Mars is the site of an experimental colony, established by the Cyantians to act as a contact point between Cyantzium and Earth someday, when Cyantia is ready to open formal first contact. As a favor, and a show of good will, Cyantia is terraforming both Mars and Venus, in preparation to hand both over to Earth. Currently, the base on Mars is being concealed by low grade orbital holographic imagers. The images are sufficient to deceive all but the most powerful of telescopes.
It currently continues to rain off and on, gradually stabilizing as the atmosphere thickens. The initial terraforming had been done years before (at that time, there was no way anyone could live on the planet). Now there's a breathable atmosphere, but it's thin and the higher one goes, the thinner the air gets.
- Terraforming has progressed enough that right after the thaw there's light foliage, and lots of water for rivers/lakes/growth/etc.
This is also having an effect on the native martian wildlife, many of which have lay in a very dormant state for a very long time, but are now beginning to awaken with the presence of water...
Very little can get in and out of the confine on Mars because of it's nature, solid reinforced walls with an energy current running between them that nullifies anything a technomage could do. If you lock a technomage in there with their familiar, they couldn't get out, but if they were seperated one could probably free the other.