Desai felt slightly unnerved standing at the hill’s peak even though it was right beside the relay station. After many weeks, his appreciation of visual depth still related more to Earth than the Moon. Here he was on a small ledge with an abrupt drop off falling a few hundred metres down. Though he had secured himself to the nearby piton, he couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he were to fall, somewhat slower than on Earth due to the lesser gravity. But eventually quite fast as there was no atmosphere to slow him. With a slight shake of his head and a re-focus onto the equipment, he brought himself around to the work at hand.
Their guests, now long since departed, had brought with them a new camera. The camera had a lens that could see both the nearby lunar surface and the far away pin pricks of starlight. Inside the camera, filters would help with geological assessment. Along the camera’s barrel lens the special optics could make star surveys with much greater clarity than any on Earth. While he knew that Valentina anticipated the installation with great delight, he had been much less keen on lugging the camera up the hill to the relay station, removing the old camera which was going to be kept as a spare, and then installing the new one. This would have been a routine, simple chore on Earth. But here on the Moon, wearing a bulky Moon suit and gloves made for a more trying exercise. He would have felt much more comfortable staying in the Hab and directing the operation from a keyboard but Xu had required everyone to continually egress the Hab and travel on the lunar surface. Given this, she had assigned him the task. Sure, by continually suiting up and walking about the surface they would get more used to the local environment rather than be merely a temporary presence. Yet, he wondered if the camera was worth all the effort. He followed the instructions being relayed to him over the communications channel and began disassembling the old camera.
As he worked, part of his mind thought of Xu’s other reason for having them travel about the surface. She set them to continually traverse the region so as to show presence and thus define ownership. Some jokers on Earth had already laid claim to vast tracks of the lunar surface. They were making great noise about the lunar colonist invading their territory. However, as they all knew, much of Earth ownership law was based upon the presence of inhabitants. Therefore, as long as they continually traversed the area, they were deemed occupants and could lay valid claim. Xu continually pushed the extent of their travels so as to encompass an ever larger region. This seemed to suit Valentina who happily roamed far and wide getting more geological samples. However for Desai, it was a distraction. Much as he lived on the Moon, his focus was still on Earth; especially the terran stock market. Yes, he mainly used his market skills for gains and from them to further the goals of the Lunar Colon Fund. But he was beginning to see that he could also have a global influence on the Earth. He wondered if he would ever have to choose between advancing the colony and supporting the Earth.
With one more, slight tug the old camera came free of the support on the relay station. He was careful not to let it strike the power or communication antennas. He was also careful to add his hardware bridge to the communications network. This small device would encrypt all his digital packages that emanated from an equivalent bridge within the Hab. Though he trusted his fellow colonists with his life, quite literally, he also wanted to have a semblance of real privacy. He silently laughed to himself when he almost dropped the power wrench over the side of the ledge. If it had fallen, it would have stayed where ever it rested. He wasn’t planning on doing any hill descent for some simple little tool.