Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Day 30 of 30

J E D Cline
Title: “The Ark of 1984’s Future”

Day 30 of 30

There had been 36 of the residential Stanford Torus built and occupied before the 3Musketeers could build one to be Ark 1, a Stanford Torus dedicated to the preservation and expansion of species, for eventual restoration on the earth surface. This one was the best environmental simulation for large mammals from around the world, that were still living. Later they would be working to create from DNA specimens saved from species going extinct, but for now, they were using what animals they could still find alive and reproducing at the present time, few that they were. The environment included the supportive species, including the vegetation. The Stanford Torus Space Settlement design of 1976 was based on making it into 6 equal sized alternating sections, agriculture alternating with residential and light industry in the city version, and in the Ark versions, intensive agriculture devoted to raising food required by the species of animals, so they were not limited in population to the vegetation growing naturally. And the three sections that would have been condominiums, allowed some segregation of groups of animals.

By the time of the readiness of ark 1 for inhabitation, there had been lost two more species from the earth, that still had a small population still surviving in the lunar StationBase1’s pet farm. So two mated pairs of each animal were brought from the pet farm to lunar StationBase3, to be smuggled aboard one of the shipments of the quarter-shell segments sent for the newer cities under construction at the time.

The lunar bulldozer had an enclosed shirtsleeve working environment for two people, and so Idealiana prepared it for the long slow trip over to StationBase3, for herself and the 8 animals, two plant species, and supportive bacteria and insects. This made for a crowded interior, and a transfer crate was slung on the side of the dozer. She had camouflaged the dozer by adhering lunar regolith all over its exterior surfaces, including over some over panels to conceal its more obvious mechanical shapes.

She drove the dozer along the trail it had scooped several years ago, just before the destruction of the interim carousel escalator and StationBase2. Reaching the end of that trail, she drove over the regolith, not making further trail, although the dozer’s tracks would be there for awhile. She arrived at StatiionBase3, got the animals and plants into the transfer crate after pressurizing it, and the personnel there took over the task of the surreptitious delivery to GEO, to avoid attracting attention of Tanfl to the existence of life at StationBase1. Turning the dozer around, Idealiana set the dozer blade to graze the trail it left behind, dragging a rake behind which tended to erase the dozer’s tracks. Then she returned to her home at StationBase1, arriving before the end of the lunar day; the dozer was equipped to sit out a lunar night occupied, but it was not much more that bare survival in there, so she was glad to get back to the larger friendlier space of the StationBase’s people, pet farm and greenhouses.

Eventually some 19 more years passed, and Tanfl was dealing with the last of the people coming to temporary homes in the cities in GEO. Each family was required to provide their home on the earth surface as collateral for the temporary condominium home in GEO, deed to be returned when the home in GEO was vacated at return to their home down below. Everybody had to go up, from everywhere on the earth surface, as there would be no supply of power or food for anybody. So everybody made their way to the carousel escalator terminal.

The escalator had been lifting people and their household goods from the ground up to GEO at the design rate of a million people a day. Finally the earth was almost completely depopulated, a few more days’ worth of people.

Tanfl management all left their offices in GEO to make sure of things on the ground were properly completed.

As the last people arrived in GEO, there was news of a problem, that all the young women somehow had disappeared, had not arrived in GEO with their families. There were almost half a million young women missing, it was determined. And Tanfl management could not be located to file reports. Finally, no more people arrived in GEO from the earth terminal, the task was done.

It was time for the 3Musketeers management to take over the task of restoring the earth ecosystem during the next couple of years, detoxifying it and replanting. However, when they arrived at earth terminal, they were fired upon; several were killed before they escaped back up the escalator. The 3Musketeers security guards held the escalator terminal site, but that was as far as they had jurisdiction. And they began to report attacks on them, and attempts to destroy the terminal.

3Musketeers’ men came down the escalator from GEO, hundreds of thousands of them, but few weapons were available. The attackers were well armed and killed tens of thousands of 3Musketeers men before a perimeter was established defending the terminal, fenced around, and an impasse began.

By then it was realized that all the Tanfl people were not in GEO anymore, and presumably were on the ground; yet they could not be contacted to report the ongoing problems from marauders,

Actually, they were the marauders. Carrying out plans made over two decades before, the Leroy Brown Society members had blocked return of people to the ground, and declared all of earth now belonged to them. And they had kidnapped half a million of the more attractive young women from among the last immigrants going up to GEO, to form huge harems for the Leroy Brown Society men, the mainstay of Tanfl Political Corporation, which now owned the earth and all the abandoned factories, homes, and weapons. They declared that all those who had left their homes to live in GEO had gone astray, had not followed the laws of tradition, and therefore forfeited their claims of ownership. They were declared no longer members of the human race, and that the Tanfl men were in the process of creating the new human race of earth surface, to own it forevermore.

3Musketeers asked how will the cleansing and re-seeding of the earth’s vast ecosystem be done with people still on the ground; Tanfl’s reply was that there would be no such thing done, there was no need of it. All was business as usual.

After another year had passed, the 3Musketeers had pushed their territory out to include about 10 miles around the base of the escalator carousel terminal, but that is as far as they had resources to protect. The Tanfl men occasionally would conduct sorties against that perimeter, more for the sport of it, since Tanfl had the military arms of the arsenals of all the nations, thus could destroy 3Musketeers at a whim. No reason to bother, as their long term plan was going just fine, and included destroying the escalator itself, ending any hopes of the people in GEO to ever return, end of subject.

Tanfl’s main concern was of how to run a world with so few people, and how to breed the kidnapped women as fast as possible to build up their population. The Earth and all its treasure was theirs, surely rightfully. Had they not made it so? The Earth had been abandoned, and so Tanfl had claimed ownership of all of it, by rights of salvage. They were the true followers of tradition, and the rewards were vast indeed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Day 29 of 30

J E D Cline
Title: “The Ark of 1984’s Future”

Day 29 of 30

By the time Artesiana got to her office the next morning, she was not surprised to find a small desk in its back, and workmen finishing installation of a partition between it and the larger front part of the office, much as she had seen going on at the other offices along the way there. There were two of those huge burly Tanfl men, handsome and clothed in the best of casual business styles, standing in her office. One was Rationallo himself, she recognized. “Your desk is the one in the back, and this one in the main part of the office is my desk,” Rationallo said to her without a greeting. She noted that her Holovision nook was not in her new part of the office, it was on his side. And that she would have to pass through his part of the office to get to what was left of hers. These Tanfl folk sure do move quickly and effectively, she thought to herself, and they don’t care what they have to do to others to make their intentions happen.

“This is Ratiogorgino, one of my 35 brothers and is by the same mother, who is to take my place here while I am away”, Rationallo continued. “You will supply him with all the information he requests, and do exactly as he tells you. We are going to get this space project back in operation immediately, and we won’t mess it up with incompetence like you 3Musketeers did. And I remind you that you are still one of my wives-at-large, and if you do not fully comply with this directive, you will be immediately delivered to one of my HaremSpaces to finish your days of life being artificially bred before you go to the Digestion Vats.” Turning to Ratgorgino, he told him “Keep me informed of your progress here; immediately start construction of the full sized lunar carousel escalator. The previous one provided all the engineering data for the scale up to full operational size.”

Rationallo turned and hurried out of the office. He was eager to get back to the Earth surface Tanfl headquarters, get his daily 15 minute formal job done; and this evening was the weekly meeting of the Leroy Brown Society, followed by his get together with his friend Guardiano. Besides, tomorrow it was time to artificially inseminate one of his HaremSpace enclosed wives.

Artesiana inspected her new office. It was bare except for the small desk, and a minimal computer terminal. She made a note to bring in some food and water and other survival necessities, as she also had observed that her office door, spring loaded shut, was unlockable only from Ratiogorgino’s side.

The Tanfl Political Corporation management personnel were powerfully efficient there as usual, even if more experienced in clothing manufacture and department store operations management than in space project management.

Although Tanfl managed the space operations thereafter, the actual work was still done by 3Musketeer personnel. And much of the Tanfl directives were of the nature of “go make it happen”, letting the experienced 3Musketeers team actually figure out how to do the job, and to make it physical reality. And to take all the risks.

Artesiana made no effort to struggle to retain her position as general manager of the GEO space operations. Instead, she pleasantly slid into the role of Ratiogorgino’s secretary. When she made a bit of nuisance of herself walking through his office to go use the Holovision nook, which she had reminded him that was part of her secretarial duties to do the filing of data in that nook, he had an extension of her office built so as to enable her access to the nook without going through his office a dozen times a day.

She spent her break times in the Holovision nook thereafter, connecting with Idealiana over in lunar StationBase1, which was subsisting on the greenhouse food, digestion vat product, and using their two total recycling units, as well as the prototype lunar prospector-ore-processors to bring ingots of aluminum and other materials back for their use occasionally, forgotten in the huge push to get the GEO space cities built as fast as possible.

Based on the latest observations of realities of Tanfl philosophy in action, Idealiana updated the Holovision’s model of the human factor. Whereas the 3Musketeers’ ways tended to involve the ongoing of the tribrain stack of three creature’s worlds in loose interaction, the ongoing of the Tanfl people tended to be a world of bullies interacting. The model was updated to include the mode where people could be obsessed with continually measuring up to each other to determine whose was better than whose. The “better than” was measured in many ways, from wrestling to playing chess to running track to gaining PhD’s to carrying on captivating conversation. A hierarchy was ever updated as per the ranking established in the “whose is better than whose” comparisons ever ongoing, and the hierarchical position determined the fraction of the goodies of life that were supplied them, particularly those of family inheritance and employment income; yet more fundamentally it generally determined their individual share of the prestige, wealth, and rights of mating to the best of women.

This modified Hololovision working model of social reality also loosely connected with the tri-brain form of social interaction, in that the bully’s hierarchy considered any individual that achieved something, through hard struggle on the sidelines on something for years alone, and then openly showed his achievement publicly, that person was to be considered out of his place, thus a fake, a phony, and surely a thief of the achievement which surely must instead have been done by the bully hierarchy as a product of their status reaching. The out-of-place person was therefore to be put back in his humble lowly status, branded a thief and a person who could not stay in his place, and the achievements were either destroyed or ascribed to have been done by one of the high hierarchy members. Thus stability was restored, all was well for the bully hierarchy again. This revised model of human reality now was added to what the Holovision used to process its whole picture display for Idealiana and Artesiana.

The two women also created a small portable version of the Holovision nook, a space helmet with specially "painted" goggles and earpieces and air aroma supply, that could be worn anywhere, the connectiveness retained with holistic space-time, although only on those three sensory levels; but it was at least some part of awareness that could perhaps be useful in some future coping with Tanfl’s capers.

The new lunar StationBase3 was built right next to the ruins of StationBase2, as it too had to be built in the plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth. Under Tanfl’s watchful eye, a new L2 facility was built, this time for the full sized lunar carousel escalator, and built to be used as the manufacturing site for the full sized ribbed panels for construction of the Stanford Torus space cities to be built in GEO.

Robotics were used for nearly all the work at L2, partly because of the immense size of the objects they built there and moved around during fabrication, but also because it had to proceed mindlessly efficient around the clock, day after day, year after year, for the next 20 years, producing and shipping the huge ribbed aluminum panels. People were needed only to maintain the robotics, and had to stay out of the way of the immense computer controlled robotic machines that had no awareness of human presence among them.

Since everything was ultimately powered by solar energy, even the reaction engine driven delivery of parts from L2 to GEO had to be thusly powered. Those engines used photovoltaics to produce the electricity which further accelerated lunar dust that had been converted into a plasma by focused solar energy, producing a combined very high specific impulse, although dependent on the solar energy quantity that the reflectors and photovoltaics could intercept from the Sun; those power gatherers had mass which added to what had to be moved and maneuvered, and so formed an effective limit on how big a load could be moved. So a standard aluminum ribbed shell structure section was determined, a 150 meter 90 degree arc structure, of a 300 meter portion of the toroidal outer circumference requiring 400 of the sections to form the whole toroid. The solar powered propulsion units made a one-way trip to GEO, their photovoltaics becoming incorporated in the GEO space cities electrical power supply, and the focused plasma generators being incorporated into each city’s Total Recycling plant. Therefore much of the manufacturing done on the lunar surface and at Lunar L2 SpaceDock was to build the propulsion units.

Eventually production was ramped up to the steady pace of building 100 cities in GEO per day, and the internal outfitting of them to make the structures into homes, agriculture, and light industry for 10,000 people each, soon began to make the new real estate available, first for those who wanted to live there permanently, then for those who would be willing to take up temporary residence there while the Earth surface ecosystem was scrubbed and jump-started with replacement organisms from what had been preserved from the past before the Great Energy and Food Famine age. Some of the cities in GEO would be used to create various special environments of the earth,such as snow areas, hot desserts and ocean areas, fresh water lakes, all great vacation areas for the people of the cities in GEO.

And Rationallo, Guardiano, and the rest of the Leroy Brown Society secretly solidly set in place their own plans, their vision’s accomplishment to own the whole world clearly now in sight. And Rationallo’s sleepy dreams floated around the character of Turl in “Battlefield Earth”, while Guardiano’s dreams were around the character of Jack in “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Monday, November 28, 2005

Day 28 of 30

J E D Cline
Title: “The Ark of 1984’s Future”

Day 28 of 30

The millimeter diameter carousel was not able to servoposition laterally, and although it did not need that capacity on the Moon where there was no windstorms to cope with, there were leftover oscillations from the original emplacement dynamics, that could not be deliberately dampened. Otherwise, the structure stayed in place, supporting the weight of the stator part of the structure, anchored to the lunar surface, by the outward centrifugal force of the micro sliding armature segments going twice orbital velocity within the tubing. The forces on the anchor terminal were carefully measured for the first time; and the next version was soon on the drawing board computer systems at GEOSpaceDock1, then the first components of the next scaled up carousel, to be a complete functioning small capacity escalator from lunar surface to GEO; it’s resultant data would be used to design and build the full capacity version, lifting discrete loads far greater than even that of the Earth surface to GEO could lift, since it had to lift prefab aluminum rib sections built on the lunar surface up to L2. Later, it would only need to lift the subsections for assembly at L2 when a manufacturing complex was built at L2, but there were too many variables yet unmeasured to plan that now.

By the time the interim scaled up version of the lunar carousel escalator was up and running, sufficient aluminum extraction from lunar ore was being done so as to fabricate some parts for the first L2 SpaceDock, so that it how they built that, also as a toroid rotating to provide artificial gravity, only the 1/6 gee of the lunar surface, however. It also was covered with two meters of raw mass, non rotating within a shaping shell container, to provide shielding from radiation, just as the larger versions now already being prototyped in GEO from Earth surface materials.

So far, the ability of the Holovision to provide a 4 dimensional detailed analog of the complex interrelated systems to the human mind, had been working wonders for integrating the various engineering areas, so that things were working the first time, amazingly. Data had to be gathered by interim models, so as to make the Holovision model more comprehensive, but once reality was measured, and the applicability of each bit of reality ascertained toward the new task, the Holovision provided the holistic big picture full of the details if one wanted to focus on them.

But the human element was far more complex than the Holovision could model sufficiently accurately for all occasions. It did integrate the tri-brain model of a person well, the basis for the 3Musketeers practiced philosophy. But it had not dealt with the kinds of ways so prevalent in the Tanfl practiced way, which might be called “drunk with power” in general. There had been an old saying, that power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. And Tanfl had been in absolute power for a very long time. Is there more to the story than the ancient “muscleman smashed brainy boy into pieces, grabs both girls, fathered all the children, and so the next generation was just musclemen”? Tanfl Political Corporation’s secret enforcement arm, the Leroy Brown Society, surely typified that ancient mammalian inhuman herdbeast mind detour; but it was not all of Tanfl. It did provide the drama to stimulate excitement, the kind of drama that was not of mankind working together to create new works to help all, such as the carousel escalator and solar power satellites were. The urge to show who was better than who, kept interrupting the flow of human civilization as the warriors battled it out, getting the attention that had actually been needed for survival of parts of humanity. The warriors did not care about that, of course. Who beat whom to be the winner and take all the women to make the next generation, was all that counted in that simple but effective way of being. Lots easier than doing the building itself.

And so Rationallo’s replacement “patrol” spacecraft got finished at GEOSpaceDock1. This time, it was not going to botch the job of eradicating Idealiana as a potential witness about the Leroy Brown Society’s deadly mischief doings, that kept most people in line through simple quiet terror. And this time Rationallo himself was going to be part of the crew, to make sure it went smoothly, and get the job done. They couldn’t have a second “accidental” loss of a rocket grenade that hits the lunar StationBase, where he knew Idealiana was hiding out.

The new Tanfl patrol spacecraft tooled around the various facilities in GEO, past the hotels being built, past the Total Recycling plant, past the group of Satellite Solar Power Plants being built; on a test run, getting familiar with the feel of the spacecraft, and assuring any onlookers that all was well with the use of the patrol craft.

Rationallo did not like cooling his heels in GEO very long, away from his duties at Earth surface Tanfl corporate headquarters. So the next test flight was made to the new facilities being built at lunar L2. They actually did not have any jurisdiction at L2 since the facilities there had been built entirely out of the profits 3Musketeers was reaping from sale of electric power from their power satellites in GEO; but they came anyway, partly to seek firsthand data about what was really going on there; Tanfl had to have intimate knowledge of everything that transpired anywhere, to be able to control it all effectively, whether it had the right (or wisdom) to control it all or not.

The patrol spacecraft watched the coming and unloading of several freighters that rode the tiny escalator up to GEO from the Moon, and then watched as they returned empty down the other side of the carousel escalator, back to the Moon. It was all automated, and there were no windows to watch the patrol craft; no one in 3Musketeers had foreseen invaders from outer space. Or from anywhere, for that matter. Who would be so stupid so as to want to interfere with this desperately needed project?

Donning spacesuits, Rationallo and his two crewmen left the patrol craft and went to the holding area of the freighters waiting for a turn to begin their descent back to the Moon. They picked one that was several back in line, and a brief inspection found it to be a miniature version of the ones in use on Earth’s carousel elevator. A basic design quite documented by Tanfl by now, and so it was a simple matter to disconnect the electrodynamic braking power lines. Back in the patrol craft, they quickly returned to their dock at GEOSpaceDock1, and made themselves obviously present there. No one had known they had been to L2.” Bye bye Idealiana, nice knowing you” Rationallo muttered to himself, with a smile.

Idealiana was in a shirtsleeve environment interior lunar bulldozer, almost completed the road across hundreds of lunar miles to join the two StationBases, and in sight of stationBase2, when it happened.

When the sabotaged freighter captive spacecraft got its turn to descend the carousel, it did not have electrodynamic coupling to the armature segments, and soon had sped to overtake the freighter that was ahead of it, and impacted. That freighter was empty, and would have supported the weight of the other freighter, but the impact also caused the magnetic levitation track clearance to go to zero due to the transient load. The rapid heating from friction overloaded its synchronous sensors, and caused the freighter to speed up instead of slow down; the two freighters sped down to impact the next freighter, and a cascade failure happened. About halfway down to the lunar surface, the carousel snapped in two, and the armature segments began spilling out into space at above orbital velocity, suddenly in freefall motion. The stator with its loads of freighters no longer fully supported by the armature segments outward push, began to fall to the lunar surface, dragging the L2 station down with it.

A flash of movement caught Idealiana’s eye, engrossed in picking the best path to scoop a roadway lightly in front of her vehicle. The carousel zigzag crumpled, slamming into StationBase2; pieces of the station and of the escalator careened wildly, some pieces hit near her vehicle. She stopped the bulldozer, realizing that there now was no destination for this road anymore, at least for now. She turned the dozer around and hurried back down her new road, back to StationBase1, to get to her Holovision nook to find out what had happened. If she had been there, maybe this could have been prevented, she thought.

At GEO SpaceDock1, Rationallo watched as the word came in, that there had been an accident that had destroyed the lunar carousel escalator, and its crash had destroyed the StationBase with loss of all hands. “Bye, bye, Idealiana” he said to himself once again, and erased her from his mind. Then he strode into the 3 Musketeers main operations center, and proclaimed that the incompetence of the 3Musketeers was setting the schedule behind, and that to protect their portion of investment in the project, Tanfl was now taking control of the whole operation, so that such a thing would not happen again.

Back at lunar StationBase1, Idealiana exited the bulldozer’s docking port, and ran to her Holovision nook and activated it. Artesiana was in her Holovision nook, where she had been monitoring the lunar escalator’s routine operations. She related to Idealiana that somehow there were alarms triggered that one of the freighters in the L2 waiting section had suddenly suffered catastrophic failure of its dynamic braking system, while it was sitting motionless and de-powered except for basic monitor functions. Artesiana had merged with the vehicle, saw that the wires had been deliberately disconnected manually, where there had been no human presence at L2 to do that. And she had followed the cascade failure resulting, helpless to do anything about it. She also had learned that the new patrol ship was again out on an inspection mission, again with Rationallo himself on it. He was back at GEO by the time the failure happened, of course. It was not known where the patrol craft had gone, but it was gone when Artesiana found that human hands had deliberately sabotaged the freighter to cause the collapse of the elevator. “Keep radio silence from StationBase1” Artesiana advised Idealiana. Rationallo might not realize that there were two, not just one, lunar stationbases in existence. So Rationallo might once again have thought that Idealiana had been killed; let him think that for now, she advised.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Day 27 of 30

NanoWriMo2005 jedcline
The Ark of 1984’s Future

Day 27 of 30

The 3Musketeers Political Corporation’s Space Carousel Escalator to GEO management was having another difficult decision, that of how best to provide the huge rate of delivery of ribbed panels to GEO from the Moon.

A non-tapered anchored tether either through L-1 or L-2 would require bringing huge amounts of carbon fiber tether material from GEO to the L1 or L2 balance point, then de-spooled in both directions carefully balanced until the tether could be secured on the lunar anchor point, then unbalance it slightly to provide more weight on the side away from the Moon, so as to provide the margin of upward bias to maintain it in place. The bias would have to be greater than any conceivable load combination below the Libration point. All the mass of the aluminum for the ribbed panels would have to be lifted up the tether space elevator, a huge mass flow. If something were to temporarily halt the mass flow, all the bias in the tether’s outward stretch would fall on the tether itself. If the tether were to break somewhere on the lunar side, the Lagrange point facilities and the outward counterbalance would all go flung out away from the Moon, and especially if through L1, it could head for the GEO belt, wreaking havoc. That could not be risked. Even a tether through L2 was at such risk.

And a fiberglass tether space elevator either through L1 or L2, made of lunar fiberglass and therefore not needing much Earth resources to build the tether, would need to be tapered to maintain constant stress in its crossection, widest at the Lagrange point. But it too would have the same risks in case of breakage.

The technology for the gigawatt lasers, needed to beam power to the elevators, did not survive the Great Famine, so they would have to have to build tracking solar reflectors aimed at the receiver on each elevator. The heat re-radiators on the electric tractors climbing up and down the tether would be huge, too, and that would be more weight lifted that was not payload. And the elevator could only operate half of each month during the lunar daytime.

The elevators would need to be built in pairs, joined at the Lagrange point by a bridge, to shuttle over the lift tugs to go up one tether, down the other. There was the risk of tethers lashing about under changing loads, and hitting each other could be disastrous.

Therefore they decided to build another carousel space escalator, but this one on the Moon, anchored at the Earth-facing center of the Moon, and lifting loads up to L2 above the far side of the Moon, from where reaction engined propulsion would be used to tug it over to GEO and place it into the ongoing construction slot.

That meant that L2, the Lagrange libration point above the farside of the Moon, where the gravitational attraction of the Moon and Earth beyond the Moon, was balanced by the opposite direction centrifugal force of the angular velocity of the Moon’s 28 day rotation around the Earth, would become the major materials assembly plant for the GEO space cities, and for the next generations of satellite solar power plants in GEO and Total Recycling Plants there.

Using the engineering designs for the original lunar StationBase1, another lander was prepared at GEOSoaceDock1, which was then moved over into lunar orbit by the same old GEO-lunar orbital transfer vehicle. At the correct place in the orbit, it initiated decent, and landed close to the center of the Moon, as seen from the Earth. An new crew, of course, and upon landing, they went through the same routine of bulldozing out a hole for the StationBase, rolling the basic shell in, and bulldozing to cover it back up, leaving trenches for the next sections, and access to the airlock.

But this time they brought their own rover vehicle, as there was no Apollo lander site to cannibalize for one here. Besides, they got to build one that they could work inside, as a shirtsleeve environment, easier to handle things inside, but put more distance between the operators and the working surfaces of the Moon than would spacesuits, which had advantages and disadvantages. It was an engineering prototype, so was heavily telemetered back to GEO as it went about setting up the basalt melt reflector for the new brick factory. It had cranked out a half dozen basalt bricks before the lunar day terminator passed them and the 14 day night began, and the crew retired to the buried initial part of lunar StationBase2, running on minimum power from the batteries, time to rest and rehash how things had proceeded so far, and get ready for the next 14 day effort out on the surface.

The two lunar StationBases had direct voice communications on the old AM band, the earth station’s signals too weak to interfere much. But for high data rate exchange, they had to bounce their communications off of GEOSpaceDock1 communication link. They got their internet connection from there, anyway.

Among other things, the telemetry was providing wear rate information for the moving equipment in the lunar environment, from which to predict which spare parts would need sending on the next supply mission.

Instead of the exploratory lunar ore roving prospector and ore processing plants, their lander carried a pair of rocket propelled vehicles, each carrying a spool of tubing containing micro sliding armature segments, and a socket assembly. From GEOSpaceDock1 a one-way vehicle was launched to lunar L2, and once it had arrived at L2, it settled in with an orientation aligned to the lunar orbital plane.

Similarly, at lunar StationBase2, a trench was dug at lunar dawn’s arising’s solar influx energy availability. inside it was placed the launcher for the two rocket propelled despoolers, each aimed in opposite directions along the lunar orbital plane. The launcher was encased by the basalt bricks as fast as they became available, welded in place together by molten lunar glass. The bricks were piled high above the launcher, weight that might be needed.

This was to be a completely experimental space carousel escalator, to gain data about stress levels in the overall structure, to then be used in a scaled up version. Another version would be scaled up from that one’s data, and that one hopefully would be fully able to carry the loads for the building of the ribbed shell structures for the full sized wheel-like Stanford Torus space settlements in GEO. It in turn would be used only to build a thousand of the cities, then it would be shutdown to defer to the next version, designed and built with the experience gained by then, for use in the long haul, continuous running for the next 20 years.

But for now, they needed to put the first one up, only a few millimeters in diameter. It would be easier than on earth, since there was no atmosphere to impede vehicles. The two despooling launch vehicles were readied, aimed in opposite directions, They were to be guided from the two Holovision stations, one by Idealiana at lunar Stationbase1, the other by Artesiana in GEOSpaceDock1’s Holovision nook.

It was time to launch. Idealiana got into her Holovision nook, and merged it with one of the despooling launch vehicles over in the trench at lunar StationBase2. Artesiana’s virtual presence was neighboring; they each felt like pilots in large spaceships made of transparent parts and colorful energy flows among the parts; the spool looked like the fish line spool of a fly casting fishing rod to her, the centerline of the coiled tubing being along the line of deployment, the coil lying across the line of deployment perpendicularly. Through the nook’s link, Idealiana and Artesiana looked at each other, waved at each other; they too looked like glass artwork with colorful energy flows of vast yet coherent complexity, to each other, as their own bodies did to themselves. Artesiana closed the switch for activation at her site, then when Idealiana closed her corresponding switch, the launcher at lunar StationBase2 activated, firing their rockets while also being fired by an explosive charge like a pair of bullets so as to gain a high velocity quickly, and they were off. Their task as pilots was to fire the lateral thrusters so as to continually stay as close as possible to the machine-visualized optimum trajectory; the fish line-like tubing was being laid out as planned, and was in freefall as soon as deployed. The vehicles velocity was quite high at first, slowing as they gained velocity, traveling at opposite directions around the Moon, ever climbing higher. Higher and slower, flying to keep crossing the optimal line, the target coming into range, the docking port in the waiting L2 facility in the sights, it must be hit exactly center and within microseconds of when the other vehicle struck the other side of the L2 facility. Closer and closer to L2, a few kmps too fast, slowing, the resulting deformation in the deployed tubing within predicted acceptable limits. Bulls eye target right on, then an impact that was more sensed than felt, as the two spacecraft rammed the L2 docking ports almost simultaneously from opposite directions. The section of tubing within the L2 facility filled in the gap.

At the time the two teleoperated spacecraft were launched from the trench at lunar SpaceBase2 site, the electromagnetic drivers began pouring the micro sliding armature segments into each of the tubes being even then just begun to be emplaced ever higher around the lunar globe, the mass streams being in opposite directions in the two sections of each tube. so by the time the tubing pairs had rammed into their sockets in the L2 facility, the armature segments were also arriving up the tubing from both sides. The leading armature segments passed by each other in the L2 segment, then began their plunges down around back toward the lunar surface StationBase2 facility. When the armature segments reached their starting point at the launch facility, their positions were sensed and their velocity was normalized as they traveled through the synchronous electromagnetic mass driver. When the feedback oscillations calmed down, the carousel was declared up and running. and idealiana and Artesiana disconnected from their Holovision nooks, and went for well-earned break times.

The first lunar space carousel was operating. The telemetry was monitoring the dynamic stresses as the feedback positioned system strove for stability, and it all was a learning exercise; it would not lift anything itself. Its life experience would provide the reality data for designing the next version, which would include a lift capacity as an added set of variables. For now, job well done.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Day 26 of 30

J E D Cline
Title: “The Ark of 1984’s Future”

Day 26 of 30

“So how did those 3Musketeers slackers,” Guardiano asked, “manage to get the space carousel escalator project going? They have no business sense, are just menial workers for the most part, and not one of them could stand up to either you or I in the ring for two minutes. Yet now they are bringing in profit from their solar power satellites electric beamed power that is a quarter of Tanfl’s aggregate profits. It does not make sense.”

“I looked into that” Rationallo mused. “It was a complicated history. And in fact, if Tanfl had not stepped in and provided engineering expertise and investment money, they might not yet have a single power satellite up and making money, especially after we destroyed their sliding armature segment manufacturing plant with its engineers and technicians. And, as you know, we would not have come up with that money without seeing the advantage in the long run of having them complete their dream of a ring of cities in orbit.”

“But you did ask how did they get it going. Tracking the technological concept begats would take us all the way back to the stone hatchet, I suppose. There was a key turning point, when several concepts that were nibbling away at the idea of using kinetic energy to maintain a structure that could help access space more efficiently than conventional reaction engine rocketry could do, were combined such that the weaknesses of the progenitor concepts were canceled out by a particular combination of the earlier ideas. The man who came up with the way to do the escalator such that everything fell in place neatly, unfortunately, was not a prominent man.

“You know how we need to be sure of things before we commit investors money in a project. Any manager that does not do that is soon not a manager anymore. We count on the reputation of a person, to evaluate the person’s concepts’ credibility. It is not always easy to evaluate a concept directly ourselves, especially if it is really a way that is not directly in line with our existing chain of command orientations toward knowledge.

And although this was a time before the united corporation formal accord to ban all innovations, most of innovating in this country had effectively been blocked by the “employment agreements” forced upon technical employees as a condition for employment, that handed over all their ideas to the corporation freely, with no requirement that the corporation pay them for those innovation keys, nor obligation by the employer to do anything with the ideas. Thus, ideas were a dead ball in the game of business.

But there were some technical people who would just not give up. They believed more in their concepts than in the wisdom of keeping a low profile. Mavericks, they were, and the corporations identified them, and put the squeeze on them. It took time to crush them in such a way that it was not traceable to the corporations. And in that time, sometimes an idea got out into the world.

“And the basis for the space carousel escalator was one of them. He started putting the basics of the idea on one of the national computer public networks before the internet became widely public, then he kept putting the concept on internet web pages where all could see. That all was in total incomprehensibility to corporate and academic thinking, he was giving it away freely. On his previous related concepts in large scale transportation innovations, the corporations simply would have an investigator go in and clean out every trace of record that he had the idea, thus he could not get a patent nor financing, so the concepts died there. The guy was barely surviving financially, and his woman was long gone, friendless, corporately blacklisted so he could not get a good job anymore, yet he kept on, he had no sense.

“He submitted papers to space related conferences year after year, yet was righteously ignored. But finally one conference had some leaders that believed more in concept validity and potential to help humanity, than in following standard business aims. And so the guy made a space conference presentation on the concept and got a paper published in a conference proceedings.

“And another conference too, despite the increased requirements for presentations, peer reviews, making camera ready copy; the guy did it all himself. Normally it takes a whole staff of people to do those functions, and they knew he was struggling alone, yet to their amazement he did it. By the next conference, they had sent in troublemakers to harass the employers of those who had supported presentation of those papers. And so the third conference, he again got a paper published, but the conference was set up so no one would be able to attend his presentation, delayed until long after the conference was over, in an obscure place, and his presentation was heckled by top management, and was totally ignored afterward. All good business techniques, of course.

“So another group focused on that kind of thing, especially bringing up the old idea of an anchored tether centrifugally supported tether out through GEO, like there were possibilities of the super strength material needed for that, on the near horizon, competition to the carousel way of doing it. He presented three papers at that conference, again at its end, and with hecklers in the audience to disrupt the man not trained in doing presentations, he just was winging it at everything and was somehow still going. So they just endlessly delayed publication of those papers until it was forgotten; the conference presenters employer was put on huge pressure by troublemakers sent in to do ugly stuff.

“So why did that not kill the concept? The guy had grown old by then, still living in poverty, and though not giving up, just faded away obstinately still trying. One does not live forever, and they made life quite miserable for him. Anyone with good sense would have seen the light long before and quit trying to get the concept accepted. But he stubbornly kept at it, believing in humanity’s wisdom instead of business power principles in action.

“The great corporations casually smoke screened and badmouthed the guy and the carousel concept, while they gayly went on with business as usual, living the good life. Winners always win, losers lose. Some losers simply don’t quit, however, even though lose they must. And that guy was one of them.

“The guy was gone, but his writings still had not been fully eradicated in published papers and in internet pages. Some internet-written science fiction had been written by the guy, also was loose in the public knowledge base. And so after the Great Famine dark ages had been passed, some of that concept was still available, and the 3Musketeers found it. Tanfl could not touch it since it was full of requirements for innovation; so it was against our principles to deal with such a thing. The 3Musketeers saw it as a way to save the kind of humanity that they were, even had fantasies of making the planetary environment get running again through restoration. They did some incredible things with the vision, I must admit. And so here we are.”

Guardiano had intently followed all that. “It is interesting to see how our ways of being, our traditions, slowly change in response to the pressures of reality. This will be an interesting example of what happens when traditions are flouted, bringing disaster upon those who do not honor tradition's proven ways.

“It had been agreed among all the great corporations to cease innovating technically, preventing costs of competition and thus increasing profits for all. It therefore became a fine tradition to be honored. Yet that guy, and then later the 3 Musketeers, terribly defied tradition, even the business practices and chain of commands of his day, to get that carousel concept into common knowledge, disgusting innovation stuff it is. Even many in Tanfl are eager to move to live in the cities in GEOrbit, where they won’t need to be dependent on the digestion vats anymore, but have a return of agriculture powered by endless sunlight availability up there. But it all will be the progeny of innovation, and will bring disaster therefore to them all. When the Leroy Brown Society prevents them from doing their abominable innovative changes to restore the environmental balance, and prevent their return along the carousel escalator to their homes and businesses on the ground, they all will perish up there, and the world will belong forevermore to the true believers who honor our business traditions.”

Friday, November 25, 2005

Day 25 of 30

J E D Cline
Title: “The Ark of 1984’s Future”

Day 25 of 30

There were too many events that had not gone through executed flawlessly, Rationallo thought. Disciplinary assaults were intended to get rid of dysfunction in the hierarchy, and set an example in case of any others that might be tempted to not rigidly follow orders. Now a second disciplinary assault happened, this one in space, which was really more of 3Musketeers territory than that of Tanfl. Like the failure of the Idealiana’s doctor disciplinarian action, which had been conducted in 3Musketeers territory. Despite the intelligence gathering powers of Tanfl, surely the finest ever anywhere in human history, something had gone wrong in each case recently. The crash of his “patrol” assault spacecraft on the moon, and loss of three more of his best men, showed that something needed fixing.

His top position in the Tanfl hierarchy proved his top competency in correct analysis and determination of optimum courses of action. His formal job of daily adding up the profits of all their subsidiaries and posting them for all to see, was nothing; his real effectiveness was in the arena of the things that really got people to do what was wanted of them by those who were supreme. Analysis and problem solving was one of his expertise in that arena. Time to do that some more.

Searching the internet databases for factors missed before, he found a theory that indicated that people were each like a totem pole of creatures, each sitting on top of the other, and all dependent on the each other. This was at the heart of the 3Musketeers philosophy, the enemy to his present thinking. So he needed to understand his quarry a bit more, to succeed in the hunt and takedown, feast for Tanfl.

Three creatures, stacked one on top of each other ... a weird picture. Each individual, the theory seemed to go, had some kind of reptile on the bottom, a mammalian animal in the middle, and a magician on the top. Different people had different creatures in those positions. The reptiles and mammals were all extinct now, or most of them and the others going; there was no need of any being using the earth other than man, anyway. No animals, more room for people.

Although it had not worked out that way, he mused. Those animals were the prior food supply, and they all had somehow inter linked to keep it all thriving in balance, until man came along and gobbled it all up and trashed the rest. The superior win, of course, the powerful thrive and breed the next population to be like themselves, their progeny. Now man was king. Actually, man was all there was anymore. And man thrived through accumulation and reproduction of knowledge and its application. Understand your quarry and hunt it down and kill and eat it, that was what has always worked.

And he now had to do that, although this quarry was a bit more ephemeral than one of those extinct deer. Was the quarry physical people opposing him, or was it something in the knowledge and application arena?

He read on about the three creatures stack theory. Each of the creatures, the reptile, the mammal, the magician, inter linked with the others of their own kind, that is, each person’s mammal linked with the mammal of other people, about mammal things. The reptiles interacted about reptile concerns. And the magicians interacted about imagination and interpretation and planning things.

So he pictured a group of people together. They would be these bunches of three stacked vertically, yet each of the three were linked with the others of their kind, making three levels or planes of existence. That would be the game board, like three chess games going on all the time, one atop the other. And at the same time, the pieces on the game board had to move vertically tied together. interesting. Could he create a computer program to simulate that?

He had the best of the computers remaining in the world, preserved from before the Great Famine of Energy and Food era. That reminded him, he had received intelligence that the 3Musketeers facility on the Moon was acquiring small amounts of materials that they were going to build the first integrated circuits made since the Great Famine’s dark ages. It was an effort worthy of his special support, if he could get his hands on it.

Anyway, if anyone could simulate the three-level chessboard, he could do it, having the best remaining computers in existence. It would give the computers something better to do than just keep track of who was better than who in the Tanfl Political Corporation, in incredible detail that it was.

So how would that go ... one person’s ox-mammallian would interact with the adjacent person’s rhino-mammalian, which also interacted with another person’s whale-mammallian .... While also those individuals’ alligator-reptile interacted with another’s snake-reptillian; and one’s magician of one kind interacted with another person’s magician of another kind. Three kinds of zoos which were tied together vertically in places. A difficult, but not impossible, game board to simulate on his computer.

Then he would need to identify the corresponding zoo critter type for the real people around him and in his world. Plug it in and see what the computer came up with.

The kind of zoo-critter would be identified by its characteristic ways. and that is something he could measure and record for each person. Rather than be snakes, lizards, monkeys, rhinos, whales, they would be an animal composed of reptilian natures, another composed of mammalian natures, and the third a critter composed of specific magical ways of intellect, imagination, interpretation ways.

In different people, their critters would vary in how powerful the critter was. Some people would have a more powerful reptile kind, such as an alligator where another person’s was a garter snake; the more powerful one would correspond to a person identified as a Sensual in Jungian psychology, or an Artisan in Kiersayian psychology, people who were characteristically more powerful in the physical action world, got things done in reality.

It was the old “Tri-Brain” concept in some ways. The brain’s R-Complex was the reptilian critter; the Limbic part of the brain corresponded to the mammalian critter; and the brain’s cerebral cortex corresponded to the Magician critter. But in the current theory, the critters of each kind were interacting in their characteristic ways with the corresponding level critter in other people, all the time. Three worlds happening simultaneously, yet also tied to the other worlds wherever an individual person was.

But what was observable in the real world of people, was each of the individual people, seemingly one critter, not three.

A “three-ring-circus” he mused. Each person was an ongoing three-ring-circus all the time. Interesting. How would that concept help him control his world more effectively?

Guardiano was saying something about the space transportation thing the 3Musketeers had. “Why do they call it an escalator? We have those moving steps ramping up and down in all our stores, that is what an escalator is.”

Rationallo mused a moment about it then replied “If they called it an elevator, it would mean it was a box that climbed straight up and down. Their transportation structure does not go straight up and down at all, in fact, it you look at it at the ground terminal in Ecuador, it looks quite horizontal, almost flat as far as the eye can see. You ride it straight out over the Pacific Ocean at first, and it takes awhile before you notice that the ocean is getting further down below, gradually, the only way you know you are going up, since it looks like you are just going flat out across the ocean. But in a couple of hours, when you look down out of the window, there is nothing but a big ocean sphere down there, getting definitely round at the edges. It takes about four hours before you can see New Zealand, Australia, then Indonesia, and the world is definitely looking like a big ball out there. It is all a tilted ride, not up and down like an elevator. And another reason is that it is running all the time, one can get on it at any moment and ride it, like an escalator, in contrast to an elevator in which only one car goes up or down at any time, so you have to wait until the elevator finishes its prior trip before getting to you. Yes, it is an escalator, not an elevator. It is also kind of like riding in an airplane, where you take off horizontally, climb, and land horizontally, except that you never went back down to the ground before landing. You land up there in GEO. And all the time you are not flying freely, you are sliding superfast along the carousel structure.”

“It is a round thing, a lopsided circle shape, not an escalator ramp.” Guardiano insisted.

“Sure, that is why they call it a Space Carousel Escalator, it goes around in a loop like a carousel, and you can ride anywhere along the carousel any time, like an escalator.” Rationallo replied.

Still puzzled, Guardiano went on: “If we had carousels in our stores instead of ramp escalators, it would use up too much room for getting people up and down between floors.” Well, the world is round, and so the carousel escalator has to be round too, to go around it.” Rationallo replied, almost not interested in the conversation any more, and was more thinking of the day’s plans at the time.

“If we did not have escalators in our stores, most people would only shop on one floor, and we would lose business. “ Guardiano went on. “So that is why they built their escalator thing, so they could have people do business up in GEO, getting there easily and with little effort. Makes sense.”

Rationallo was already off on a different subject, his latest project regarding the three level chessboard thing. “If each person is like a stack of three animals, critters of some kind, and I have stronger critters on my magician and reptilian levels, then you must have stronger critters on your mammalian and reptilian levels.”

Guardiano just looked at him. “What?”

“That would explain why you are more of a social people person than I am, where I am more aloof and analyzing situations, you are right in there with the crowd like a fish in water. Yet we both are fairly effective in the physical action world, too, although not as much so as some other people.” Rationallo went on.

Beginning to catch on, Guardiano said “I don’t like being called some kind of monkey, but yes, my world is made of real live people, while your world is more abstract, your people are not real, they are abstraction of real ones. Yet it works for you; while my social people real world works for me too. My people-world is ruled by traditions and emotional connections, while your world is ruled by legislative laws regarding ownership and behavior toward one another. Amazing how the different worlds of different people go on along just fine, without noticing a difference.”

Thinking of Idealiana and of recent events, Rationallo mused “I’m not so sure that there isn’t a problem going on because of those different worlds, as you call them. It could be that various people speak in the same language, but talk about different worlds, not realizing their audience is trying to fit that in with their rather different world. Misunderstanding happens, and most people don’t even realize that.”

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Day 24 of 30

J E D Cline
Title: “The Ark of 1984’s Future”

Day 24 of 30

The 3Musketeers GEO-lunar orbit transfer vehicle was scheduled to make a supply trip a bit sooner than originally planned, to provide more nitrogen reserves, and provide materials for a greenhouse that was contiguous with the main station and would be used to grow the proven combination of corn, beans, and squash as did the indians so successfully grow long before, keeping the land healthy with the combination. Would it work in space greenhouses, on the Moon, in lunar soil? It would be important to find out quickly. There would also be sent some supplies for preparation for the next station expansion, such as inter-section airlock doors. Several spare spacesuits were also requisitioned.

Not mentioned was that some of the doors were to be used to secure the various sections of the existing station, such as the pet farm; and that inside some of the doors would be the components for some 3Musketeers weapons: they were going to level the playing field a little bit, where possible.

After the supply ship left, the first place a door went was to isolate the astronomical observatory section, where a hit by the rocket grenade was most likely to happen, as it had the least bulk between it and the surface. Its cameras could be remotely operated, anyway.

And when the patrol ship made its test flight, it was tracked and followed by the lunar telescope, and its field of view linked direct to GEOSpaceDock1 scientists. Scientists who subsequently were quite startled to find the telescope tracking what appeared to be a rocket grenade accidentally lost by the patrol craft, and sent its tracked picture all the way until the astronomical facility went silent when hit by the grenade. The last picture frame clearly showed the business end of a standard Tanfl paramilitary police rocket grenade, along with its serial number. No meteor, that.

At the same time, the lunar StationBase1 went entirely silent. The external wandering robot TV cameras scurried over to the gaping hole in the telescope facility, and then found all power and lights were off even in the Quinoa greenhouse. They must need rescuing, having been hit by a meteor, Tanfl declared, and by great fortune Tanfl had a new spacecraft in orbit that could bravely attempt a rescue mission to the lunar surface. The lunar TV robot was commanded to stay looking at the hole in the astronomical facility, the news station being owned and controlled by Tanfl.

The rather experimental Tanfl “police” cruiser, flown by hardened Leroy Brown Society members, made a rough landing outside the lunar base, buckling one of its base support struts. They were out of their element, but besides being tough men, they were courageous to some extent, too, and so they sealed their spacesuits, exited their patrol craft, and went to the station’s airlock. Opening the airlock, they entered the entrance warehouse, which they found airless and dark; their flashlights scanned the area and found a spacesuited figure resting in a chair. They shot it to pieces, it fell off the chair. Dead men tell no tales, had long been one of their tried and true principles. One of them went back out to sneak up behind the news TV robot and freeze its view to the area of the station around the gaping hole, not risking being photographed carrying machine guns into the facility that they were supposed to be preserving; then he returned to inside of the station.

The way into the next part of the station was blocked by a closed bulkhead, that had not been in the station plans given them. Were there more people still alive here? Never mind, they would soon not be. They closed the outer airlock, and pressurized the shipping warehouse room, so they could open the bulkhead door. The next room also was dark, but they noticed that parts of their spacesuits glowed, there were UV grow lights still working in the room. Which clearly showed their positions in the dark to the sharpshooting base personnel waiting in the room. The invader’s machine guns clattered to the floor as the arms that had been holding them at ready, were made useless by the sharpshooters. One gun, two, all three of them clattered to the floor. The station internal room lights came on, to show three wounded Tanfl spacesuited figures, who immediately attacked using kick boxing against the station personnel, their arms now useless. The powerful Tanfl men had kick-broken the arms of two of the station personnel before their legs were rendered useless by the remaining sharpshooters.

The station personnel retreated into the next section, and sealed the bulkhead door behind them. Removing the spacesuits of the two whose arms were broken, they called up the medical records of the two, and used the skeleton data to reset the broken arm bones to their original exact positions, and sealed an exoskeleton assembly cast to hold them there, while battery powered electrical currents were started to begin the bone healing process. It had taken almost an hour to get this done; the exoskeletons went from both shoulders to the wrists, an elbow joint in the middle, for both of the crew. Again with weapons raised, they opened the bulkhead door to the room to fend off the attackers. But there were too many holes in the attacker’s arms and legs, the fight was gone out of them along with their lifeblood puddling the floor, none remained alive to continue the assault.

Lunar StationBase1 electric power came back on, and sent a message to GEOSpaceDock1, that they had been hit by a meteor but had survived, and that an odd spacecraft had crashed nearby too, and that they were adding the dead crew to their digestion vats, and were going to be using scrap from the crashed spacecraft to build a new ore processing facility, as well as do basic repairs to the astronomical room’s roof.

They also reported that the new greenhouse had survived, and the small nuclear electric power generator brought by the second supply ship was providing light for the squash-corn-beans in the greenhouse during the long lunar night, and were growing nicely. They would have a fine Thanksgiving Day feast coming up, real food for some of them for the first time.

But the reality was that half the lunar station personnel were not fully functional, having both arms in exoskeleton-assisted mode, and would be for several weeks. They had a mess to clean up: three messy Tanfl bodies in their main office area, and Idealiana’s spare spacesuit was in the next room, the shipping-receiving warehouse, shot full of machine gun bullet holes; and the packing material with which they had stuffed it so as to have it sitting on a chair, was scattered all over the floor nearby. They shuddered when they thought that it could have been one of them in that shot to pieces condition. Those Tanfl spacemen were tough cookies; they had better remind themselves to be careful next time when inviting Tanfl spacemen over for tea.

The astronomical section was ruined. The automated telescope had been salvaged from an old satellite found in GEO, left over from before the Great Famine; they no longer had all the technology to build one anymore. Eventually they would requisition a standard TV camera robot, and adapt it for an improvised astronomical telescope but it would not be such high quality as before. They brought the shrapnel-ruined electronics from the room out through the gaping hole, and took it back inside to remove whatever parts that could be salvaged. Having learned something about “accidents” from recent events, they also dropped some of the structural debris on the wheels of the Tanfl TV news camera robot, freezing its range of vision to the gaping hole, and the repairs that would be done later. But for now, was better to not have it go over to look at the less-than-crash-ruined patrol craft, at least until the vehicle had been been disassembled into pieces.

Meanwhile, in GEOSpaceDock1, the scientists who had observed the true nature of the “meteor” that had hit the lunar base telescope they had been using, were told to hush up about what they had recorded about the nature of the missile that hit it. Nevertheless, the scientists were irritated that they had lost one of their best astronomical facilities, and their ongoing projects which required it, were permanently shelved from now on.

There had been no data sent from the Tanfl patrol spacecraft during that “test flight” as they had intended to leave no record of what truly transpired in the “unexpected rescue mission” to the lunar base, and as far as even Tanfl could determine, the spacecraft had indeed been destroyed in a bad landing by their operatives, who had been trained in simulators but clearly had never landed such a vehicle before that way.

So, to Tanfl, business as usual. They began to build another space patrol craft to replace the lost one, ready for a similar mission in the future.

Idealiana regularly “chatted” from her Holovision nook in the lunar station, with Artesiana in a similar Holovision nook in her office at GEOSpaceDock1. Idealiana had the vision, and could inspire Artesiana to make it happen physically. The next new kind of task in GEO was to build a prototype Total Recycling Plant.

The basic technology for making such a thing had existed for eons, in the form of primitive early Mass Spectrometers. The basic principles were just being applied here in a big way. And it was to be entirely solar powered, self-sustaining. From the pure materials it would extract from the trash, it would have the ability to build a replica of itself, as well as make spare parts for long term maintenance. At least, that was what was hoped.

The Total Recycling Plant was not a glamorous assignment. Dealing with garbage rarely was. In this case, the main assignment for the recycler was to dispose of various extremely toxic industrial waste products. It was a 3Musketeers project, as Tanfl felt it was not profitable, and there was always someplace to dump their garbage. It had been dumped too many times into 3Musketeers space, however, thus their attention to the project.

The basic components for the first one had to be fabricated on the ground then freighted up along the carousel escalator to GEOSpaceDock1. The prototype was to be only a fraction of the size of the standard one to be built based on what was learned from the first one. The huge and highly successful Solar Power Plants were being assembled on the Indonesian side of SpaceDock; three of them were already beaming Terrawatts of environmentally friendly energy to several countries, three more were being built simultaneously , and they had orders for 21 more to be built as fast as possible. Nearly every country around the world wanted them, and wanted them now, to no longer be a dying energy starved nation. There did not seem to be any room off in that vast free-fall assembly area on the Indonesian side. The other direction from SpaceDock1 was selected for the recycler tasks. But as soon as tanfl found out about that plan, they declared no way, that was to be where their new big hotels were to be built, handy for passengers embarking at the SpaceDock.

The eventual junk materials flow up the carousel escalator was expected to be immense, when all was up and running. It needed to have an easy path to the recycling plant. Yet the hotel people would have none of it, the thought of tons of toxic trash being hauled continuously past their beautiful hotels, was not tolerable. The squabble was holding up even the prototype’s construction, and they knew that things never worked perfectly the first time, there needed to be redesigns of everything along with prototype constructions based on what had been learned from the prior prototype. Time was needed, and the squabbling over where to put it was eating up that time. It was like before the first space escalator carousel was prototyped, the business haggles held it up for precious decades, during which the environment collapsed, which the carousel escalator and the facilities it could enable built in GEO, could possibly have prevented that terrible collapse of the world ecosystem, and its resultant Great Famine and loss of most of the species on the planet. Now the squabbling was going on again.

Idealiana suggested that the first prototype be built on the lunar surface, near StationBase1. It was the endless hard vacuum that was the essential for its functioning economically, and the lunar environment had a good supply of that vacuum just as GEO did. Besides, the little recycler would be useful at their tasks, even able to extract some ores that were so far not economical to process by using only local supplies and solar power. Even though the solar powered recycling plant could operate a dozen days a month, due to the two week long lunar night, they could surely process materials while the sun was shining.

So it was agreed, the initial prototype development would happen on the lunar surface, not in GEO. Hopefully by the time the full sized ones were ready to be built and used in GEO for real, the decisions as to where to built them would have gotten settled. The GEO-lunar orbit transfer freighter was stocked with the components for the recycler, a special lander was designed and built to be the base station for this project and would land most of the larger components all at once. it landed a kilometer from StationBase1, looking much like the Apollo landers of the early 1970’s, except was huge, having to be rocket propelled only from GEO. The major propellant use was for soft landing it on the lunar surface.

Idealiana was one of the first to ride the slow solar powered rover out to visit the new inhabitant of the Moon, blazing a dusty trail across the bleak lunar landscape, that would be the basis for a permanent road and railway soon. Much of the setup of this prototype would have to be done by hand.

This was to be a very tiny recycler plant, with a top throughput of perhaps 500 kilograms per day. What they learned about it was the most important part of it for now, yet Idealiana foresaw this recycler to be a key facility here for them from now on. It was a fairly flat horizontal plain on which the lander had arrived. Idealiana got out of the rover, went over to the huge lander, tied a tether to it, and walked out into the plain to the end of the tether, a hundred meters. She tied the loose end of the tether there to a stake, and pounded the stake into the lunar soil solidly. Returning to the lander, she untied the tether from the lander, then using the tether as a radius, she walked the 100 meter radius circle perimeter, driving in more stakes every 30 meters.

Next the 30 meter long curved segments were lifted off the lander, and placed around the circle, to simulate the similar structure needed in GEO where there was no lunar surface to hold things in specific places. Day’s work done there, they returned to StationBase1 for mealtime and rest.

The next morning the crew assembled to do their usual calisthenics, laughter yoga, and meditation after breakfast, then held a review of the day’s plans. Two were still coping with the exoskeleton assist for their arms, like robot arms from their shoulders to their wrists. The exoskeleton assists had enabled them to get back on the job even the day of the attack, but were needed for months, since the Tanfl operators’ kickboxing had really efficiently smashed up their arm bones as they defended their heads with their arms, but had bought them a few seconds of life, enough for the kick boxers to be deprived of that weapon, too. Not complaining now, glad to be alive, they had adapted to the temporary life partly like a robot. It was enough they could handle eating utensils, for example, which they applied with enthusiasm this breakfast.

Idealiana introduced them to the total recycler’s basic principles. It is just a very large but primitive type of mass spectrometer, she explained. The material to be processed was first converted into an ionized plasma by the intense radiant energy focused from the sun onto their container, the particles were constrained to a vector speed and direction, and then loosed as they sped past a permanent magnet’s field. Their direction was bent according to their mass-charge ratio, thus each element went off in its characteristic direction. Containers placed at those directions, along the circle gathered the pure material elements, restraining them according to their properties, gasses being pumped down from the collecting sphere, other elements such as aluminum bouncing around in their collection sphere’s insides until sticking to the wall somewhere.

When the collection containers were full, they would be swapped with an empty container, and the purified materials wold be brought back for making things anew. Solar energy would be used to restore the materials that had been entropically decayed in the industrial fabrication processes, making the materials good as new once again. Or so the theory went. It was up to them now to make theory into practice, then on to the next stages of uses of the materials.

Most of the part where solar energy was focused onto a crucible to plasmatize a sample was built into the lander, along with the solar electric photovoltaics to power the electronics; all they had to do on that part was load a sample into the hopper, then observe where the stuff went as it exited the lander’s magnetically-bent exit aperture. From then on, it was stay out of the way. They put a wall up blocking the view of StationBase1 and its ore processing facilities, and the Quinoa greenhouse, as the impurities of the first samples would head off with no catchers for them yet. They set up catchers at the locations that preliminary calculations predicted that aluminum, silicon, and oxygen would land, to test the catcher’s functionality as well as the actual beam direction and width at the catcher sites.

They placed a sample of lunar ore which they already roughly knew its composition, then activated the recycling machine. it unfurled its parabolic reflectors around the crucible, aimed in the direction of the Sun. Thousands of solar radiant watts focused on the small rock sample, which in seconds exploded into ionized vapor, headed down the path o be deflected by the magnetic field at the exit aperture, sped on through the low lunar gravity to impact somewhere. It was all over in seconds; they went out to their catchers, and observed the electrometer deflection to see how much charge had been imparted by catching charged particles. A tedious task ensued, where they moved the catchers a little bit, put another similar mass sample of the same or in to be vaporized, go out to observe the electrometer, plot amplitude versus position. Then placing the catcher in the peak area of that diagram of caught intensities, they varied the catcher’s aperture size, plotting the charge received function versus size of the hole they went through. More got in the larger the hole got, until it was bigger than the effective ion beam width, then particles began escaping the catcher, dropping the number of particles it caught, and dropping the electrometer reading proportionally.

Then they grounded the catchers to an instrumentation line they placed around the circle, and installed microammeters between each catcher and the ground wire, and then observed the current flow from each sample, making the observation possible telemetered to StationBase1, while uniform sized pellets were dropped into the crucible and vaporized, it all being a repetitive process of about one a second at this point. Then they weighed their catchers, weighed the ore aggregate mass, set it up with the crushed ore dropping into the crucible and being puffed out toward the circle of catchers, and left running by itself for ten hours. The catchers were retrieved, brought back to StationBase1 and again weighed to see the recovery efficiency. All fairly crude technique, but they got it done, while the people in GEO and on earthsurface were still squabbling to get the real machine located somewhere else except where they wanted to be in GEO, the typical problem with trash handling. Nobody wants to take the trash out, or haul it, or dispose of it; and definitely wants it elsewhere. It is all a messy process. Yet if it was not removed it would foul one’s nest. So what they were doing here is preparing a step in the cleaning up of their nest. And they were doing it to stuff that nature, even in her finest condition, could not biologically recycle.

Their experimental results sent to the engineers, their part of the job was done. They had the lunar prototype available, it was theirs to keep. Primitive, yet they kept it running, put out more catchers so as to gather some of the elements that their other processes could not obtain from the lunar ore. occasionally they would go out and fill the hopper with marble sized chunks of ore, and collect some of the catchers, and leave the recycler to do its thing when the sun shines.

In the GEOSpaceDock, room for engineering to go on directly there had been built, along with basic machining and electronic fabrication facilities, so now the development cycle was shortened a lot, no longer always needing to commute up and down the carousel escalator. The escalator trip itself only took 5 and a half hours, going up or down, but the commute after that, from the Andes Mountains in Ecuador to cities elsewhere in the world, was what took the time. A next version of the prototype was built, this time intended for use on the lunar environment; it was built into another lander configuration, shuttled over to lunar orbit by the GEO-Lunar orbital transfer freighter, and soft landed in a new place yet still near StationBase1, so that it could be evaluated by personnel already there.

Idealiana and her crew were not as enthusiastic this time, yet made the trip out to the new recycler’s landing site as soon as it had landed. This time all they had to do was pull equipment bays down, drag out tubing for a ring that would lay on the ground to make the circle, attach the new type catchers on their marked locations. It came with a group of materials to be separated into component elements, samples that were precisely known in composition already. turn the power switch on; it was fully automated from there on, unfurling its huge solar concentration reflector and photovoltaics for its internal electrical power. They recorded a few meter readings, aimed its communication laser at StationBase1 to supply information to be uplinked to the engineers in GEO. They were getting data 3 hours after landing; the team was getting good.

And when the latest recycler prototype had been evaluated and data delivered back to the designers, the lunar processing site had another way to totally process lunar ores, as well as some of the scrap such as from the Tanfl patrol craft’s bent landing strut.

Idealiana had decided that the presumably destroyed patrol experimental craft could be an asset in the future, since even though it had been proclaimed to be built just to patrol around in GEO, it clearly had been designed to land and take off from the Moon. It still had the fuel in it to return to GEO, for example; so they instead fabricated and attached a new landing strut to replace the one crumpled in it landing, and built a pseudo ore mound heaped over the spot where the patrol spacecraft was hidden. Maybe someday it would be needed, maybe fuel brought in for a more extended mission. No one at the station knew how to fly the thing, however, as Tanfl had the only training simulators. So for now it was merely a collector’s item, along with the two prototype total recycling plants.

A few more months and engineering was ramped up to full speed in the new GEO engineering development facilities. They still had the same agreement as the first joint project with Tanfl, that for each Tanfl engineer on the job in a 3Musketeers plant, a 3Musketeers fledgling engineer would be learning from him/her on the job. Already there were fully qualified 3Musketeers engineers on the job, who had originally been flunkies back in the original sliding armature plant facilities, working with Tanfl engineers.

The Total recycling Plant facilities had been put on the back burner, as the data from the early automated or processor, which were part of the lunar StationBase1, had been assimilated and a new generation of lunar ore semi-automated processors were designed and prototypes being machined and assembled in the new GEO facilities. Soon another lander was being shuttled over to lunar orbit, and down to the surface near StationBase1 again. It was getting harder to find a clear landing area near the facility, there being piles of processed ore, besides the equipment scattered around. Deployment did not need to be fully automated since there were the staff there to help deploy components from the lander, saving a lot of engineering and prototyping effort. However, the station staff still had to work in spacesuits, which did not permit a fine touch to tweak adjustments. To do that, the subassemblies had to be carried into the station, subjected to atmospheric pressure, while being set up by the crew in the shirtsleeve environment inside the lunar station. Then the equipment was again subjected to depressurization when it was returned to the lunar landscape to do whatever its job was.

These new ore processors were still chemically based processing, intensively using solar energy; yet one had a small mass spectrometer that was part of its evaluation section. Interestingly, this small mass spectrometer did double duty in that when it was not being used to monitor the input and output of the ore processor, it was shifted over to do a micro version of the big total recycling units, gathering trace quantities of some otherwise rare elements. These small quantities could be useful in making integrated circuits and micromachines, even in the small quantities being produced as a byproduct of the primary ore processing. The little mass spectrometer still bent the path of its ionized particles according to their ratio of mass to electrical charge, but did not use buckets to collect the distributed elements, but rather used their kinetic energy to bury then in a foam strip. calibrated places along the strip would have the kinetically embedded particle bunches, which could be cut apart and the pieces then baked or dissolved to release their special collection of purified material, even the gasses. The noble gases were all grouped in one bunch, however, not being bent at all due to their lack of charge, yet still propelled fast enough to be embedded in the strip material, to be baked out later in lab facilities.

Transporting the huge aluminum subsections from the lunar surface to GEO was still a big problem. It was a problem that had slid through the crack in the whole project to build cities in GEO, in fact. The sections could be hauled up an anchored tether, either through L-1 toward the earth, or at L-2 on the farside of the Moon, away from the earth. Either tether could be built of space-manufactured fiberglass. A space carousel escalator could be built from the lunar surface, one version could loop from the lunar farside around to connect with L-1 on the earthside of the Moon; the other possibility was from the center of the earth-facing side of the moon, around to no further than L-2 above the farside of the Moon, without having the escalator structure be highly tensile stressed.

O’Neil type mass launchers could be built to heft buckets of lunar soil up to where it could be processed and fabricated into the required structural members. And the buckets could be ingots of metals processed on the lunar surface. How and where to do the catching was the problem, anywhere there would be the preservation of momentum of catcher and caught masses. the catcher would not stay still, unless it had a reaction motor for station keeping. And that used up precious resources.

Whatever was used, it was going to have to be done big time. The structural members and aluminum dual hull skin over them, to build places for 10,000 people to live per city, to move a million people a day for 20 years, meant building homes for them in GEO at the same rate. It would require building 100 cities per day. That was a lot of aluminum, a lot of delivery. The task had always seemed utterly impossible from the beginning, crazy beyond crazy, yet it was now showing signs of possibly being doable although a task still almost beyond comprehension.

It had been said long ago by a powerful team, that the impossible just takes a little bit longer do do. They needed that motto right now, again.