New Moon

Wikus stared up at the Moon, and half a billion refugees stared back. He couldn’t help but think of his grandfather, Papa. He would have been proud.

The atmosphere within the domed city atop Olympus Mons was thin; not for being on Mars or even for its elevation, but for the allocations underway. Olympus Prime no longer stood alone atop the red planet. Thousands of sister cities now joined her, their domes spiraling away and down the mountain like the seeds of some splendid, enormous sunflower. They’d grown up from the Martian soil like a carefully-tended garden over the last two years—built autonomously, of course—in preparation for the Moon’s arrival. Resources would be scarce for some time, but it would settle out eventually.

Popular opinion had forsaken the Earth some 200 years ago. The population sharply declined. It was hoped that Mars could prove to be a suitable New Eden, but progress was slow, and the death toll from one failed dome after another soured the appetite for further development. Then Papa devised the arc.

The Moon, that cradle of interplanetary exploration, could be salvaged, transplanted from its dying host. It took two generations, but Luna was carefully nudged from its orbit, separated from the Earth and shepherded across space, and, now, introduced to a new dancing partner. All those that wished to make the journey were aboard. Those who had stayed behind had long since perished in the aftermath.

Soon, the people of the Moon would begin to descend to the Martian surface, though some would always stay moonbound. Humanity would never again be a single planetary species.

Papa died not knowing if his project would be completed. It must have broken his heart. But Wikus liked to think that if Papa could look down now and see his grandson gazing at the first full Moon on Mars, its face much bigger than it ever was from Earth’s surface, his heart would be equally as full. There was much work to do, but a moment could be spared to take in this wonderful new view.

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