Not far off, about a quarter mile, the tortured red landscape of powdery pink dirt, boulders, and millions of pebbles lapped against a pure white saucer. Resting silently this beautiful seamless shiny work of art was rooted into the planet. In all directions nothing moved stirred or skittered, it was total desolation.
"Ore Seeker 1" was sent to this remote part of Mars to find precious iron ore deposits. It was the year 3200, a nasty Corporatist gang of Overlords ruled Earth extracting the last resources and working the planet's inhabitants to death in slave camps. Long ago dispensing with utilizing lobbyist middlemen multinational corporations had dissolved all the facades of 'democratic' institutions in favor of cost effective direct dictatorial rule.
Year after year resources had been raked from Earth. Gaping holes and ravines were torn across a surface denuded of all plant life. Labor gulags controlled by territorial rulers roamed the crumbling roads, now mere trails in search of their next subsistence contract.
Living high up in palace playgrounds stainless steel castles reflected a blinding glare in all directions for hundreds of miles. This was where the privileged lived, those fortunate to trace their lineage from the first Corporatist ruler's way back before planned mega business collectivism was openly proclaimed - before ruthless oppression was this flesh devouring beast leaving emaciated skeletons of the promising human stock.
With no mandate to explore, only locate the much needed iron, this crew of four from Calastro (a play town of every conceivable debauchery) wasn't much interested in the lone saucer.
Not of Earthly origin this jewel of creation made their dumpy square lander - a pimpled rivet formed contraption look ridiculous. For it was a creation flowing from independent minds able to express their intellectual freedom without fear. Official creeds, fallacious doctrine, and anti-rationalism hadn't crafted this beauty - absolutely not! This technological marvel was imagined by individuals producing in economic freedom, blissfully cherishing their libertarian roots.
It had already been a costly trip; the Accountant tasked with keeping expenditures in line with all cheap efforts was mumbling obscenities as he punched numbers in his floppy beat up calculator. They had eaten far too much gruel for a crew of four, drank a tad bit more water than allowable, and expended more energy on sex than the castle dwellers condoned in the "Daily Life and Work Cost Rule Book".
Keeping the sultans happy was difficult because they still needed engineers, scientists, and professionals of questionable skills. But these passed down knowledge slaves were in such short supply that even the "The Book" was bent in miserly ways to keep the crews duplicating the much needed rubbish.
For decades the smelting plant built with scraps, pieces of mere junk welded in a mess of angles processed its impure hunks of slag. Positioned in front of the first gaping ditch on Mars that had been christened with slave hands, it operated - that is the automatons worked oblivious - in blind drudgery like mindless moles. Larger square pimpled freighters came to haul the discolored crap back to the dying world. Not a soul existed to question, to explore, to inquire, to seek, to form independent abstractions. The white treasure sat with more chalky pink dust breaching its glowing silhouette.
Half a century passed. Activity at the mine ended, the dumpy pimple encrusted ships stopped coming. By this time the crystal dome was the only visible trace of the magnificent white jewel that was buried beneath layers of pink dust. Humanity was just bones sunk into shallow graves on a blue planet gliding silently around a star on the outer edge of deep space.