"Zales here, What's up, sir?"
"Get down to the base ASAP, Sargent. Mars is under attack!"
"Holy shit, Lieutenant, I mean, uh, yes sir. I'll be right there. " Zales disconnected and called his men before waking his wife. "Honey? Wake up! I have to go to the base! Lieutenant Maris just called and said Mars is under attack!"
"Hmmmphft... whah... WHAT? Mars is under attack? Who's attacking us, Venusians?"
"I don't know any more than you, all he said was that we're under attack and get there ASAP. Holy shit! Mars hasn't been at war for a hundred years! Where's my pants, honey? Holy shit!"
Back on the base Lieutenant Maris was debriefing Private O'Brien. "No sir," O'Brien said, "none of the Venusian rockets went south. They were slightly north of the planetary plane, less than a percent, and looked like they were going towards Saturn. If I may ask, sir, what's going on?"
Maris was grave. "Brace yourself, Private. Everybody in the southern hemisphere appears to be dead. We've found no survivors."
O'Brien went pale; most of his family lived in the southern hemisphere. And a lot of friends, too. "Sir?
"Private, you can mourn later. Right now we need you, and badly. Those screens could mean Mars' survival. The entire south was flooded with gamma rays and we need to make sure the north doesn't get hit."
"Y-yes sir" he stammered. "Galaxy!" he thought. Everybody dead? It was beyond his comprehension. He put his focus on the screens.
"And Private," Maris continued, "it may have been a natural phenomena.
A while later, Zales showed up. "O'Brien!" he said, "Did the lieutenant tell you..."
"Yeah, Sarge, he was here a little while ago."
"Have you called Dennis?"
"No, I've been too busy manning these screens."
"Call her, I'll take over. Shit, I can't believe this is happening!"