NEW πŸ“—Story: Killers ❌

A space tourist contemplates her first moonwalk

Saturday, Sep 21, 2019
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Welcome to MoonMonth, which started two days ago and will go until I’ve said all I can say. These posts are going to work a little differently β€” we’re going to follow Tzipora through her adventures in Moon City and beyond, and learn about the moon in this world along the way. Strap in!

Vekllei has put a great deal of effort into developing infrastructure for tourism across the lunar surface of the Vekllei Moon Zone. For no cost except their labour in society, a Vekllei person is able to enjoy a handful of activities in Moidonnet (β€œMoon City”), the largest and most recreational of the moon colonies. It is a complex of about a hundred connected buildings at the base of Mt Io, far away from the border territories of the Vekllei Moon Zone. On her 18th birthday, for which she still looked fourteen, Tzipora was gifted a week-long holiday in Moidonnet with her father, Baron, who surprised her with tickets.

Tzipora had never got to grips with flying. She was uneasy around most things too big for her immediate comprehension. The sky and the sea and space might be grand, but she was a small girl of a provincial disposition and was satisfied with a pocket of land and some people to talk to. She had taken pills for the flight to the moon, which climbed steeply and enjoyed several hours of zero gravity, but had calmed down by the time she’d acclimatised to the novelty of life in Moidonnet.

She was now in a room fretting over the equipment that would separate her person from millions of miles of empty vacuum. Around her was a pink preparation room with padded walls, typical of the confined spaces of Moon City. In this gravity it only took a stumble to send you careening into the air, and the cushioning would prevent you from cracking your head open. Along the walls were metal railings available to seize in the event you lose your balance.

The City was distinctive in its shoelessness, as it was easy to float in the low gravity of the moon and kick things that should not be kicked. It made the whole place feel quite scientific and homely at the same time β€” like all tourists here were fellow travellers in some great expedition, too familial to bother with formalities like shoes.

A heavy atmospheric suit was suspended by its lifelines to the roof. It was bulky and had strange shiny booties at the feet. Nearby were moon boots, which would be sealed along with the rest of the suit in a vacuum cocoon before test depressurisation in the airlock. The International Standard flag was hung on the wall, probably to impress foreign tourists. There were a handful of foreign tourists visiting, usually relatives of Vekllei citizens. Occasionally you saw obviously wealthy foreigners who’d payed their own way. They were easy to spot, for their gold rings and nice clothes looked absurd and tacky in the face of the glory of Vekllei infrastructure.

There was no appetite for skirts in Moon City. The risks were too great. She’d changed out of trousers into a stiff jumpsuit bleached white with cleaning chemicals. Now that the domestic conventions of getting changed had been completed successfully, the weight of her adventure finally dawned on her. She took a seat and looked between the helmet and the body of the atmospheric suit, and felt her stomach drop. All of a sudden she missed Baron very dearly. Where had he got to?

Next time, we’ll look at rockets. See you soon!