Building a Lunar Colony One Step at a Time
Their supper that evening was restrained. They could almost put a numerical value to their decreased chances of survival because of Valentina's accident. As a precaution, they had all undertaken a work 'contraction'. While for the most part they were their own bosses, group survival was paramount. Returning Valentina to health without any other incidents was their surest path to long term survival so egressions from the Habitat occurred only for safety measures. Equally, the three healthy colonists had reduced consumption to ensure that Valentina had all she needed.
While coordinating their meals, Xu reminded all of them of the importance of risk management. They had no safety net; small problems on Earth could easily become life threatening as Valentina had demonstrated. Further, their triage and medical supplies were limited and finite. They had to reuse everything; bandages, needles, and casts or they'd be without. After the event, Xu's emotions raged. Worry and concern over Valentina's condition put a sharp edge to all her thoughts. Anger at the accident, Valentina's lack of attention, the poor design of the equipment, the harshness of the environment beat upon her calm demeanour. She knew that emotions weren't going to fix anything but she was certainly going to use hers to proclaim her concern and keep her three companions in check. When she had to, she ruled absolutely and rigidly.
Jean felt another wave of guilt wash over him. He had contributed to the design of the excavation robot that had injured Valentina. He hadn't seen the potential for the grinding wheel to reach beyond the machines walls but it had. He was incredibly chastened, worried that his eagerness to please his colleagues, his desire to control the Moon's basic elements had all contributed. Yes, the excavator was more efficient and had been more capable of carving shapes in the rock substrate but today's cost exceeded the return. He would not nor could not let this happen again. Their survival rested upon success, continual success.
At Valentina's side, Desai happily shared his drink with her. His warm demeanour and comforting manner kept all of them that much more relaxed. Yet, his mind wandered to other possibilities. "Would human blood on an alien world lead to the inception of life?". "Is there any life on the surface of this rock that could invade the human body?". Certainly no evidence arose from the earlier Apollo missions. But, they couldn't do an exhaustive survey. While smiling, he watched Valentina and wondered if alien invaders were already at work in her blood stream, coursing and threading through her body, making it into their own.
Being the centre of attention and not controlling it bothered Valentina. She felt fine though weak. Her fingers brushed up against Desai's arm, taking life from his vibrancy. She cowered a bit under the wrath of Xu. Normally she feared nothing but her relationship with the other colonist excised her natural narcissism. Jean and Xu had stitched up her leg, the muscle was barely touched. Valentina felt the throbbing but worse, she felt the sedation toying at her brain, preventing her from continuing her investigations. She took this as a lesson to herself; life on the Moon was beyond precious and she had to do everything she could to maintain it, whether her own, her colleagues or any of the other flora and fauna that lived with them in the Habitat.
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