by Gavin E Parker
In 2241 Mars declares independence from the USAN on Earth. The USAN sends an enormous spacecraft, Ephialtes, to pressure the Martians into reconsidering. The Martians take some countermeasure of their own. Politics turns to brinksmanship. Just as each side seeks to avoid conflict they are both drawn inexorably toward it and, with Ephialtes closing in on Mars, time is running out.