Le chapitre 19
With a shiver of excitement Valentina slipped on the first layer of the egress suit. Valentina could barely wait . She had Xu’s final OK that her leg was healed and that she was fit to travel the surface again. She didn’t even mind that cautious Xu was coming along with her. Both of them were keen on seeing the progress made to their underground shelter and this tangible evidence of their existence made for a giddy expedition.
Valentina watched as Xu exited the transfer module and the door slid shut behind. She entered and waited for the module to purge the contents. Shortly the lights changed to green and the exterior door slid open in front of here. She lightly trod down each step, feeling graceful as a ballerina even though her suit almost doubled her body mass. It felt good to be roaming free on the surface again. There was no air to brush against her face or a bright sun in a blue sky to brighten her path. But through her visor she could again feel the grandeur of the scene that the Hab’s cameras just couldn’t capture. She moved up to join with Xu and carefully took Xu’s gloved hand into her own. Putting their communications into private mode, she thanked Xu for her help in recovering her leg’s strength and for her tenderness in nurturing her spirit. Deep down, she was incredibly thankful that Xu with all her oddities about karma and tranquility was part of and indeed leading her team. Her peaceful demeanor had been a source of strength for Valentina. They comfortably walked together toward the shelter’s entrance. They saw, rising out of the regolith, humanity’s first structure upon another world. It was awe inspiring even though somewhat trivial. The structure itself came about from Valentina’s forced stay in the Hab. She had stumbled upon the perfect construction design. Surprisingly, the dry dusty air of the Moon was very similar to the Earth’s Arctic in which the team had spent some weeks training. There, the Innuit built igloos out of dry ice. By carefully shaping each block, they could build a structure without the need of cement. Using the same principles, Valentina had slowly sintered bricks at the Hab and gotten Woof to carry the bricks and build an igloo shaped structure. In front of her and Xu was the result; a low rounded entrance that would provide some protection against solar winds. Valentina smiled as they approached. Her design had survived a number of minor Moon-quakes and looked fine. She could feel the vibrations from the rock borer that was underneath the igloo like entrance. If the entrance and the shelter proved structurally sound, it would be the first significant step in forming the Moon’s surface to support a human colony.
As they approached, Valentina was positively beaming and her pleasure showed through the suit’s faceplate. She turned to Xu and they gave each other a high-five. Their long term survival required the ability to use resources on the Moon and this structure justified part of this expectation. Valentina approached closer and began taking stress and strain measurements about its base.