posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 04:18 PM
(A Lunatic's Last Laugh - cont.)
It took nearly another three years of research, design, testing, and development – not to mention all of the bribing and glad-handing Grant had to
do to gain the necessary approvals. After all – he was going to need access to things – big things - such as a launch facility, rocket fuel,
operations and communications support, and a wide range of other services. The fact that he was helping to build and pay for his own launch vehicle,
payload modules, and the infrastructure he’d need on the moon wasn’t nearly enough to pull this off. No, Vincent Grant needed lots of help in
high places to make this work. And he was hell-bent to bring it together. But there were issues and obstacles he needed to overcome. Vincent Grant
was a determined and resourceful, and he also had money to burn – a fact not lost upon the many industrialists and politicians he encountered along
One of the things he had to do (and pay dearly for) was a cover story. There was no way they were going to let some rich egotist blast off to the
moon all alone and remain there by himself – no matter who paid for it.
Instead, Vincent Grant convinced the powers that be that he was willing to fund an exploration and habitat outpost on the moon with the intent of
scientific and mineral resource discovery. His only stipulation was that he, Vincent Grant, would lead the expedition party and that the group that
accompanies him be fully prepared to stay on the moon for three years before returning to Earth.
Initially hesitant, the international consortium of space agencies and industrialists finally agreed to Grant’s terms and (along with Vincent
Grant’s billions, of course) the project components came together in rapid succession.
The first few unmanned launches to the moon dropped building materials, construction equipment, and habitat components. Later came more launches with
power units, oxygen extractors, and water recycling machinery. Following these were the giant water “bladders” themselves, fuel depots and basic
infrastructure to allow a team to live and work in relative comfort in a dangerous, inhospitable environment.
A few more missions in rapid succession followed with construction crews to assemble the habitat and laboratories. A site on the gentle slope of a
large crater was selected previously, with several large rock outcroppings and a large cave or two within which the habitat pods could be constructed.
The crews inflated the modules a few dozen meters inside the gaping mouth of one of the larger caves, installed the solar arrays on the sun-facing
slope outside, and connected the life-support structures and other equipment.
Despite a few technical delays and the usual cost overruns – all of which were shrugged off by the mission’s relentless and impatient protagonist,
Vincent Grant – it was soon time for the mission specialists to journey to their new home.
The team arrived to find everything ready and running smoothly. It wasn’t long before they settled into a routine of work and casual co-existence
– though in very bleak and desolate surroundings indeed.
Not surprisingly, Vincent Grant spent most of his time by himself, and though the rest of the team initially thought his behavior odd, they were much
too busy and focused on their own work to give him much more than a cursory thought. Grant insisted on a separate living module and office quarters
for himself, and though he was physically connected to the other labs and main living quarters by flexible tubes and gangways, he rarely ventured
After a few weeks of puzzled expressions and glances toward “Grant’s Lair”, the rest of the party all but ignored him and instead just went
about their business. Grant ultimately delegated all communications and reporting to Earth to others in the party and the rest of the crew would
often go several weeks without seeing or hearing from him at all.
As for Vincent Grant himself, he was getting forlorn and restless again and it was time to put the rest of his plan in motion. The problem was that
he wasn’t quite sure he could go through with it. The idea was to make his way to the moon, by whatever means necessary, and then figure out a way
to be the “sole survivor” following an accident or other calamity that would leave him alone and in literal heavenly bliss.
For nearly a month Grant labored over various scenarios to consummate the deed. Some of his schemes he initially thought of during the preparation
phases back on Earth. But once on the moon, he realized that doing away with the others was not going to be easy. Everything he considered, was, in
fact, going to be a messy affair – none of which he had the stomach for.
The truth is, Vincent Grant is just a dastardly coward, a wretched, immoral scoundrel – and he knew it. His enormous, magnificent plan was unable
to reach its intended conclusion because Vincent Grant himself was nothing more than a degenerate vagabond, a castaway of civilization, who happened
to have so much residual and disposable income that he could slime his way to any excess – even all the way to the moon.
As the weeks passed, Vincent Grant became more despondent and desperate. He wanted closure – he wanted to be utterly alone in this utterly stark
He began to venture out of his module, often taking slow drives around the crater with the exploration track-rover. He enjoyed these little
escapades, the dark and forbidding landscape around him, the silence, the void of blackness above.
At first the others would radio to him to make sure he was all right – but after a few gruff dismissals to stop bothering him they pretty much left
him alone. Besides, after an hour or two, they would see the rover slowly make its way back over the edge of the crater and up into the mouth of the
cave, followed by Grant sulking back to his lair without a word.