Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
The place reeks of green beans.
I hate the feel of the floor underneath my bare feet. Itâ€™s made of ivy and soft branches.
Iâ€™m not from around here.
I usually work the corporate zealots on the rim. All they know is credit and value. Iâ€™m a machine when it comes to getting those rogue independents back on our side. Itâ€™s all suits, stims, and pissing contests. Iâ€™m a natural because I like it. Iâ€™m at home there.
This must be punishment.
Iâ€™m an emissary from a highly technological civilization and Iâ€™ve been sent to talk to the Leaf People.
Itâ€™s whatâ€™s called a Green Moon.
It takes less time to terraform a moon than a planet. Terraforming stations are set up on both the moon and the planet. The moon finishes first and the plants are shuttled down to the planet surface to hasten the change and relieve the processorâ€™s workload.
Then more plants are grown on the moon. They get ferried down. Then more are grown. Itâ€™s a process that continues until the planet is sustainable and ready for habitation. It takes about a century.
Itâ€™s a process that requires a much higher initial outlay of capital but the long term profits have been proven from past examples.
The employees live â€˜in the greenâ€™, in tune with nature, and after a while, money becomes abstract to them. Occasionally, employees on a Green Moon get it into their heads that they are independent community organizations and not an asset of a corporation.
Eventually, they want to secede.
Secede, rebel, steal, itâ€™s all the same to us. They are substantial investments that must be protected and functional. Corporation emissaries are sent in to negotiate and reach a compromise that leaves both parties mutually dissatisfied but keeps the Green Moons running. Itâ€™s too expensive to go to war with them.
Maybe Iâ€™ve done something wrong and thatâ€™s why my bosses have thrown me to the farmers.
Lunar terrafarmers. Loonies, we call them.
The rep Iâ€™m supposed to meet in this humid section of a hedge maze is called Rainbow Shark.
Iâ€™ve already sweated through my expensive linen suit.
A strongly muscled woman walks out from behind the bushes and stands in front of me. Except for a woven belt holding a telepad and what I guess are food pellets, sheâ€™s completely naked.
She stares me down for a second and gives me a visual appraisal. Thereâ€™s a smirk when she looks at my bare feet and something that almost sounds like a chuckle at the sweat stains growing under my arms. He eyes return to mine. Theyâ€™re as green as go-lights.
â€œIâ€™m Rainbow Shark.â€ She says. â€œYou must be Jonas Malko, the company man.â€
She looks like sheâ€™d just as soon stab me in the throat as look at me.
Maybe this isnâ€™t a punishment after all. It might even be a challenge.