Bighead Moon Stories
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Imperial Earth
Bighead Moon Stories are in the tradition of classic hard science fiction.
Mars Landing
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UFOs Over Woodstock
Upcoming stories: UFOs Over Woodstock, The Girl with the Yin Yang Belly Button, Fan the Ember Moon.
International Association of Astronomical Artists
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Anderson Farms
Anderson Farms, circa 2195
Bighead Moon
text and illustrations copyright © 2002 - 2020 Peter Thorpe
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Chapter Two
Bam Lyle
Bam Lyle
"Her name is Bam Lyle. She came up two cycles ago with Senator Makavitch’s people. Temp Visa #329rh0307. She is listed as a Legal Aide, which, at her age of seventeen, is illegal in the Senator’s country, NorthAm."

Security Staff Sargent Zeus Dayton listened to com as he studied the image of Bam. He saw a long thin body, a tight smile, and a deep well of bubbling enthusiasm. But it was a careful look. Her eyes had a gleem of both welcome and challenge. A bit of the devil in her, Zeus thought. The sort that finds it easy to get into trouble.

"Bam Lyle has no arrest record, although NoHem has a d/link on her family g-map. High degree of emotional activism. Her personal g-map is under diplomatic immunity.

"Since arrival in Bighead City she has worked and lived in the NorhAm compound, with no recorded excursions beyond. She has been attending supplemental classes in the NorthAm side of the university complex, which is where she probably met the young men involved."

Zeus pictured the university plaza, with its three level high dome of sun catchers and filters, gleaming like a diamond. He could see the students perched on steps and fountains, socializing, eating, swapping tests. He mentally put the form of Ms. Lyle into the picture, then ran the projection. She’d be a real magnet, he thought. The four young men who were sitting in his outer office would certainly think so.

Zeus had questioned the boys most thoroughly. In his judgement, they were totally innocent. Kids were easy to read and what he had was a collection of four very scared and confused students. Local students. Three Moonborn and one here since ’25. They knew Bighead City as only locals could, and when an Earthgirl asked them to show her around, sneak her out and show her a good time...well, who could blame them.

But Zeus had to blame someone. Makavitch was furious. Threats were coming in from the NorthAm politic. It was eight hours after the fact and there were no leads. Halls Hyde to O had been combed. The Deep Independents had complained and had given little help, as usual. The site on Kay plaza where the boys were found had been isolated and biologically contained. NorthAm’s own security people were pushing their weight around with the bioscans. And Chief Baker was not at all happy.

The oldest of the boys, Yassi Omi, claimed that the abduction took place on N hall soon after they left The Anything Possible Bar. Zeus was inclined to believe him, even though the boy’s blood ethanol count was astronomical. Yassi had told Zeus about a terra ball in the hall and a gas cloud. The boy seemed sincere. Zeus could only conclude that they had been moved up to Kay, probably by the same person or persons who now had the girl.

When he had, via com, questioned Ms. Katie Boundry, manager of The Anything Possible, he had found out one thing. Ms. Boundry did not remember the youngsters specifically, but she did report hearing someone running out in the hall after she had closed up. "I pulled the door down soon after 25th hour," she had said, "and I was getting set to go down to my place when I heard somebody running out in the hall. Going uptunnel. Didn’t think much of it except to wonder who’d have the energy to run at that hour."

Ms. Boundry was known to be the partner of Berenson Lee, a prime cubic owner of lower hall real estate and a known Deep Independent. He had kept to himself for the past few years and had become a generous contributor to the Security Fund. Chief Baker knew his father from the early settlement, so Zeus didn’t worry that angle. If Mr. Lee was to be questioned, it would be by the Chief.

The lower west halls, the lettered halls, these were the legendary halls of the early years of the city. Zeus had learned of Adam Anderson in school, and of the Deep People. But those people lived a long time ago. His world was the surface hub of Bighead City, with its peripheral supports, including the port and the driver. The mass driver was an independent ‘port’, and miners often got more for their ice at the driver than at the port. But the port was commercially superior and politically the most important piece of Lunar soil. Zeus was proud to be surface security. This was his world, the surface halls, the tourists, the university, the miners and traders. And now he was getting pulled away, pulled into an old, dark, musty hole. All because a pretty teen from Makavitch’s compound had gotten herself into trouble. Deep trouble.

Dr. Pass Nabi found the message on his office com when he checked into the company lab at fifth hour. To: Scientist Nabi, Quality Lab Division, Just Add Water Re: Bamboo materials research.

Pass rubbed his bald head with his left hand, pausing in the back, at the base of his skull. After a moment he keyed the rest. Shipment of bamboo received complete. No damage. Request invoice, ESD.

Pass exhaled slowly. So the girl was fine. He had grown fond of her and had spent a sleepless night in worry. His explanation to his wives was not untrue. "Can’t get my mind off of work," he had said. He stayed at the house com all night expecting the message to come there. Bea and Chaude probably had a much better night without him in bed. They sure didn’t complain.

Why had the message come to his work com? There was little chance of trouble. The wording was normal. Just Add Water did use bamboo in its materials research. And now that Dr. Ramaja was dead, Pass had no one looking over his shoulder. But he was uneasy in his newfound freedom. He wiped the message with a snake erase. The ‘invoice’ he would take care of later at the university.

As she woke, Bam let her mind race, instead of her heart. Her senses were jammed with information and her time-frame had collapsed. She thought that the input must fit some pattern, it was just going to take a while to sort it all out.

People were talking, just out of understandable range. No lights.

The last thing she could think of was wanting another drink, and Yassi saying she’d had too much. But she didn’t see it that way. Yassi was getting a lot of value out of her. She remembered giving him a quick squeeze and a leading smile, more than enough to send him to the bar for one more round.

Bam liked Yassi. She liked sleeping with him. She could out wrestle him but she mostly let him take control. He was sweet, smart, gullible, east to handle, easy to laugh with. Underneath he was as curious as everyone else about her home, Earth, and her business with Makavitch. But Yassi did not believe in asking questions. She liked that a lot.

And where was he now? She remembered the thing, rolling in the hall, exploding. But now she was lying in a pile of bedding in the dark. Could be a hospital. Yazzi and his friends were probably there too. She thought about calling out his name, but decided to wait. She wanted more information.

The cave she was in had a funny smell. Not like a hospital. And the bed was too big. She could move her arms out without finding an edge. She felt well and whole enough. Then it occurred to her. Aside from the bed sheet she was wearing nothing.

The voices were becoming audible. "Activity," one said, it was a female voice. Bam heard fans come on. Cool air hit her face. It smelled dusty, dirty. A male voice said, "Call downstairs."

Floor lights were slowly coming on. Bam could see that the cave had a rough, arched ceiling. At the taller end a door stood partially open. She sat up and took in the contents of the wide, low space with one sweeping look. Storage bins. Boxes stacked on metal drums. Her bed was actually the platform of a flat transfer rig, like the ones she had seen at the port.

Then the door swung fully open. She thought about grabbing up the sheets to cover her breasts, but the face that met hers was no stranger. Whatever she had felt for him before, she had never let him see her scared. So it was with an even voice that she addressed him. "Well, hello there Senator," she said.

Bighead Moon
| chapter one | chapter two | chapter three | chapter four | chapter five |
More chapters of this novella are coming soon.
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