Le chapitre 43
With another gentle hop and skip Valentina moved up to where Woof was waiting for her. Their robot companion was standing on a small ridgeline that separated the Hab from the Haven. The ridgeline itself had defied their explanations. It could be a fold from the original cooling during the Moon’s coalescence. Or it could be the result of a shock from some mighty asteroid slamming into an already cooled Moon. In any case, their ground penetrator had not picked out any noteworthy features so it remained just a creased lump of rock which happened to be a perfect fence to separate their two living spaces.
Her minded drifted back to when she and Max had walked together to the Haven. As always, the stars above were in picture perfect clarity as they had been during the walk. And she felt a certain longing well up inside her. It was almost like a slight pull on her heart string. A longing for an intimate connection. She had surprised herself at how much she had come to feel a certain emptiness in her life. She had thought that with her three companions and a new world to develop then she would have all that she needed to satisfy herself. But she was discovering that it wasn’t enough. Her companions certainly filled every need for friendship. They didn’t feed her need to have a soul mate. And somehow, while the Moon was a step into the limitlessness of space, she felt constrained. She could do only so much project development via teleconferences and messaging. She often felt that her project team was simply giving her the answers that she wanted to hear and that they weren’t giving her the real details. She knew that she could make better progress if she was standing right in front of them. Demanding to know why they were late. She put the concern aside and commanded Woof to head over to the entrance to the Haven.
The Haven, their lunar refuge, was turning out better than any of them had anticipated. Through trial and error via a number of small cavities they had found some techniques that would nearly seal the cavity’s surface to the transmission of the pressurized Earth air. From three of the most promising cavities they had repeated their construction method on larger chambers. Then, they had pumped in air and sat down to wait. It was a week since they had first filled the chambers and they’d seen almost no change in atmospheric pressure in any of the three so far. However, last night they had detected an abrupt change in one. Oddly, the pressure had dropped by about a third and then had remained constant. The four of them had exchanged theories over the dinner table in the evening. They ranged from an admittedly long shot of a lunar microbe chewing its way into the cavity to a more realistic lunar tremor that had shifted the rock structure at the site. Yet, while they could imagine many ways for the air to escape and drop the pressure, none of them could fathom why the escape would stop and the pressure remain constant again. So here she was with Woof on her way to the Haven to determine if she could see anything that might pinpoint the cause.
She watched as each of her footfalls raised a small cloud of dust. Even on the recently sintered pathway the lunar regolith had begun to make inroads. Whether from the passage of one of their lunar rovers or from the exhaust of a resupply vessel. At times, the dust wore upon her. She was even starting to dream of being in a tropical forest; dew dripping off the leaves while moss clung to all the branches. She had imagined herself naked with sweat running all over her body and the sound of macaws ringing in her ears. This starkly contrasted to the reality of the moment. The constant lunar dust and the dry Hab were also wearing upon her. She was indeed wondering more and more as to what she will demand of herself for the future.