“They’re out there right now pushing new settlements on the Mars frontier and I’m stuck on this dead rock.” Dave threw another stone into the crater. The artificial gravity and atmosphere provided by the biome simulated Earth-like conditions. He counted out loud until he heard it hit the ground. It landed when he reached seven, then he continued his tirade. “Some luck, huh? I should be out there with them.”
“Some of us are grateful to at least be on the moon, you know,” Richard responded robotically. “Some people back home never even dream of making it this far.” He pulled the binoculars up and looked into the distance. The dust-covered glass of the biome skewed his view slightly – he would have to clean it soon, Dave would never do it – but Richard could still see to the stark lunar horizon. He found only the same nothingness that was always there.
“Yeah, well, who the hell are they that they get to revolutionize the galaxy while I’m stuck staring at nothing? It should be me out there becoming famous.”
“Put in for a transfer if it bothers you so much.” The same suggestion Richard had made countless times before. “No one is forcing you to stay here.” Nearly four years ago Richard’s dream came true when he was accepted into the Northern Alliance Academy. After three years spent grueling over various celestial and atmospheric studies, he was selected for the Lunar Reconnaissance Mission. His excitement had waned slightly when he realized that meant a year-long tour staring at cold rocks on Earth’s moon, but he knew he had to serve his time here before he would get a chance to venture out further among the stars.
Dave had arrived two months after Richard. He got off the shuttle complaining and he had not stopped since. Every day since was filled with the same complaints; Dave felt he deserved more than he ever received. Where others like Richard had worked hard for it, Dave’s family connections had greased his path into the Academy. When Dave faced expulsion for neglecting his studies, his father quickly found his generosity and made a large donation to the Academy. According to Richard’s friends back at the Academy, Dave’s complaints had started the moment he learned of the lunar requirement.
“You know I can’t do that,” Dave said. “It’s a one-way ticket back to Earth.”
Maybe you should suck it up then, Richard thought. Thanks to Dave’s connections, he had been placed as Richard’s supervisor, despite Richard’s seniority.
“You’ve already been here for nine months, what’s another three?”
“In three months, Mars will be a thriving colony! I’ve got to get out of here. I shouldn’t have come here in the first place. I’m better than this.” Dave picked up another rock and tossed it in the air a few times. “The moon is for people like you, people who just accept whatever life gives them.” He pointed the rock at Richard. “That’s your problem, Richie, you never push yourself for more. You accept whatever life gives you without question.” He whizzed the rock into the crater. Nine seconds this time.
“You might be right, Dave.” Richard threw a rock of his own into the crater, then joined Dave at the crater’s edge. “You might just be right.” He put his hand on Dave’s back and pushed. Richard counted out loud until the screaming stopped. Six seconds.
“Don’t worry, Dave, you’re going to be famous alright.” Richard tossed another rock in. “There’s never been a homicide on the moon before.”
About the author:
Joshua Hickman hails from the backwoods of Arkansas, but currently resides in northern Texas. He has a heart for stories that question morality.