It was a late, dry Autumn evening, when the last sun had fallen beneath the clouds, that the Red Armada filled the sky with steel. The hulking, iron-clad air vessels swept over the great Ariadne's Plains, their residual force alone knocking over trees by the hundred. If a single man had been standing beneath, there would be nothing left to identify him spare a mess of tattered shreds and chunks.
Thirteen of them, passing on their way to the trading capital, Belmor. He had counted. He had always been interested in Imperial business. Something about their calm, yet intimidating nature. Or perhaps it was their simplistic, arching, somewhat industrial architecture. Derik pondered just why it was he enjoyed Imperialism as his mother stepped out onto the porch he was leaning on with a damp white shirt in her arms.
"Come now Derik," She wheezed to him, "Dinner's nearly ready."
Derik sprawled onto his bed. He sighed, then sat uprright, pulling back his shoulder-length blonde hair over his forehead and out of his eyes. He reached beneath his bed, pulling out a cheap blue plastic box, full of small pieces of machinery and wiring. While at the outdoor markets in Belmor every week, Derik would covertly swipe up little gadgets from the stalls. Usually these were just little bits of engines and electronics salvaged from abandoned Imperial machines, but sometimes there would be a hand-made clock, or a child's robot toy.
Derik liked to fashion these into his own inventions. Mostly the pieces were incompatable, and those that did fit together were lucky to do anything at all. But he was saving them up. He had a good amount of Imperial machinery now, and with only a small bit more he would be able to able to build his own Red Armada Scouting Droid, the many robots that roamed unexplored areas of the Martian landscape and report conditions back to the Red Empire. He figured that, because they're made for rallying information, he could be able to program it to communicate with other electronics, and perhaps it could even be capable of speech.
For now the droid was but a mess of scraps organised carefully on his table, under a hand-drawn blueprint for the creation of the robot. Derik looked at the box of scraps for a while, then slid it back under his bed and headed downstairs for his dinner.
Soon after eating, he and his mother left for the market, as they did every Friday. Derik grabbed a linen satchel and tied it to his belt-loop. The sun was going down over the Martian plains, causing the sun-baked rock to turn an even redder colour, and spreading an orange glow over the man-made Lake Alexandria which spread itself from the small farmlands where Derik and his mother lived all the way to Belthor and along the northern border of New California. Derik brought out the last bag of crops to the car and they left for the city. The road to Belthor was long and empty. The farmlands were pretty much the only things out that way, so there was always very little cars on the road, spare the odd shoddy electric car or the sometimes an electric truck, belonging to the wealthier farmers in the area. As they neared the city the giant walls surrounding it became clearer, and cracks in it became apparent. The walls were over three hundred years old, dating back to soon after the full colonisation of Mars.
The car hummed closer to the southern gate and they slowed to a stop. A man in a white kevlar helmet and a red nylon uniform that failed to mask the heavy body armour underneath, emblazoned with a red and white semi-circular logo. He was a Red Armada soldier. They guarded the city of Belthor, as being the capital city of New America, it required heavy protection from possible terrorism attempts. Not that the extra security helped much, as there was still a fairly high terror rate in the city.
Derik's mother handed over their passports. The guard checked them and handed them back, opening a gigantic steel gate just high enough to allow the car through.
Everybody get up it's time to slam now
We got a real jam goin' down
Welcome to the Space Jam
Here's your chance do your dance at the Space Jam