Moonscape image by NASA on Unsplash

The Moon Has a Shy Side - A sci-fi short story about r/cryptocurrency

By Epy | Fiction Factory | 13 Apr 2021

              When I look around at the bustling enterprises and technological feats we’ve achieved on the Moon, I can’t help but wonder if I’m in a dream. See, the modern history of the Moon’s development is a little hard to believe. Even for me, and I was part of the shenanigans that led to this success. It all started in the r/cryptocurrency subreddit in about 2020, if I’m remembering correctly. The community concocted a scheme to reward content posters with ‘moons’, a cryptocurrency that loosely correlated with the karma system. This currency was intended to be used to purchase features and tip fellow meme lords as an auxiliary award. The problem with their little scheme? Well, nothing. Except all of us meme lords never bothered using the currency. Instead, we held them virtually forever.

              You might be asking why this is all relevant. Indeed, you’re right to ask. Allow me to explain, because it’ll take a minute or two to catch you up. Due to r/cryptocurrency’s ‘diamond hands’ we sent the ‘moon’ currency to the financial moon in 2030. For the uninitiated, diamond hands is a financial slang term used to express that we never let go of our cryptocurrency. Ever. With a max cap of 250 million moons and the meme lord’s diamond hands, we managed to match bitcoin’s then nine trillion market cap by driving the price of the moons up, which is simply incredible to fathom. For those not terribly great with math, that made each moon worth a whopping $36,000 each. So, what did all of us meme lords do with all of our moon money? We went to the Moon. Literally. r/cryptocurrency’s absurd penchant for never taking a profit actually led to the construction of a permanent Moon base.

Needless to say, it was a rather drastic turn of events on the Earth. With nine trillion in capital the meme lords, including myself, established organizations to create a base on the Moon. That was over thirty-five years ago now. See why it’s hard to believe? A bunch of nerds passionate about crypto achieved what governments have never accomplished. As you can imagine, the nations of Earth caused plenty of drama about our success, but we were able to eventually overcome their concern about permanent bases on the Moon. How? By agreeing to never build permanent structures on the Earth-facing side of the Moon. For those that may not know, the Moon is tidally fixed. It doesn’t spin like the Earth. Basically, the entire far side of the Moon was ours to do as we pleased.

              We obviously came together to form solutions because living on the Moon required resolving loads of issues we never faced on Earth. I mean issues beyond the obvious. For example, have you ever looked at the far side of the Moon? It’s riddled with more craters than even the Earth facing side, meaning frequent meteorites were a concern. Some issues had nothing to do with the harsh nature of the Moon itself, but due to natural tensions with Earth. Their aversion to facilitate our Moon base building efforts led us to develop our own industries and logistical solutions.

              Subsequently agriculture centers were a must, but even those had added challenges of the Moon’s day-night cycles being two-week intervals. Thus, they needed to be able to operate during the dark weeks. As you can imagine, living on the Moon lent itself to our needing to recycle near everything, but we still had to harvest ‘fresh’ water from ice quarries in the Moon’s permanently dark craters at a balmy -400 degrees Celsius. The list went on and on.

              Rail guns eventually solved the meteorite issue. We were able to mine the minerals we needed and so on. Various industries sprang up left and right, and we even became the crypto currency capital for both the Moon and Earth alike, much to the chagrin of our home planet. Our Moon base became a de facto Moon nation with sprawling cities, and it was glorious. This, however, brings me to the modern issue at hand.

              Recently there was a terrorist attack on Earth’s Global Seed Vault. The attack was not to destroy the seeds, but to steal them. Who would do such a thing? Media reports from both the Moon and Earth claimed it was the proto-nationalist Moon faction who are dubbed Moonies. They informally represent roughly half of the Moon’s population. What was their plan exactly? Apparently to grow new agriculture on the Earth-facing side of the Moon. If you recall, that violates the primary agreement we made with Earth to have an autonomous Moon base to begin with. Put differently, they want to challenge Earth for the complete right to self-determination as a Moon nation. Stealing Earth’s emergency supply to grow it on the Moon is a rather dark strategy.

              Where does that leave the rest of everyone? Well for starters, we’re referred to as Passives. It’s somewhat derogatory, as it implies that we don’t care what happens to our fledgling Moon nation, but that’s not accurate. However, our name has stuck with us and it is what it is. “Are you still writing in that paper journal, Franky?” said a familiar voice behind me. I looked back from my scribbles and saw my friend Camino just in time for him to slap my back. “It’s not a journal. I’m writing a letter to the past,” I explained. That letter is of course addressed to you. Camino shook his head and said, “How can you concentrate on your little project when Earth is mobilizing a response to make us pay for what the Moonies did?”

              My heart sank. I had hoped Earth would show us some patience while we rooted out the Moonies responsible. If they were headed here, we could be in some trouble. “What do you mean Camino? Are they sending representatives or investigators?” I asked. Camino frowned and pointed to his phone. “Neither. They’re sending an armed task force. It could be the first armed conflict to occur both on the Moon and away from the Earth,” he said solemnly.

              I didn’t have to ask why they were sending a task force rather than a modern cruise missile. Although both resolutions were very drastic. They simply couldn’t bombard us because of our asteroid railgun systems. That means they had to use a physical means to do their dirty work. “Why not dialogue with us though, Camino? I don’t understand why they’re resorting to violence immediately. Given enough time we could figure out which Moonies did this,” I said. Camino took a seat next to me and rubbed his brown facial hair pondering what I said.

              “Maybe Earth doesn’t care who it is,” he lamented. I understood how he felt. On the account of some overly zealous Moonies, both Passives and Moonies were going to pay the price one way or another. I looked out the window for a moment to survey the moonscape. It was beautiful and haunting. There was some freight traffic, but I didn’t mind. It reminded me of watching the large freight shippers in the harbors on the coast back on Earth. I could easily lose my train of thought watching them, because I’d wonder what strange land they were going to.

              “I’m here for a reason, Franky. We need to game plan what we’re going to do about this task force. We’re having a meeting shortly, between Moonies and Passives, to get to the bottom of this. Come with, we could use your help,” said Camino. My help? I didn’t have any particular skill, but I was good at putting things together. I guess he meant figuring out a way to deal with Earth’s pending retaliation. I waved my hand for him to lead the way.

              We took a shuttle that brought us to another city. It was the Passives’ heart of power. “I’m a little surprised the Moonies are bothering to show up after the stunt they pulled, Camino,” I said reflectively. He shrugged and replied, “Is it surprising? They had to know what would result from attacking the World Seed Bank.” I guess. It was a heck of a way to get us involved with the proto-nationalist movement, wasn’t it? Still, something didn’t sit right with me about all of this. As we approached the landing I asked, “Why do you think the Earth bothered to announce their task force?” Camino glanced at me trying to figure out what I was getting at. Finally he said, “I guess to scare us into submission.” Sounds about right.

              The meeting was already in full swing when we arrived, but we were able to get a seat without causing any interruptions. I noticed right away the reporter gal Karen from the Moon’s main media station was passionately arguing with the leader of the Moonies, Wallace. The gist of the argument was the reporter levying accusations at Wallace. My first instinct was she was just an angry Passive, but Wallace wasn’t having any of it. “No Moonie did this. I swear it,” he claimed. The entire room was dubious, even some of the Moonies present. The reporter huffed and puffed in obvious disgust. Another member of the meeting said, “We don’t have time to get to the bottom of who may have done this Wallace, even if it wasn’t your people directly. We should just let Earth’s task force in to avoid violence.” Wallace put his hands in his face, truly dismayed by the whole situation.

              If it wasn’t your people directly? Camino’s words echoed in my mind from earlier. Maybe Earth doesn’t care who it is, he had said. I stood up suddenly, scootching my chair back with a metallic scrape on the floor. It got everyone’s attention. I looked right at Karen and said, “Mam, I heard your report on the World Seed Bank, but what’s the actual evidence the Moonies did it?” She replied, “It’s the Moonies we’re talking about.” I pounded my fist on the table and said, “That’s an allegation mam. Where’s the evidence? Wallace’s face lit up and I could see his mind churning.

              “The Moonies were set up,” I suggested. The whole room gasped. “Why though?” asked someone. I gave a gallic shrug and said, “Maybe, to let Earth waltz in here and take us over? Listen to these arguments. Wallace is claiming his people didn’t do it, as expected. However, the reporter has no evidence only accusations. Earth is figuratively marching its way here, based on something that happened but no proof it was the Moonies. Even if Earth provided proof, would you believe them after listening to this reporter shamelessly shill her opinion just like the Earth’s reporters did? Or perhaps it’s worse than that. Maybe our media is in league with the Earth’s media. Maybe Earth is fomenting this event for a hostile takeover.”

              The reporter was shocked at my forwardness. Wallace exclaimed, “Of course! They’re turning us against each other. Proto-nationalists just love our Moon nation, we don’t want to be aggressors. We’re misunderstood.” I believed him. I’m ashamed I ever believed the media. I knew Earth’s media could never be trusted, but I had forgotten how easy corruption can slip in. The room was silent for a brief moment, but I broke the quiet saying, “Let’s apprehend her for now, and everyone who suggested we let Earth waltz in. We’ll provide a fair trial, but we’ve got to deal with the threat at hand. If these people are in league with Earth in a plot to overthrow our Moon nation, they ought not to be in the same room.”

              Wallace’s people got to arresting those folks, to very loud protests. I’m sure some were innocent, but we couldn’t worry about that now. We had to act. Camino spoke up and said, “Well, what’s next then?” I replied, “I don’t like it, but if Earth is bent on invading our Moon, then it behooves us to meet them when they land. I’m certain they’ll use some kind of mechanized armor to press their attack if we resist it, like a siege. If we meet them as they’re landing, we may be able to surprise the Earth.”

              From there the brighter minds got to work formulating a plan to beat Earth’s best. I suspected we would be able to pull this off because surely Earth expected us to fold over after being barraged by the media and its corrupt government. Camino gave me an approving head nod for taking charge of the meeting. I smiled back, but I was thinking about the reporter woman Karen. I excused myself and found where she was, kept in a room with a pair of men guarding her.

              “Are you here to interrogate me?” she asked bitterly. I ignored her question and asked, “Is there any integrity in journalism anymore? Or do all reporters shill for their favorite team?” She wasn’t the least bit shocked at my question. She looked at me dead in the eye and said, “For the public to believe something, it has to come from every source they trust at the same time.” I narrowed my eyes and said, “That sounds quite calculating. How long would something like this take to orchestrate ‘every’ source having the same message?”

              I was surprised by her candid answer. “From the moment r/cryptocurrency went to the Moon, Earth has been plotting a way to take her back over. Every scientific journal and institution, every school and university, every media organization, every corporation, and every government on Earth wants to possess the same thing,” she said. I replied, “The Moon?” She smiled at me and said, “The Moon, what you built, and all the people that are here.”

I took my leave after her creepy response, and I began to feel a lot like a proto-nationalist Moonie. I forgot how insatiable Earth was to possess everything that someone else earned and built. This is largely why we went to the Moon to begin with. We were a meek people, and we didn’t want this fight. Nonetheless we had to stop Earth in their tracks, or they’d overpower us and push us to the ends of the solar system. We couldn’t let our diamond handed efforts go in vain.

(Originally published on r/cryptocurrency on 4/12/2021 by myself)

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