No one has ever returned from Mars. Travel to and from the colony—a private venture mounted by a consortium of Muslim investors—has been embargoed since the Martian Fungus began decimating Earth’s oceans. This ecological disaster has caused famine and triggered Earthside political upheavals, resulting in the reemergence of a pan-Islamic caliphate. The colony, overwhelmingly Muslim, has become a sultanate under sharia law. Eric Issa, the Mars colony’s Safety Officer investigates a bizarre death and uncovers a high-level conspiracy that may explain how the Martian organism has contaminated Earth. An American statistician and infidel, he must quickly yet quietly identify the killer, piece together the conspiracy, and save his own skin, while protecting the dead man’s orphaned child who may hold the key to controlling the Martian Fungus on Earth. Short story: 14,500 words.
Available for 99¢ on: