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HOME > Classical Novels > A Case of Sunburn > CHAPTER 4
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 Jonner unstrapped and floated to each man in turn, examining his control belt. Farlan's channel dial was a fraction off the band they used. "Farlan, your radio control's off center," said Jonner quietly.
"What?" said Farlan's voice, blurred a little. He fumbled at the dial, and his words came in clearly. "Must have hit it against something."
Or he could have missed a little when he returned the dial to channel after trying to warn Marscorp. But Tyruss had been fumbling with something on his belt as they ran onto the G-boat. No, it wouldn't do to make an accusation against the wrong man.
An automatic calendar on the G-boat's control board showed the date: upright, the Martian date, Aster 32, 24; reversed, the Earth date, June 1, 2020.
Jonner looked down through the port at the inhabited hemisphere of Mars unfolding below them. Those green lowlands, those red deserts, now were all in Marscorp hands—even the cradle of the Charax Rebellion, the dome-city of Charax, at the edge of the edge of the Tiphys Fretum Lowland in the south polar area.
There, six Martian years ago, the rebellion had flared bravely against the Mars Corporation. Marscorp had held a monopoly on space travel between Earth and Mars since the first Martian colony was established at Mars City in the Earth year 1985. For the supplies Marscorp brought from Earth, the price was kept high. Marscorp also was the OGM—the Official Government of Mars, or, as the colonists read the initials, "Old Greedy Marscorp"—and Marscorp made and enforced the laws.
It had been a fairly even match at first. Marscorp's initial monopoly of the supply lines had been overcome when many of the people on Earth were roused to sympathy for the Rebel cause. Gradually, the Rebels had invested much of the Hadriacum Lowland with its dome-farms and had captured Regina, another of the planet's six dome-cities.
That had been before the disastrous space battle of the year 23. Now, in the past year, the Rebels had been pushed back to the wall. All that was left to them was Plan Blue. And what was Plan Blue?
Jonner looked over his five companions. All helmets were off now, and Jonner couldn't detect a guilty look in any face. He had never seen such pure unanimity of apparent innocence and loyalty.
"Now that we're aspace, we'll go on the customary shifts," he said: "eight hours duty, eight hours sleep, eight hours free time. We'll pair off: Stein with Farlan, Wessfeld with Aron, Tyruss with me.
"And these are special orders: no one is to let the man with whom he is paired out of his sight."
He would not tell them more than that now; he hoped to trap the spy when they approached The Egg.

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