This the first installment of a new science fiction series. Herculaneum follows the story of Mindy Perot as she oversees the evacuation of a Mars colony in the midst of a devastating volcanic eruption. Our next installment will be released October 30.

The voice boomed as the speaker turned and shut off. The three recruits were packed tight, pressed into their jumpsuits as the tunnel opened and the tram began to make its way through the Martian colony. 

Herculaneum had been established less than three years ago. Already, it had become one of the commercial centers of New Mars, extending through tube networks to the nearing colonies of Spartan II and Edmonton III – American and Canadian colonies respective. NAFTA had extended by definition to the two North American space colonies, establishing the first interplanetary free trade zone in recorded history.

The route to the establishment of Herculaneum had been paved with disagrement — namely disagreement on how to structure the laws, and how to prevent the abuse of power when the only resource which mattered was oxygen. 

En route to the commercial center of Herculaneum were the three recruits, fresh from their training on Earth. They had run evacuation and emergency mitigation events in the simulators, been acquainted with the new sociocultural norms which had evolved between the inhabitants of Herculaneum and the enforcers of its laws, and had memorized the colony’s law enforcement protocol to its punctuation points. As the tram made its way through the reinforced plastic tubes, Mindy Perot, Don Edmonds, and Percy Nixon stared towards the great silhouette in the distance, the vast mound, the mountain which few colonists had explored and many had dreamt of scaling.

Framing the backdrop of Herculaneum was the shadow of the great volcano, Olympus Mons.

“Welcome,” the police commissioner’s voice boomed, as the three recruits made their way into the towering arch which marked the entranceway into the law enforcement sector. Officers clad in black and navy uniforms goose-stepped about, filling out forms and filing reports by the dozen. Disgruntled miscreants, shackled in cuffs, grunted as they were booted and jostled to the holding pens at the back of the facility.

“It’s a pleasure,” Mindy said, extending her hand. She was the first of the three recruits to do so. Even in the training programs back on Earth, Mindy had always been one of the most outgoing officers in the training program. It was one of the reasons she had been sent to Herculaneum.

“You must be Miss Perot,” the commissioner said, glaring at the other two. “I have heard good things about you from Headquarters.”

“Thank you,” Mindy said, looking at the ranks of officers standing about.

“When are we to be assigned to patrol?”

“You’ll be assigned to the northern sector of Herculaneum, above the commercial district and south of the larger housing developments in New Holland and Bakerstown. I will introduce you to some of the resident officers there.”

“Exellent,” Percy said. “When will we be shown the quarters we’ve been promised?”

The commissioner glared at Percy. Mindy could feel the hostility festering in the air.

Suddenly, something seemed off. The glass of water on the commander’s desk began to ripple.

“What was that?”

There were shouts from outside. Ripples of unrest ran through a gathering  crowd. Mindy craned her neck for the source of the commotion. The masses outside began to huddle, and the gentle atmosphere of the shopping center had begun to disturb. 

In the distance, a thin black wisp of smoke began to escape the crater of Olympus Mons.

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