Le chapitre 29
All Jean wanted to do was pull out his light sabre and have at the so called ‘guest’ from another planet. Instead he put his hand forward to shake Maximillian’s hand. Much to his surprise, Maximillian pulled Jean into a warm, full body embrace. Jean still felt uncomfortable with expressing his feelings with his other three colonists. This contact with a near total stranger put him more on edge. He can imagine his Obi-Wan saying, ‘be patient my padawan.’
“Welcome to our humble and somewhat cramped home.” he heard himself smoothly say. “We hope your stay is exciting and fruitful.” he continued.
Though he was thinking that he hoped all the visitors either would immediately leave or simply fall off any nearby cliff.
Max replied, “Jean, this outpost exceeds all I’ve ever thought of. Not long ago, I could only imagine extending our race off of Earth. Now here your are representing all of mankind and laying the foundation for our journey beyond.”
Really though, Max couldn’t give a rat’s ass for the colonists or the colony. He was solely thinking how he could use the base and the surrounding resources for personal benefit. If he could establish a small industrial capacity then he could corner the market for off-world fabrication. Simply showing the capability could make him and his company the biggest investment opportunity since the Dutch East India Company. This wasn’t a pleasure trip nor was it some political stunt. His only interest was to establish a revenue stream beyond anyone’s dreams. So, he couldn’t wait to get this charade completed for the cameras and to progress the work that he and Valentina had already begun.
After a few more pleasantries, Jean brought Maximillian, or Max as he strenuously requested, through the entrance module and into their work area. The colonists had sealed off their private quarters at the end of the module with the desire to keep a slim bit of privacy in their lives. The ever pervasive telerobotic camera unit filmed everything; both what Max saw and what surrounded Max. It had preceded Max in an earlier supply ship and was now an instrumental link between the group on the Moon and the inhabitants on Earth. This had been Max’s idea and it was coupled to a pay-per-view charge. Viewers could choose to view from any vantage point and, with Max’s new 3D proprietary system, they could immerse themselves into the experience. Profits were split between the colonists and Max’s company. And once the visit completed, the unit would become the colonist’s surgeon. That is, the unit would be controlled by a surgeon on Earth who would be able to undertake any necessary operation upon colonists or guests. The challenge had been compensating for the Moon-Earth time delay which field trials on Earth had shown could be dealt with. What wasn’t known to anyone else, even Valentina, was that buried deep in the unit’s software a dormant subroutine allowed for Max to override the unit and have it complete his tasks. All in all Max wasn’t a very pleasant man. But he didn’t get to where he was by being pleasant.
Jean swept the air in front of him and say, “This is our everything; our home, our laboratory, our office, our rec-room. Please join us at our table and share in our meal.” Jean thought it odd that eating food at the same time as another person somehow bonded them together. It felt more like a caveman tradition than a necessity for space travelers. Still, it was in the script and he was happily going along with the role. After all, every bit of food on the table had been delivered to them from the guests’ vessel. If the people on Earth could only see their typical meals of plastic wrapped goo then they probably wouldn’t be so interested in becoming part of the colony. However, their endeavour still had a huge debt to pay off. They had to do so before they could claim themselves as being self-sufficient; their primary goal. Even if it meant being hand-maids to privileged tourists.