Flowers on the Moon

 

Flowers on the Moon

by Deb Houdek Rule

Flowers on the Moon is about a terraforming project of a type we seldom hear about–terraforming our own moon. I worked quite a bit on the idea that the moon could be made to hold a thin atmosphere if an artificial cap could be put on it–part of Heinlein’s ongoing idea that wherever there is mass and energy people can create a livable environment. The true theme of the story, however, is that the efforts and sacrifices of individuals can summon and change the future. Originally published in Private Galaxy in 2003. ©1998 D. A Houdek (Deb Houdek Rule)

As the train curves on the approach to the old airlock there’s a good view of the barrier mountains rising at the edge of Mare Nubium.  Beyond is the crater that old maps call Alphonsus.  Now it’s called Mariah Valley, though most maps add a notation naming it the The Valley of Mariah’s Flower.

Try to imagine it as Mariah saw it from the train whispering across Mare Nubium.  But remember, even Mare Nubium isn’t quite the same as the one she saw.  The shadows are softer.  There’s a hazy look to the sky, dulling the stars, lightening the darkness.  And the train made no sound except to the tourists and commuters within.  Luna, herself, remained wrapped in the eternal shroud of silence and lifelessness that had always cloaked her…

***

Out the window of that train, Mariah watched the stark landscape pass by.  The gray of the lunar rocks was burningly bright while casting sharp-edged shadows of deepest black.  No motion disturbed the still-life tranquility of the scene.  The passage of the train through the broad valley raised no dust, sent no rush of wind to stir the powdery soil.  Neither distant mountains nor nearby rocks heard even a hint of the train’s passage.

Luna ignores us, Mariah thought.  When we’ve gone by it will be as though we were never here.  That’s how some would rather it remained forever.  The train rushed toward the towering wall of a mountain.  Some long ago meteor had struck the moon throwing up these high, sharp peaks.  The might of that falling rock was nothing next to the slow, but persistent, might of man.

Read the rest of the story in Stars That Sing the Requiem, short story anthology available on Amazon.com

This is a hard science fiction story is a soft sf setting. Flowers on the Moon is about a terraforming project of a type we seldom hear about–terraforming our own moon. I worked quite a bit on the idea, and the science, that the moon could be made to hold a thin atmosphere if an artificial cap could be put on it–part of Heinlein’s ongoing idea that wherever there is mass and energy people can create a livable environment. The true theme of the story, however, is that the efforts and sacrifices of individuals can summon and change the future.