Email from the Moon, Where Moon Rats Work, Fiction

Words

Laura:

So what do the Moon Rats do?

Well, you’re right. The Moon Rats don’t just work in toilets and life support. Be hard to maintain an aura of mystery if that’s all they did. Yes, yes, dignity of work and all that, but you have to admit not many of our cultural icons spend the day inspecting bowel movements. It’s just that’s where most of us interact with them. [Since You Asked]

The other place you see the dudes in black is as drivers. The are the best EVA drivers on the moon. Name it, they can drive it. Delivery vans. Exploration trucks. Tourist buses. Partly of it is practice. Also, they seem to have an more intuitive understanding of how to handle mass in 1/6 G.

You can drive locally. Most people don’t. The Moon Rat system is pretty efficient. Plus there’s the whole not-dying issue. That’s the thing about living on the moon. There are few minor accidents. Definitely no do-overs. Failure is generally fatal the first time.

So, the other place most of us encounter Moon Rats initially is as tour guides on the sight-seeing trips we all take to gawk at BEING ON THE FREAKING MOON. I say encounter rather than meet, because they make terrible tour guides.

They speak softly. They say as little as possible. They do not answer stupid tourist questions. Oooh, What’s that? Where are we? Why does the earth look so big/small/whatever. You are expected to shut up and look up the answer yourself. They just sit there, silent and impassive, watching you. We call it the Moon Rat stare.

Why do they do it if they dislike it so much? Partly for the hard currency. I think partly b/c they don’t want us noobs to go out, die, and clutter up their nice clean moon. Incidentally, if you are not a Moon Rat, you are always a noob.

I’m told it is different when you go to the smaller, off-site habitats and science stations. Every project is supervised by Moon Rats. Hard not to get to know people when you are living on top of each other in a goldfish bowl.

Every so often, some company gets a wild hair and insists they don’t need to pay the Moon Rat rates for supervisors. So they go off and start their own habitats. We have a saying up here:

There are old Loonies.
There are bold Loonies.
There are no old, bold Loonies.

Yeah, Loonies. apparently that’s what non-Moon Rat residents call themselves. Tourists, Loonies, and Moon Rats. I’m not sure when you go from tourist to Loonie. Probably have to stop using caps about BEING ON THE FREAKING MOON.

Oh, Moon Rats also make a ton of money in mining and piloting. That is dark side industry. Haven’t found out much about that so far.

Next time, Moon Rat art.

Speaking of art, I finally read Hail Mary by Andy Weir. He’s pretty much required reading up here. Back when Sheila Voss was stuck here at the beginning of the colony, people referred to her as a real-life Mark Watney. There’s a wing of the hotel named after Artemis.

I know you’re not a fan of old books. You have a point. Since it was published back in 2021, the social codes alternate between comical and cringeworthy. Still, I think you’d find it fun.

You could say that Hail Mary reads as The Martian in a rocketship. Protagonist in isolation, undergoing a life and death struggle, punctuated by catastrophic accidents. Since it starts that way, I’m not really giving away much of the plot. The underlying premise is vastly different.

Finally, I don’t want to lose these letters to a system purge of my work email. So I’m saving them down in the cloud. [Archive]

Yours from another heavenly body,
Liz

~~~ curtain ~~~

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