Excerpt from Mars as the Abode of Life, by Tranquility Adams, as presented by H. E. Bergeron
Art by Luke Spooner
It is not, in my opinion, at all hyperbolic to say that mankind would never have reached Mars, or, at the very least, that mankind would not have reached Mars in this century, without the vision and leadership of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. On Earth, the titanic conflicts between warring technophiles often eclipse the achievements of humans without an Affinity for technology, but all records indicate that Tsiolkovsky was not a madboy, just a man determined to escape the incessant conflicts plaguing humanity’s home planet–a man who dreamed of the stars.
Tsiolkovsky’s original rocket designs were based on objective physics, which would not have been sufficient to reach space in his lifetime. However, he published several papers through the University Network, and his work caught the attention of technophiles Hermann Oberth and Robert Goddard.
Oberth, an underling in the German empire, was obsessed with the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence. He claimed that he had discovered an alien “space ship,” and that his designs were derived from reverse-engineering the alien technology. Opinions remain divided on the truth of this claim, but most historians agree that it was an expression of the madness that affects most technophiles to a greater or lesser degree. There are no firsthand accounts of anyone besides Oberth seeing this so-called “space ship.”
Goddard was a Union scientist who spent many years working on weapons in the ongoing Union-Confederacy conflict. It was for this purpose that he developed the liquid propulsion systems that would become an integral part of the rocket design.
The final member of the original team was the Baroness Emmy von Quistorp, noblewoman protector of the barony of Wyrzysk. Although her Affinity, if she had one, ran to strategy, planning, and organization rather than technology, she was an amateur astronomer, and Tsiolkovsky’s ideas enchanted her. She provided a safe haven in which to work and funding for the venture.
The first large-scale experiment was the launching of a rocket to the moon. The rocket was filled with large quantities of flash powder, which would ignite upon hitting the moon’s surface, creating a light bright enough to be observed from Earth through a good telescope. It was a success.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2017 collection.
Tranquility Adams holds a doctorate in Applied Engineering from the University of Regalia. Although best known for her work on reverse-engineering the Maroth War Kings and her research into the nature of technological affinity in humans, she has published several historical works, including Mars as an Abode of Life and Messenger Birds to Clockwork Horses: The Evolution of Automated Fauna.
H. E. Bergeron, in addition to writing, is partial to calligraphy pens, dragons, and tabletop roleplaying, but has found some time in between all that to create prose, other examples of which can be found in the anthology Once & Now and the magazine Vitality. @HEBergeron also exists on Twitter, but mostly posts opinions on books and pictures of tea.
Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.
“A Brief History of the Human Colonization of Mars” is © 2017 H. E. Bergeron
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Luke Spooner