Logbook #5

AS11-39-5748
AS11-39-5748

Le chapitre 5

Comforting as that may have been, Jean had never been impressed by the numbers and he put much more store in his lucky charms. His fingers rubbed the lira coin in his pocket; a memory of his attendance at the 2015 World Fair in Milan. The coin had been with him when he exited the transport to begin his leisurely walk about the habitation module. It reminded him of his many practise walks about the Earth analog habitat. While the mobile robot had completed the same route, and he was actually following its tracks, Jean had learned that robots could only see what was expected of them. He on the other hand had a much broader knowledge base to draw upon, as well as a distinct though some would say quirky, imagination. Earlier, as he walked around the habitat, he checked out the shadows, unusual dirt formations about the base, the joins between the different modules and the general lay of the land. Their habitat was on an abbreviated plain on the rim of a crater. The view in all directions was stunning though the lack of colour gave a false, surreal sense to the image. He had been pleased that the footing was solid and the regolith for the most part quite shallow. He had briefly stopped at the Cave, an excavation made by the mobile robot that would allow them to go underground to escape severe radiation. Its walls and ceiling were intact though he wondered how the four of them would fit. His tour had ended happily without event and he had transferred all the video from his suit into the module’s digital storage where he could review it any time. His luck had continued.

Valentina had walked directly across from the transport and into the habitat module. Jean enjoyed watching Valentina as she stepped from the airlock’s vestibule into the habitat. Her smile radiated. And her natural confidence again filled him with hope. He joined Valenteina and Xu as they hugged each other. Desai smiled at them from his workstation and then he turned back to his display. Jean couldn’t imagine a happier moment in his life. Or a time when so much promise laid out before him. A song was being sung in his heart and he willed himself to place this memory in concrete so he could always bring regard it.

Now with all four of them finally together in the habitat module, they prepared their first rite, a binding moment of togetherness. They would give thanks for their safe deliverance and most of all, a moment of silence for the colonists who had attempted the same journey but had lost their lives. He gathered up the material awaiting him at his station; some wires and some LED lights. He built a small wire frame on the floor then added the LEDs. With the flick of a switch, the LEDs came alive in varying colours and the four of them had a simulated flame that they could use for their rite. This symbolised fire, one of the first elements of humanity’s civilization.

Jean extended his left hand and gently enveloped the right hand of Xu. His right hand was already holding Valentina’s left. They stood in a circle in the habitation module, holding hands and beginning their quiet memorial to the previous colonists and others who had lost their lives in pursuit of the colony. Chief in their minds were the four who had flown in the first transport from Earth. Its launch was spectacular, the rockets roared, the exhaust gases lit up the area and the monster ascended into the clouds. Moments later, and quite unexpectedly, the roar briefly increased then stopped altogether. Later, the contractor identified a mechanical failure. But for the four colonist onboard there was no reprieve. Jean shivered involuntarily thinking that he could well have been on that flight rather than here on the Moon following the successful launch and passage of their transport.

The circle made by their four bodies centred upon a small pyre with LEDs simulating a flame. Jean heard Valentina intone the words that they had all contributed to, “Our hopes and our dreams rest upon the willingness of others to support our endeavour. Thousands have contributed, some giving the ultimate sacrifice. We gladly carry their contributions into the future for the benefit of us, everyone on Earth and for the Earth itself”. She bowed her head and Jean followed her lead. They knew that they maintained a fragile existence on the Moon but they had been assured that it was as safe as climbing Mount Everest and actually safer than driving a vehicle in some countries.

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