After many fitful attempts we'd finally reached the goal so many had hoped to achieve. We were entitled to a celebration. It was to be the most raucous party ever held on this side of the moon. No expense was too great, we'd swill liquor, we'd eat our entire stock of delectable goodies, and in the dark morning we'd drag ourselves from our bunks or crawl from them depending upon how close to the ground they'd been fitted.
Vale was our hero, Rose was our heroine, and Duke was our mascot. Just within the past hour we'd anointed this trio who'd been duly elected based upon their feats of fearless action or just plain annoying characteristics.
Duke was the only member of the trio who wasn't human but being mans & woman's best friend and the first of his furry four pawed race to set foot on the moon we decided that he should be privileged to be our mascot.
This dark, cavernous hole we'd been sunk into on this barren rock of powdery dirt had been our home for nearly three years. Not a soul knew how or why we'd been selected but skill, intelligence, and physical endurance weren't the criteria. It was simple we were the only fools dumb enough to volunteer for mining work that took us out to this oxygen packed shell. We were contractually obligated to fulfill a 'sentence' of five years out here in this dark middle of nowhere.
Granted, the pay wasn't bad considering you could earn two hundred percent of what you earned back on Earth. But if you'd asked any one of us whether we'd sign up if we knew what we knew now their response would have been a resounding no. It just wasn't worth any sum of money to be stuck out here so far from any tangible natural light and our significant others back on Terra Firma.
Point of fact, we were the idiots who thought it would be exciting to set foot on this bright crater filled rock circling Earth. Little did we know at the time that we'd be spending away our precious lives digging on the pitch-black side. Not that digging was all that glamorous and exciting. Surely, not like the brilliantly colored images of smiling, healthy workers conquering a world for the benefit of humankind - better put, for the palace building dreams of executives and investors.
We all hung on by a thread, a thin easily broken spider web's single line. After a while all the corporate approved entertainment turned into repeats that we watched like automatons set to a task. Even sex became mundane when the mind keeps wondering back to blue oceans and white-capped mountains.
The first to "Go Under" was Josephine. She was an African American beauty who could have grabbed herself any successful man she'd have set her sights on instead she latched her sights on adventure, on this worthless moon. About half a year ago Jossey started displaying signs that initially didn't seem all that disturbing.
Given that most of us couldn't stand to be here being late to work at least once a week wasn't all that unusual but when Jossey started to regularly show up at the pit two or more hours late we all started to be a bit concerned. It's not that we were terrific humanitarians (we all were to a certain extent) but our contract with the super mega corporation back on Earth was very explicit: "Any disruption of production due to malfeasance, ineptitude, or criminality would come out of the team's pay." Therefore, we had a hell of an incentive to maintain production at this shit hole. If it meant dragging Jossey out of her bunk and threatening her with bodily harm we'd do it but first we tried more subtle less overtly drastic approaches.
We hinted that getting to bed early, reducing our coffee & cola intake, and increasing our sexual activity to relieve all the accumulating stress might increase our production output. Production was the Holy Grail, the Nirvana that kept the corporate monster at bay and always had the potential to enrich our pockets with a few coins thrown carelessly down from up high. Obviously, our primary concern at this stage was just to keep the dollars flowing into our corporate accounts back home.
Nothing seemed to work, the situation with Jossey only deteriorated from bad to worse. So we resorted to the less subtle approaches and went full bore in an attempt to salvage our production quotas for the remainder of the Earth year.
We began with dragging her out of her bunk feet first. When this would no longer rouse her we enlisted the services of a large pan filled with precious cold water. Of course, the water was precious since it had been recycled from our piss with only a few drops being supplemented from the frozen crystals in the rock material "unmooned" during the mining operation.
We were desperate, our money was on the line and the corporate beast back home wasn't in a charitable mood. So what was an unthinkable waste of a precious resource in our early years became an un-remarked, unmentioned necessity required to wake the bitch up. Our lips would be a little more cracked and our mouths a tad bit drier but the flow of cash into our corporate accounts would be unaffected - that is until Jossey got worse.
None of us could have foreseen the turn of events that would follow. It was incomprehensible; we were just too virile, young, strong, and full of energy when we arrived on this crater gouged lump of a boulder. But like a strong concrete foundation resting on sand little cracks appeared that began to undermine the entire base of our lives. It was like all change it crept up from some unknown orifice to emerge ever so slowly until the known tangible reality became unrecognizable.
One dark moon morning we came with the pan full of water at the appointed spot overlooking sleeping beauty's relaxed body. After dually dragging Jossey's dead weight from the bed we did what we'd done for the past two months - pore the large pan of water directly on her placid face. Except this time no startled look, no "what the fuck", no "just let me sleep" came from her mouth, just uninterrupted snoring. She was literally 'gone to the world'. Not even a nuclear explosion could have awakened sleeping beauty from her half dead state.
It was now apparent that she hadn't decided to become sleeping beauty but had been transformed into this lethargic slug by some physiological or psychological condition. So forfeiting Jossey's contract, which would mean she'd be liable for every last dime if she were deemed to be unfit for continued service to the corporate monster was our last viable option. Hell, we surely didn't want to risk her life not knowing what was wrong with her and more importantly we definitely weren't going to have our corporate bank account balances drop to a big fat zero.
Doctor Zfram, the corporate doctor glided down the transport conveyor not more than a few minutes after we'd called him on the intercom. My first impression was that he appeared to resemble a hold back from the twenty-third century "Nuclear Wars" with his pure white twisted hair and rotten teeth. Only his black corporate uniform with the pole of serpents resting squarely on his right breast and his stethoscope lent a speck of professional air to his puny frame.
Relishing the opportunity to examine this African beauty Dr. Zfram immediately asked us to move her into the adjacent break room. He obviously hadn't become a doctor out of any burning desire to aid the sick but from his own acute desire to take advantage of those of the opposite sex too weak to utter a cry for help.
Once inside the break room the good doctor removed all of Jossey's clothes, pulling ever so carefully on her panties and bra so that her apple sized breasts with perk nipples pointing straight to the ceiling and wet elevated pubic area (Jossey was obviously having quite a dream) were clearly visible to his expert eyes.
After taking what seemed like an hour to examine Jossey we all decided that he had taken far too long to check her heart, pulse, and blood pressure. When we opened the door we found the reject of a 'good doctor' moving in a plunging action on top of the unsuspecting patient. The guys in our tight little group grabbed the dirty old doctor and pushed him against the wall with their combined might. They then dragged the now flaccidly limp old man over to Jossey who'd been redressed us gals in the team.
"What the hell do you think you were doing?" came from Vale Hutton the largest six foot seven specimen of a man any of us had ever set eyes upon at the corporate signing facility years before.
"Well now you know my dirty little secret - why I've been forced to work out here on this damn rock?" was the unconcerned response from doctor Jeckle (better known as Dr. Zfram) who still couldn't keep his eyes off of the mound under Jossey's panties.
Vale who'd taken charge at this point decided not to continue with the impromptu cross-examination when Jossey was laying prostate oblivious to the world.
Looking sternly at the doctor Vale spoke in controlled gasps "Were you able to PROPERLY examine the patient to at least give us some idea of what the hell is wrong with her?"
The doctor truly shaken and fearing for his life blurted out in a fast staccato "She has what corporate is calling Diverago Campo or DC for short."
Losing his patience Vale tightly grabbed the doctor by the shoulders with his vise like hands. "Doctor plain English please! What the hell is DC?"
Regaining his composure the 'voodoo' doctor proceeded to inform his young victims of the virus that Galaxy Mining (a.k.a. - mega beast of a corporation who was their employer) had been trying to hide for upwards of two decades.
Speaking now in a more professional dispassionate corporate verbiage the doc (maybe large animal vet) relayed to us what would ultimately be our shared fate.
It seemed that Galaxy Mining couldn't totally rely on robot droids to productively mine the small iron ore deposits on the moon, that being already tried unsuccessfully in the first year of operation. The profit to the investors, the billions siphoned from the company by the executives, and any other lobbyist and/or stray leech sucking heartily on the corporate tits couldn't be sustained by clumsy cheap robot miners.
Therefore, it was determined early on that Galaxy (a.k.a. giant leech) needed human fodder to mine its measly stake of iron ore from its mine on the moon. So Galaxy in conjunction with Earth CorpGov headquarters in Washington, D.C. worked up a scheme to entice unwitting, ignorant, gullible, and unsuspecting young recruits to join teams to mine in this off world hell.
Given the sheer distance from relatives, and others the miners cared about back on Earth you'd have thought the mega mining corporation would have allowed visits to their mining site; but oh, you must be kidding for that would have reduced the productivity of their mining operation. For it was essential that every last particle of iron ore be extracted from the bright rock circling earth at the least cost so that all the blood sucking greedy leaches controlling CorpGov and Galaxy Mining could extract more and more billions from the operation.
A major problem erupted or in the eyes of Galaxy Mining who controlled a significant proportion of CorpGov's many tentacles only a minor setback occurred nine months into the second year when miner 543547 from team 80 came down with some unknown terminal illness.
Corporate as it had done in the past decided to squelch any news of this potentially disastrous (a profit had to be made) setback from reaching the as yet still free independent non-corporate media machine. In conjunction with their government stooges in Washington, D.C. and global connections they proceeded to bury the existence of Diverago Campo or DC under a mountain of propaganda unrelated to the actual reality surrounding the moon mining operation.
All the media parrots under the payroll of this mega intertwined corporate/governmental entity shifted to a "red alert" hyperactive state of disinformation production. It spewed from all corners of the well-controlled globe - "All is well with the expertly run mining operations on the moon. No problems have been encountered."
Even those who'd signed up for something more than becoming a vegetable after less than a year were secretly spirited away on specially guarded government craft back to newly built sanatoriums located in the middle of the desert southwest.
No trace, no sign, no evidence could be gleaned, and therefore this reality like so many in the past history of Global CorpGov had been altered to become the new approved reality. The reality that all believed, the reality ingrained into the business religious psyche of a global citizenry brainwashed into accepting whatever flowed from the sewer midway on the eastern shore.
Now with only a day or two remaining of cogent life those of us condemned to becoming the latest squash, or broccoli to lie on white sheeted beds were having one a hell of a party. It would be our last party, it would be a party remembered by corporate.
"What were those flashes coming from the Galaxy mining operations that our Lunar Tracking satellite picked up this morning?" The CorpGov general in charge of lunar operations for Galaxy Mining seemed truly concerned.
"Damn, shit, they blew the whole fucking thing up!"