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8.

Mas Kilmar, President of the Moon, gestured to the breakfast on the conference table. Holographic displays were arranged about him like planets. John sat down across from him. The distance between them was non-intimate, not social, but at least the food smelled good. A product of the colony’s American heritage, it was bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee and cream, and a cup of cereal. All imported. They had yet to figure out an effective method of animal farming. The list of plants on the Moon might be extensive, but the list of animals was limited to a few dogs, a few cats, cockroaches, the lunar fruit fly (nobody knew where they had came from), and a few plant parasites.

The eggs had been laid somewhere in Germany and then “flash frozen” to survive years in a lunar storage cabinet. The eggs, to Earth taste, would be utterly absurd, a right old comedy for the mouth with the tongue clapping and the throat clenching. Essica, the only one on the Moon to have tried real eggs, could no longer stomach lunar ones. Even the strange greenish-blue tint turned her stomach.

“Are you planning to sleep?” John asked.

Kilmar laughed, “Sleep? I couldn’t if I wanted to.”

John shrugged and picked up a fork.

“How are the Yees?” Kilmar asked.

“Awful,” John said. He didn’t say anything else. He didn’t need to, it was on his face. The horror of having to tell a friend that his son might have done something unthinkable, that his son was the first criminal in history, in fact, clearly stood out on the vice-president’s face.

“You need sleep too,” Kilmar said.

“I don’t want to sleep.”

“I’ll order you to, if I have to.”

John nodded. The fork hadn’t reached his plate, it hovered around threatening doom on the eggs, yet never landed. The eggs didn’t appear to care about their Damocles-like condition. They stayed nonplus and blue.

“This is a mess,” he said. “How would Earth handle this?”

“Barbarically,” Kilmar said. “If we can, I want to avoid anything the Earth would do.”

“He’s a threat to our society, Mas. We can’t give him a hug and forget about this.”

“What do you think the best option is?” Kilmar asked.

“Banishment? We could send him to Mars or one of those floating Venus city-things.”

Kilmar shook his head. His mouth twisted downwards as if his eggs had become incredibly sour. Which was absurd because the flavor was certainly too complex to be something so simple as “sour”.

“No. No. We’d have to ask them and they wouldn’t take him.”

“We could send him to Earth,” John said.

“Where?” Kilmar asked. “Any English speaking country would recognize his accent and he’d have no papers, no passports. And we can’t give him to America.”

“We can’t keep him locked up forever, either, Mas. Eventually we have to decide what to do with him.”

Kilmar threw his fork down and stood up. One of the displays thought the fork was a hand gesture and began to display screen options at dizzying speed. Both men ignored it.

"I know,” Kilmar said, pacing. His dark skin darkened from brown to red. “I have to come up with something both better and more civilized than any Earth law, but what else do we have? And whatever we choose it will inevitably piss somebody off. We might even end up splitting the government. Sarah will hate any ‘strong’ punishment, Essica will follow her. Mark will want the full extent of our powers used… as a strong message… and I’m stuck in the middle of them mediating! This is a big problem.”

John stabbed at a piece of bacon, it slipped off the plate onto the table leaving a trail of grease. The grease shown brightly in the artificial light for a few seconds before the table broke it into its atomic components and swallowed it. John grabbed the bacon with his fingers and ate it.

“Here’s what I’m going to do,” Kilmar said. “At noon I’ll give a presidential address, inform the city what has happened, and the steps we are taking.”

"That sounds good."

“But," Kilmar asked, "How does one do it? How do I tell my friends, the public, and the families that we have to do the unthinkable because one of our own has done the unthinkable? And years from now when we have built up the Moon and it is as old as Earth will anybody be able to look back and say that this is where we went wrong?”

John raised his and gestured for Kilmar to stop.

“Don’t think like that. It is a duty. Concentrate on making the speech.”

“God Damn the speech!” Kilmar said, smashing the plate across the room. “I can’t say it. You say it.”

“I can’t say it. I’m too connected to the Yees.”

“I want a day. A day I can sleep through,” Kilmar said. “But I don’t have the luxury”

“I hope we don’t have too many mornings like this,” John said. “I don’t think you could take much more.”

Kilmar looked at him and then shrugged.

“I’ll write the speech,” he said finally. “You can see it when I’m done. Check it for mistakes.”

“Of course,” John said. "Well. I'd better ask Operations to prepare everything for your speech."

They nodded to each other.

John got up and walked out with his plate.

Kilmar sat for several minutes before distractedly picking up his fork and stabbing it into the table in search of a plate that was no longer there.

O


And now BookReader proudly presents "Lunar Omlet".

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup propyl gallate
  • 3 tbsp blue food coloring
  • Break eggs into a mixing bowl and add food coloring and propyl gallate. Beat until frothy. Pour mixture into NASA LUNAR PRESERVES CAN TYPE 765. Flash freeze the can in 1 1/17th of a second so that the mixture is frozen evenly. (I like to think that they had someone hired to do this for all seven thousands cans sitting in cold storage on Tranquility City, but they probably just mixed it in a machine somewhere.)

    Let sit upwards of seventy-five years.

    Defrost can in a Kitchen Defroster. Pour mixture into a frying pan. Add cheese or spice or whatever else to the lunar omelet. Drop the middle E for obscure reasons. Cook to taste and ignore the smell.

    Congratulations! You have just cooked your first lunar omelet!

    .... for scrambled eggs, scramble mixture in pan....

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