Le chapitre 41
In a rather remarkable about face, Jean was preparing for their first and hopefully last enforced visit. Yesterday, a launch with an unknown payload had shot up from the Kazak site. However, rather than inserting a new satellite into an orbit, the launch trajectory indicated that the payload was destined to someplace well out of Earth’s orbit. The craft’s latest adjustment indicated it was in a translunar injection. Thus proving to all of them that the craft was heading to the Moon. While he knew that the four colonists didn’t own this world, Jean thought that as they were the sole occupants then they would at least get notice that something was coming their way. Yet, here they were gathered around their public Internet computer; watching as the Space Network plotted the trajectory and postulated on the craft’s objective. Jean almost yelled out that the craft had no objective. It was purely an instrument of the human controller. And it may have a very nasty intent. He didn’t yell. He did remember again that they were completely vulnerable on the Moon’s southern pole.
Jean’s mind raced through hundreds of possibilities. He happily did most of the maintenance on the Hab and the sundry facilities so he had gotten quite familiar; almost attached to them. He knew that a poorly controlled or poorly placed lander would do immediate and possibly devastating harm. He also knew of no defence. Even if the lander came down benignly, risks remained. If the craft used rocket jets to control its descent then the jets would spray regolith far and wide. Wreaking havoc wherever it flew. If the craft contained a rover and the rover was directed to trundle across any of their sintered pathways then the pathway would be severed. He was building an extensive list of all the possible risks and he tried to imagine ways to avoid or eliminate them. He made little progress. Heck, each day was a struggle to survive. They didn’t need any more risks thrown their way. As he worried, the furrows on his forehead deepened.
“Do we have any background information from our friends?” he quietly said.
“Well” replied Valentina. “We’re getting mostly ‘nots’. The craft does not contain people. The craft is not pre-planned by any state. The craft is not part of any program. We do know that the craft is aimed at our world but we don’t know its destination. Really, it is a whole lot of unknowns.” she ended.
Jean was feeling more than a little insecure, “Should we defend ourselves?” he implored.
“With what?” replied Xu. “We’re a proclaimed free colony with no weapons. Remember our vision of love to conquer all? In any case, the craft hasn’t shown any dangerous intent so we have no reason to defend. We wait.” she concluded.
Jean didn’t like waiting. He was like the child who woke up well before 6AM on Christmas morning excitingly calling for everyone to go open presents. It took many years of practising and many late-night Christmas eve’s before everyone in his family could sleep-in to a reasonable hour. Today he had energy to burn. His nerves wanted him to move. Not to wait. The Hab was way too small for anything but trivial pacing. It was time for him to get back outside. To enjoy the clear view of the stars. To walk the pathways and perhaps check out the progress of their own robots that were busy assaying the near-by regions. With a quick explanation to the others and a wave he headed to the airlock.