Study Guide

Red Mars Part 7, Chapter 4

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 7, Chapter 4

  • They fly west for eleven more days. They encounter no one and hear from no one since the satellites have been shot out of the sky and the Earth is on the other side of the sun. Complete communication breakdown.
  • Nadia is in a daze but thankful the others haven't tried to cheer her up; Ann and Simon are worried about Peter while Yeli and Sax are worried about their supplies, leaving Nadia alone to grieve.
  • They send out a message announcing Arkady's death, and they receive a message from Alex telling them this won't hold up the revolution—though his voice rings with discouragement.
  • Finally they make it Cairo, where they find Maya, Mary, Frank, and Spencer.
  • Frank's doing what Frank does and is on the line with his old political hook-ups for six hours straight.
  • When he's done, he explains he's been talking with UNOMA reps trying to stop this. As you can tell from the previous chapters, he's doing a bang-up job.
  • Although neither side will see eye-to-eye on demands, he feels both have to agree things have gone too far—four more aquifers have broken open—but the UN still sees Mars as world resource.
  • And with that, Frank's back in action.
  • The others take some time to recover.
  • With Sax's help, Frank gets some technicians on Vega to transmit some messages from Earth. The news programs there depict the Martian revolution as a tiny scuffle cause by some criminal elements.
  • Frank isn't surprised. The transnationals own the news outlets, so duh, right?
  • Nadia goes for a walk and returns to the offices to find Frank standing over Maya sleeping on the couch.
  • They talk, and when Maya wakes up, all three go out for something to eat.
  • Frank mentions that Alex, Evgenia, and Samantha are coming their way, so more of the First Hundred will be under the same roof.
  • That afternoon, all of the First Hundred head to the north gate to greet them.
  • But the convey blows up, killing everyone.
  • The explosions rock the gate. In the confusion, they wonder where Sasha is and realize she was heading out to greet their friends. They try to open the gate but can't get to her in time.
  • They realize the attack must have come from Phobos again, and the realization sends Nadia to her bag to fetch the transmitter Arkady gave her.
  • Nadia drives to the accident site, but there are no survivors. She thinks on how they could have lived for thousands of years, and the thought pushes her to the edge.
  • Using the transmitter, she activates two rockets Arkady planted on the moon; Phobos is about to crash into Mars.
  • The First Hundred gather. Sax determines the moon will come down in a day or so, and they are in its trajectory. They only have to wait.
  • So wait they do. After an agonizing day, the pieces of Phobos pass over Cairo, barely missing them.
  • But as Frank points out, now it's UNOMA's turn.
  • Sax and Ann watch the pieces of Phobos collide on the other hemisphere while Maya begs them to do something.
  • They decide they can't leave yet as they'll be spotted—best to wait until the attack starts and slip out in the confusion.
  • At 4:30 AM, the alarms go off, and the tent is punctured. Already suited up, the First Hundred fight through the crowd.
  • Frank calls them away from the crowded exit gate—hey, the tent's already breached, so they can just cut through the thing—but the troops overwhelm the city, and they can't make it to the planes.
  • Then a stranger appears telling them to follow him. It's all mysterious, but yeah, totally the Coyote.
  • They follow, but lose Yeli in the confusion.
  • Down the road, two rovers appear of an unfamiliar make and model. It's Michel to the rescue.
  • The Coyote causes a distraction, and the remaining First Hundred cut through the wall, and Michel's rovers ride up alongside them.
  • Inside, Michel races away from Cairo, informing his new passengers that Dmitri and Elena died and that he'll be taking them to Hiroko's place. In the other car, Sax, Ann, and Simon are driven by some young man.
  • Not long after, Michel ditches the cars and has them hike down the canyon where new cars await them.
  • At the bottom, they find the canyon rovers, and the young man complains that next time they have a revolution they "better try some other way" (7.4.197).