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Naked Moon

A short story from 2016.

Naked Moon

Her shift had ended at nine-twenty, but an hour and a half later, she was still inside the mines, her clothes covered in moon dust and tools fully powered. There was no sound, but every time the hammer struck the rocks, vibrations shot through her arms to her head, and she could swear she heard the cracking.

The rock exploded but there was no mineral inside. Instead of gleaming red crystals, there was only worthless moon rock. Accounting summed a disappointing zero profit at the end of her shift. A sound on her comm meant she had to call it a day. She clicked a button on the side of the helmet and a staticky voice came through. “Jill, don’t let SHHH here, come SHHHH, it’s time.” She didn’t need the full message to get it; dinner was served and the ‘entertainment’ was missing.

She took a few weightless steps and was out of the mine. It wasn’t like the blue planet’s mines, a hole in a mountain or a huge man-made spiral valley. It was the side of a crater. A regular crater with a regular mine with a regular alien digging through its regular moon rock, just to find a small amount of red crystal, worth thousands more than gold.

She emerged from the crater and saw the base — a huge “A,” as if America needed more than just being the richest country in the world, they needed to sign the freaking moon, too. “The Big A” was home to several astro-miners: three humans, a Baclavian and a Pulse. Jill was an Aldren.

A few jumps later she was at the door. She pressed the green button and the door spiraled open. She depressurized and removed her heavy, dusty suit.

“Come, alien, join us!” Jolie shouted.

“Sit your fat alien ass here, Jill,” said Magenta.

“I made roasted moonworm,” said Kgg-Lau-Ga, the Baclavian.

The Pulse’s thoughts invaded her mind like a thousand voices in one: “IT SMELLS GREAT”. She hated the Pulse. Actually, she hated everyone.

“I’m coming,” Jill called. “I’ll just have a shower.” She walked through the corridor and passed in front of the kitchen, smiling. “Remember…”

The group answered as one. “We know, never interrupt an Aldren’s shower”.

An Aldren’s parent could shape the infant until its third year. After that the DNA would follow the specified pattern and grow into a full formed adult. They came to Earth in the early 1800’s, and while some took form of cockroaches and cows, others became politicians. Humans found about them when a rat gave birth to three turtles that learn kung-fu. It took no time for it to be on TV. The only moment they were in their true shape (a formless ball of flesh) was during a shower. That simple moment was their best, when they got in touch with their species in full. That’s why one should never interrupt an Aldren’s private time.

Jill went to her shower and the group continued their talk. The subject was, “could Aldren grow a penis on a toddler’s forehead?” They liked to say nasty things like that to Jill.

But Jill was getting tired of people making fun of her. She climbed inside her shower station and saw a little camera on the shelf. “Fuckers,” she thought. “They won’t see THIS coming.” She snatched up the camera and stomped to the kitchen. When they saw her face they abruptly stopped talking about how Aldren were living clay.

“You all want to see how I look when I shower, do you?” she snapped, “You want to know if I’m as hideous as your jokes?” She threw the camera onto the table. Kgg-Lau-Ga retracted his fangs and lowered his pointy ears. The Pulse got silent. “I’m going to fucking blow your mind then,” she said, and with a flick of a wrist, her jumpsuit was off.

As it fell to the ground, the human men’s jaws dropped. The Baclavian’s fangs retracted even further than Kgg-Lau-Ga thought possible. The Pulse, taken by surprise, did a nanosecond search in the websphere and found three matches that could go well with that moment. It chose the first one, and the moonbase speakers started to blast Careless Whisper.

Jill was gorgeous. Her skin color was a dark brown and her body had more curves than the suit ever showed. There shouldn’t have been nipples or pubic hair, but there they were, the pubes carefully trimmed. Aldrens were supposed to look horrifying when naked.

“This is how I look when I shower. I’m not a formless meatball, can’t you see? I’m not a fucking alien, so stop making fun of me. Eat your shitty dinner and shut the hell up!”

They stared, bemused. The only things that moved were the steam wafting off the moonworm, and the physical form of the Pulse, which actually pulsed from a light cyan to a strong navy blue.

The Pulse’s projected thoughts had gone as cold as frozen hell. “YOU CAN’T BE. IT’S AGAINST THE RULES.” She smiled as she perceived that everyone got the Pulse’s message.

“But… you dress like an alien,” said Jolie.

“And you eat like an alien too,” said Magenta.

Even the Baclavian was shocked. “You eat shit,” he said, speaking about the known diet of deep fried food the Aldren enjoyed.

“I faked it all. The clothes just fit and the shit I eat is common 21st century food, bad for your refined taste.”

The Pulse manifested again, as a strong wind at the top of a mountain. “YOU SHOULD’VE BEEN ALDREN, IT’S THE ALIEN QUOTA.”

She knew she had only gotten this job because there was an alien spot open. That’s why she lied on her application. Jill needed the money, and then it had just become a convenient job. She knew the Pulse was transmitting to every space station at that moment. She had chosen to blow their minds metaphorically, but now she had to leave that place literally.

She knelt, fully naked, and got her clothes back up. Jolie, with an obvious erection, shouted, “NO!” He hadn’t seen a woman in the last five years. Jill dressed her legs, zippered up to her neck and ran towards her quarters. She had to get out of there until there was clearance. A simple escape shuttle could take her to Earth, away from moon police jurisdiction.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done this,” she thought. “I could’ve taken a little more bullying. It wasn’t so bad.”

She got to the shuttle bay and threw herself into one of the capsules. She screamed when she found Jolie, half naked, waiting for her. He was lying on the floor, grinning, with a sheet covering his lower parts. He held a glass of wine on one hand while the other rested his head, a strange scene under red light.

“Where the hell did he get this wine and why in heavens is George Michael still playing?” Jill wondered, before kicking him in the groin and pushing him out of the capsule.

She pressed the red button in the console and the shuttle started. “YOU FOOLED THE PULSE,” the Pulse thought at her, too loud as always. The big metallic door slammed shut and the engines vibrated into action. “YOU DESERVE A PRIZE FOR THAT.” The escape vessel got off the Big A. “KUDOS, REALLY, YOU ROCK.”

The manager was finishing a report when he heard the screaming. He went to the kitchen and saw Magenta there, in shock, trying to understand what happened. The manager heard the noise from the shuttle bay and ran towards it. He saw Jolie in a prone position, holding his parts while crying (not of pain, but sadness), and noticed one of the suits missing. As he looked through the reinforced windows and saw the Baclavian jumping, as if he wanted to get high enough to reach the fleeing shuttle, the manager wondered. “What the hell is going on?”

He couldn’t imagine the kind of report he would have to fill out — an uncommon day in the moon, but an amazingly fun one nonetheless. A good one for Jill, though. At least someone had some fun.