Le chapitre 36
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.