Luke Marusiak: Lifeboat Moon

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  • Название:
    Lifeboat Moon
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Kindle
  • Жанр:
    sf_postapocalyptic / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2018
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-973-59164-1
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    5 / 5
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Lifeboat Moon: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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What would you do if you were part of the last of humanity, stranded on the moon? That’s the fate of Moon Base Armstrong after an unexpected event strands 137 people. They all volunteered to set up the base, not be humanity’s last stand. The urgent, day-to-day life and death struggle to make the moon base self-sustaining gives way to despair, fear, and hope. (This is the full five part novel.)

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Luke Marusiak

LIFEBOAT MOON

TO THOSE COMMITED TO SPREAD HUMAN CULTURE TO THE STARS.

PART I

REALIZATION

1

Mark thought of the orange earth and felt an icy fist of blind hate clench in the pit of his stomach. He took careful steps sinking an inch into the talcum powder-like lunar dust. The internal blower of his spacesuit provided a constant maddening whine in his right ear. He looked at the stark horizon through the multi-layered plexiglass tube. I need to get back before the earthrise, he thought. He nodded to himself and stepped with more purpose moving through the mile-long tube. It’s crazy the oxygen reactor is so far from the base. Of course, this was laid out when the base was going to be the first of many in a vast colony. But that was before…

He stopped and looked at the dust covered curve of the tube. Irritation surged through him. Thad doesn’t need to drive the moon buggy so close to the chute. He tapped the tube with the back of his hand. Some moon dust fell away revealing an impossibly dark sky illuminated with a jaw dropping celestial spray of stars. Mark swallowed. He used to love gazing skyward. Now, he could only bear it those hours when humanity’s home planet was hidden.

The last two months, it was too painful. He felt tears well in his eyes. What was it like for those I left behind? He shook his head. I must stop these thoughts. Those musings led to black depression, to madness. Besides, there was Sally. Sally was his hope, his dream.

Mark checked his suit pressure and balked. I’m almost out of air! He continued his trek, controlled his breathing, and noted the white cloud puffs with every footfall. There were people to fight for. There were things to fight for. What was the phrase? Live to fight another day. That’s what it was all about. It was a thin thread of hope. If they could hang on maybe… maybe.

He stopped before the ramp that led to the underground entrance and opened a large panel. He exhaled with satisfaction. The power from the solar cells is transferring well and the oxygen reactor is at 98%. His walk accomplished its purpose. He bounded down the ramp to the outer load lock and pushed the large return button. He took a labored inhalation and pushed the button again. I should never run my air supply so low.

2

Sally was irritated. “Chuck, move out of the way. I need to see the status panel.” She knew being a woman on Moon Base Armstrong would have its challenges but she hadn’t thought boorish men would top the list.

“There’s nothing to see baby.” Chuck stood in front of her, his silhouette filled the hatchway. He sported an idiotic grin.

“Mark’s out there.”

Chuck shrugged. “He always takes enough air.”

“Move!”

Chuck entered the small breakroom and grabbed Sally by the shoulders. “We have time.”

“Stop it.” Sally pushed Chuck to the side and looked at the status panel. She gasped, heart in throat, when seeing the blinking red distress light. “Oh my God! How long has that been on?” Sally bounded in the one-sixth earth gravity out the hatchway across the control deck. It’s Mark! She fought anxiety as she gasped short hyperventilating breaths. Mark’s in trouble.

Sally grabbed the rail at the middle of the deck with her left hand and swiveled her body over it in a gymnastic move. She sailed down onto the hangar’s loading dock where, as soon as her feet touched the diamond steel floor, she bounded again toward the hatch.

“You’re not following protocol.” Chuck called after her.

My suit’s on the right, number 105. Sally willed her mind to work. She removed her gear from the rack and sat on the cold steel as she separated the spacesuit into its upper and lower half. The cold bit into her bottom through her thin sweatpants. I’m getting my ass frostbit. She pushed that reality aside. Mark’s in trouble. She slammed her stockinged feet into the bottom half and stood. Cold drafts and fear caused a paralyzing shudder that stopped her for precious seconds in orienting the top half. Move, move… it might be too late.

The shudder passed and she popped her head into the top half as she slid her arms into the space suit sleeves. She cocked her head to see through her helmet dome at her gloved hands. She fumbled to align the pins on the mid-section locking ring. She looked up at Chuck. He stood, arms folded, with the idiotic grin still on his face. “Are you going to help?”

Chuck shrugged. “What difference does it make?”

“It makes all the difference!” Sally wrestled with the top half and realized she had wide pins over narrow slots. She rotated the locking ring ten degrees and felt the alignment guides engage. Finally. She snapped the belt clasp in place, connected her inhalation and exhalation tubes, held her breath, and pushed the pressurize button on her chest-mounted tank. Air hissed in her ear for thirty seconds before the indicator on her helmet visor flashed green.

She slowly inhaled and smelled the ever-present spent-gunpowder aroma. She exhaled slowly to prevent fogging. Her space suit was way too cold to put in partial vacuum but she was out of time. She grabbed two straps that had D-rings on each end and affixed one end of each to her suit’s harness. I’ll hook him and get him in here fast. She wanted speed but all movements were in slow motion.

She looked at the lunar chute hatch indicator and pressure gauge. Something went wrong. Mark didn’t open the lunar chute hatch and the load lock is at atmospheric pressure. She pulled the inner hatch release lever, swung open the massive door, and winced when the large black edge seals released with a loud popping sound. Sally stepped through the hatch into the load lock, closed the door behind her, and faced the lunar chute.

Stay calm. Stay calm, she coached herself. She saw that the automated control panel was dark. Great. She laboriously worked the large thumb screws to the manual control access panel. Come on! She undid two screws, swung the panel access door open, and pushed the depressurize button. She shivered as, even through her spacesuit, she felt the rush of life-preserving air rush out into the lunar vacuum. After an interminable wait the lunar chute hatch pressure equalization button flickered on. I’m coming Mark!

Sally pulled the lunar chute hatch release lever. It stayed stubbornly stuck. She propped both feet against the bottom of the hatch and tried again. Slowly, the lever moved and the hatch door opened with an audible sigh. Then she saw him.

Mark was crouched outside the hatch door, head down and hands on knees in the universal distress ‘I can’t help myself’ position. Oh God!

Sally grabbed the two straps affixed to her harness, slid her gloved hands out until they reached the end with the large D-rings, and hooked each onto the top of Mark’s harness. She bounded back with all her strength. Mark shot through the hatch onto Sally and they both crashed into the wall behind. Damn it. Sally rotated off her friend and lunged for the door. She grabbed the handle, yanked the door shut, and with all her weight got the close lever to seat.


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