"Uh, Sarge? You gotta see this!"
"See what, O'Brien?"
"We're getting EMF from Earth!"
"What? The Earthians developed radio? I thought they had an antitechnological civilization? Move over, Private, let me look."
Sgt. Zales was as surprised as the private. "Hold down the fort, O'Brien, I think the lieutenant should have a look at this."
"Sure thing, Sarge." O'Brien was uneasy -- first the entire southern hemisphere of Mars irradiated to lifelessness, now these strange signals from Earth. The signals were obviously artificial, but he couldn't decipher them. "Galaxy be but this is weird," he said aloud to nobody, because nobody was there.
Meanwhile, the controls on Earth had their own problems. They were holding a meeting in the church about some spooky, probably demonic, activity around their farms. "You saw the circles, Reverend, what do you make of it?" Muldoon asked.
"Probably just kids... you know how teenagers are" Reverend Smith replied. "Remember the cows that got tipped over last year and you thought it was demonic, when it turned out that the kids next door were just doing a bit of old-fashioned cow tipping and confessed their sin?"
"But how would they make these circles?"
"I don't know," the Reverend replied, "but as long as there's no property damage and nobody is harmed, I really don't think we need to worry about it. If it was just kids, they'll confess and repent. If it's evil we'll know soon enough."
A kilometer beneath them held a different meeting.
"The Martians haven't answered," Rula said. "I think we should send a nobotic probe to Mars and see if they're still there. The first probe is on its way to Venus now."
Gumal wondered about the circles their craft caused in vegetation. "What about the controls? Won't this make them wonder?"
"Let 'em wonder," said Rula.
"Give me that stratodoober," said Rority.
"I ought to give it to the controls, those stiff necked assholes!" Gumal said.
On the other side of the sun, General Washington had blood in his eyes and death on his mind. The deaths of millions on Venus' southern hemisphere and the deaths of millions of Martians if they were responsible. And he was sure they were.
"But General, how could the Martians have done such a thing? It would suggest that they had far better technology than we do. How could we fight anyone so powerful?"
"You forget, General Ford, that when we took over we were far outmatched technologically. And I have a plan to wipe out the Martian menace once and for all."
"May I ask how, sir?"
"We're going to throw rocks at them."
"Throw rocks, sir?"
"Yes, Ford, rocks. Big rocks. Mountain sized rocks. Extinction event sized rocks."
"Wow," Ford replied, "you're going to have to go an awful long way to find any rocks that big. After all, they used up the entire asteroid belt, plus Demos and Phobos, plus every other big rock they could find this side of Saturn. The asteroid belt and a third of Saturn's rings are already on Mars from their terraforming days."
"That and most of our carbon. Damned idiots that ran things before we took over gave it to them. But there are plenty of rocks left around Saturn," Washington responded. "We'll have a craft om the way within a week."
"Sir," general Ford said plaintively, "Don't you think we should make sure the Martians are behind it?"
"Certainly not. The populace is riled up and we need a scapegoat. They're responsible whether or not they're responsible. We're running out of room here on Venus, we're taking Mars, too. And Earth as well if we find an excuse."
It was ironic that the Amish were worrying about the peaceful "devils" underground when the real threat was two hundred million kilometers away on the "Morning/Evening Star". A week later, Rula had some bad news for everyone. "We received signals from Venus, and they were hard to decipher, but we did it. We have some big problems. It looks like they may be getting ready to wage war with Mars."
"We got signals from Mars?" Gumal asked.
"Yes, but they weren't aimed at us. They were aimed at their own spacecraft. We don't know why they wouldn't answer us, but think it may be that they're not as technologically developed as we are and simply can't understand us. We're trying again. We need to warn the Martians."
"Why?" asked Gumal. "We haven't had contact with them for at least a million years. They're likely to be a completely different species by now."
"Because of what we heard from intercepted Venusian signals. They plan to exterminate the Martians and take over Mars, and we'll likely be next. We need to contact the Martians and see if we can help. Venus is certainly not going to be friendly, the Martians may be if we give them a reason. By the way, where's Rority?"
"He's working with linguists to try and craft a message the Martians will understand. Meanwhile, we have probes around Venus, and we think the Venusians don't have the technology to detect them.
"You think things were dire when the supernova hit, it's going to get much worse. Gentlemen and ladies, it's System War one and it's not going to be pretty."