in the mountainside above where the land broke away. He said you could easily see where a giant sheet of rock must have split from where they were drilling and it caused a landslide right into the superstructure. The guy operating the rig must have been standing on the rock when it broke away and rode it all the way down.”

The intriguing charm slightly faded from the woman’s eyes and she had the typical look of shock and bewilderment Allan had known too well, then she asked why she never read about the real cause.

“Nobody in space wants to read about accidents,” explained Allan, “Specifically ones caused by man. When you live in an environment where you count so desperately on people to keep you alive it always has to be a million in one fluke, God’s will, or something else’s fault, but not man. People cannot face the reality their lives are constantly at the mercy of somebody else’s incompetence. It’s too much of a horror to deal with. So blame it on the mountain, tectonic stress or some such nonsense. It has nothing to do with the arrogance of man pushing too far and reaching too high.”

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