The red planet is a place of startling contrasts, from the stark beauty of its mountain
ranges and high desert, to the slowly-greening bottomlands of the equatorial Valles Marineris canyon system. In these bottomlands, oxygen levels are slowly rising, and liquid water can now be found in canals that had already been dry for millions of years when transhumanity’s ancestors came down from the trees. Mars is a popular destination for travelers from around the system. Many Martians accrue wealth by operating lavish hotels, offering tours of historical sites, and leading wilderness expeditions to the rugged highlands and vast deserts of the untamed
Mars now sports five vast, domed cities, mostly in the equatorial regions, along with numerous smaller settlements. Settlements are connected by surface roads, a network of near-sonic maglev trains, and air/spaceports from which suborbitals, airships, and near space rockets fly on regular schedules. Thanks to the abundance of methane fuel and the one-third Earth gravity, transhumans on Mars have finally got their flying cars as well, and all settlements have well-delineated rights of way for these vehicles.
Meanwhile, in the wild uplands, planetologists and terraforming engineers dwell in small villages, living the simple life in ruster morphs while seeing to the continued development of the Martian climate and atmosphere.
As a partially terraformed planet with vast tracts of unused land, Mars is one of the few places that can offer new sleeves to infomorph refugees. Martian brokerage houses do a brisk business in the purchase and resale of infomorph contract labor, with agreements (for some) leading to eventual sleeving. This has led to a sizable Martian underclass, however, organized as a growing resistance movement under the Barsoomian banner (though the hyper-elite socialites disparagingly call them “rednecks”).
Talking Rust (Some Martian Slang)
- Artificials— Catch-all term for artificial life that has a physical body, from self-replicating nanoswarms up to robots. Generally only used to describe artificial life with animal-level intelligence or lower.
- Basic—Contracted form of basically or simply.
- Black Kettles—Criminal morph storage or production facilities.
- Technical—Crazy or haywire. “Technical” was corp psych services shorthand for technical somatically-induced stress disorder, a condition similar to post-traumatic stress disorder that was extremely common among early infomorph laborers sleeved in cheap synthmorphs. It still occurs, though less frequently, in newer models.
- Wild Artificials—Artificial life gone feral, either through poor programming or abandonment by its creator. Wild artificials often evolve in unexpected ways and may be dangerous to transhumans.