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Prologue April 1978 John could hardly imagine anymore that he had felt so lucky when he got the job he was now performing. It was a dream come true when he got the job at NASA. As a kid he had followed the space race. He knew all the names of the astronauts and countless of other details about the flights to he moon. He realized that at first the job would be pretty dull. He had just graduated, so a job as an analyst of the pictures taken of the moon was a great opportunity. And he would be working close to the actual launch facilities. But two years after his first day, he knew better. All day behind a desk, just looking at gray pictures of the barren satellite of our planet was not exciting at all. The badge he had to wear at work showing his identity had lost the magic. Today was particularly gruesome. He was behind and now had to work late. Eight hours a day had become hard to handle, but then.. He knew it was time to start thinking about a different career. Although part of him still did not want to say goodbye to that badge that said that he was a NASA man. The coffee on his desk was getting cold. As a infertile and automatic attempt to break the dullness he had gotten it 15 minutes ago. Almost automatically he drank the cold coffee and got another picture from the pile. Another gray picture, ready to be scrutinised under the magnifying glass. Methodically John started at the top. It was almost the same as the previous one. Some craters, a lot of dust. But then there was something different. There was a shiny patch. Had he spilled a drop of coffee on it? It had to be. The area around it was smudgy as well. John placed the magnifying glass above the patch. The picture however showed no sign of moist. This was not coffee. But there couldn't be something shiny on the moon. And the smudgy part looked like smoke. That was even more impossible. John looked again. He blinked his eyes in a feeble attempt to see if that would make the anomaly go away. But it didn't go away. He looked around. Most colleagues had gone. Just a few were still there. His first impulse was to show it to others. But he quickly changed his mind. The Captain had to see this first. NASA was no military organisation. So there were no real captains. The Captain was just how everyone called the man that was in charge of the department that analysed all the data that came from the moon missions. John hardly ever saw him, other than when he saw him walk through the hallway. It was a mysterious man. Most people had a kind of respect for him that bordered fear. Although when you actually talked to him you would feel that you could trust him, everyone sort automatically avoided just that, talking to the Captain. It would probably also be hard to get to see him, but somehow John knew to keep his finding to himself until he had spoken to the captain. For a minute more John just sat there, then he just put the picture away and quietly left for home. The next day was strange. At first John worked a few hours. At least he pretended to work. But it was hard to set his mind to work. But then, with a decisiveness he had not
showed at NASA before, he got up and walked straight through the building to the office of the Captain. As he got closer his started loosing bits of his nerves and was telling himself that it didn't matter. The Captain would probably not be there and if he was he would certainly not have time for him. The official way to report interesting findings was by delivering a report to his Superior, who would then discuss this with others in official meetings etc. He was breaking a few rules by sidestepping all these procedures. A short moment he hesitated when finally arrived at the desk of the Captains secretary. And then the decisiveness came back. "I would like to speak to the captain" he asked and looked the secretary in the eyes. She was a roughly thirty-five year old brunette. She was attractive above average, but somehow didn't stick out specifically. She simply smiled and said "Would you like to make an appointment?". "I just need to show him something for a moment, can you" he tried, but the seasoned secretary stopped him: "I can only try to make an appointment for you, that's the best I can do". For a moment John deliberated. Then he realized that the best way would be to leave him the picture and a note. "If I leave you something for him, can you see to it that he gets it quickly?". "Sure, I'll make sure he gets it today", she said noticing the envelop John was carrying and realizing this was a quick way out of this. "Ok, just let me write a note" John said. But then the Captains door opened. "John Stevenson, do you have something to show me?" The Captain stood calmly in the door opening and looked John directly in the eyes. How on earth did the Captain know his name, let alone who he was? "Eh yes, " but before John could explain that he'd prefer not to show it in the hallway, the Captain stopped him. "Come in" he simply said.
1996 "Can I get you something else?" the waitress asked after serving an orange juice to a man in his thirties. "No thanks, that's fine". He managed to stay unnoticed by most.Despite being 6 feet 2 and athletically build. He wore a T-shirt that was just a bit wider that prevented people from immediately noticing that he was probably well trained. Also he appeared more calm than others, almost as a Buddhist monk. His eyes showed he was calm, but sharp. Occasionally he watched the doors. Apparently he was expecting someone. That someone arrived ten minutes later. An old man stepped into the diner and looked around until he noticed the younger man. The old man looked a little stern and had a military pace. He resolutely joined the younger man. "He old man" the younger said with a smile. "Says who" replied the old man with a smile. The waitress approached and without asking poured a cup of coffee. "Morning colonel." she said. "Thanks, Katy". he said to the waitress and when she was away: "You still don't drink coffee?" "If we meet at a Starbucks next time I will. This is not coffee". "So it's time?" the colonel was not one to do small talk first. "Yes, things have settled down with us. And if we wait much longer he will miss out too much of his education." "John and Cheryl will have a hard time". The colonel looked a little sad saying this. "I know," the young man seemed sympathetic," but they knew this would happen" "I'll talk to John, when will you pick him up?" "In a week, when school ends, that gives them a week." "Can they tell Ronald?" "No, he'll hear what is to happen soon enough"
Chapter 1 Ronald was unaware of what would happen to him. He had no idea that so much was decided for him, let alone that this was not even decided on this planet. He was a normal, little bit geeky boy. His favourite hobby was tinkering with one of his computers. Naturally they was a hand me downs from his father, but since his father usually bought a newer and better computer after two years, they was quite alright and he could play most of the recent games. And since he had more than one recent computer, he could play network games with his friend Steve. What he was aware of was that summer holidays had started. Today had been the last day and he and Steve were eager to get home. Although he had thought about going to Steve's house this time. His parents had been behaving a bit strange all of last week. His dad got home on time every day. That was unusual , he had a job at NASA and it was more common for him to be late then to be on time. And his mother behaved differently to. She seemed pay more attention to what he was doing, letting him get away with staying up too late. That was nice, but also a bit awkward. But Steve had mind set on playing a game he had gotten his hands on, and that could be done on Ronalds computer. When they entered the house through the back door, they wanted to go upstairs as usual. But they were stopped by his mother. "Steve, I'm sorry but I'm afraid you can't stay today." she said. Steve looked a little puzzled but noticed the serious look on her face. Ronald wanted to protest, but he also noticed the look on his mothers face. "see you tomorrow then?" "sure" What could be wrong? They didn't really have much family. So a sudden death seemed unlikely. He followed his mother into the living room and was surprised to not only see his father there as well, but also a unknown man. The man looked calm but also serious. The kind of look on someones face when they were to tell you something they expected would upset you. "Ronald, please sit down" his father asked. A little shocked by all what was going on Ronald did what was asked. There was a little silence as his father clearly had trouble starting. "You know we are not your.real parents, right?" Ronald knew this and noticed that his mother, or adoptive mother, got a bit emotional and almost seemed to let go of a tear. "Yeah, my real parents were friends of you and mum and they died in a car accident" "Yes, that's true. Actually it is almost true. They did die in an accident. But it wasn't quite a car accident". He paused a moment and then went on:" you'll learn what happened later. But what's important is that we made a deal with their family that,when you were old enough you would spent a summer with them. After the summer, you can decide where you want to live." The unknown man was still silent. Everyone was. Ronald, was too surprised by all of it to react, his parents could not think of anything appropriate. But the unknown man realized it was his turn.:" Ronald, you probably wonder who I am.First of, we are not related. I'm sent to pick you up. On the journey to where we want
you to spend the summer, I can also tell you a bit more about the place where you will go." "What if I don't want to go" Ronald now was getting his voice back. There was a short silence that was broken by his father. "Ronald, you really must go. We'd love to keep you here, but is really better you will learn about where you came from.". "you don't want me to stay?" Ronald said softly. Now his mother could no longer hide here emotions and hugged him softly crying. "If we were selfish" she said," we'd keep you here. But you will learn that it really is better that you will go". "Ronald, we think it's better that we go right away. Postponing will only make it harder." the stranger said. "By the way, my name is Nick, short for Nicholas". Silently Ronald shook Nicks hand. " what about my things?" His mother now produced a small bag. "Here are your things, most of what you need, is available there".
" How far is it?'" Ronald asked. Nicks presence somehow had a relaxing effect. They had left a few minutes ago and were driving in a,according to Ronald, very dull car. "It's quite far, but we won't be driving all the way. But I want to keep some things a surprise". Why don't you open your bag?" Ronald didn't move for some time, but then opened his bag. It had some of his clothes in there. To his relieve, his gameboy was there as well as a small laptop. "He, a laptop" " We thought you might like that" Nick replied. "Cool" he answered as he started it up. " It looks quite fast as well." Nick smiled, "we knew you'd like it. The laptop kept him occupied for some time when Nick pulled over at a small diner. "You hungry?" Ronald had forgotten about supper. " a bit" He couldn't remember ever being in such a place as what they were now entering. His parents usually stopped at a well known hamburger place when they were traveling. Especially at this hour. But Nick seemed not to notice and they went in. They found a table at the window. The waitress took some time but then came over. "What can I get you?" "Do you have anything vegetarian?" Nick asked? The look on the waitress face was clear enough. This place was for meat lovers. "Just some fries then" he asked. Ronald ordered a cheeseburger. "You don't eat meat?" he asked. Nick looked at him and replied:" No, and I'm afraid that none of really do. This could be your last piece of meat in some time". Ronald looked a bit worried but also realized that apparently the trip would not take that long. Ronald wasn't the only one to hear Nicks words. A man, clearly not very sober, came over to the table. "That's your kid?" Nick didn't seem very worried and replied:" I'm looking after him for a while" "Well you ain't doing much of a good job then, kids need their meat". Nick always seemed to take a little more time in answering. As if he always carefully was wording his sentences. "We just want to grab a bit to.." The drunk was not so patient in waiting to reply. His voice got even louder as he was now clearly looking for his buddies as an audience as well. "He if you're looking after the kid, you gotta do a good job. We don't like you tree hugging folks much, especially if you don't take care of the kids". The situation was clearly getting a bit nasty. But Nick somehow remained calm and somehow produced a pair of sunglasses he slit over the table to Ronald. "Try these on." he said in such a way that Ronald realized it was more of an command than a suggestion. "He I'm talking to you," the drunk said. Ronald didn't understand how Nick could remain this calm. But the drunk did not remain that calm and now tried to smack Nick over the head. Ronald jumped back with his chair. Nick did not jump.As much as he always seemed a bit slow in his verbal reaction,so fast was his reaction now. The hand of the drunk never got very far and with
a move so fast no one really saw what was happening he had the drunk on his knee with the hand behind his back. Now his buddies felt they needed to do something. They were still smart enough to realize that Nick was apparently not that easy so the got up together, watching each other a bit to see that they were acting as a group. Now Ronald got worried. Nick still was very calm but seemed more annoyed than worried. Nick looked at Ronald, and as he realized Ronald had followed his strange request to wear the sunglasses, made a small movement with his hand. What happened next was something Ronald never would have expected. As a carnival ride where the power was cut off, everyone but for him and Nick fainted and fell to the floor. "Quickly," Nick hissed and he pulled Ronald with him. They rushed outside and got in the car. As the car drove off, Ronald finally asked: "what?" Nick, who now was as calm as before, hesitated and then replied:" It wasn't very smart of me to take us to a place like this. We have quite e bit to tell you and show you. But I wanted to save that to later. But I can tell you this. We are going to place where technology is a lot more advanced than you can imagine. What you just saw was a device that was meant as a weapon to neutralize people without really hurting them. The reason I gave you the sunglasses was because the weapon works with light. The light was filtered by the glasses. That's why you did not faint." "but you didn't.." " I'm wearing special contact lenses that do the same" Nick replied before Ronald could finish the sentence. "Are you CIA or something?" Ronald asked. That would be cool, he grew up with NASA people, but had always been a big fan of spy movies. "Not really. Ronald I promise you, before tomorrow you'll understand a lot more." Ronald now really didn't know what to think anymore and just got quiet. They had stopped at a common burger place later so Ronald finally had something to eat. After the stopped he fell asleep in the car. When he woke up they were leaving the main road and now drove over a gravel road in the direction of a farm. The gravel road took them several minutes, but he was now fully awake when they arrived at at the farm. When the car stopped, he noticed a tall and old man was waiting for them. "he old man" the tall man said to Nick. Nick smiled and replied,"Colonel" It seemed strange to Ronald that the man called colonel greeted Nick with old man. The colonel was clearly much older than Nick. But although his age showed, he looked in good shape. He had a sharp, bit stern, look in his eyes. His posture was a little too straight, like a soldier. Ronald could not help but immediately feel a bit timid. Come in guys.
The living room was clean and modest. Ronald looked around him and started to fear that this was where he was supposed to spend the summer. Nick seemed to realize this and said with a smile:" Don't worry, we are here just for a short stop." "Today you witnessed something special didn't you?" and addressing the Colonel: " I had to use the demobilizer. The Colonel looked a bit worried: "I thought you said it was save now". "Don't worry, they were just some local bozos in diner. I shouldn't have taken Ronald there". The Colonel still looked a bit worried, but nodded. "I told you after-wards in the car that we posses some advanced technology." Nick continued and Ronald nodded. " Well, the next part of the journey, we will fly. But not a air plane that you know." " Because this technology is a secret we will also leave right away, now that it still night and people don't notice." Ronald did not say much. He trusted that his parents would not have let him go off with this man if they didn't think he was OK, but still. The Colonel seemed to pick up on that and put his hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry, your in good hands". Despite that Ronald was still a bit intimidated he somehow trusted the unknown old man. "Better get going than" the Colonel now said to Nick. He clearly was very direct in his actions.
Chapter 2: The went through a door into what was obviously a barn. It was rather empty though. There was a bit of hay, but clearly it hadn't served any farming purpose for some time. The Colonel stayed behind in the door and just waived. Nick did the same and Ronald instinctively did the same. Nick let him to the corner. Ronald saw nothing that resembled a plane. Now he was getting worried again. Here he was, in a barn somewhere in the middle of nowhere with someone that carried a weird weapon and clearly not the plane that was supposed to be there. Nick laughed, " the plane is here, but we hide until we use it. And from his pocket he picked up something that seemed like a PDA. "First we'll see if the coast is clear" he said while tapping a bit on the PDA. Ronald did not recognize the device. That was bit odd as he knew almost all PDA's He really wanted one, but they were too expensive. "All clear, stand back Ronald" Nick was now apparently finished. Ronald stood back not knowing where something would happen, until something in front him started happening. The floor slit away! Like a carpet the top floor went away, revealing what seemed like a big pool of water. But what was more amazing is that it made no sound. Ronald was again lost for words. Now the pool of water was fully revealed. The dim light in the barn was not enough to see if the water was clear or dark. Nick walked over to the water. "Come" he said on motioned Ronald to join him. Ronald didn't understand where to go, but he followed Nick. Nick went ahead to the water. And where Ronald expected him to stop, he walked straight on. Was he walking on water? Nick smiled, realizing how this must seem to Ronald:" don't worry, this isn't water. It is as special kind of gel. Carefully Ronald put one foot on it. It did feel as a hard form of gel. Ronald followed Nick and they went to the middle of the gel puddle. Ronald felt uncomfortable.He had no idea what was going to happen.But something was bound to happen. Nick signalled Ronald to come closer to him. When he got closer,Nick did something on his PDA again. That's when thing started getting weirder. The gel,that supported them opened up in front of them Amazed Ronald watched as something came out of it. It was a metal object that looked like a large ball. Through the transparent gel, he could see it was almost as big as the puddle. Exactly in the middle the thing started emerging from the water. But as he got worried that it started getting to close to them it stopped. Nick operated the PDA, that clearly worked as a remote, and again something happened. What looked like a seamless ball of metal, now opened up. The metal turned in to a silvery coloured gel and slit away. As if this device was a convertible, it now started showing what seemed like an alien cockpit. There were some lights burning, there was a panel and in the otherwise solid looking ball, there were six impressions in the metal, that looked like they were meant as chairs. Next to the chairs there was the impressions of hands. Nick jumped in and settled in the 'seat' on the right and pointed to the left 'seat'. "go on". "Is this an alien thing?" Ronald asked and was not yet thinking about getting in. "Not really, but it isn't from earth either", said Nick truthfully. "Don't worry, its perfectly save." Ronald still hesitated. Nick looked calmly at him."Did you not want to be an astronaut?" Ronald answered surprised:" Yes, but how do you know that?" Being so close to NASA,
and with a talent for technical things, it was nearly inevitable that he was one of those boys that wanted to be an astronaut one day. "This is your chance then". Remembering that his parents seemed to fully trust this guy, he took the step. Nervously he got into the seat. " Relax," Nick smiled. "Now this is important. The gel will return in a moment. And some of will look like it's water that will be all around you. But don't worry, You can easily breath in it.We can even talk. That special gel is to make travelling at extreme speeds possible." Now Ronald got exited, as if was getting in the biggest attraction at a theme park he could imagine. The metal like gel did return first. Oddly enough, from the inside it was completely transparent as if there was a glass hood on the thing. Quickly after however something that felt like a light form of water started filling the cabin. But it wasn't quite like water. And he didn't feel wet or cold in it.It was lighter as well. "Don't hold your breath" Nick warned. But instinctively Ronald did.when the water had reached his mouth. "Let go", he heard Nick say. who was oddly enough already fully submerged. Ronald closed his eyes and took a breath" The weird substance entered his mouth first and he felt it go down his lungs. It was remarkably fresh like chewing gum and it felt comfortably warm. As he felt his lungs fill up with oxygen he relaxed. Within seconds the entire cockpit was filled and Ronald knew another thing would happen that would amaze him. Nick showed much more speed in acting than talking and the ship started emerging further until it hung above the pool. Invisible for Ronald the puddle disappeared again , but the doors of the barn opened and the ship flew quickly through the opened doors. Ronald braced as he expected the ship to start accelerating. They did accelerate. And tremendously fast, but to his surprise he did not feel that at all. Also they went straight up. Ronald could not understand at all how the ship worked, all he knew was that it was silent, comfortable and fast. He saw the earth disappear under him in seconds, but the ascend did not stop there. They seem to move straight up to the moon. Soon he realized that they must have entered space. Despite that he did not experience what he thought weightlessness would feel like. Then suddenly Nick stopped the ship and it turned around. Now they seemed to hang still in space with earth straight above them. Ronald watched with his mouth open through the glass-like dome. It was an amazing sight. They were watching the night part of the earth. "Amazing isn't it" Nick said. "Yeah", Ronald replied amazed that he could talk submerged in the strange liquid. Nick realized Ronald would probably want an explanation and said:" Sound does not travel well through liquids. The computers of this ship help us here. They detect what you are saying by recording your movements. And by a very concentrated beam of sound aimed directly at your ear, the result gets to you." That did explain the slight metallic side effect to the sound. "You must be wondering where we are going. Well, we are going to the moon". he continued. "Is this some very secret organisation?" Ronald asked. "it is, a very very old one. Tomorrow you'll learn a lot more. But for now just realise that we are not alien". Ronald was to amazed by the sight of earth to worry about aliens right now.
"We are going further now, else I would drop the liquid" Nick said. "We only need the liquid to allow for the acceleration." The ship turned and quickly went on straight to the moon. Ronald was amazed of the speed. Now it seemed it would take them less then 10 minutes to get there. He was right. The ship started approaching the moon and started going a bit slower. But still with an amazing speed it went straight at the moon. As it got closer it changed course just a bit and with still a steep angle they went straight for it. Ronald was to amazed at the fact that they he was now this close to the moon to worry about the speed. But when they got so close that he could make out the craters and the mountains he could not help to worry somewhat. It was like when you're in a ride in a theme park. You know you are save, but still it feels strange. Nick seemed in control though, with his hand in the hand like impressions in the metal. The started going straight into a crater. To Ronalds surprise, the bottom of the crater looked like a puddle and they flew straight at it. A second later they reached the puddle and the ship entered the puddle. There, the ship lost speed amazingly fast. Within what seemed like a second, the ship submerged and reached a 'normal' speed. The liquid appeared to be gel like as well. And Ronald was amazed at what he saw. They were completely surrounded by the gel like substance. But the space under the surface was enormous. It seemed like they entered a large lake. Quickly he could make out more ships that seemed docked to a metallic structure. Their ship approached the same structure and they went up again. When they moved up, they entered an air pocket. At least, the gel disappeared and slit of the dome. Floating on the gel, Nick manoeuvred the ship to the docking. One more movement of his hand and the liquid that had enabled them to move so fast and handle the G-forces subsided. When he felt air again, Ronald for a moment coughed up some of the liquid in his lungs. "Don't worry about the liquid. It will vapourise very quickly in open air. True enough, after two or three breaths his lungs felt a lot better Ronald looked outside. He was amazed at what he saw. Like a harbour he could so about 45 of these ships, some larger, many the same size. They were all docked to a white artificial surface. On the surface he could make out light green paths. There were also many patches where with bushes and plants, some benches. It was a nice atmosphere. When he looked up he saw that there was a huge dome providing the shelter against space. Oddly enough he could look straight up to the sky. They were not inside a the moon,despite the looks of. Nick answered some of his questions right away. "From the outside this looks like a mountain. But that's an optical illusion. There is a large dome above us. You can feel save here. The dome is made of several layers. The inner layer is extremely strong. The outer layers are gel-like as well. The gel we use there is especially good at catching meteors. When they hit the gel, they loose their speed and bounce of at the hard inner layer. They slide down slowly on that layer until the reach the bottom on the outside." As he spoke,he also got up from the seat. Ronald followed and was surprised that the liquid was fully gone and he felt completely dry. They left the ship easily as the cockpit laid against a the 'shore' with part of the ship under it. "You'll notice that the gravity here feels the same as on earth, it is important for us to
remain used to earths gravity. Therefore we use artificial gravity. Come there are some people waiting for you." Ronald followed and wondered if he now would finally meet some of his family. He had a million other questions, like how long was this base already here, was it a secret US base? They quickly entered a corridor. The ground was coloured grass green there as well. The walls were odd. They showed now seams. They also illuminated slightly. As if the entire wall was an ambient light. They corridor was just a few meters long and to his surprise he noticed people at the end. When they reached the end they entered a large space. He could make out a lot of people, maybe in the hundreds. They all looked cheerful. They looked like normal people, except for their clothes. The clothes were more colourful than what he knew from earth and seemed more loosely fitting and comfortable. Compared to that his own jeans and shirt seemed tight and a bit rough. Most of them waived as if they knew him. But what was most peculiar is how disciplined they were. They were all standing behind lines on the floor and no one was crossing. Completely surprised by this massive welcome by all these unknown people he stopped. Nick smiled:" Your arrival is big event here, but they will have to wait until tomorrow.I think by now you really need some sleep." " I can't sleep now, I'm on the Moon!!" He replied. "Back home for you it's four a clock at night. And you've seen a lot of new things." Nick said as he lead Ronald on to another corridor, "it is better I show you to your room right away." The next corridor was not really a corridor but more of opening to another room. In it there were what looked like small carts. The carts looked like carts in a roller coaster. There were four seats and a small control panel in the front. Ronald could not make out wheels,but he could not see the bottom of the carts . "Time for your last surprise for today I hope, Nick said:" Always go in the front one". And he took a seat in the cart that seemed in the front. Ronald didn't quite understand. The cart faced what seemed like a solid wall."Is this thing going to fly?" "Not quite, this is our version of public transport, without some of the disadvantages of public transport on earth. Oh and put on your seat belt" The seat belt looked like a belt on earth, except for the connection. Ronald put a piece of metal at what seemed like the connection. As soon as the two parts connected, they melted together. Nick tapped something on the panel. Under them he heard a click. Without any warning the front of the cart sank into the ground. Now pointing down, it went down faster. They were apparently on some sort of rail and quickly went down. This was just for a few meters and Ronald saw were they were. Above the surface there was an entire and large space,covered with monorails. They dropped on one of those rails where it felt like they were grabbed by something that pulled them. "You know how a ski lift works right?" Nick asked "Eh yeah, sort of" "Most modern ski-lifts go slow where you get on. But as soon as everyone is in it goes faster". "That's because the chairs are dropped on the cable" Ronald knew. "This works in the same way, We're dropped on the rails. There a cable, much like one on ski-lift, grabs the cart and we're pulled by it. The navigation computer determines where we will take a turn,there it will release the hold of the cable and make sure we change rails". Nick continued.
"Why is it done like that?" Ronald asked. "Because this way, we get the benefits of a train, but not the downsides. This cart will leave where we are and stop no were but at our final destination. We will also not have to transfer anywhere, it will leave when we want to." "Cars do the same" Ronald replied. "True, but they all require their own engine,They cannot move independently to where they are needed, causing parking problems, traffic jams etc." Ronald was to tired to understand. He now knew Nick was right that he needed sleep. The cart changed rails 2 times and until it was picked up a piece of rails that was as steep as the one that dropped them. Going up they quickly dropped speed and they stopped in a similar room as they had left. Here too there was no roof, but other than that there it was effectively a room. They got out and left the room. Outside there was what looked like a street. It was wider than a corridor, and there were doors and windows in the walls. The walls also looked more stone like than where they had left the spaceship. I looked like a nice little white city, with lots of plants,bushes,and small trees. But they did no go far. Just three houses down Nick entered a place taking Ronald inside. Inside there was a what seemed like a small living room. But Ronald was to tired to notice. He followed Nick up some stairs and entered a room. Nick dropped Ronalds bag on the floor. Here to there was no roof. Nick showed him what was clearly a bed. Oddly enough there were no sheets. And the mattress looked like another one of those gel puddles. "You don't need sheets," Nick anticipated Ronalds questions. Just lie down." "Good night" Ronald said. He did not think he could sleep now after all that happened and with no roof above him. But he really wanted to be alone. "Good night," Nick smiled as he left the room. Reluctantly he sat down on the bed. The gel did not feel that bad and he laid down. He looked up to the sky, but somehow that disappeared and the room turned dark. How could he sleep... He was on the moon, had flown in a space ship, breathed under water, or something like water.. But the room wasn't the only thing that went dark. Ronald drifted away immediately. Partly because of the comfortable gel,partly because of how tired he was. And he fell into a deep sleep...
The moon society At first Ronald didn't realise it was Nick that woke him by calling him from outside of his room. But as heard Nick again, he replied:" Yes?" "Can I come in?" Nick asked politely "Sure" Ronald answered, realising he had fallen asleep with his clothes on. Nick entered and made a movement close to the door. The roof disappeared again, or so it seemed. Ronald now noticed that there was a roof, but that it just turned transparent as glass. "Cool, does everyone have this?" he asked. "Pretty much everyone, just a few people that prefer a roof. Do you know how long you were asleep?" Nick answered. "No," Ronald said, but he knew it probably was a long time. Ronald looked up and was surprised that he was looking at a blue sky. "You missed breakfast. But if you get up now you won't miss lunch. In there you will find the bathroom" "Ok," said Ronald, as he got up and walked to his bag. "You probably don't need that," Nick said realising that Ronald was probably looking for clothes. Here I'll show you" Nick walked over to a wall close to the opening to the bathroom. Ronald now noticed there were clearly a few drawers there. "These drawers have all the clothes you need, there just like drawers on earth." "Oh and there is something else," he said and walked into the bathroom. Ronald followed and asked:" showers that work on sound in stead of water?" Nick laughed,:"you've read to many science fiction. No we just use water. What I want to show you is the toothbrush". Nick walked over to a sink. There he pulled out something that had the form of gun. "Here, stick this into your mouth." Ronald hesitated, but after a moment he gathered his courage and stick the thing into his mouth. "Breath through your nose" Nick told him Ronald now deliberately breathed through his nose, a bit more anxious. Now squeeze it a bit. A bit softly Ronald squeezed. Immediately the material in his mouth changed. It turned into,again, some kind of gel. Nick laughed again as he saw the frightened look on Ronalds face:" Keep breathing trough your nose". The gel spread through his entire mouth. But as quickly as it came, it subsided again and seemed to return to being a stick. Ronald quickly removed it. "Yech.. " was his first reaction. "You'll get used to it" Nick said. "He, I really feel fresh now" Ronald answered. "This way of 'brushing' your teeth is really effective. It cleans everywhere and keeps the outer layer in tact. In fact, if you had any cavities, they were probably fixed by it." Ronald smiled:" Good, I always hated brushing my teeth. Two minutes is a long time" "The shower explains itself so I'll see you when you're done. " Nick said and left the room. Ronald looked around him. There was a towel, at least that was normal. The walls where as the others without seams and slightly illuminating. There was a milky white skylight above him. The floor was dark grey and He first went back and opened the drawers. He noticed the clothes in there were like the ones had seen the people wear yesterday
and Nick a moment ago. The material felt kinda soft and it showed no seams. He got what he needed made his way to the shower. Ronald stepped out of the bedroom and noticed there was a small living room. Yesterday he was too tired to notice, but now he looked around. Nick was sitting on a couch. The couch seemed part of the structure. Oddly enough there was no roof here either, just the same kind of screen that could darken the room if required. There was something of a screen in the wall and quite a few windows. People here probably didn't care much about privacy. The room was strangely cosy. The walls were off the same material, but contained more colours. The patterns changed continuously in a slow flowing way. "The walls keep changing?" he said to Nick,hoping to get more information. "Yeah that's quite normal here. These walls were created by an artist. The artist creates the patterns as well as the way they change. It is like an ever changing painting." Nick answered. "Cool, can you change it to whatever you want?" Ronald liked this. "You can, but we'll show you later how to do that." Nick said as he got up. "Right now, you must be starving." "Yeah, you said we were going for lunch?" "Yep, you've been asleep for over 10 hours." Nick replied and headed out the door. Ronald followed and got into the street. The entire town had a Mediterranean feel, although Ronald had never been to a Mediterranean country. The pattern of the streets was natural, and not straight at all. The entire town was on a hill and the street they were in was going down. "Come I'll show you something" Nick said and he walked up some stairs on the outside of the building. When they got up,they were ended up above the room they had just left. Nick just walked on on the now transparent screen. Apparently you could walk on it. Ronald followed, but felt a bit strange. He could feel the 'roof' but as he could look straight trough he could not help but feel a bit weird. "Cool" "Ah yeah, but that's not what I wanted to show you." Nick said as he pointed out the outlook over the city. Now Ronald saw what he meant and immediately forgot about transparent roof. The city was build in what probably was a big crater. On the walls of the crater there were houses. And in the bottom there was a lake! Clearly there were open spaces around the lake and Ronald could see a lot of people there. The area was probably six or seven streets below them. The entire city had quite a lot of green bushes and trees. He could also make out patches of grass and flowers. It seemed a very friendly place. And again he was amazed at the blue sky. "We mimic earth here. The dome can shut out the sun completely, but let it in as well. A special layer controls the colour. So we always have blue skies." Nick answered the unspoken question Ronald had. "There at the lake is where we will have lunch and where you will meet some new friends" he continued. "We really have to go now or we'll miss it. "We'll miss it?" Ronald wondered. If you went out to lunch, that was at a restaurant. Were lunch hours that strict over here. "We tend to have lunch together over here. You will now be part of a very old civilisation. We have learned a long time ago that things like having meals together etc. is very essential to create a peaceful society. "How old is this society then?" Ronald now got curious. "Over twelve thousand years old, but you'll learn that this afternoon during history lessons" Nick said. "That can't be" Ronald almost shouted.
"Oh, but it is." Nick smiled. "I realise that this hard to grasp. That's why we'll w ,ait to later as we can show you more." They walked down to the lake now and Ronald was quiet pondering this new fact. There was a city on the moon. And not just that, someone casually informed him that it was over twelve thousand years old. They followed the street. It was a surprise to see how different each house was. Some were in one building, some stood alone inside some gardens. Then they reached the open areas at the lake. This was amazing even more. There was what seemed like a large park at the lake with large tables. He could see several booths that were obviously open kitchens. And a lot of people were in there seeming busy. Again a lot of them waived at Ronald. " Makes you a bit shy, doesn't it". Nick asked. "Yeah, does everyone know I'm new?" Ronald wondered. "You're not just new here, although technically you're not even new, but everyone knows about your story." Nick answered. "Except of course you,you don't know." "My story?" "Ronald, this afternoon we will tell you all you want to know about us and your story. But first we have lunch. It's time to meet the kids in your class" Nick cut him off. "Here they are." Ronald was now looking at a group of about fifteen kids. They were clearly his age. "He Nick", a girl said. Ronald noticed here immediately. So far he had not really been interested in girls. He and his friends had all boasted about girls. But if he was honest, he knew he wasn't very popular. That's why he kind of stayed away from these things. The girl was pretty, but a different. She had sharp eyes, short hair and seemed very forward. "Hi, my name is Nirene" she said. "Eh hi, I'm" he started. "You're Ronald of course, the kid that grew up on earth." She cut him off. He hadn't realised so far that to them this was normal. "Eh yeah." "Nirene." Nick took over and looked a bit stern. "Ronald, these kids are in your class. I know for you vacation started, but here the kids still have to go to school" and as he noted the look on Ronalds face "Don't worry, the lessons for next weeks were adapted. You will actually like them." Ronald wasn't quite convinced. But all the kids came over and introduced them selves. He didn't quite remember. But aside from Nirene there were eight girls and six boys. Ronald wasn't particularly good at making friends. He didn't even remember how he had met Steve. But at least they seemed nice. "come on," Nirene said, "time to prepare lunch." and she directed him toward a table. "We do that ourselves?" "Sure, meals you have together and prepare yourself" she said, stating this as an obvious fact. "That's a way for people to keep a bond with society" another girl answered. She looked much more like a serious girl. The type that always went for the good grades. "Not like on earth were people don't know each other and are really individualistic." "Don't mind Rolinda," Nirene said. "she talks like a school book" Rolinda gave her a nasty look, but did not continue. "Here, you can slice the vegetables." Everyone seemed to know what they were doing and all of them starting doing
something. Ronald sliced some of the vegetables. Fortunately they looked like what he knew from earth. "No not like that," Nirene stopped him. "Bend your fingers, and let the blade slide against them. Else you'll cut your fingers. Compared to the others Ronald now felt clumsy. Everyone knew what to do. Some sliced,others put the vegetables in a bowl. Some made some kind of dough. The whole process seemed to take about five minutes. Then the bowls were put in something that looked like a pizza oven. One kid operated a control, that looked a bit like what he had seen on the space ship and a red light appeared above the bowls. A minute later it stopped and the bowls came out, clearly hot and well done. Ronald felt a bit clumsy as everyone seemed to know what to do and do their bit. But it went very quickly and before within a minute later everyone sat. Nirene had set herself next to him. "Do you eat a lot of meat on earth?" she asked. "Eh, I don't know if you would call it a lot" Ronald replied in wonder. Rolinda, being herself said: "In North America people eat a lot of meat, most people eat meat with every meal." "Well not every meal, but I guess with most meals, there is nothing wrong with that is there?" Nick, the only adult at the table replied:" Here on the moon we don't eat meat. This probably started out as a necessity in the beginning, but nowadays we realise both that we don't need meat, that we need a lot less resources growing vegetables and that people turn out much healthier" "you never ate meat?" Ronald asked. "Yeah Nick, did you ever eat meat?" Nirene pestered Nick a bit with this question. "I've spent a lot of time on earth, and especially some centuries ago it would have been very conspicuous if I would say no to meat." and directly at Nirene:" so yes, as you already knew, I've eaten meat." Ronalds face showed he did not understand. But then Nick said softly:" How old do you think I am?" "Uh I don't know, thirty-five? " Ronald answered truthfully. As nearly always Nick paused a moment before answering on the same soft tone:" I'm four hundred and twelve years old.." Ronalds eyes turned large and his mouth fell open." four hundred and twelve?" Nirene replied quickly;" People here easily make it to over a thousand years. Nick looked at Ronald:" although a bit obnoxious, she is right.In the afternoon when we tell you our history, you will learn a lot more and understand. "Cool, history,"Nirene answered. Now for sure Ronald did not understand anything of this world on the moon. People living on the moon and there technological achievements were one thing, but people living for more than a thousand years and kids liking history lessons...Now that was weird. For the rest of the lunch, he was quiet. Although he was not that preoccupied to realise that he actually liked the meatless food. But his mind was now to much focused on what he would learn in history class. That promised to be quite something.
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