Welcome to Planet Moon (excerpt)

“What sort of accident?”

“We don’t know.”

“So how did you come by to get stuck on the moon?” he asked.

Max recounted their tale of being frozen for four hundred years in the cryochambers of their own ship after it had crash landed, and the death of most of the crew. He told of the state of the Moon now and of the few people they had met in their traveling.

“What was the name of your ship?” he asked.

“We don’t remember,” Max sadly answered.

“I’ll tell you,” the man said. During the tale his vision had recovered, and he immediately recognized Max and Mark as the two people who saved his life when an airlock malfunctioned, shooting him into space what must have been nearly seven hundred years ago by now. “Your ship was the Kodiak. Don’t you remember me? It was you who came in your ship and rescued me when I was blown into space near Alpha Centauri. My name is Richard, pilot and mechanic of the escape ship Cork.”

“Richard, I remember now,” Max said, as the shroud surrounding that part of the memory fell. “I didn’t know that you were a deep space man.”

“Well, I am not one technically. I am a pilot of this ship, whose main purpose is to take people to safety should some disaster befall the Moon and take them back to Earth. I was on shift, and in the event of an emergency, I was to be thawed manually by someone from the group assigned to this ship to be carried to safety. The ship is only powerful enough to jump into orbit after being accelerated by the rings, and then to maneuver a course to Earth. For landing, we have to use ‘chutes as well as the single engine to land.”

“Could it land here again?”

“Maybe, but it would be rather risky. This ship was designed as a one way vehicle. However, since the Moon has a low gravity, we might be able to land here in the tunnel again using the engines. We’d have carry extra fuel, and then refuel once we land. So it just might work, as long as we don’t have to use much fuel for maneuvering, and assuming that we don’t bump into the wall on the way back down.”

“So how far is this Earth?” asked Mark.

“Pretty close,” answered Richard. “If we were on the other side of the Moon, you’d be able to always see it. Even when the side that is at night, we can still see the cities from their bright lights up here on the Moon.”

“I had thought the Moon was the planet.”