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May 13, 2011

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Wallace Provost

From a Story in Progress
By Wallace Provost
He turned to look at the girl. She still had blood on her face, her dress was torn, she looked scared. She was thin, with a dusky complexion, large, dark brown eyes. Her hair was long and brown. It fell to her shoulder in waves. He remembered the first time he saw her. It was in Starbucks on the top floor of the Helium building. His attention was on the Crawler, a 100 foot wide, three hundred foot long monster that slowly crawled across the surface of the Shackleton Crater, digging up the regolith, the loose rock that served as dirt on the surface of the Moon. As it crawled slowly across the huge crater, it would grind, heat, and process the stones, extract the helium 3 and when it had filled a drum full of pressurized Helium, it would drop it alongside the trail for the workers to carry to the loading platform. She was seated with three other girls. All of them were students from Terra, there to study Lunar Geology, while running production tests for the Helium Corporation. She left the girls and walked over to Clint's table.
“Are you a Luney?” she asked.
He was surprised. She didn't look the type. He had heard that over in Lunar City, the Terran girls look for Luneys, get close to them, and try to get pregnant by them, Then they go back to Earth. Sometime they are married, sometimes they are single, and even sometimes they are gay. There seems to be a rumor going around that if you have a baby with a Luney father, the baby will be immune to getting fat. In a pigs ear, he thought. he knew one thing, he wouldn't want a bunch of scrawny kids running around the big blue marble wondering who their father was. But, like he said, she didn't seem to be that type.
“Yes.” he said. “I am a Luney. I was born on the Moon”
“Do you work for the Helium mine?”
“No. My family runs a farm on the other side of the ridge.”
“A farm? On the Moon? How wonderful. My family has a farm down in North Carolina.”
“My family was the first family to farm on the Moon.”
“Tell me about it.”
“My grandfather and grandmother were engineers. They got to like it here on the moon almost right away. The terrain, my father would say, is just like West Texas. He was from Silverton. Mom thought the same thing, she was born just outside of Lubbock. When work was caught up, they would borrow a moon rover and drive up on the ridge for a picnic. He thought it was great to get away from the idiots in the tower. They were just like the idiots down in Texas. He said the lone star state was run over with New Yorkers. Of course, he considered anything northeast of Dallas, New York.” Clint explained
“Where did they find a place to farm?”
“When they first started mining the moon, that was back in 2015 or so, the first two minerals they mined for were helium 3 and water. Of course, you know that it was helium 3 and the conversion of nuclear plants to fusion, that solved the energy crisis, slowed down global warming, and prevented world war 3. What you might not realize is that none of that was possible without water and the cost of hauling water up from the bottom of the gravity well spelled the end of any space expansion.”
“Of course, I know all that.”
“On the moon, water is found as ice in caverns beneath the south pole. . They had just emptied one of the caverns. They were moving to the other side of the plain. They packed up all of their equipment, stuck it inside the cavern and left. My grandfather and grandmother found that equipment and went inside to explore the empty cavern. Do you know what my grandfather said when he stepped inside?”
“I can't imagine.”
“He took one long look and said. By Gawd this is bigger than the cowboy stadium.”
“Sounds like a Texan.”
“When their shift was over My grandfather and grandmother stayed on the moon. They took that equipment and sealed off the cavern. They filled it with an atmosphere. Put in lots of overhead lights and started their own hydroponic farm. They were protected from the Solar Wind by the cavern roof. They even imported fertile cow eggs and soon they had a heard of white face as good as you could find anywhere on the Big Blue Marble. Now we produce fresh meat and produce for the mines here and for the big hotel and Casino.”
He really thought he had impressed her when she went back to her friends. But here she is, and now she is definitely not impressed. He got a call back from Lunar City.
“Clint. Don't come here now. It is too dangerous. Can you come back, maybe three days, when things quiet down?”

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