Part I: One Lost Martian
Elonism, the veneration of Elon Musk as a divine being, was one of the largest and longest-lasting religions in human history, and among the first of the new Spacer Faiths that arose in the early third millennium AD to compete with traditional Earth-based religions. However, the grand Holy Expeditions, before the star-spanning Elonic Empire, before even the Order of St. Elon, it began with two disillusioned citizens on Colonial Mars, in the decades after Elon's death--or transcendence to another realm, depending on who you ask.
Vesta Adams was just another woman at mission control, guiding the rockets to land and take off every day at the spaceport at Arcadia Planitia. She was the sort you wouldn't tend to notice, average-looking and soft-spoken, in her middle fifties, who came to Mars with her parents as a child, and had only a small circle of close friends. Little is known why, in 2128, she suddenly announced a lengthy leave of absence and took off in a vintage rover across the wilds to Lunae Planum. Perhaps it was a midlife crisis, perhaps a backlash against boredom and monotony, perhaps something else entirely. St. Vesta was never the sort to keep a journal, nor the type to open up about her private life in interviews.
During her vacation, she came to Mars Base Alpha, the first settlement on Mars. Even now, as a large town of 10,000, it maintained the gritty, base-camp-on-the-frontier vibe that it had had for a century. We know she was deeply moved by the centennial exhibitions that were on display at the time, as well as the old cemetery, where the first settlers on Mars were laid to rest decades ago. She found herself spending many hours wandering the paths of that cemetery, noting the names of the great heroes who first set foot on the Red Planet, and taking in the holographic exhibits detailing their exploits. It was by the mightiest and most ornate grave of all, the tomb of Elon Musk himself, where Vesta at last met another wanderer.
The Old Town at Mars Base Alpha. Credit: SpaceX. The cemetery is a mile beyond the launch pads.
To be continued...