Moonlander XIII

This story was written for a sci-fi contest, on the topic of “Life on the Moon in the near future” in less than 1000 words. The contest website is unfortunately no longer available.

“3, 2, 1, landing,” was coming from the speakers while the crew of Moonlander XIII made last equipment checks before moving out for the first walk on the Moon’s surface. Commander Herman Wolbeck brushed away the sweat bead that formed on his temple. They were on an important mission and there was no room for errors.

“Maggie check that nothing is missing in the boxes with the base parts, Anne verify your drill is in working order, Frank confirm that animals survived the landing impact and Lisa unload your boxes and put them on the trolley. We have to move fast, crew.”

“Which boxes do you have in mind?” asked Lisa.

“The ones with a red cross, obviously,” replied Herman.

“But, these boxes are huge and I can’t lift them on my own.”

“Of course you can,” answered Herman. “We are on the Moon dummy, the gravity is only 1/6th of that of the Earth. We are all superhumans here.”

“Herman, can you turn off the front spaceship lights? They are shining directly into my eyes and there is no way I can set up a base in such an environment,” said Maggie.

“Our lights had stopped working when we landed,” said Herman. “This light must be coming from someplace else.”

“What on earth?” shrieked Frank. “The Earth has just exploded into a million pieces. The second ship was supposed to come in and bring additional equipment next week. How are we going to set up our base now with only half of the things that we need? We are all going to die!”

“Don’t panic, we have enough equipment to set up a base and start a colony here,” said Herman. “That’s why we brought the cryogenic embryos that Lisa is unloading right now.”

“What? I’ve never agreed to start up a colony up here,” said Lisa. “It goes against my principles and there is no way I am going to participate in this experiment.”

“Oh yeah, what are you going to do then?” asked Herman. “There is no place to go, unless you take off your helmet and explode in the vacuum of the universe. If we want to survive in this situation we have to stick to the plan, crew.”

“But there was no such plan Herman!”

“Yes, there was but it was never made public. The governments have tried to unite the world since the dawn of time just to avoid fighting the constant wars with other countries. The Greeks tried their luck with philosophy and education, thinking that educated people would lose interest in wars. The Romans tried to solve this problem with entertainment and comfort for the privileged class. In the Dark Ages the kingdoms came up with a bubonic plague, believing that smaller population will lead to aversion for conquering the riches of foreign lands. During the Renaissance the rulers heavily invested into art, in the 20th century they came up with two world wars, and in the 21st century they simulated an alien invasion.”

“Nothing worked. As long as there are humans, there will be conflicts unless we start a new civilization with a new economic system in which the only currency is time. A plumber’s time should be worth the same as that of a scholar. The more intellectual kids could stay in school and become engineers or teachers, while the more practical kids will become repairmen. Since they all earn the same depending on the number of hours they worked or studied, there is no need for a competition or ending their education early.”

“So you’re telling me that the earth exploding was all part of the plan?” asked Frank.

“Throughout the history of mankind, the same pattern kept repeating; progress was only made when the protectors of the old paradigm died out. “We couldn’t convert them, we outlived them,” is an aphorism still widely used in the scientific community. Lisa do you remember what happened when you tried to push forward a new way of heart transplantation that reduced the chance of a patient dying by half? Despite all the evidence that you’ve provided, the medical community still refused to adopt it.

“That was highly confidential, who told you this?” asked Lisa.

Herman shrugged and continued. “The people would never agree to fund the colonization of the Moon when there are so many other unsolved problems on Earth: famine, war, diseases. Shouldn’t we try to fix them first before leaving the planet? Sure, but the problem is that the very same people opposed the necessary changes. They didn’t want to give up some of their comfort to improve the life of their neighbor. You can only try to treat your patient so many times, but there is nothing you can do if the patient doesn’t want to be treated. We have only accelerated this process.”

“But we can’t survive on this place alone,” said Maggie.

“With 5 crew members we do: Maggie is a mechanic who can fix anything, Anne is a geologist that knows how to mine the necessary materials, Lisa is a medical doctor and Frank is an agriculturalist that will make sure to produce enough food for our civilization. I am a retired war general with multiple awards for leading and saving a battalion in face of a certain death. Together we can tackle any challenge.”