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Tales from Luna: Sector 23

“Thud,” went the sound of the core sampler.

At least, that is how Joan imagined it. The atmosphere of the moon was so thin that it was only really an atmosphere in an academic sense. In the technical sense, she was working in a vacuum, and the only sounds that reached her ears were the shifting of fabrics inside her space suit, and the dull thudding as the impacts transmitted up her arms and legs.

Joan didn’t mind the lack of sound, though. Quiet suited her just fine. Many of the suits these days had basic sensor arrays that would relay outside information through simulated sounds and other stimuli – some of the newer ones even provided triangulation and directional sound. But true silence was to be appreciated. It allowed her to spend time alone with her thoughts.

The current thought of Joan, full name Dr. Joanna Collier, was that her title of Lead Geologist on the mission to lunar sector 23 was a bit of a joke, given that she was currently the only geologist on the team.

Her job was to collect geological samples from within the analysis area, with a particular focus on unusual features, outcroppings or materials. These samples would be sent for testing, and, if significant similarities were found to the compositions near alien artefacts, a larger (and better equipped) team would be sent out to perform a full scan.

She looked around at the bleak moonscape that surrounded her and sighed. The rest of her team were a stone’s throw away* loading racks samples onto a drone shuttle. Joan had worked monotonous jobs to pay for her studies, and her reward seemed to be a better paid monochrome monotony.

The surface of the moon was covered with a grey dust produced by small comet impacts and erosion through solar radiation. This dust was continuously redistributed by new impacts, so any dust sample you might scoop from the surface would at best only provide a general idea of the average composition in the sector. If you wanted a useful sample, you had to examine the solid rock below the dust.

This involved some drilling.

After roughly an hour and a seemingly endless number of holes, the sampler jammed… again. The gauge indicated that it had only dug a couple of metres down, so Joan pulled out a shovel and began to dig it out. Why they couldn’t get robots to do this work was beyond her.

It took her about an hour to dig down to the drill head, which was resting against some kind of flat rock. Standard procedure dictated that all she really needed to do was chip off a decent-sized sample for reference and then focus on fixing the drill.

Dr Joanna Collier MSci, MEarthSci, PhD decided that after years of study, almost a decade of experience, and particularly all that digging, she’d be damned if she was going to chip off a lump and call it a day without at least taking some notes regarding the geological features of the rock as a whole.

Five minutes of digging unearthed a perfectly right-angled corner, ten minutes revealed the other four. Fifteen minutes later the entire team was in the hole digging with all the available tools as a symbol-inscribed column slowly emerged from the dust.

To Be Continued...

🔎 !sector

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