The fourth of July didn't mean much on Mars. Not when two thirds of the population weren't even human. And those who were human were hesitant to even mention the word "freedom" to those where weren't. Nevertheless, Calvin Winters left work early to mark the occasion. He hoped his supervisor, his son-in-law of all things, wouldn't give him a hard time just this once.
His big mistake, he realized later, was to stop at the water cooler and buy a shot of water, to hydrate before putting on his protective gear. Jeff was there, and he felt that the least he could do was to take the time to offer his condolences. But how do you express sympathy to a man whose first born son has tested non-human, especially when that man is your boss, your daughter's husband, and hates your guts? He didn't know, but he did know that if he didn't try he would be that much closer to being shipped back to the refugee camps, and that was something he never wanted to see again.
He followed up his clumsy attempt at sympathy by telling Jeff that the thumbots would be finished disinfecting the facility by morning, and he was taking off for the day.
Jeff Schmidt looked down on him from his seven foot height and said, "If you don't want this job, Winters, I'm sure I can find someone who does." What he wouldn't give to wipe that smug look off his face. A quick twist of his wrist to release the concealed phase cannon, followed by two short bursts from the vicious weapon, ended up doing so much more than simply wiping the smug look off his face. It was a lovely daydream, and by the time Winters snapped out of it, his boss was walking back to his office. As he watched Jeff's shoulders recede into the gloom, his thoughts turned towards the meeting he would have later this evening.
In theory, since he had a genetic code that tested within human parameters, Calvin enjoyed all the rights that every free human was guaranteed under the Corporate Charter. It took an uprising and the loss of two domes before the corporations would even sit down and talk. Now, everyone was walking on eggs, and the feeling was that the human citizens of Mars had their hard-won rights, just so long as they didn't exercise them.
He fastened the straps on his out-of-dome suit (less unpleasant than waiting for an hour in the tube line for a two minute ride) and began walking home. He only made it halfway to the front gate when felt the ground shudder. His shadow leaped out across the Martian sands, and he felt the heat of the explosion on his back. In a reflex you developed quickly on Mars, he dropped face down onto the ground in case there was flying debris. The sound itself was muffled, and for once Calvin was grateful for the thin Martian atmosphere.
At first, he thought that someone was helping him up; then he realized that he was being dragged to his feet, and his hands cuffed behind his back. His com link was offline so his yelp of pain went unheard. When he was spun around, he saw a man wearing a cheap imitation of a police uniform; one that could fool someone who was at a distance or who hadn't been arrested very often. The fake policeman was silhouetted against the ruins of the factory where Calvin worked. He gave Calvin a shove and said, "That way."
In the low gravity of Mars, a jump kick to the fake cop's face was almost too easy, but with his hands cuffed, he landed badly. Knowing that speed would make all the difference in this fight, he quickly slammed his heel into the other man's face, completely crushing the man's faceplate.