Author: R. Gene Turchin
We hired college students for work at the moon history park during the lull between semesters. The cost to get them up here is still high even though we now have weekly shuttle runs. The shuttle carries 20 passengers plus a crew of four. Launch and landing are automated and controlled by AI. Crew is window dressing and for emergencies.
The work was mostly cleaning and painting. Simple stuff. We get some good, some bad, up from earth for the summer. The ads read: Spend your summer on the moon. The adventure of a lifetime. Do you have what it takes?
Government foots the bill for college students and subsidizes tourists. Pretty sure they use it as a weeding out process. In a couple years the current students might become colonist. The summer work is a test. How will they fare with the lower gravity, the lack of open air, and protocols. The colony has been running thirty plus years now and our safety record exceeds anything on earth. Very few serious accidents and no breaches.
Mikey was a stumble bum, one of those characters who could screw up an iron anvil with a banana. He was the type who thought he’d meet girls up here. If you can’t find companionship on Mother Earth with her population, the logic of hooking up in a restricted colony is bound for failure.
Supervisor can tell how well newbies will fare during the first auditorium welcome meeting. We could read their personalities from the way they moved, giggled, asked questions. Up here, we have to be good at body language signs. Mikey was borderline cabbage from word one. His eyes never made contact with the stage.
“Anybody know who the doofus in the red shirt is? Cause I don’t want him,” Jim said. Others nodded. We scanned the ID images.
“Michael Arbogast, age 19. Wants to be a pilot,” I read from the tab.
“Into the bowels of the dungeon,” Samantha said. “Organic waste detail.” There were nods around the room.
Much to our surprise, the kid did well with the organic waste detail assignment, in fact, he seemed to enjoy it, paid meticulous attention to the finer points but he was vocal about wanting to experience outside. Everyone new here gets a required outside tour, first in a tractor and then an easy walk around the launch facility and the solar farms. It’s another test. Psychologically, some people are just not cut out for the vastness of the lunar surface and the sight of earth hanging in the sky. Metaphorically they run screaming and usually take the next shuttle home. Arbogast didn’t freak nor did he reach that other end of the pendulum swing where the idiots become too casual about being outside. It seemed that the kid had some sense. He was assigned park duty.
The park is covered over with a clear plastisteel shield designed to let light in but keep the meteors off. Strict protocols keep the tourists in line to protect the fragile exhibit. For many it is their first time in an environmental suit. Claustrophobia becomes an issue.
On the tours only the rangers are allowed behind the line. Mikey thought he was a ranger and ducked under the wire to display his status and scuffed Armstrong’s foot prints with his own.
Oops. These things happen