The Bubble Jul01


Related Posts

Share This

The Bubble

The first to see it was, Pete, the man standing in the crow’s nest on top of the mast. He called out but the wind swallowed his words.  Before he could signal it was gone.  He scanned the water with binoculars but found nothing.  Had it been his imagination?  Bill was not the kind to imagine things, nor a drinker who saw pink elephants.  However this was pink and as big as an elephant, though even an elephant was tiny on the vast Pacific open ocean.  So it wasn’t the size, it was the color. Whatever it was, or had been, was a perfectly round ball of brilliant pink.    Not the usual color of a creature one spotted on the high seas.

Today it was Pete’s job to stand this mast top watch and report everything he saw, but now that he wasn’t even sure he had seen it, what should he do?

He continued his watch as usual.  If it was real it would surely surface again.  If it did, he would… what?  He couldn’t photograph it.  He didn’t have a camera and he couldn’t draw it he didn’t have anything actually, except his binoculars.  Maybe he would just hope it was gone for good. 

At the end of his watch he returned to the deck and began a swift walk around the rails of the ship.  Anyone who had been in a position to see it and was out there at the time, he questioned casually, just to feel them out.  If they had seen anything unusual they would know what he was asking about, if not then not!

“You mean that big giant pink thing?”  He was almost amazed to have found someone who described it exactly.  

“Then you saw it, Gus?”  He asked again.

“Oh yes, but not for long. It… well I’m not sure what it did.  At first I thought it just popped like a big blown up piece of bubble gum.  Know what I mean?”

“I think I do.  I saw something round and pink and it did disappear in a wink, but wouldn’t a popped thing still float on the water?”

“Well if this did, it sank pretty fast, because we were headed right at it and we didn’t pass any pink stuff floating.  Do you suppose a giant jelly fish bloated and puffy, floated to the surface and…”


“That’s the difficult part.  I noticed a shark swimming circles, but it disappeared when “The Bubble” did. Maybe a shark came by and dragged it under to feed upon it.”  Gus laughed.  Somehow the sharks got the blame for everything

“Possible.  But have you ever heard of a giant pink jelly fish?”

“I have never heard of half of the stuff under that ocean.  You tell me you saw it. I’ll believe you.”

“You got me there.”

“Is there such a thing as a pink weather balloon?”  Gus asked.  Pete wrinkled his brow.  

“Who knows?  Those weather guys have loads of crazy stuff to work with and of course it didn’t have to be one of ours.  Out here it could have come from almost anyplace on the Pacific Rim.  Korea, India, Japan, China, or way down south, Australia or New Zealand!  But… if it’s a free-flying weather balloon or some other man-made creation, then it has to be in line with the Gulf stream or the high air current , Jet Stream, which pretty much means Japan or Russia.”

“Did you report it?”

“Report what?”  Fellow sailor, Gus, winked.

“I know what you mean.  I haven’t either.”  Pete commented.  “Do you suppose anyone else saw it?”   Gus seemed to doubt it as he shrugged his shoulders.

“If anyone mentions it though, I will let you know.  Actually I am a little bit glad you did. I was beginning to doubt my sanity.  Out here for weeks like we have been can be… you know… stressful.”

In the Ship Captain’s quarters, Pete took a quick peek at the Log for that time…nothing, well nothing big and pink. 

One week later, Maggie stood at her New York apartment picture window and just scanned the buildings that were beginning to light up for the night.  Soon the view would be spectacular with millions of lights.  She never grew tired of just looking out and trying to place a person or people into each one.  They had to be there, but she would never know the millions any more than they would get to know her behind her one lit window.

A half a dozen pigeons fluttered to the narrow sill below that window. Maggie tapped on the glass to try to chase them away, but they persisted in sitting there, ignoring her attempts to send them flying as they stubbornly pecked at their feathers and left white droppings behind them on the sill.  

“Darn messy things.”  She said aloud to herself. 

All at once the entire view changed from white to pink, even the birds turned pink.  She backed up automatically a few feet and almost fell over the coffee table, In an attempt to escape the pink invasion and protect herself from it.

The City lights were now a muted pink, as if viewed from behind new rose colored glasses.  As pretty as it actually was, something about it was disturbing.

What had happened? What was causing this effect? She moved closer to the window and was trying to analyze it.  Several birds fluttered about and settled back down and then while she was studying it, as suddenly as it came, with a silent “Poof” the pink disappeared.  Like magic the white lights returned.  Whatever it was, it must have frightened the birds off, too, as they were now gone.  “Good riddance.”  

Maggie ran her finger tips over the inside of the glass, leaving only her own finger prints to mar the clear view.  Where had the Pink come from and where did it go?  She wished she could reach the outside of the glass to see if it felt any different… sticky or something?  But of course she could not.  Her apartment was sealed and air-conditioned.

Then it occurred to Maggie that maybe her eyes were in trouble.  Perhaps she should see the optometrist… but no.  Only the outside went pink.  Inside everything was natural, so her eyes were not to blame.

I know, she decided; Over in New Jersey there is a big detergent factory.  Maybe they were working on a new pink dishwashing detergent, when out in the field tests a big mass of the pink bubbles floated away and by the time it reached my window, it had slowly changed into one large pink bubble.  It caught and settled on my window for a brief time and made the lights and everything I saw through the huge bubble appear pink.  Then it popped. Poof, all gone! The world was back to normal. That must be it!   So unless someone else reported the same thing and a better reason, Maggie would settle for her own explanation.

Up in the colder, state of Maine a snowy hillside had been planted with one thousand, one foot tall, assorted pine trees, they were set into neat rows for easy cutting in four years and though small in height, the entire planting was exactly like the two fields that covered the rest of the hillside, each crop twice as tall as the preceding crop, as pine trees double in size every year for the first few years.  The automatic cutter-binder could travel between the rows and select the sizes desired by each Christmas Tree wholesale customer.  They would be wrapped in string with their branches up and packed off to cold warehouses before the next winter’s first heavy snow made cutting more difficult.  In the spring, new little trees would arrive from the hot houses to replace them.  

In spite of the heavy sales in artificial trees, the live ones that smelled so fresh and had with that clean, crisp, Christmas-like, pine odor, sold the best from the retail lots.

The tree farmers were all snug in their homes late at night when the pink bubble landed among the smallest trees on the first field.  There was no one to watch and complain as it rolled up and down the hill several times before popping and disappearing completely.  An observer would have said it was not really doing anything but rolling around before it went Poof.   However it did cause damage to the infant trees.  Hundreds  were gone. And with them went four prime Maple trees that stood on the outer edge of the newly planted Pines. 

It was suspected that a thief had come and stolen one fifth of a crop of baby pine trees, however there was not a single foot print in the snow and the snow covered path for the cutters was undisturbed.  Ah well, they were soon replaced and nothing else could be done.   What would anyone want those little things for, anyway, they were far too small to sell, even to a New York apartment owner.

Down south in Florida, at Disney World, a crowd of small children stood looking up at a pink Balloon that floated just out of reach over head.  Some of the active boys jumped at it as high as they could reach, but it was not touched by anyone.  This Park was so full of different exciting objects, that one pink thing that just hovered without doing anything but float, soon lost their attention, and they raced down the street after Mickey and Goofy.

“The Bubble” had moved off and out of the people packed park in the direction of the Auto Park and finally settled down on a small, but very nice, automobile that was quickly, carefully and completely swallowed by “The Bubble”.  A little puppy, who had settled down on the back seat to wait his owners return, jumped up and barked, but the noise was muffled by “The Bubble”.   

No one noticed that after “The Bubble” disappeared in a quick, Poof, the car and the puppy were gone also.  Later they were both reported stolen, but so far not found.

On the English Channel, just north of France, a small plane, carrying two people, the pilot, Andrew and his girl friend, Stephanie, was making good headway to land in southern England.  

Andrew was trying to get down at the first available airport before the storm, which was moving toward them, and could make landing impossible.  Clouds had formed around The Pink Bubble making it invisible and ordinarily the pilot would have flown around those clouds, but today he decided to go straight in, counting on the clouds to be thin and not a problem.  He was wrong… “The Bubble” was waiting.  

The plane flew directly into “The Bubble” and continued to fly, but did not fly out.  When next he landed he was in a very different place.  He was on an artificial airfield inside the open roof of an enormous orbiting satellite.  Black sky was visible at the tail end of the Airplane, telling him how high they were located.  He stepped out and just stood looking around in amazement.  

Stephie joined him and asked if this was Southern England, but Andrew could only shrug and admit that it was certainly not, although he was not in any way able to explain where and why they were here.  Where ever in space here was.

Before she could try to get Andrew to tell her what he meant by that crazy… a man in a white flight suit arrived to greet them.

He held out his hand with such genuine good will that Andrew who was intent on finding out what was happening, could only accept the warm greeting as it was given.  

“I’m Forester,” he announced with a warm smile, and he told them at once that he had heard many good things about them and so of course that was why they had been chosen.

“Look Mr. Forester,” Andrew replied crisply, “I have heard nothing about you and I heard nothing about being chosen for anything. “

“Just Forester. ” He told Andrew, “And I’d like to call you two Andrew and Stephanie, if that is okay.”  He didn’t wait to hear what they would say to that, but continued on, “If you will follow me we can go inside and get more comfortable.  I have a lot to explain.  I’m sure you’ll agree, and I can do a better job of it with my maps and charts.”  Forester turned and began to walk quickly away toward a building that Andrew had not noticed as it was tucked away behind the few small trees that grew past the fake grass he had landed upon.  How he had arrived here and landed was still a mystery.  

Forester was almost halfway to the building before Andrew turned to Stephie, put out his hand and asked, 

“Shall we go with this Forester fellow and try to get some answers?”  Stephanie was as puzzled as her friend Andrew and as he obviously didn’t know any more than she did, she took his hand and together they followed the only person who could tell them how they got here, and why they were what?  Chosen?”

The building seemed small but inside the rooms appeared quite large.  This was a very strange place.  

Forester had taken a chair behind a large mahogany desk and pointed them to a pair of comfortable chairs with a small table between them.  So they looked at each other puzzled and then sat down.

A woman dressed in a neat white uniform carried in a large silver tray that contained a complete tea set, as grand as for royalty, with stacks of tiny sandwiches and assorted sweets on silver dishes spaced between the cups and pots.   This was exactly what they might have expected in England at a Grand Hotel.  And yet they both knew they were not.

“Do help yourself.  I’ve had my tea, but you must be famished after your long, harrowing, flight. To ease your mind, I will just continue to explain everything to you as you take your tea.”   

Stephanie looked at Andrew almost for permission, he picked up a fat silver tea pot and poured a rose covered china cup full, set it on a matching saucer and handed it her.  She always took hers black, coffee or tea, and was almost ready to take a sip, when she spotted the thick cream and picked up the little silver pitcher and poured some into her elegant tea cup.

Andrew’s eye brows shot up at her unexpected change.  But she only smiled and said,

“When in Rome… you know.  In fact I think I’ll have one of those sugar lumps also.”

Andrew smiled at his friend and added, “Do as the Romans do… ”  And made himself a matching cup of  sweet hot tea.

With a sandwich in one hand and the cup in the other, they turned their full attention to their… Host or captor, they still did not know which.

“I am aware that Andrew has a degree in Architecture and conveniently Stephanie has hers in the sciences.    We are in need of both of those.  Also we are not populating yet so we prefer childless men and women who would not be leaving some helpless kids without their parents.  That is why you were chosen.”  He laughed a nice friendly laugh and continued.  “At this point I realize that you cannot understand why that is an honor.”

Forester stood and pulled down a map.  To the surprise of the couple it was not a map of America or even the Earth.  It was the Galaxy.  He took out a lighted pointer and set the dot of light on a spot that was more or less to the left edge of the Galaxy.  It stayed as he moved the pointer to another place fairly close to the first and set another bright dot.

“Okay, now you two have both been to college and so I know you are aware that the Sun the Earth is circling has a limited life span of about five billion years.  It will become a Red Giant long before that, which is the fate that awaits Earth.  In case you forgot, the Red Giant, Sun will burn out the planets long before it fades into a small White Dwarf and finally a tiny Black Hole.”  He paused for them to refresh their cups and choose a sweet short bread biscuit.

“Tell me, honestly, had either of you given any thought to what mankind ought to do about that coming disaster?  Or were you thinking we would just go out with a whimper…   He paused as they looked at each other for the answer.   

“It’s so far away.”  Stephanie reminded them.

“I  haven’t planned for next week, yet.”  Andrew admitted. “So no, I don’t know what 

whoever is alive then, will do.  Nothing I can think of… whimpering is a little dramatic, don’t you think?”   Forester went on,

“In spite of all we had accomplished on the tiny planet we had the good fortune to be born upon…  And I might add in our very short history.”  Forester took a deep breath and seeing that his guests were at least attentive, decided to explain further. 

“If the Earth’s time was all on a big round analog clock with Mickey Mouse pointing to the numbers, the whole eleven hours and fifty five minutes would be the Earth’s age and the last five minutes would represent our age. We have been here for only a little of Earth’s allotted time and look around you.  With all of this at our disposal, mankind should be making plans to go on and migrate to another planet at some point. Don’t you think?”  Neither answered.  Stephanie nodded her agreement.  So Forester told them, 

“Some believe that as the search will be slow, we should start as soon as possible.  Many others are in charge of that part of the project.  Our group is equally busy just doing what we can for now.”  He looked at the two new recruits hopefully and gave his first hint of why they were captured.  “We want you to join us.  We who are…  For now…  Well, doing as much as we can to…  what you might call, Packing.  Getting ready to move when the time and more importantly the place is right and ready.”  He sat down and waited for a response, as his little pointer bounced softly against the desk. 

Andrew spoke first.  “Packing means gathering things from Earth to take with us to the New Earth, right?”

“Exactly!  That job is as important as finding that new Planet.”

“Do you have that new Earth chosen?” Stephie asked.  “Is that the second light dot on your Galaxy map?”  Forester came to his feet and tapped the pointer on the map.  Waving it to indicate how vast it was.

“You are very observant. Stephanie, just the kind of scientist we need. We think that may be it.  But have you heard of, Goldie Locks?”

“You don’t mean Goldie Locks and the Three Bears?”  Stephanie laughed.

“That is exactly who we do mean!  Goldie Locks entered the Three Bear’s house and tried everything and rejected everything that was not “just right”.  We are working just like Goldie Locks, testing and trying and looking some more for what Goldie Locks wanted, something that was not too this, or too that, but…  just right.”

He faced the map. “This is our Galaxy and there are millions of others, so we know now that planets are plentiful.  At first we felt very lucky to have found even one, but now that we know there a many, we can play Goldie Locks and keep searching for that perfect place to go.”   He tapped the second dot.  “See how close this is to our Earth we share the same wing of the Galaxy spiral.  That is very good.  The closer, the better, for this move.  But just like the little girl in the Fairy Tale we are still looking for… “just right.”

Andrew walked to the map and stood looking at the huge Galaxy stretched out before him.  He noted little dots of different colors mostly scattered on the Earth’s area. So he asked.

“Are all of those dots planets?”

“They are.  But most simply do not pass the Goldie Locks test.”  Andrew mulled that and another question occurred to him. “What are you doing with the things you pack from Earth in the meantime?” 

“Ahh… I see you are thinking just like we do.  We chose one of the moons around Jupiter.  Of course, it is very useable and some began to think we would just move there, but of course, even if our Sun grows into its Red Giant phase without reaching that far, Jupiter is doomed anyway.

The thing that will cause the Sun to expand like that is lack of fuel.  It is burning its core now at a tremendous rate.  As we learn more, it doesn’t sound too bad, the burned out molecules of iron begin to speed toward the Sun’s surface in what we call “a slow walk.”  It speeds away and hits another, which sends it speeding in a different direction, until another turns it again…  and again, so that it takes it years to make it to the Sun’s surface.  What could take eight minutes might take eight years.  

As they all gather at the surface and the core gets smaller, there is no longer the heavy core to create the gravity to keep the Sun’s planets orbiting, while at the same time the surface is swelling and growing making the sun appear huge just like Betelguese in Orion.  That one is nearly gone now. If it had planets, they are already burned or sailing away like Jupiter may without a Sun to hold it.”  He smiled and shook his head in disbelief.

“These Galaxy life-spans seem so large compared to a person’s short life time that most folks wonder why we bother to worry about it at all.  

It reminds me of what the late Doctor Richard Feynman, the physicist, wrote in his book about a lecture he was giving to the general public.  A woman once stood and raised her hand to ask a question that seemed to worry her,  

“How long did you say the Earth had before the Sun ran out of fuel?”   Her voice shook with worry,  Dr. Feynman answered, 

“About five Billion years.”   The woman looked very relieved, as she sat down she was heard to say, “Thank God!  I thought you said five… Million.”  

“It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” Forester laughed.  “What the difference between those numbers, million…billion… can even mean to a person… and I’m talking about us now.”

“If we have such a long time before there is a problem, why worry?  Why do anything?”Andrew was curious to hear that answer.

Stephanie mumbled something to herself.  Forester looked at her and asked her what she had said.

“Oh nothing, just a silly saying that occurred to me.”  She smiled “Something I heard once that just seemed to fit your thought… a little.”

“Up here there is no such thing as a silly thought.”  He told her.

“I only said…’On the shoulders of giants.”  She admitted.

“It proves that you get it.”  Forester told her.  “All of today’s people stand on the shoulders of those who worked before them, just like the genius, Dr. Feynman. We believe it is our duty to build shoulders for those who follow. We need you and Andrew to help build those shoulders.”

“I can understand why you need Stephanie, but I’m only an architect.  What can I do?”  Andrew asked.

“Very important work.  New planets have developed in different geological ways.  A far thinking architect is needed to show us what that planet has in resources to use for creating structures.  We had heard that you were looking at different, but common, things to use right here on Earth.  That is what the new planet needs right now. Someone to think beyond the way things are just done the same as before.  We even need you to check out the Jupiter Moon we occupy, for how to house and store what we have gathered. And plan for the chosen New Earth.”

“Which Moon did you select?  I read that there was a total of 146 Moons in our solar system.  That must have made for a difficult choice.  And once you did make that choice, how have you gathered these things and gotten them to your Moon?”  Andrew wanted to know much more, as his brain was bursting with questions,  but he paused to get an answer to these first two.

“Oh those are good ones!  I can see that you are thinking now.”  Forester sat down and faced Andrew to answer him.  Stephie moved the tray away to sit closer and listen.

“Your first question was, Which moon did we select?  It was easier than you might have supposed judging by the huge number to search through, but most, just as Goldie Locks discovered, had such obvious faults that they were eliminated very quickly.  Only Jupiter’s, Europa, came the closest to being habitable.  It has twice as much water as does the Earth. And just like the Earth of long ago, much is still frozen.  The strong tidal pulls from the mother planet, Jupiter, warm it a bit and make it the most likely to have some sort of life.

 First thing, we had to invent and create something to use for all of those travel problems.  We sure wished we could have had the plans for that ‘Beam-Me-Up’ thing, they had on television shows.  We certainly had folks working on it.  Some of our best are still working at it, although I never expect to see it, but more quickly… one bright fellow and his entire group, remember, came up with our Bubble.  It was the miracle that got us where we are today.  And it is even kind of pretty, an unnecessary but nice effect.
This Bubble can settle on and absorb nearly anything and after it leaves, it is so fast that it appears to just go ‘pop’ and disappear.  It can reappear at its next stop in a wink.  I know you can believe it as you have been both absorbed and moved, airplane and all.  Of course your airplane and the little car we recently gathered along with, of all things, a cute little puppy, which we may return.  Anyway the car and plane are very archaic, but useful to those of us with one foot still in the twenty first century, like me.”

“Any time you are ready to know more, I will give you a full tour, but first think about the commitment.”

“That is my question, Mr. Forester… Forester, “  Stephanie corrected before he could do it.   “Are we expected to leave our home on Earth and all of our friends and relatives to do this work of  ‘Building  Shoulders’ as you say?”

“That is the good part.  I don’t stay here and only a few have.  We are not populating our places only learning about them and planning.  In between you may go home as if you were only on an important business trip, which you may not talk about, and live your own normal lives.  If you can work on the computer and send us results we will be happy.  “The Bubble” will transport you back and forth as needed.”  Forster turned to Andrew, I would like to keep your plane, though, please.”

“Your family believes you have gone down off of the Coast of England and the British are searching for you right now.  They will find you very soon after your harrowing experience and of course your plane is in the deepest part of the Channel.”

Andrew and Stephanie looked at each other. They seemed to almost know what the other was thinking.

Stephanie asked the question they both needed answered. 

“May we leave anytime we want to go?”

“Of course we are not in a prison here.  You may have your tour of our work and “The Bubble” will float down and leave you safely in the English Channel, wet but well.”

“That sounds good.”  Andrew told Forester, “Let’s see what you are doing here on what I guess is an Earth orbiting  satellite, and then when we return here at a later date we can take the big tour to our next possible new Earth and the Jupiter moon, Europa.”  Stephanie agreed, but said, 

“I don’t want to worry our families any more than necessary.”  She admitted, “But once they know we are safe, we can go and come as often as we must to help your team of “Goldie’s”  find what they need. That is, what we all need.”  

They walked with Forester to the door and out to the different labs and machine rooms to observe things that only could be expressed by… Seeing was believing.”  Now it was time to return to “The Bubble” and Earth.  Just before they left a young man came and handed Stephanie a little brown and white puppy.   I will be crossing the Atlantic as soon as you two are out and returning this Pup to the two little heart-broken boys who have lost it.  It was in the auto I picked up at Disney World.  A newspaper article told us that the family had been on vacation to Florida and had lost the car and the dog together.  Insurance covered the car, but not the Puppy.  The boys sent out a plea for its return, if found.  Their address in Louisiana was in the paper, so I know exactly where to drop it off.  Stephanie took the small dog to her lap and soothed it down.  She left it sleeping as she exited “The Bubble”.  She wished she could have seen the boys when they got it back.  Then she did.

Newspapers across the world, hailed the brave little Puppy, who had found his way from Orlando Florida to his home and two little boys in New Orleans, Louisiana. He must have walked the entire way!  And photos of the three of them in a giant hug were reprinted everywhere for all to see and take hope in.  

Suddenly there was another miracle to write about, the American couple who had been on the plane that went down in last week’s sudden storm on the English coast were discovered alive and well, floating in a life raft they had launched just before their airplane sank into the depths.  The news went on the television and far around the world, but not before the families had been notified by the British Government.

As they bobbed safely in the life boat, safe because they knew “The Bubble” hovered out of sight somewhere above them ready to make a rescue if needed, they began to talk about the trip that they had been in the midst of before “The Bubble”.  

Andrew took a month off from work and Stephanie’s school was closed for that month and they flew commercial across the Atlantic to Ski in the Alps.  

After a long weekend skiing Chamonix they decided to rent a car and drive down to see the South of France.  Watching “leTour de France”  Cycle Race event, they had been impressed by the beauty of the towns the bicycles raced through. With castles and churches from the 15th and 16th centuries  viewed by the helicopter following the race.  They had only had the rented car for a week, when Andrew spotted the nice little German build Diamond Airplane for sale.  He was familiar with it because his uncle Jay and his brother ’s in-laws both owned a plane just like it.  He had kept his license current by flying with them from time to time.

With that plane they could go from one area to another and see rural France from the air and the ground.  Then they planned to fly across the channel and see England the same way.  It sounded like the new modern way to see the world and the cool, young, couple agreed to it.  They had to waste two days buying the Diamond but it was a glorious day when in their new airplane they began their trek from one tiny rural airport to another.  

The smaller private airports not only charged less for fuel, but they often featured charming little bed and breakfast houses on site, which eliminated the need to rent a car.  Long walks not only let them get to know the different areas, but gave their legs the exercise they lacked flying.

Unfortunately, the Channel crossing had ended it all.  And now they were back being thrown up and down again and again, as the water suddenly became very wild and rough, which kept them hanging onto the sides of the little yellow raft, waiting to be rescued, but under very different circumstances.

“Remember how adventurous we thought we were being?”  Stephanie asked Andrew.  “Just the two of us going clear to the Alps to ski?  and then touring France with England waiting to be next.?.  Oh what brave travelers we were.  I was amazed when you wanted to buy the Airplane.  I wasn’t even aware that you had a pilot’s license.”  Stephie sighed, “I thought I was very tolerant to go along with that idea.”

“I know,” Andrew kidded her, “When we left, you were afraid to fly the big commercial Jet.”

“I was even afraid to tell my parents I was going to do it.  I’ll bet they had almost had heart failures when the Brits informed them that our little plane had gone down in the channel.  But the British had been so positive that we were soon to be rescued that they could ease our parents from some worry, which was very nice of them, since they had no idea that we were actually millions of miles away.  And neither did we, as I recall. “   She added, still wondering how it had all come about.  “You know I haven’t been a very good daughter, always doing whatever came to mind.   Mother always said my adventures would be the death of her.  After we went Bungie- Jumping, she told me not to mention any more of those dangerous things until I was safely home.  So I hadn’t.  Now what do I do?”

“Remind them that you just finished your Doctorate.  They should be proud of that!  Tell them they should call you Doctor Stephanie now.”

“No, I think that Doctor should be saved for Med. Graduates.”  

“Too bad that you can’t tell your Mom that this week-end you stood on a Moon named Europa  and watched the rings and storms on the Planet Jupiter pass slowly by.”

“She would probably believe that after everything we have done together, and just say, ‘Oh Stephie! You do the darnest things! You’ll be the death of me yet!”

“The New Earth Works aren’t over yet, either. Steph.  How do you feel about that?”  Andrew turned more serious.

“I think I believe in it and the N.E.W. people.” 

“And if it goes on forever?”  Quizzed Andrew.

“Oh I don’t worry about that, “  Stephanie smiled. “There will always be new younger people with fresher ideas.  That is who they will always be on the look-out for to carry on. Remember us?  We are just there… Building Some Shoulders !” She said proudly, “ Then we go on our way to make room for the new builders.”  She reached out to give the worried look on Andrew’s brow a soothing kiss.

Andrew responded with a more serious kiss of his own.  Saying a few seconds later, “I feel much better already.  I was afraid we were biting off more than we could chew! But your attitude is very comforting, just be sure we follow it.”

“Oh look up…At last! I was getting sea sick!”  Stephie waved. 

A rescue Helicopter hovered over the raft and soon they were both up and in safely. Just before entering the chopper, Stephanie blew a kiss toward where “The Bubble” was supposed to be and by remote to Roddy the driver.  

Everyone  in the news business was anxious to see them and hear about what they had gone through in that time they spent on the open cold channel water.  But they were not very interested in talking. Both were so happy to be home that they were not very willing to discuss the adventure with anyone. 

When one reporter asked Stephanie what they had eaten, she was tempted to tell the truth and say, 

“A complete and beautiful English Tea served on silver with china.”  But didn’t.

  Soon others who were happy and willing to become short term T.V. stars filled the air time with their troubles and these two were forgotten.  They quickly disappeared back to the U.S. and their families.            

Alone at last in their own little apartment, they had many things to decide.  Forester had given them the hard sell.  That was agreed.  But now back here at home, did they still have the enthusiasm they had when they entered “The Bubble” for the trip back home… only not exactly home, but technically to the English Channel’s freezing water and a life raft, which they had not launched from the airplane, as it did not have one.  Andrew knew that his next plane would have a raft for sure.  But the next airplane seemed so far away.

Mostly Andrew was interested in speaking to his brothers.  The brother, older than he, was an Officer and a Test Pilot with the U.S. Air Force.  And the one younger one was the only of the four brothers who actually studied Astronomy in College.  Both of them could tell him a lot.  But what could he tell them…  everything but, Not much.

His oldest brother, James the third, was a lawyer in Sacramento California, they saw him for Christmas and special hiking trips they both loved, but how he or any lawyer could advise him with this new adventure was probably… not at all. 

Andrew would now be dealing with a New Earth with new laws, or no laws at all yet.  Who, he wondered, would eventually make them?  Another question for Forester.  

He visited Grant first and attempted to bring the subject up regarding “The Bubble”.  If anyone knew about what was new in the air it was the Test Pilot.  He tested new things for the U.S., however he never spoke to him about any of them, as they were usually classified.

Andrew was quite certain Forester regarded their work to be just as highly classified.  So he snuck a bit of controversy into his talk with Grant, by just wondering if the Military had heard anything about a large pink bubble.

“Well yes, but.”  Grant paused and thought a moment, probably wondering what he was allowed to say, then went on to tell Andrew that, “Sightings of such a thing keep coming in to us, but it is not ours and so far it seems to fit into the category of Un-identified, Flying Object.”

“You’re saying a U.F.O. right?”

“As long as it is still un-identified, yes.  No one has a photo, which in itself is very strange with every person on Earth walking around with a camera cell phone.”  

“So the Air Force isn’t building it, I guess.”  Andrew summed it up for him.

“Yes,  I mean.. No!  That was a backward statement, Bro.”  They laughed as they loved to catch each other like that.  

“John follows all of that stuff in his Astronomy Magazines.  Why do you ask?”

Oh,  oh, Andrew thought.  He hadn’t meant to make it sound like anything but small talk.   So he changed the subject to ask, 

“So what does the Air Force have in the works?”  Now Grant rolled his eyes, he was not going to touch that subject, so he responded with,

“What are you and Steph up to?  Any plans for the big M!”  Andrew didn’t like to be pinned to the wall on the subject of marriage, so as Grant knew that, he tossed him a big M curve.

“We were both so busy with her getting that Doctorate Degree, and me trying to start an Architecture Business that we haven’t had time to plan anything beyond our careers.”

“Not too busy to ski and fly Europe, I notice.”

As Grant was happily married with two darling children, he knew he wished that for his brothers, also.  What he could not know was that his brother Andrew and his girl friend, Stephanie, had both planned to use those same busy excuses for their absences from home, whenever they rode “The Bubble” to the New Earth Works, called NEW out beyond space , yet unknown here on old Earth. 

Andrew’s brother, John, and his wife Kira came to visit the famous brother who had escaped death after losing his plane across the Atlantic.  He needed to hear the story first hand as he knew as well as anyone how the tale could be elaborated by the press… and others.

“It was simply an unexpected storm”  Andrew said, but had to laugh.  Not long ago he had sent out the alarm that John was missing in an unexpected storm.  After three days of living in their snowed in car, John and Kira had been rescued, thanks to Andrew. So Andrew had to add, 

“Where were you when I needed you, Brother John?”

“You met your unexpected storm much too far away across the Atlantic.  Next time chose a closer body of water in which to test your airplane’s swimming ability.”

“Can’t do that, John, the plane I had failed the test and is lying too deep for a second test.  I may have tangled with one of those new fangled pink bubble things.  Have you heard of those?”

John looked surprised.  His big brother, Grant, had just asked him, on the phone, if he had seen or heard of a U.F.O. known as “The Bubble”.  John, trying to sound sarcastic said to Andrew ,

“Don’t tell me that you have actually seen one of those weird things, Andrew.  Tell me about it. Is it really pink and does it go ‘Poof’ and disappear?”  Andrew answered with,

“So you have heard something, John.  Good, tell me what you know.  I am very curious, because one of those mysterious bubbles might have been the cause of our crash.  What are the Astronomers saying, do they believe they really exist?” 

John was curious also and had hoped to get a first hand description from someone like his brother, whom he could trust to be accurate.

“You say, might have caused.  Then you didn’t really see it yourself.”  John sounded disappointed, so Andrew felt guilty deceiving him.  If anyone deserved a good honest description, it was John.  He decided to test him a little more..

“Tell me, John, how many moons are there in our solar system?”

“What has that to do with “The Bubble”?”  John asked back.

“Well for one, they are both large and round.”

“Are you trying to tell me that as a pilot you mistook a bubble for the moon and ran into it?”

“No, of course not.  It’s just that what people say they saw, in the reports, sound much like a description of the moon.  There just might be a connection that’s all.  So how many moons are there out in our planetary space?  And while you’re at it tell me if any are habitable.”   John seemed to be making a count as he closed his eyes for a minute and finally replied,

Over a hundred,  maybe, one forty five or fifty.  I’m not sure what to count, as the rings around some planets have orbiting chunks larger than some small moons out on their own.  One of  Jupiter’s moons has its own small odd shaped moon.  That little potato shaped moon might hold life and the one named Europa is a definite, maybe, because of all of that frozen water.  The rest wouldn’t pass the Goldie Locks test.”

Andrew laughed at John using the Goldie Locks term.  It must be more common than he had known before meeting Forester.  He began to think that maybe the wrong brother was chosen to ride “The Bubble” and learn about the N.E.W.  Perhaps he would ask Forester about that. 

“So Andrew, you believe that “The Bubble” is really a moon?”

“No, not a moon, just a reflection of the full moon.  That must be why it has never been photographed.  A reflection is so… nebulous.”

“Wow! Nebulous?  What exactly does that mean?  Un-photo-graphical?”

“Okay, okay, Mr. Astronomer, you tell me what it might be, and why there are no pictures.”           

“Okay I will.  It’s something man-made, as there are no other kinds, just yet.  There are no photos because it is too fast for the human brain to zero in on even wanting a picture, before it’s gone.”

“I’ll go with your ideas, but why does Grant simply say U.F.O.?”

“Because he probable knows exactly and can’t say.  You know how the Military is.”

“And,“ John said, “I suspect that you know more than you are saying.”  He glared into his brothers blue eyes. “If “The Bubble” ate your plane, you have to know more than that dumb, nebulous, Moon crap.”  

Andrew saw that he was not getting anything new out of John, although John had the closest guess, and in fact he was teetering on giving away what he knew.  And that was a no, no.   

Andrew and Stephanie had talked it over and now they were planning another trip up to the… he didn’t know where exactly.  That was up to the leader of New Earth Works, Forester. 

Once Andrew and Stephanie made known their availability by computer they were given a list of things to bring and time and place to be where “The Bubble” would pick them up.   Unexpected, but not too strange when they thought about it, the list had on it a crate of fresh fruits.  So they assembled the largest crate they could handle with everything that was currently in the market.

They lived in a heavily populated area with not very many wide open spaces.  The public Park was both the most open and the least populated, so they were there as asked at 3 A.M. even at that hour a couple of joggers passed by.  They watched as the two women kept to the path and moved right along, not noticing Andrew and Stephanie at all.   

Without warning they were startled by the pink that surrounded them and though protected by the still air inside “The Bubble”, they left Earth in a wink, as everyone said, arrived at the new destination before they had time to wonder what it was going to be.

They didn’t need to step out “The Bubble” simply seemed to dissolve from around them.  And there they stood packages and the fruit crate and all on what had to be Europa.

The young man who had handed the Puppy to Stephanie as they left came to greet them.

“Remember me?  I’m Roddy, the driver.  He put out his hand to shake theirs and 

then, immediately leaned to pick up the crate of assorted fresh fruit.  “Thanks, I was looking forward to this.”

“You are very welcome, Roddy,”  Stephanie smiled, “But please tell me how, if you are “The Bubble” driver,  you are not in it with us.”

“That’s easy enough.”  He turned to face us with a straight proud stance.  “I was trained by the United States Air Force as a Drone Officer and operator.  Most of their Drone craft is controlled from very far away.”  He took on a far-a-way look, as if remembering his long ago past memories.  “Back when I was trained, I was living in Nevada, and my Drones flew the entire Middle East.”  He was very proud to tell us.  “And I had a very good record as an Ace!  I could follow a target and take it out, even though I worked very strange hours in my computer shack, in the desert of Nevada. In the end, I was always home for dinner, and even better, no one was shooting at me, while racked up a record number of destroyed targets.  I have a medal to prove it!”  He announced with pride as he added, “And no Purple Hearts!”

“You’re saying that “The Bubble” is a Drone?”  Andrew asked, thoroughly impressed.  

“It most certainly is!   I’ll admit that it has a very strange appearance, which was made necessary by the large air bubble it requires for space travel.  The cargo is so protected by it that they cannot even tell they are moving.” Gave that shucks chuckle again.  “I guess you folks know that a well as anybody!  So you may as well know that the guys who worked it out were…are geniuses.  So this new model is much more fun. I have three screens to watch, instead of the two I had in the Air Force.  They had two panoramic views:  One showing below so I could zero in on a target and destroy it if necessary, and a defensive Panoramic view of above to watch for attackers.”  He glowed with enthusiasm as he told us.  “This job is much better.  I have never had to destroy anything. And so far, nothing can attack me.  I’m kinda like the Fed-Ex of space.  I pick up and deliver.”  He almost saluted, but kept up his narrative, which we were enthralled by,  “My third screen shows the entire contents of “The Bubble” so I can keep a good eye out for the well being of the cargo which I have,  what we call… “swallowed.”  I can, with my military experience, zero in on the smallest or largest targets and “swallow” them then press, “DEPART”  and leave instantly.  When we arrive at our destination I press, “EXIT” and the cargo is released.” He waved his hand around us and our luggage. And began to apologize for talking so much.  “ Excuse me, but I love this job and most of my cargos don’t talk or listen.”  He smiled like the cowboy he once was before the U.S. Air Force trained him.  “Well I better shut up before I give away some of our secrets… everybody has secrets, right?  To tell the truth, which was something I could never do, working the Military Drones down on Earth, but nearly all of the Drones I flew before were very different from one another.  No big pink ones of course, but some pretty odd looking things, for sure.  It was all part of the Military’s way of concealing them.”

“Why the pink?  If I may ask one last question.”  Stephanie couldn’t resist wanting to know the answer to that.

“Oh boy, that one again.”  He chuckled.  “The guys took a lot of guff about the pink color, but as it turned out, the tough stuff they had to use that could carry even your airplane, seemed to always turn pink when it was cured, no matter what they tried.  The pink stuff did the job the best and so pink it was and they announced that everyone else was welcome to try to make it blue or yellow or whatever they liked, but as far as they were concerned this fabric functioned the best and they were done messing with it.  That’s all I know.  So if you meet any of them… don’t ask!”  He laughed, “I get asked all the time, but I didn’t create it, so I’m off the hook.  Besides you should have seen some of the crazy Drones I flew for the U.S.  One looked exactly like…  Oh, oh, I think that is a secret.”  He picked up the crate and headed for the offices.

Andrew and Stephanie were left to carry their cases and computers in the direction Roddy led them, toting the heavy crate as if it was a light bundle of feathers.  They followed, both trying to imagine a Drone stranger than ““The Bubble”.”

  If Andrew was to plan structures and buildings, he was pretty much going to have to down load information about that Ice Hotel in Sweden.  He had watched the hour long special in which they showed how they cut and stored the ice bricks with which it was built, each winter. And it was rebuilt every season for the tourists who had made it so popular.  Of course it slowly melted each summer, even in the far north of Sweden and was rebuilt every year.  

Andrew had only been here on Europa for a few minutes and would hold judgment until he had time to study their seasons… if they had any.  As they walked the icy paths he grew more and more curious.  As far as he could tell there was nothing growing.  But if even the tiniest moss had been found growing here, it would have made big Headlines on Earth.  “Life Found on another Planet,” though, technically this was a Moon.   He looked toward the Sun.  It was just a faint reddish glow in the very far distance, not even enough to create a decent shadow.  What was close and very prominent was Jupiter itself. It was from Europa a huge, rather blue, streaked, or striped, ball that filled half the sky, with a warmish glow, some light and that very useful warmth.  He would work on maybe even using the some of the gas that made it so large.  

He looked at Stephanie as she walked beside him, her eyes taking in everything around them.  A dollar for what she might be thinking.  The sure thing was that she was thinking the same as he was;  Who would ever believe that we are walking on a moon…any moon, and that off in the direction of the faint sun was the planet Earth, their Earth with their own moon orbiting it.  Even as he was stepping on this distant moon, Andrew could scarcely believe it, except he did seem to be a little lighter on his feet..

Forester was waiting for them and knew exactly how they must feel right this minute, but he also knew that with all of the work they had to do the novelty would soon wear off.

At the edge of a steep cliff, they entered a door made of wood brought here slat by slat.  Inside the room the walls were rock that had been scraped and smoothed to create an almost marble effect.   The photographs that hung upon them were all of the other Moons of Jupiter.  Andrew stood at the first trying to recognize it from pictures at home before he caved and read the fine print.

The first was the largest, Ganymede, almost ¾ the size of Mars.  It is icy with a very thin atmosphere of Oxygen.

The second, Callisto, about the size of the planet, Mercury, orbits far outside of Jupiter’s, radiation belts.  It is heavily cratered and has no volcanic activity.  Andrew had just finished reading this when he was interrupted by Forester.

“You’ll know at least two dozen of Jupiter’s 50 plus moons, before long whether you want to or not.  Some may have useable resources that interest you.   But come along and I will give you a work space.  Notice that we have made use of a nice large sized cave, but made ourselves a good, old fashioned, wooden door with a little extra effort.  The cave creates its own warmth, if we can just keep it in.

Andrew looked around and didn’t see Stephanie.  Noticing that Andrew was searching, Forester told him that Stephanie was on her way to lab with two other scientists, Carl and Brad.  They stopped at a smaller cave someone had actually dug into this big one.  There was a fabric curtain hanging on one side of the narrow opening.  Forester waved a hand at it and casually mentioned,

  “The last fellow here liked to get some privacy when he worked.  He’s back on the Satellite for now, so this is yours.  I’ll be back in an hour or two… depending.  So make yourself at home.   Later you will both be shown to the present choices of dormitories.  So if you get any good, or even, so, so, ideas for buildings, let us know.”  

Forester walked quickly away without giving Andrew any questioning time…maybe later.  He decided to make notes of his questions, so that if he is given a short time, he’ll remember what he wanted to know.  One of the words was… John. Another was Laws.

As Andrew sorted the papers and the couple of books he brought with him, into the carved-out shelves, he hurried, as he wanted to go back outside and explore the area.  Obviously, like this living cave, there were other resources to be had, but what?  The large photos that had been framed and hung near the entrance, explained the different moons, but mostly just gave statistics, size and surfaces.  He placed his I-Phone in his pocket for taking notes and left through the only door he was aware of… the wood slatted one.

It was pleasantly warm for being a giant ice berg.  He found a path that framed the nearest frozen river and began to follow it looking for differences in the terrain that peeked from the many cracks in the ice that frosted it all.

Stephanie felt right at home in the fully equipped lab.  It was very much like the one she worked in at College.  Lots of equipment and shelves were built in everywhere and loaded down with jars and bottles.  There were tubes aplenty and gas burners. The water faucets drew its supply through long, long, pipes that milked the frozen river and drew the water in through a warm section of the wall that ran through the cave, so that it flowed in at a very usable temperature.

It was obvious to her why she was here.  This moon would not be covered with waving grains of wheat or corn as tall as an elephant’s eye.  If people were to be fed, it would most likely be nutrition from a lab like this one.   She was shown both tablets and liquids being tested by the other scientists, which only made her appreciative of the crate of fresh fruit that Roddy had so quickly made off with.

It then surprised her to see some of that very fruit already in the lab.  One apple was being dissected by another woman, she was yet to meet.  Her name tag read, Susan. And there was an orange, cut and juiced into a tube connected vessel that Carl held to the light.  Were they really trying to create juices and crackers that mimicked those fresh things?  She felt guilty thinking Roddy was off eating them by himself.  A pineapple was on the shelf given over to her.  Whatever would she do to mimic a fresh pineapple?  It had better be something.  And of course, it must be tasty and full of vitamins and other nutrients that were available to this place.  She took the apron that hung on a hook next to her stool, pulled it on and sat on the stool with the pineapple in her hands and began to think. 

Stephanie had noticed that Susan, working with the apple, had some flour like powder and some sugar like granules in jars in front of her.  She would need to know if those were the real thing or substitutes.  She was at a definite disadvantage not understanding what was available on this Moon, but she knew from her college experience that time would take care of that.      

She looked back at her pineapple and wondered if it was cheating to use the actual fruit for the flavoring.  Then she just began to wonder what Andrew was up to.

Andrew was still out on his walk.  Rocks were plentiful for building and loads of sand surrounded the banks.  He ran his fingers through the cold, course, sand and wondered  where it had originated. The banks of the river, though still frozen, were piled on the ridges with the sand.  Sand being the basis for glass encouraged him.  He began to search for a smoother soil, perhaps clay, which could be baked into bricks.  

He raised his eyes from the constant study of the river area and suddenly became aware of seeing something that he had never expected at all.  

On a gentle slope that rose away from the moon-side that was closest to the home planet, Jupiter,  The top ice was thin due to the warmth of Jupiter’s gasses and there in front of him he saw an entire hillside planted with hundreds of tiny, apparently thriving, Pine trees.  On Earth he would have immediately thought, another Christmas tree lot!  But here it was a miracle at work.  If this experiment was successful, this whole moon called Europa was in for a fantastic change.  He couldn’t wait to tell Stephie.  

They met at the entrance, she going out as he was coming in, so they sat on a pair of Lobby chairs…real chairs, and just talked about what they each had been doing.  She started to say… all morning, then stopped. They had not seen any clocks and as far as they could tell there was no morning or night here.  

Those were functions of their old Sun, which was somewhere far behind them.  What did these people judge time by?  Everyone in sight looked too busy to bother with silly questions, so they resumed their own discussion.

“Pine trees mean dozens of things. “  Stephie told him.  “To you they mean wood for building.  To me they mean pine cones for fuel and pine nuts for food and oil, plus sugar boiled from the needles.  This is amazing news.”

“There’s  more.”  Andrew told her showing his excitement.  “I could hear birds in the trees and a very large pond, or small lake…”  He shrugged not knowing what to call it,  “…has been created by the growing warmth and in that salt water lake, I tasted it, I watched a small shark cruising around and around and lots of other unidentified fish, plus four seals sleeping on the icy shore. I think “The Bubble” is collecting those various life forms and trying to see what works here.  Now I am surprised that they returned the Puppy.”

  “Oh, but that was different! Those little boys were so happy to get him back and I’m sure no one missed that shark, or a tank or two full of miniscule ocean fish fry.”  

What they couldn’t see was that that single shark had anchored her mass of recently fertilized eggs to a rock and left them abandoned to hatch when ready.  Someone in the lab department was well aware of them…had even counted them and also tended the free flowing plankton laden with potential sea life that was also his contribution.  On Earth he was a Veterinarian, specializing in Marine Life.  

Both agreed that Forester and New Earth World people were doing a very good job getting started with their “Packing” as they called: Getting ready to leave Earth.

If more ice melts, and it appears to be very slowly melting, then a bigger Ocean will form and the trees are certainly appearing to grow, so there will be more oxygen.  Yes things were looking good on Europa… as far as they knew, at the close of one day, if there was anything called a day.

They strolled back slowly taking in the sights both skyward and all around Europa. They passed a line of four mature Maple trees with attached buckets, catching the slow drips of syrup.  

The hardest thing to take in was the immense size of  Jupiter as it filled the sky with its glowing, gaseous body, which both warmed and gave what light there was to its moon.  

The mother Sun was too far away, so was useless as either, which was what felt the most strange, after counting upon it for everything, day and night, light and dark, time and warmth for their entire lives.

“You know, Steph, I keep thinking that the person who belongs here is, John, not me.  I asked him how many moons were in our solar system and he already knew. So then I asked if any were habitable and you know what he answered?”  Andrew went on as if he hadn’t asked a question, to tell Stephanie what John’s reply had surprised him with, 

“He said, None up to the Goldie Locks standard… imagine that! He knew about Goldie Locks!   But, then he said, one might be passable, like Europa.  See what I mean?”

“We were chosen for the jobs they needed someone to work on I think.  Maybe they already have some Johns, who know everything.   Certainly Forester is one.”   Andrew got up to walk as he had already decided.  Stephie followed.

“I may inquire about them asking John, just in case.”  He told her.  

“But Andrew, they said they were choosing unmarrieds, without children, for several reasons.  He wouldn’t leave Kira, even as smart as she is, if she is expecting.  Don’t you see?”   

“I suppose.”  He stopped to pick up a heavy looking dark rock.  My but it was even heavier than he realized!  Andrew handed it to Stephanie and she almost dropped it before she adjusted to its surprising weight.

“Boy! You were right.  It is heavy.  Are you thinking this might be a meteorite?”

“John collects them, you know, and he has been reading up on the history of Meteorites on Earth.  If this is one, I would like to take it back down with us to give to him.”  He looked at Stephie for her approval and by her look, he knew what she was about to say.  Then she said it,

“You had better check with Forester first.”   So he carried it with him to their lunch meeting.  There were only a few in the small lunch room and they were introduced to the ones who had not met with them. They assumed that the others were all on shifts, but how they timed them was still unknown.  Although so far, they just roamed without direction or orders, which felt odd.  Andrew placed the rock at his place at the table to get his tray and meal.

The lunch was a stew made from the meats and vegetables freeze dried and packaged for U.S. Army Cooks, but whoever prepared it did a good job..  Each meal came with a single slice of fresh fruit.  Andrew and Stephanie looked at each other and smiled at that.  She told him about how the fruit was already in the lab for…

“I don’t know…” she shrugged, “for inspiring us, I guess.”  Then she added proudly,  “I’m trying to get an inspiration from a pineapple!”  

After lunch they were shown to the dorms by Brad from the Lab.  He said Forester was busy and sent his apologies.

  So Andrew carried the rock, possible meteorite, to his bag and dropped it in on top of his clothes.

There were two Dormitories and they could see why.  The first was very small with eight beds and no cupboards or shelves… all taken.  The second was the same.  Still small, but with ten crowded in beds, even two were empty, so they each set their bags at the foot of one, just as all of the others had, and left.  It didn’t look as if they were planning on any more recruits just yet.

“Let’s walk back to our duties by way of the entrance,” Andrew suggested, “I want o check out those Jupiter Moon pictures again.  I really only had time to read two, Ganymede and Callisto.  I know Galileo found more than two in the year,1640. “ This brought a smile and a memory to his mind.  “ Remember those churches we saw in France, that were built in 1630?  That was ten years before Galileo discovered this moon.  

The next photo was of Io, also found by Galileo Galilei,  in 1640 and it is the most volcanically active Moon due to the long elliptical orbit around that enormous Planet, causing huge tides and volcanic plumes almost 200 miles above the surface which is mostly sulfur dioxide. 

“That Io’s really great,”  Andrew said as he caught up with Stephie who was already  in front of the next one.  “Did you notice that Io is only a bit larger than our Moon, but there is such a huge difference.  

“Our Moon floats across the heavens inspiring moon light, love songs and happiness.  Imagine Io covered with volcanoes, spewing black smoke and red hot lava many miles into the sky, how romantic is that?”    

Stephanie gave it a quick moment’s thought and decided that her time problem was more difficult.

“These Sun and Moon time things have me thinking.  If 24 hours is the time it takes Earth to make one rotation thus is one day.  And a month is the time it takes our moon to travel around our Earth.  And one year is the time our Earth takes to go around our Sun.  How confused will people get when their Sun is just a distant red star?  Didn’t you notice that Jupiter had more than fifty moons going around it?  Talk about confusing! How many weeks, months, days, or hours, does that make?”

“I finally asked someone what time was it here.  And guess what?  He looked at his watch and told me exactly what time it was in Atlanta Georgia.  My watch was still set for California time. So I asked him, Why Georgia?  His answer was, 

“It’s too confusing if I don’t have the same time as the people I deal with by computer and telephone.”    

“I told him that I was set for California time and he said, “Fine.”  Then I said, “How do we know the time here?”    

“And he said?”

“He said up here it doesn’t matter. No one cares.  Everyone lives by his own schedule.  And then explained, In a way it’s the same on Earth.  There is the first time, which is Greenwich Time.  No matter what time it is where you are you need to know how far from Greenwich Time you are so you can compare.  So if necessary we will use Greenwich Time also… eventually.”

“I like the part where, Nobody cares.”  Stephanie turned to the picture in front of them.

“Oh it’s ours! Look Europa”.  Its discovery date is also 1640 by Galileo Gaililei.  That’s four.  So those four were discovered as the result of that invention called a telescope.   When he was though explaining all about their Europa’s water and orbit, it made Stephanie laugh.

“Look how quickly we have made Europa our Moon and we just arrived!”

“ You’re right.  I know we will never forget Europa’s name  But as for the others, four is good enough for now.”  Andrew smiled smugly for learning the four first Moon’s names. “Can you even imagine trying to learn all 146 or more names such as those?”   

They walked slower toward his office and Andrew showed it to Stephie.  

“Pretty nice. But you could use a window.” She remarked, “You should see mine.  It’s a tall stool with an apron on a hook.  But to be honest the entire lab is quite remarkable.”  She looked around as they were still alone she gave him a quick kiss and waved,

“So back to work!”  Stephie called, cheerily.  “Whatever that means.”

Andrew went to his cubby hole and desk and began to write on his computer.

He wrote:

To Forester; and those who are part of the New Earth Works:

My first impression was that this Moon would have nothing but ice to work with and the Swedish Ice Hotel came immediately to mind.  However my first day has shown that this was not an accurate impression.  

This cave office was the first good idea and the second was the huge amount of resources a careful walk showed to me.  There are not only tons of available rocks for building whatever is needed here.  There is sand and clay for bricks and glass.  But, if this is not the final population place, then you may want to keep this Moon as simple as you already have and make more elaborate plans for the New Earth replacement, which I have not yet visited.

If the forest and ocean prove out well here and can be repeated there, then there are even more choices.  All I need to know for my work now, is what do you want or expect for this temporary, staging Moon, Europa?  

It may not be the final solution, as this Moon is as doomed as our old Earth. However, a couple of billion years of use may very well be worth investing time and energy into. 

Glass factories and brick kilns could be used to feed the New Earth and perhaps even the old one, until the New Earth is founded.  On this Moon I saw copper, silver and quartz which may mean gold is available for financing.   What this moon may become is dependent upon all of you who have created it thus far.  I am available to help if needed, either from up here or down there.  Just curious, are they UP and DOWN?  

But meanwhile I will Bubble to my present Earth to live and work for both of us until then.  I need to build my business.  Also, I hope that my friend, Stephanie, will Bubble back and forth as I do, but as always, that is her decision to make.

Signed, A.M. and dated 2015.   


  Beverly, Mosier – JULY 2013

With thanks and apologies to all of those whose names may seem to be very  similar to the totally fictional characters in this Sci-Fi tale, but if the shoe fits…