Author: William Gray
Look, we don’t have much time here, okay? Corporate really cut corners on these new spacesuits. That ripping sound is not reassuring…I’m pretty sure I’ll get a view of Earthrise before….well…
This all began years ago. After earning an expensive, useless University degree, I found myself sitting at a desk, typing away in a claustrophobic cubicle. A slave to The Screen.
For all intents and purposes, I was flushing my life down the fucking toilet.
I signed up with Lunar Mining Expeditions, Inc. Their motto was “Work a little, ride for free. Work a lot, make some money”. Perfect! I could feed myself and, at the same time, do work that wouldn’t turn me into a damn screen zombie.
So, here I am. If Earthlings are looking up at the sky right now, gazing upon the moon, they’re looking at me. If they’re not envious, they should be. Mother Nature has been a rotting corpse for over a millennium now. I might be in a spacesuit, kicking lunar dust around with anti-gravity boots, but at least I’m not on Earth, walking along a fetid shoreline, industrial-polluted muck squished between my toes!
My time is running out but I will say briefly that I worked a LONG shift today. I wanted to do some exploring far away from the mines. It’s forbidden, but who the fuck is gonna stop me? Anyway, I made it to these highlands. A bit of a climb, with a tiny slip on my way up, but I made it to the top. What an amazing view!
Are you familiar with Baily’s Beads? No? Ever seen a lunar eclipse, or even a picture of one? You’ll notice the corona is never a flawless circle. That’s due to inconsistencies on the moon’s surface. I am standing on one right now. I’d love to continue educating you on eclipses, one of my favorite subjects, but that ripping sound….it’s not getting any quieter…
The problem? That tiny slip. A sharp rock tore the leg of my suit. It happens all the time, usually not a problem. The vacuum of space suctions the skin up into the rip, causing it to bleed. The blood coagulates and seals off the leak. You get a “space hickey” but no big deal.
This time, though, the rip was rather large.
My entire leg is swelling. Why? Intravascular pressure differential, relative to lunar atmosphere, causes vein engorgement. It’s a fascinating process, but I really, REALLY have NO time for a lecture right now.
As the suit unzippers around the swelling, it feels like a mosquito bite, then a bee sting, then a knife cut, as the skin separates along the ripline. Soon the entire suit will be compromised.
Let’s get this over with. I’m removing my helmet.
There it is-Earthrise! So beautiful! I must be the first person ever to gaze upon it directly, eyes unprotected. I still have about ten seconds, but I REALLY want to get this over with. I hold my breath.
Pressure builds up in my chest. My pulmonary lobes, three on the right and two on the left, explode in rapid succession, one after the other, according to size, like bubble wrap popping in my thoracic cavity.
Why didn’t they all pop simultaneously? I would explain the delicate interplay between lunar atmospheric physics and pulmonary pathophysiology…if only I had the time…
Yeah, i was randomly reading about this stuff at some point. The story is pretty accurate, if my source is correct. The space hickey thing actually happened in real life-a russian astronaut, i believe-his suit got a tiny rip in it, the skin was pulled into the rip, bled, coagulated, and created a seal. Also, apparently, if you removed your helmet in outer space, you would have about ten seconds to live, but only if you kept breathing. If you held your breath, your lungs would explode immediately. The pulmonary lobes exploding in sequential order is mere speculation on my part, but makes sense as they are each of different size.
Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the story!
I don’t know if the medical descriptions are accurate, but they seemed to be and made the story believable. Nicely done.