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Lunacy: The Colonist


  06:38:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 964 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: The Colonist

Levy sighed. ?Okay. Some of you have probably figured out we've got more cargo than we're supposed to- and in particular extra supplies. On the one hand, it means if we get laid over on the planet, we're okay. On the other, if we don't end up stuck for two years- the plan was for me to stay behind.? ?We've got a primitive form of the seed that became the Lunar station- a robotic mining/assembly kit. Ample shelter.? ?You knew?? Clod asked Rica. ?She figured it out,? Levy said. ?Product of being in charge of the produce- I knew I had more plants than I was supposed to. But now that things are out in the open: why you? I mean, I don't really have a horse in this race, since I only got subbed in last minute as an alternate, so I wouldn't have been a contender, anyway, but why you?? ?My theory's always been that Ken has a particular kind of personal distaste for me. So this was as far away from Earth as he could blast me without people realizing he was sort of trying to kill me. Or it's because I have a unique combination of skills. My robotics training means I can keep the droids functioning long enough to build the infrastructure I'll need to survive long-term. And with my physics, I might be able to get this end of an FTL transmitter working- presuming we can ever finish wrapping our heads around how such a thing would work.? ?But the plan, once I'm safely on-world, is for the Moon to start launching reflective dishes- well, basically- for such an array to bounce signals from Earth and back. Well, once Dr. Rierdon makes it to the Moon.? ?Rierdon was chosen for the Moon?? Clod asked, turning up her nose. ?He's an ass,? Levy said. ?Groped not one, but two astronaut candidates. He definitely would have been out of the program. But... he doesn't really have any peers in his field. Certainly not any young enough that they'd likely live to see the completion of the project. And continuity?s important. But Ken did not fuck around with him, either. I heard he let the MPs drag him to the brig- you know, let him sweat it out in a military prison. Let the CIA work on him a little; I heard he was there for the waterboarding, and just kept screaming at him that you do not treat astronauts that way- and if he wanted to be an astronaut he'd learn that or he'd never leave this rock. Rierdon will always be a dick- til the day he's inevitably and righteously lynched for his epic dickery. But he at least learned to stop assaulting his coworkers, which is a step in the right direction. And I'm pretty sure he pisses himself at the mention of the words 'HR complaint' something I'm looking forward to telling the Lunar Station staff.? ?But aside from the impressive heft of my melon, us Levys are extraordinarily long-lived. I don't have a great-great-grandmother who lived to less than her nineties, and even the hard-drinkenest men in the family make it into our eighties. The only way to die sooner is to diabetes ourselves to death.? ?Heh, you pronounce it like Wilford Brimley,? Clod said. ?It's how my mom pronounced it.? ?Did she diabetes herself?? ?Nope. Loves chocolate ice cream, and always has a bowl before bedtime. But so far, no diabetes. We just keep saying diabetes cause it sounds funny pronounced that way, right?? ?Indiabetically.? ?But why didn't you tell us sooner?? Paul asked, then swallowed, and added, ?acknowledging that I'm the last person who can complain about kept secrets.? ?Ken swore me to secrecy. Through training he told me he'd been keeping my alternate in the loop on the whole project, and he could swap me out at a moment's notice if I so much as drunk-sleep-mumbled it to a hooker; I don't think he understands most of us patronize hookers less frequently than he does.? ?After a while I figured out that was a bluff- and he figured out that I knew that, so he escalated. And told me he could cut off my communication with Earth. My porn. Hell, he could make sure there was only enough food and water to barely and uncomfortably survive. He didn't need me to thrive- just to keep the colony going while the robots prepared the space for an actual crew.? ?And I believed him. I mean, I don't think he'd do it. But he could. And he might. And even though that kind of a heavy hand made me want to break his confidence immediately, I actually agreed with him.? ?I didn't want the first half of this mission to be tragic and melancholy- um, yeah. But I didn't want it to be about me. I'm as excited as I am terrified to be the first long-term man on Mars. It's a cool thing I'm doing, and one I'm happy to do. And I wanted to be able to enjoy what might be the last interactions with people I ever get to have. It's an honor to have been chosen for this, just like it's been an honor to hurtle through space with all of you.? ?Aw,? Paul said, and picked him up in a big bear hug. ?I'm going to miss the hell out of you.? ?We'll still be able to stay in touch,? Levy said. ?For the first year I'm still going to be your closest neighbor, and the easiest person to get on the phone.? ?Which is to say nothing of the couple months of science and set-up we've got planned,? Rica said. ?Oh,? Paul said, and dropped him abruptly. ?Nevermind, then.?

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