The first rains that came upon Mars arrived sudden and torrentially, flooding with its unthinkable catastrophe the slopes in the southwest hemisphere of the planet, and threatening to ravage thousands hectares of one of the few bio-systems settled from the first times, which still bore up against the inclement atmosphere of the untamed world.
After fruitless decades of acclimation dipping both into technology and human force, little had been achieved to alter the meteorological physiognomy of those scorching plains. In the last years, only shy and brief drizzles had varnished the parched hopes of colonists and communities. The hard work, started from the edge of dawn until the deepest night –trying to gain ground to the sterile surface and keep to line the mortal storms of black hail upon the always unstable micro-climatic bubble generated by massive terraformers, seemed a Promethean condemnation unending.
From the thick crust, laboriously softened over and over in order to fertilize the large plains of farming and re-implanted flora, countless labyrinths of pipes went down until the black depths of the planet, were embedded into the innermost, solid ice veins of its entrails, transforming it into the precious liquid that irrigated unending fields and hydrated the thousands of inhabitants sheltered under those bastion of terraformation, o just insufflating it toward the space as ice vapor from the monumental towers of acclimation, trying to temper the millennial dryness that the thirsty planet refused to quench willingly.
“This looks like a good raining, now it is,” assured the Crazy Cart Lady for the umpteenth time, checking up a sky seriously overcast, a couple of hours before the first drops seen by human eyes upon that ground were fallen down.
And she kept dragging her fathomless old-age through the dark streets, with the same grief she used to pull the little cart, where her hunched figure threw the tiny pieces of junk that the people gave her away, and that she resold among the same community. Every time the sky was darkened beyond the usual rate and threatening thunders resounded from the distance, she repeated the same refrain, as the same conviction as she assured her grandparents had taken part of the first colonists came from Earth, and that was why she knew firsthand the sign announcing a good rain before it fell. Both statements completely improbable, of course, since the last descendent of the first colonists had been dead over a century ago, and the existing inhabitants on the planet knew the atmospheric signs that preceded a rain just for remote references, and only with great troubles they managed to discriminate the meteorological changes specific to the Martian sand storms themselves.
That was why everybody disregarded the risible warning of the old woman, especially when the first drops started to fall, which leaved open-mouthed even the most eminent scientific authorities of the populated areas, and made walking out every inhabitant in a frenzy commotion from the micro-climatic bubble, to celebrate as crazed children before the first discovering of the vastness. The noise of shouting and the rain drops knocking against the giant, metallic facilities and the habitats, from the most miserable to the highest ones, suffocated more and more the voice of the emaciated old woman, who kept walking around among the celebrant crowd, repeating her untiring proclamation:
“Now it does come. It’s coming. Get ready cause it’s coming…”
So it was. It came, unstoppable and devastatingly generous, as if with every single drop lashing against everything that moved upon the surface, it wanted to reward for hundreds of years of sweat and blood spilled to call it upon those plains plagued by dryness and suffering. More than generous, it flooded settlements and fields, liquefying mountains and ravines, draining from the sky to the sizzling, sandy hills, turning them into a watery mass that went down from the heights, razing all in its way.
The only celebration that survived the catastrophe of that first Martian deluge was the frantic dance of a tiny and weak figure, who next to her little cart shouted from one of the highest rocky beaks in the area, where she had built her ruined refuge waiting for those days when the skies unleashed their water wildness, unmercifully.
“It’s coming, it’s coming, get ready cause it’s coming…!”
She jumped and shouted, as at her feet monumental rivers of the precious liquid ran, washing down desolation, cries, screams, houses, animals, vegetation, rocks and machinery. She jumped and shouted with the same euphoric rejoicing that burst, countless spaces away, in the remote Earth, when a monitor announced the first signs of rainfalls in Martian soil after centuries of unweary colonization.
That day would be a milestone in the historical annals both terrestrial and Martian, where every memory of death and devastation would be eclipsed under the blinding victory of progress. Just one commemorative plaque to the heroes of those days would remain there to remember them, attached at the foot of the highest mount, where the steady and friendly upcoming rains would end up rusting it and erasing it forever. The same mount where would rise up the legend of a millenary prophet woman, announcer of the first big deluge of Mars. A legend that would be passed on by word of mouth, generation after generation, until the very last days of the great Red Planet.