The following is a transcript of a speech delivered before the Assembly of Shackelton by citizen Elsi Badez on 25.2.2254 in response to the Federated States message sent to Luna two days prior on 23.2.2254. It has not been altered in any way other than the omission of ambient sounds for the preservation in the Shackelton archives.
“Honored citizens of Shackelton, I speak not only to you today but to all of the citizens of Luna. I speak to you in the hopes that you will stop the rumblings of self delusion and romanticism that, at the merest utterance from that world which had forsaken us, seems to have swelled over the past couple days. This is not an address, or a speech, or an appeal as much as it is a call. A call to use sense. A call not to dishonor the work of your forbears, some who’s memories are still fresh in the minds of those who stand in this very chamber today. It is a call to sever the sentimental ties that are awakening in you the desire to gaze back upon that blue and green wasteland that has kept our minds, our ambitions, and our people anchored for too long. Yes, I speak of that world where mankind spawned. I speak of Earth, of Terra. I speak of that crumbling edifice of civilization that now, when we have lived in the void and the Grey for so long, comes beckoning. For what purpose? To bend us to their cataclysmic and small wars? To chain us to their political games and engulf or tranquil, quiet home in the flames of conflict? Of death? Of ruin?
Our esteemed brothers in Peary would have us believe not. That Earth’s outstretch hand in that garbled transmission calling for a rejoining is a chance for humanity to once again be united. They see in those shaky, distorted words succor from our harsh and unforgiving Luna. They see a chance to walk on plains of grass, of breath non recycled air, of feeling the suns warmth on their skin. It is a trap. But a trap, I will readily admit, with powerful bait. It is deep seeded on all of us. Nearly 200 years on Luna cannot erase the genetic calling of hundreds of thousands of years of human existence. Reject it. Rise above its base and low calling. It is a gift that costs those on Earth nothing. It is free. They seek a rejoining only to exploit and claim all that we have fought, all that we have earned, all that we have dreamed.
When the small, petty people of Earth went to war and unleashed their collective fury on one another they abandoned us. They left us to die. They assumed we would fail without them. While I do not doubt they did not realize how far they would go, how much devastation they would wrought, they knew they had left us alone. Alone out in the void. Scared. Devastated. Saturated in despair. Do not take my word for it. You have all ready the journals and the testimonies of our ancestors, of the first men and women who were not bound to Earth but bound to Luna through no fault of their own. The chilling accounts of the suicides and the free walks out of airlocks. Of the hysteria and the anger and the fear that permeated through these halls. Deaths and devastation born not by the sins of those in Peary, Galileo, Fortuna or Shackelton. No. These tragedies were born down there. Down on that globe of everlasting succor where the greed of man ran rampant. By the generals and the politicians in Damascus. In Washington. In Moscow. In Beijing. In Cairo.
When all seemed lost. When home, that glimmering sphere, was so close yet so far and the atmosphere toxic with nuclear fallout and debris the men and women of Luna could have folded. They could have laid down and accepted the fate the pithy, uncaring, and warring factions of Earth had set for her. Some did. But they were a few. Most did not and we stand here today as a testament to that fact. They struggled. They rejected the fear, and the desperation, and the hatred that had latched onto and finally dragged their earthly counterparts under its ample blue waves. They rose. They built. They innovated. They became what we have ever since endeavored to be. The Founders.
The built Luna into the home we know, and love, today. The society that has enjoyed no civil wars. No insurrections. None of the strife and fractures that had plagued man for so long on Earth. None of the pestilence or homelessness or overcrowding that had confounded and condemned so many of Earth’s masses for its long, bloody history. That is what Earth promises with this reconciliation. Not the verdant fields of the American Midwest or the wide open blue sky of the Asian Steppe. Not the cerulean waters of the Adriatic or the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. What Earth promises with this grasping, decrepit, dying hand is to infect us with all the ills we have struggled to rid ourselves of for two centuries.
I say to you, my fellow citizens, RECOGNIZE! Recognize that Earth’s time has passed. Recognize that billions perished because of the greed and the opulence in which they lived and no doubt will live again. Recognize that no war or conflict, no matter how terrible, has caused them to abandon the most vile of all human creations; War. There will always be another war on Earth. Another demagogue or nation who will seek to dominate its neighbors and bathe in blood all to be remembered as Ozymandias. People who do not recognize. Who do not realize that the monuments of mortals will always wither to dust and crumble in the sands of time. They do not recognize that it is man, as a collective, that we must strive to preserve. They lack the perspective. They do not see what we see. That for all their struggles. For all their mighty feats of arms. For all their life works, their tomes of knowledge, their creative masterpieces are invisible from where we sit. All we see is a garden world unappreciated and unrecognized for the gift it truly is by those who live, and kill each other, upon it.
That is why we cannot trust these messages, these overtures. They speak of reconciliation but to what end? That the Federate States, whatever that is, is most likely a faction still involved in active wars. That it may be run by the next great warlord who seeks a prize to lord over his subjects and his rivals. That any reception of Earth people into these halls will lead to our destruction. We have grown too distant from our cousins on Earth. We are no longer bound by the mentality to crush and deny our fellow man in competition to watch him struggle in our wake. Perhaps someday we shall reconcile with Earth but not as coming back into the fold, as they said. Not to rejoin them in the ‘brotherhood of Gaia’, as they so quaintly put it. They seek to absorb us. To engulf us. They do not want to see us as equals. They think we are weak. They think, like our brothers in Peary are advocating, that we will come running back to the cold embrace of a dying world. To bring us back down from the tranquil stars and into the maelstrom of violence and conflict in the dirt and the mud.
I ask you, citizens of Shackelton and, indeed, of all of Luna to recognize. Recognize that Earth is the past and Luna…Luna is the future. Thank you.”