Bighead Moon Stories
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Imperial Earth
Bighead Moon Stories are in the tradition of classic hard science fiction.
Mars Landing
Peter Thorpe's Rocket Paintings - high quality reproductions as well as current originals - are available through the Peter Thorpe page at Novaspace Graphics. Also, Rocket Paintings are on various products at the RocketZoom Zazzle store.
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
Member International Association of Astronomical Artists
Bighead City, Luna
Bighead City, Lunar North Pole
Let's Turn Off the Sun and See What Happens
A Bighead Moon Story
text and illustration copyright © 2014 - 2020 Peter Thorpe
word count: 3094
uncorrected proof
for review purposes only

"Hey, Cubby, take a look." Reese's thoughts tickled in the back of my mind. I sighed and closed my eyes. I was eating lunch on N hall, and had to concentrate to shut out the noise of the restaurant.

"Her name is Vicky Apple." I saw a girl with flaming red hair wearing a baggy military uniform. She was talking to several people, all much taller than her. "Reese," I thought, "you know I don't approve of this. And I bet that's not her name anyway."

"Of course it's her name, and I'm going to ask her to show me around the base."

"Oh, come on, no, please don't," I thought. "The last thing we need is to screw this up." But I knew he would not listen to me. Unlike myself, Reese loves the unpredictable. He often says, "Between yes and no there are a million maybes." I see life in black and white, but Resse sees the shades of gray as if they were a rainbow of possibilities.

Mom says I am the smart one because I came out second. Reese emerged first, into the light. He was the risk taker, I was the careful one. But I think I just wanted to see how roomy the womb was without him, and in fact I took my time following...a good fifteen minutes later is how Mom remembers it. Reese and I were 'identical' twins, even though we had many differences. But we looked the same. Identical.

And since Mom was a seriously poor, but clever, citizen of Bighead City, she decided that we would be just one person for as long as she could manage it.

Our Lunar cave was in the low letter halls, on Q hall, and cut back into the raw rock there. Way before we were born, Mom had a steady guy who carved out a back cave in her space, really just a large cubby hole, where they kept items that they pulled off tourists, and things like unregistered containers of water or biomass. It was accessed through the back of the alcove, at the bottom behind the shelves, and the hole measured just six cubic meters at best. Eventually the guy left her and took everything, leaving an empty space. When we came along, it became a great little cave for young boys to hide in, play in, and sleep in.

She named both of us Reese. From the beginning, Mom taught us to act as one person. One of us was always in our cubby, and the other one out. It was what Mom believed she had to do to just keep us solvent. She did not have much in resources, no med plan and anyway we were born at medical feed, of course. And Mom did the deliveries herself. She couldn't hide the fact that she was pregnant, but she could hide the fact that she had twins.

Why the facade? Well, Luna charges per person. Air, water, etc. Mom could not afford to have one baby, much less two. She scraped by at best and did a lot of things outside the law. Our father was one of her 'clients,' but she did not know which one, and none of them stuck around anyway. They were all tourists.

"Reese, forget the girl for a moment and give me some idea of our bio sync." He had been in Hevelius Base at Mercury's north pole for less than ten hours, and we still hadn't flattened out our time blocks. He was tranqued during the flight, which gave my mind a nice rest, but now we needed to sync our bios.

"Cuby, I plan to get about four hours of sleep starting at 17 hundred...if you do the same that'd get us very close to even on the bios, tho frankly, I have never felt more rested."

Reese and I developed exceptional telepathic skills early on, much better than what most twins have, perhaps due in part to our unusual arrangement. We learned about the world through com (and ourselves), did not go out very often, never saw any of Mom's clients, which she took care of elsewhere, and we kept up our ruse until the day Resse had his first sexual experience. We were thirteen. I was in the cubby, they were in the green at the end of our hall, and I essentially felt it all. I knew what was happening, I could feel it, and he knew I wouldn't like it but he lost his virginity to a much older person on our hall...a woman. You would think that our orientation would be enough for him, but no, if it was a rule, then he had to break it. But by doing that, he caused me to break our cover. It was driving me nuts. I ran out into the hall, down through the green and right up to the bushes where they were. I pulled him off her, and dragged him, without his pants, back to our cave. We were noticed, of course, and that night security paid Mom a visit.

She would have been in serious trouble but for the fact that we had to explain our incident, and our telepathic connection, and so security reported it to Family Resources and it got leaked into the feeds too.

Aside from the fact that a 'new' person was discovered in Luna, the story was so colorful that it gained the attention of NorthAm System, at a time when their military had just started to experiment with telepaths. We were interviewed several times and it soon became obvious that we were the good stuff. That's when the doors of opportunity opened, and Mom got to pay off all of her bills.

'Paths' were being used more and more for System communications. The light speed of photons could not match the instant communication that telepaths had. Luna to Mars was, depending on orbits, at best, 5 minutes by light (20 minutes at apogee), and Luna to Mercury was an average of 8 minutes by light. You wouldn't think it, but the difference between those numbers and zero mattered to some. Especially the NorthAm military.

We attended a special school just outside Bighead City in the Port caves. Mom kept our cave and got a monthly stipend for us, and I got to pick a name for myself. Reese had to intervene of course, and actually he picked a good one, Ross, which I liked, and that is who I am now, except Reese still calls me Cubby.

"Reese, what are you going to do with that girl?"

"Nothing that will mess with the test. You and I are going to earn our keep and I won't ruin that."


"It's just that her hair is so damn incredible. And the freckles. Kinda makes me want to connect the dots. With my tongue."

"How in heaven's name are we related?"

"If there is a heaven, then it probably has many names. At the moment I think Vickie Apple is one of them."

"But she's a girl!"

";Look, Cubby, there is really not that much difference. Not much at all."

"OK, enough of you!"

Reese receded into the background of my was his doing and he knew when to let me be. He was not trying to upset me. I knew that. He did respect me, I knew that too. But he just couldn't help being Reese.

Anyway, we had many hours to go until zero phase, when Luna and Mercury were in superior conjunction, meaning the points in the orbits where the Sun was directly in between Mercury and Luna. That's when the test would happen, when line of sight communication between Mercury and Luna was not possible, at least not with any direct system. There was the European's Venus Lagrange Lab, off to the solar west of both Luna and Mercury. It could relay com, but the point was to keep the operation within NorthAm security, and more than that, to see if it was possible to send a message through the Sun.

My superior on the project, General James Maxwell, explained to me that Reese and I were the human equivalent of quantum entanglement, which meant that we always had an instant physical connection no matter what the distance between us. Although a function of telepathy in part, it was also something more than that. With atomic particles, such as photons, entanglement is polarized. Two photons that interact and then go separate ways will act like a pair of oppositely spinning coins. Once observed, one will always come up heads, the other tails, no matter which is observed first. Reese and I experienced some bio polarizing during telepathy. So, to help with the test, we wanted to sync our schedule to hopefully get that variable out of the way.

I made my way back to our cave. Mom was living with her new boyfriend, so I had the place to myself. Just as well. I wanted to get more sleep than Reese. I undressed, told com when to get me up, and took a mild tranq to help me knock out. As I passed into sleep, an excitement from Reese was there in the back of my mind. I ignored it as much as possible, but I could tell. He was connecting dots.

"Ross, are you ready for the test?" General Max held out his hand to me when I walked into his office, rested, shaved, and slightly confused.

"Yes, but why here and not at the base?" I had been awakened earlier than I wanted, by com telling me to see the General in his city office, which was right off of the Grand Plaza, up on the surface.

"It's not the base or here. Psyc has decided to set us up high in the Plaza. They want you to have a direct view of Sol. And, we're going to start a little early, to see if that has any problem. We will still have time to move to the base if not."

"OK, fine. Don't see any problem there. I love checking out stuff from Top End."

"Well, we'll be in the University's top level, not quite as high as Top End, but enough that you'll have a good direct view."

Once the psyc officer joined us we made our way up to the University. If you can visit one of the high caves on the south side of the Plaza, where you get a view out of the huge windows looking across the pole, you consider yourself very lucky. Of course, anyone can eat at Top End, the highest spot there, if they had the money. And even if you are on the floor of the Plaza you see the surface. But up high, the angle gives you a glimpse of Earth low on the horizon. You can also see other stuff, like system planets or comets, as long as they are close to the solar ecliptic.

Bighead City is the crown of Luna. It's jewel, the Grand Plaza, is set into the south end of Bighead crater, at the Lunar north pole. Sol and the planets can only be seen low on the horizon from the highest spots in the city by looking north over the opposite wall of Bighead crater, which has high peaks. (Peek the Earth through the Peaks...etc.)

The University office that we walked into was really just a conference room. It was the top story of the drop that brought us up. I could see a wide horizon through the windows, which covered an entire wall. It surprised me that seeing Sol directly, fiercely bright through the tempered windows, really affected me. I lost my breath for a moment. Reese was on Mercury, about to pass behind Sol from my viewpoint. But it was the seething reality of Sol, which I had never felt before, that struck me.

The psyc officer showed some interest, but I waved him off. General Max asked, "Are you fine?"

"Oh, yes. It's, uh, magnificent!"

So they set me up in a chair by the windows, set me up for com, all comfy and nice and they had water there for me too. Reese had remained in the background until this point.

"Cubby? Are you still a poor boy?"

"Oh, so the Mercury Man wakes up!"

"Hey, Mercury is great, don't knock it. Anyway, I'm feeling better than ever...lets do this stuff!"

"OK, mister rested. If that's what you actually did."

We linked our data, each of us thinking out our real time info, all followed by com, and the 'experts' around us. We were less than an hour from zero phase. At this point we were sending through the edge of Sol, and that in itself was ground breaking. And all the while, looking out of those windows, I could feel the Sun, the coronal mass ejection to the east that seemed suspended in time, the few small spots on the face that almost made a 'w', and the sizzling, seething face of Sol herself.

Reese was set up with direct view too, in the base's cupola. I could see that it was tight in there. Sol was much bigger in his windows, of course, but that didn't bother me very much, as my perception was shaded by his.

He seemed to love the view. The people there were mostly not in his thoughts, except for this one small figure that came into view occasionally...with hair as bright as a solar flare.

At minus 20 minutes, when we were pretty much under Sol's limb, we had a burp. For almost one minute, nothing at all. The people with me were getting very nervous, my thoughts had gone flat, but then suddenly there was Reese, saying, "How about this?"

"How about what?"

"Oh good, we're back. Cubby, let me do the driving, OK?"

"What do you mean?"

"You are thinking about Sol too much. I know you feel it. You should feel through it, like it isn't there."

"Fine." We had another five minutes of good connection. Our people were getting good feed. Everyone was smiling, everything rosy. Then, through Reese's eyes, I could see her. It was Vicky Cherry, or Apple, or whatever her name was, and there was her face, touching his briefly...and in front of all those people. What? Reese??

"Calm down, nut job, we're doing fine!"

The Sun seemed to grow in my mind. Huge. I can't tell you how incredibly clear it became, as if I could see every eddy and flow in the fires on its surface. It was completely in focus. Then, it just went white.

Not blank white but a white that was the ultimate force of light. Incredible energy...

It blinded me. I jumped up, turned and ran. Still too bright. Everyone was like a ghost in a white nightmare...barely visible. I pushed past the hands that were trying to reach me. I bumped someone and knocked him or her over. I found the door to the drop.

And the drop was open. I hit the panel, and then the floor, and it did what it was supposed to do, the door closed and it went down.

I don't know how I made it across the floor of the Plaza. As I ran I realized where I was going. Home. Through bleached blind eyes, still showing Sun, I found an empty, open drop and took it down, all the way to Q hall.

It was only a few meters to our cave door. I couldn't see anything, but I got in. I fell to the floor, hands over my eyes, and tried to stop it. The total brightness was overcoming. It didn't work.

A desperation came. I was digging my fingernails into my face. I felt the blood. I thought I was going mad.

I got myself up and staggered back to the alcove. I pulled back the shelves there, spilling everything onto the floor, and knelt down at the entrance to the cubby hole. It was the only thing left to me. I held back for a second, but couldn't balance. So I leaned forward, and fell into the cubby.

The brightness in my mind dimmed. I found the old mattress, the one that Reese and I had shared as kids. I grabbed onto it. It smelled like us. The light in my head was almost gone. I wiped my face and wanted to cry.

And then, "Cubby, are you sucking on your thumb or what???"


"Oh, thank God, you're there! Don't scare me like that!"

"Reese, what happened to the Sun?"

"Never mind that! Just tell me that you are going to be fine!"

I tried to respond, but everything went blank.

General Max was at the top of the cubby hole, looking down at me, and saying, "Ross, are you OK?"

"What? Where is Reese? Where is Sol?"

"Don't worry kid. Everything is fine. Your brother came through for us. He turned off the Sun! Congratulations, you guys are stars!"

The data showed a burp, much like the sort of thing that Reese and I had earlier in the test, but much bigger. This time the interruption wasn’t with us. It was in the spectra. It was in the general data, the quantum flows, the feeds, the whole thing, but not us.

Reese told everyone that when he felt that he had lost me, the only way to get me back was to shut off the Sun. And it just worked. Sometimes the observer changes the universe. Other telepaths have tried to reproduce what we did in simulation tests, but with no success.

Reese and I will probably try it again, real time, but the next superior conjunction of Luna and Mercury, with total, under the solar limb sep at zero phase, is not for some years to come.

General Max wants us to do it. In any event, we accomplished something very important, and I guess I'm proud of that.

But I did have a wonderful rest that night, after cleaning up and getting an expensive hot bath on the military's bill. I knew Reese and I had earned our keep. As I slept that night, I actually enjoyed the sensations coming to me from Mercury. Well, I thought, Reese can do what he wants to with that girl. As long as it makes him and I feel like blissful blazing suns.

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