by D.J. Sylvis
Broadcasting. Roger Bragado-Fischer speaking, Communications, Moonbase Theta. The date is September 1, 2098; the time is 20:43. Sixteen weeks, still counting down. The rocket has just departed. It took most of the day to move the tanks back to the surface and onload, they made their return window with only minutes to spare. A full manifest will be sent by separate broadcast for your reference.
Due to the loading schedule … I’ve only been able to sit now and listen to your message. The news that the enclaves are cooperating once again has relieved some tension among the crew; thank you for that. However, your assurances that all family members and corporate employees are safely accounted for, without providing personal details or direct messages from the same … are not making us feel all that secure. Just a few words from our loved ones, as soon as possible, any message from them at all, would be …
I’m sure you understand. We, umm, appreciate your ongoing efforts in this area.
Tasks for the shutdown sequence continue. Ashwini has upgraded the automation on the radio telescope array, which has allowed us to scale back on monitoring duties. However, this has not resulted in their emergence from the observatory, not even at mealtimes. Helium mining operations continue, while ice mining has moved to lower priority. The reduction of these duties has allowed for a more constant supervision of the stasis pods. Wilder was able to find documentation that indicates the warning lights could be due to power fluctuations; please confirm if you are able.
I’ve also been assisting Nessa with the hydroponic farm system. While our needs for produce and cultured proteins have diminished, scaling back has to happen in delicate steps, as the farm is tied into the air and water scrubbing mechanisms for the base. Also, there are aesthetic and emotional considerations – everyone tends to linger there on break and recreation periods. It’s a … welcome change from the sterile functionality of the other living areas.
Much of the welcoming atmosphere comes from Nessa themselves, and that would be more difficult to reproduce. We’ve shared certain tasks since I took over responsibility for the genetic archives, but I’ve come to appreciate them even more while assisting on the farm. If our management issues continue, there could be a worse choice to fill in the gaps. Nessa is personable, listens closely and offers valuable feedback, and they have a remarkable mastery of Base rules and regulations.
When Michell came in complaining about secure protocols, Nessa had the appropriate Terms and Conditions right on the tip of their tongue, barely a pause despite the … history between the two. It was impressive.
Shortly thereafter, I was informed by Michell that there will be a coded Security report to broadcast later today. Be aware that is forthcoming.
To … my Alexandre, sorry this is the personal message portion of the broadcast, to Alexandre, whenever you receive my messages, please respond, please let me know where you are and how you’re doing. It’s been a tense few weeks.
Working the farm, I’ve been reminded of our garden. The planting and harvesting, walking beside the rows while dusk shadows the sky, and stars and satellites become visible. The scent of the flowers, the rustling of stalks in the breeze, your hand in mine.
I’ve been reading that book of poetry you sent me; I found the one you loved as a child.
Slipping softly through the sky
Little horned, happy moon,
Can you hear me up so high?
Will you come down soon?
On my nursery window-sill
Will you stay your steady flight?
And then float away with me
Through the summer night?
Brushing over tops of trees,
Playing hide and seek with stars,
Peeping up through shiny clouds
At Jupiter or Mars.
I shall fill my lap with roses
Gathered in the milky way,
All to carry home to mother.
Oh! what will she say!
Little rocking, sailing moon,
Do you hear me shout — Ahoy!
Just a little nearer, moon,
To please a little boy. **
Moonbase Theta, out.
** “The Crescent Moon,” by Amy Lowell