Warren looked at Rida as they bobbed up and down, their capsule tossed by the currents.
“We’re alive,” he said. “We did it.”
“No turning back now,” she smiled.
A sound like destruction of every metal thing you ever knew interrupted them and then ceased.
“Hey!” a voice yelled. “This is Boatman Tira Sukjat. Welcome to Earth?”
A polite way of asking if they were alive or burned to a crisp.
“We’re alive!” shouted Warren. “Thanks for the recovery! It’s nice to be here. Can’t wai to get outside and see what it looks like up close.”
That’s when Warren realized he could barely move. His arms felt like 100-kilogram bar weights as he tried to undo his straps.
“Thank goodness,” yelled back Boatman Sukjat. “Don’t move much OK? The gravity might break a bone. We’ll get you out.”
They had been prepped on the intense gravity on Earth but the reality was much worse than they imagined. The crew of the recovery vessel lifted them out like invalids. They had to sleep in water to reduce the strain on their lunar bred bodies.
When they met with the folks who first contacted them, they did so lying down. Doctors assured them they would adapt enough to stand eventually but they both just wished they could go home.
Most of their mission could have been done without them physically there. They delivered copies of all the data preserved on the Lunar Citadel. They received a briefing and data copies of all the important info preserved on Earth. They would sift through the data and compare notes. This went much faster in person. But one thing they couldn’t have done remotely at all. They couldn’t have conducted a search.
They finally informed Earthside officials of this after the data exchange.
“We notice a lot of data missing from the Earth history’ especially in the post-Delian heretical period,” Rida began.
“Yes, we were hoping maybe you could fill in some of those gaps. You certainly do up until contact was broken,” said the Doctor. “But… That wasn’t very far into post-Delian society, in fact some date the end of the Delian age from that loss of contact. Not that your data isn’t helpful it’s just…”
“You thought there would be more.”
“Yes, especially of late Delian science. There are still things they did we cannot even fathom how. Things as simple as sealants up to advanced cures for diseases and well easier ways to get tot he Moon.”
Rida shrugged off this casual generic for Luna. “You saw our records indicated an Archive capsule was supposed to be sent to us preserving the types of info you speak of. It contained a recent copy of the Internet at the time.”
The Doctor laughed a bit. “Yes, our legends tell of a similar thing. Of course we’ve never determined what the Internet really was. All the records we have are exaggerated, and it looks like yours talk about it in the same vagaries.”
“We think it was real and pretty much as described. We have a small version of it at Amstrong, as you may have seen in our records. We also believe the Archive capsule was real and we think we know where to look for it.”
The Doctor looked skeptical. “If you hadn’t risked your life to be the first people to travel between the Earth and the Moon, I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t listen to a word of this. But setting my prejudices aside. What evidence do you have for the capsule?”
“No more evidence than you have seen that it exists. I think we just have a hater trust and respect for our records than you do, since we never had a period of anarchy to seed them with false data. However observing Earth for signs of life has been an obsession for us. And in a few hundred years we got good at noticing things.
“There is an area in the western region of North America that has a uniform blast radius. It also seems to have a structure preserved near its center. The capsule communications we have all came from a team working feverishly in a region of the LA Citadel called Utah, to preserve records and get the, to the Moon.
“If they tried to launch the records and failed they may still be partially there and there may even be a copy.”
“I know the area you’re speaking of,” The Doctor said, shaking his head. “It’s an odd artifact out near the great salt flats. We have studied it and found nothing like that. I’m afraid it’s just another ruin. The structure in the middle is an empty defensive tower, not a capsule.”
“What was it defending?” Warren finally spoke.
“We don’t know,” the Doctor admitted.
“Will you let us try to find out?” Rida asked.