by D.J. Sylvis
Broadcasting. This is Roger Bragado-Fischer, Moonbase Theta. October 6th, 2098; 20:16.
The rocket has just departed on schedule. There was a slight delay due to a faulty locking mechanism on loading hatch three, but Wilder was able to make repairs with a length of 9-gauge wire and flame-retardant duct tape. Watch for that on landing. All supplies are checked off on the manifest as received. The Helium-3 tanks were loaded without incident and locked in successfully.
Not loaded in successfully were the personnel stasis pods. We had fifteen pods prepared for transport, stacked for loading on the surface, hooked to temporary connections so there would be no power or coolant interruptions, all as per standard requirements. When your rocket arrived and we opened it up, inside the bay reserved for the pods … was nothing. No wire or tubing hookups, none of the required racks or dampers … I suppose we could have stacked them like shoeboxes. We could have chucked them in there and hoped for the best – was there a memo we missed? Some change in the target dates? There are only two scheduled rocket landings after this one, and even if we dumped the HE-3 to make more space, we couldn’t fit 42 pods into two rockets. Let us know as soon as possible what happened, why we weren’t informed … what is going on?
I’m sorry. Please advise regarding your plan for the offload of Base personnel. I’m sure you can understand our anxiety. We await your response.
Eleven weeks before base shutdown. Normal operations continue. Ashwini monitors the telescope arrays closely, including tracking the SK asteroid, which is now on a path back out of our solar system. Mining operations, focused on helium-3 production, continue apace. Agriculture and Maintenance report no incidents, fully on schedule.
You asked about my previous reference to the work I do in designing spaceward, outgoing messages. As well as tracking and exploring astronomical objects, a secondary use of the instrument array is to send wide-range radio frequency messages into space. It may seem a bit foolish from a business perspective, though think of all the things we could sell to an alien race – but it’s a project that the Base administration has always taken seriously.
Finding a way to encapsulate the entirety of human experience for an audience that knows nothing of it. Putting concepts down in words, with which I have to include a primer for potential species that may not even talk. Making sure anything I include can’t be misconstrued or poorly interpreted … it’s a challenging task. Obviously, we can’t just send, “What’s up? How’s the weather on Proxima B?” If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
You also insisted that I provide information regarding the internal monitoring which, of course, has been undertaken. I want to register my continued discomfort with the task … but my current report is as follows.
Almost all of Ashwini’s conversations are regarding theories and aspects of their analysis, despite the fact that no one they’re speaking to could possibly understand the ramifications. Wilder has this really annoying habit of digging up ancient memes from the database and forwarding them around – none of us are certain what a ‘doge’ is but we’ve had about enough. Nessa’s personal communications range quite a bit, they offer a lot of … emotional support to the rest of the crew, almost a de facto counselor at times, but they also have an odd penchant for true crime media, so you hear more about autopsies and blood spatter than you might want to learn – all harmless, of course. If you want a report on myself, I’m sure anyone would tell you I spend too much time sighing about my family at home. I mean, you’re talking about someone who had a clause written into their contact to send sappy messages to their husband every week. I wasn’t able to monitor Michell’s messaging of any sort. It’s completely locked down, which I’d assume you’re aware of and approve. That’s, umm … all I have to say in this area.
Personal message to follow. To my wonderful, amazing, incredibly good-looking and personable husband – well, that’s all the birthday present you’re getting from me. All right, all right. What did you think of the orbital? Did it fit? I hope the platinum goes well with the advancing grey in your hair.
I found another poem in your book, it seemed appropriate. This one is by Anna Hempstead Branch:
When I am weary for delight and spent,
Even as a bird that tries too long its wings
Will nest awhile amid the grass and sings,
So I drop downward from the wonderment
Of timelessness and space, in which were blent
The wind, the sunshine and the wanderings
Of all the planets — to the little things
That are my grass and flowers and am content.
Or if in flight my wings should beat so far
From the kind grass that is so cool and deep
That it must poise among the winds on high —
Yet will I sing to thee from star to star,
Piercing thy sunshine, and will always keep
A song for thee amid the farthest sky.
Happiest of days. Save some cake, love, we’ve only got ten more weeks.
Moonbase Theta, out.