The Greater Good Protocol is the second part of the series by Ramona Darabant. Check out the first part here.
It’s no fun, being tied up and dragged behind a vehicle at breakneck speed.
In case you’re wondering, and want to try it yourself – DON’T! Contain your beer-fueled impulses, folks! Don’t kid yourselves, I only make this look easy and enjoyable!
I surf the dirt! I’m that kind of guy. I got more tricks up my sleeve, than a stray dog fleas.
If you ever get tied to your own utility rover, doing ninety on the lunar grid, outside the city domes, you might want to pay attention. If you are one hundred percent proud and organic human, you should be on the edge of your seat.
Truth is, half of the time you dodge stones and sharp rocks, and you keep your limbs and rope clear from the spiky tire-plates, for obvious reasons. Through the other half of your personal dirt-intimacy experience, you try not to breathe too much or too shallow. Depending on the state of your air reprocessing unit, you can alternately black out, breathe yourself into carbon dioxide coma, or asphyxiate.
Either way, you’re screwed.
First, admit that things went south, real bad.
Second, whatever you do, don’t panic! You can do it later. Maybe.
If you are wearing a suit, you are fortunate, if not, you’re dead anyway.
Try to keep your visor intact, the suit can manage small damages by itself. Curse a lot, you might feel better. Probably… Imagine what you will do to the idiots, who put you through this. Channel your anger, come up with a plan.
Look where your rover is going. You see a boulder or a dirt heap ahead, tuck and roll out of its way. Do whatever you can to stay surface bound. You’ll get flipped up and over like a pancake, but that’s not your problem, coming down is.
Humans do not land gracefully, they smack down hard and break open, like oversized Kinder-Surprise-Eggs. The surprise is a puddle of pink goo, popped eardrums and nasty sunburns. It’s gross, really! But hey, humans are squishy delicate things. Not even an armored suit can keep your marshmallow bodies entirely safe, if you feel the need to follow the tug of gravity. Of course, you can use your positioning jets to stay above the surface, but then your fuel and air are gone three hundred seconds earlier. You’ll still smack down.
For me, it’s a bit different. I’m a lot heavier than you’d expect from my built. It’s not only my special gear, but my body has its own gravitational force. If you’d break me open, my surprise would change your world. You’d see a lot of electric circuits, maybe some sparks ahead of a middle-sized nuclear explosion. Lucky me, the edgy rocks and the lack of oxygen do not harm me, in a serious way. Let’s just say, I have a very sturdy skin. What I do not have, is the need for breathing. Nevertheless, my circuits want be cooled properly. My subroutines mimic the act of human breathing patterns, for this task. Actually, it’d suffice to go naked.
By the way, humans call me Adam.
This is the name my fathers give me, as they copy me into this body.
I prefer Ryo. Sure, you’re delighted.
I guess, you worked it already out, I’m different. I feel that sceptic expression on your face turn into a doubtful question. You say androids and cyborgs are illegal on the Moon? You are right. I will let you in on a little secret, because I like you.
I don’t care.
I’m new in Surveyor Tycho. Just arrived ten days ago, to fill in the head security’s job, for the company. The guys from United Strix Tech Mines are ecstatic. You know, the people running the mining complex, city and all. Someone with my references is hard to find on Earth, but here in the Lunar colonies, it’s almost impossible. I’m a miracle, a heaven-sent convenience. My presence in Surveyor Tycho is issued by the Greater Good Protocol, signed by the Minister of Security and Information-Management. I’d show you my permit card, but it’s in my other suit.
The company is all hush-hush about my disappeared predecessor. The ether news has not much to go on about it. People vanish nearly every day, nothing to worry about. There is no busy security, no official statement, no nothing. Smells like media blackout to me. It’s as if people evaporate into the vast darkness of outer space. Humans die, like their home world does. That’s a fact.
News to you? Ignorance is a bliss. Media conditions you, since the day you are born.
The general ignorance is a good and reassuring thing. It helps a community to work properly. It keeps you focused on your goals. Don’t let it fool you, it only helps the criminals to go unnoticed. It builds a reassuring static background noise to black out the daily catastrophic events, rolling in over social and official media.
So, how did I get myself tied up and dragged behind my own rover, you ask? Not on purpose, that’s for sure. Not exactly accidental either… It chalks up to being the wrong place at the wrong time. Or at the right place at the right time, depends on your point of view… I disappear like the others.
Don’t fret, I’m exactly where I need to be. I know my way around the cold emptiness surrounding this tiny puddles of life. It greets me like an old friend.
I’m that kind of guy.
Author: Ramona Darabant
R. C. Darabant was born Romania and lives now near Vienna, where she works as a family physician. When she isn’t working, she writes poetry, flash fiction and short stories. She recharges her batteries during storms and night strolls. In her stories, there is a distinct lack of happy endings. It’s not pathological, rest assured, she had that checked.