Desai had to control his impatience. His desire was to jump up and do things on his own; the only way that he knew it would be right. He was using the bridge on the relay station to send a sub-channel to his agents in the Transveld. They were all supposed to be available for the conference but a few hadn’t signed on. Worse, they were the ones that had key information on his options to buy ammonia production plants in southern Africa and Madagascar. With the way the Earth’s climate was changing, those locations may become some of the most productive agricultural lands on Earth and he was going to maintain control.
His fist thumped beside the keyboard and startled Valentina awake. While outside was full light from the Sun, they had the Hab set to the Earth’s natural 24 hour circadian cycle so it was full dark inside and everyone else had been deep asleep with the programmed darkness of 2AM. Bleary eyed, Valentina’s head swung slowly around as she focused upon the soft light coming from the screen in front of Desai. She could see screen shots of figureheads and the wires coming from Desai’s audio headset. Softly, she shed her light covers and padded over to his desk, enjoying the feel of the warm smooth metal under her toes and heels. With a bit of apprehension, Desai watched her approach and he started formulating a reasonable response. However, Valentina gently bent beside him, kissed his cheek and went to glance out the shaded viewing port. For the dark Hab, it allowed almost no light in but if one was directly in front, one could just grasp the shapes of the rocks and structures that encompassed their ‘front yard’. Desai gently sighed. He felt a slight spasm of guilt then he got right back to the conference. He knew that each of the four lunar inhabitants so completely trusted each other, out of necessity, that no one would ever even contemplate a potential harm befall them. He was aware of Valentina returning, running her fingers through his hair then softly returning to her bunk. Given the Hab’s lighting, the other conference attendees couldn’t see Desai’s surroundings though they all knew he was living on the Moon. Equally, none knew that Valentina had awoke and come by. Desai again took to dressing down Sheppy his Transveld lead.
“Why has our production of potash fallen again?” he complained. “Our aim is to corner the market not surrender it to some backward sloth paced producer. Can you get production back to where it needs to be?” he implored.
The challenge they both knew was that much of their fertilizer production depended upon the area’s power production. Currently the area’s energy demand exceeded power production so that each consumer had to make a claim for a share. Even though they were part of the critical food production chain, the governors had decided that the Transveld could just hang on a bit longer while the region relied upon food imports. Desai knew that it was a powder keg just waiting for a spark. He had lived there and he knew the feelings that would be running through the streets; the feelings of betrayal, anger and resentment as had festered for so long there. He doubted that the government would be able to keep a lid on things for much longer. But he also keenly knew that civil unrest would destroy all the equity that he’d poured into the location. He needed Sheppy to boost production and he needed Sheppy to keep the locals content. But, knowing what to do wasn’t actually knowing how to do it. If only he could think of a way to keep the Earthlings as safe and secure as the colonists were doing for each other in the Hab.
His fingers danced upon the keyboard while he continued quietly talking through the audiophone. Even after another 30 minutes, no other participant entered into the conversation. He would have to send his flying squad to each of the absentees, even though they were some of his most reliable staff. Again, a wave of frustration washed over him. His idyllic life on the Moon meant so much, but he knew that its fate was still completely tied up with that of Earth’s. Patience was needed both for day to day living here and for his dealings back on Earth.
Wealth is an interesting thing but of vital importance to fund raisers. We know that over half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population. The question for us then is whether to focus upon the very rich and hope for a grand donation or to continue to ask for funds from all. Our answer remains, to focus upon everyone who’s got a high school education. We ask for funds from all of these people equally as we expect to need to raise funds for many more decades, and wealth doesn’t readily flow across generations. Thus, we won’t rely upon a few donors. We look upon you, our members, to help gather these funds from everyone equally.
Looking at the news, it’s hard to separate the promise from the hyperbole regarding space settlement. So many countries are planning to land upon the Moon, lasso an asteroid or settle upon Mars that we should wonder why we haven’t gotten there yet. Maybe surprisingly one of the strongest, solid contributors remains the Lunar X Prize. However, this is still a singular event which, while empowering small groups, doesn’t solve the problem which lies at the heart of every attempt; where’s the money. Hence, we have our organization that’s committed to raising funds. We will leave the technical prowess to whichever company offers the best proposal that meets our requirements.
We’ve recently had a nice surge in memberships. This gives us an even broader base of supporters. Keep spreading the word and continue finding new members. We can get there from here!
Should Valentina choose the yellow or green cube. Jean had hidden a prize underneath each, as well as nothing under the pink and orange cubes. Just by watching his emotions she knew that neither the pink or orange cubes had anything of interest. So, she watched as Jean played with each cube, moved them around trying to imitate a con man’s actions with a shell game. She watched as Jean regarded each with care and almost some devotion whenever his hands touched their surface. Finally she couldn’t wait any longer and yelled out “yellow” in a fervent exclamation. Jean’s large hand enveloped the yellow cube and slowly lifted it up to reveal the small apparatus underneath, an exquisite machine designed and built for lunar gravity. She knew her eyes were glowing like a child’s who’s just unwrapped the most amazing birthday gift ever.
Valentina remembered the days leading up to this moment. Sometime ago, she had shared with her fellow colonists all the details of her plan to bring manufacturing expertise to cities and villages throughout Africa. In so doing, she would change the continent from simply extracting resources for others and in to an industrial powerhouse. Her main steps included designs for a solar powered 3-D printer that used a mixture of local ingredients. They began in a material that had low stress and strain values. This property made it great for working in the printer. But, once the material was shaped and exposed to the Sun together with atmospheric levels of oxygen then it had a hardness similar to steel. But retained a reasonable suppleness. As she had patented both the specialized printer and the material, she could control its distribution and utilization. She had been doing this in such a way as to give Africans a significant lead in optimizing the usage of the two. Some small cities had created assembly lines for local car-like vehicles. A few larger cities had begun a nascent aviation industry. All the while this unfolded, Valentina had kept track of the upgrades and improvements being made to the printer and the material. From them, she extrapolated to industrial conditions on the Moon. She didn’t have free oxygen in their atmosphere but she had lots of direct solar energy. Further, she could use some of the Hab’s chemical reserves which include a store of pure oxygen. With these, she had designed and had fabricated a 3-D printer that was perfect for their needs. Then, after trialling a number of different mixtures, she had found some with similar qualities to that being used in Africa. Once she had a reasonable process, she had set Jean loose. His amazingly imaginative and machine-oriented mind had overflown with ideas on machines and parts that could benefit them. Many of his early contrivances dealt with reducing the potential for lunar dust destroying any moving parts. In result his redesign of cogs and tracks resulted in machinery needed cleaning much less often. As well, visual inspection was showing much less pitting and wearing of surfaces. For this, all the colonists were breathing easier just knowing that they could design and build things on the Moon to their own avail and without the intercession of Earthlings. At first, progress on both the Earth and the Moon had been slow. Lately however, each had taken exponential leaps, somehow almost feeding off of each other. Her inauspicious beginnings had culminated into the joys of the moment and she couldn’t feel happier.
The machine under the yellow cup was a simple device; a body scratcher. But, as she learned, it had the capability of the Canadarm of the old space shuttle. With it, she could scratch any part of her body, in any way and at any time. Jean had even designed an appendage that looked like a much smaller version of Dextre, another robotic arm of the International Space Station. The arm could scratch, massage or gently rub.
“Simple pleasures”, she thought. “All we need are a few simple pleasures and we could live on this wonderful lunar world forever.”