Lunar Penal Colony – Part 6

Based on the last part, the date is important, to an extent. A lot of what happened in the previous five parts, though, seems to be pointless filler material. The court scene in part one is important. I think the scene at the processing center in part five is also beneficial to the story. Then there is the history narrative, explaining why the birthday is so bad. Instead of a single info dump, it should probably be spaced out a little differently. I think it is important to include that information in some fashion, though. – Trasee

Waking up from a medically induced sleep, or would that be a coma, is not an easy task. Waking up from a medically induced sleep on the moon is even more disorienting. I don’t know how long I stayed in bed, just trying to focus and get myself oriented.

The bed and pillow were quite soft. A warm blanket was pulled over me. It was very comfortable, unlike the stone beds I was on in the detention centers. Even the room I was in was completely different. For starters, it was an actual room, not a cell. I was in the twin bed, with the white sheets and light grey blanket. A simple white desk with a chair and a white desk lamp was next to the bed. A small tablet lay on the top of the desk. On the opposite wall was a wardrobe and dresser, also in white. Even my hospital gown was replaced with white pajamas. The bathroom, white of course, could be seen through an open door, contained a shower, sink, and toilet.

A clock on the wall gave the time as 15:08. I had to think for a few minutes to understand that was three in the afternoon. My brain damage, combined with the waking from the sleep, made it difficult for me to do the conversion.

Once I felt awake enough, I slid out from under the covers and stood up. The action felt odd to me. I don’t know how to describe it. Almost as if I were underwater, yet without the resistance of the water around me. When I slid out the chair to sit down and picked up the tablet, everything seemed lighter to my touch than I expected.

I touched the screen of the tablet to turn it on. The image of a woman appeared on the screen, holding the tablet. She turned it around to show me the back of the tablet and pointed to a small circle in the back. “Please place the tip of your finger here to unlock the tablet.” Like the nurse, she had a kind voice and a very sweet smile. After she finished the instruction, the screen turned off. With a slight shrug, I found the circle in the back of the tablet and pressed my finger to it.

The tablet flashed to life again, and the same woman appeared on the screen, smiling. “Good afternoon Val Edelstein and welcome to Orientale Station. This is one of four science stations on the moon designed to house prisoners from earth. This station is meant for those who have been sentenced for crimes of inconvenience, such as your inability to keep a steady job. We want to make your time here as comfortable as possible, but make no mistake, this is still a prison. You will be expected to follow the rules, and if you break them, you could be sent to one of the other stations.

“There are a couple things you should know. We’re located in the Orientale impact basin, an area of the moon with a slightly denser gravity, but still half that of earth. That means it will take less energy for you to move or jump, as you’ll literally be lighter on your feet, and things here will feel half the weight as they would on earth. It will take some getting used to, but you should be adapted to the changes in a week or so.

“It would be a good idea to keep this tablet with you at all times. It contains a map of the station so you can find your way around, and will give you important messages, such as when meals are served. You are expected to stay in your room between twenty hundred hours and eight hundred hours, that’s eight pm to eight am by the earth clock. The rest of the time you are free to roam the station. If you need assistance, just contact the guard desk via the messenger app on your tablet. While the circumstances of your arrival were not ideal, we do hope that you will enjoy your stay here.”

The woman flashed off the screen, and the desktop of the tablet appeared. The date and time indicated it was Friday, May 7, 2117, and was now 15:46. A schedule of upcoming events showed that dinner was in the cafeteria from 1700 to 1800, karaoke in Jupiter Lounge from 1830 to 1930, followed by lights out at 2000.

A nice, albeit very white, room. A comfortable bed. A tablet of my own. Karaoke night even? This wasn’t a prison, this was a whitewashed resort with strict rules and curfews. If this is what it is like here, no wonder no one ever came back to earth. Who would want to leave this comfort, even if the decor was kind of plain.

Lunar Penal Colony – Part 5

I’ve given it some thought, and while Part 2 had some interesting addition to the backstory, most of what happened after Part 1 has really been filler material. Most, if not all, of it will probably wind up on the cutting room floor. Even this part will probably be erased if and when editing actually happens. I’m going to continue forward with Part 5, as if nothing is going to be cut. I don’t know what might be usable from each part that could wind up in the edited version later, in one form or another. – Trasee

Two guards woke me up the next morning to take me from my cell. There was no breakfast waiting for me, nor was I given a chance to relieve myself. Get up, get moving, no time for anything else. I hadn’t eaten anything yesterday, and was sick after arriving last night. I was very hungry now, and my bladder was quite full. I didn’t bother to protest, though, because I knew it wouldn’t do any good. That, and I don’t like hearing the sound of my voice.

The guards led me down the hall to a what appeared to be a full bathroom. There was a shower, a toilet, a sink, and even a large trash bin in the room. There was a seat in the shower, and a bar attached to the wall next to it. I hadn’t had a shower for several days. In fact, I haven’t even had a change of clothes. If I was going to be allowed to shower, that would be wonderful.

“Take off all your clothes and put them into the bin.” I looked at the guard wondering if he was serious. Why would I throw away my clothes? And if I did have to get undressed, were they both just going to stand there and watch? “You heard me. Strip!” I could tell he meant business, and I certainly didn’t want him to get any angrier, so I did as I was told.

“Now, use the toilet then sit on the shower seat.” I looked at the guard again. It was clear I would have no privacy at all. I sat down on the toilet and let my full bladder empty. The guard gave me a weird look as he saw me sitting, but said nothing. After I had wiped, I went over to the shower and sat down. The guard came over and cuffed my hands together, then attached the cuffs to the metal bar. I wondered how I was supposed to take a shower if I was cuffed to the wall, but again, I stayed silent.

The guard who had been giving the orders stood to the side, while the other exited the bathroom. A moment later, an older woman entered in his place. She was wearing a some scrubs with drawings of children playing scattered across it. “Hello, I’m Mindy. I’m going to be your nurse. Can you tell me your name?”

I could feel the blood rushing to my face. I was already feeling exposed with the guards, and now that I have a woman in here, observing my naked deformed body, it was quite embarrassing. “Val.” My answer was short and to the point, not wanting to say more than I absolutely had to.

“What’s your last name, Val?” She made no comment about the ugly sound of my voice, as if it was just another perfectly natural voice, even though I knew it wasn’t.


She swiped her finger on the tablet she was carrying. “And your birth date?”

“April 17, 2092.”

“Oh, it was yesterday. Happy birthday.” She gave me a good natured smile. Why would she say that? She was here to process me to go to the moon. She knew I was a prisoner. How could she really think my birthday would be anything even close to happy? I wanted to be hurt, upset, but the smile and sweetness of her voice was disarming, and I simply nodded with a half-smile in response.

“Ok, I found your information. I see here that you are special needs. Accident on April 17, 2105. Oh, your birthday. So sorry to read that. It’s quite amazing you’re still with us. I’ll make sure we note the brain damage and avoid any medicines that would adversely affect your brain functions.”

She was so nice. I don’t remember anyone ever treating me this nice, not since my parents, that is. Here I was, a reject, a prisoner, being sent to the moon. Someone not even worthy enough to be kept on earth. Even though I hated talking, I had to ask her a question. “Why you being nice to me?”

She looked me in the eyes with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. “Because everyone deserves to be treated nice, no matter who they are. You apparently had a long series of unfortunate events that led you here, but on the moon, you’ll be given a new lease on life, a second chance for the happiness that has eluded you for so long. I know, I was one of the first people to be sent there.”

I looked at her in shock. She had been a prisoner, and now she was a nurse preparing me to go to the moon? It had to be some sort of a cruel joke. Yet the look in her eyes and the sincerity of her voice told me that she was most likely telling the truth. I couldn’t comprehend it.

“Now, let’s finish getting you processed. I’m going to start by shaving you. I’m going to remove all your hair before I give you your shower. The water is specially treated to completely disinfect your body. When I’m done, I’ll dry you off and we’ll take you to the medical bay. Any questions?”


“Your clothes are going to be incinerated. You’ll get new clothes once you get to the moon. I’ll give you a hospital gown in the medical bay.”

I didn’t ask anything else, so she began to do what she told me she was going to do. Using a sonic razor blade, she started at my scalp, slowly working her way down my body, letting the specially calibrated sound vibrations and laser swipes cut through all my hairs, leaving my body completely smooth and hairless. The shaving was a slow process, and quite uncomfortable, especially around my genital region where it was even a bit painful. She apologized for the pain, as she finished doing her job.

Then came the shower. The head of the shower detached, and she was able to hold it in her hand. She told me to close my eyes as she sprayed the water over me. The water had a strong odor with it, which must have been the disinfectants and anti-bacteria mix in the water itself. When all was said and done, I was dried off and, as promised, escorted to the medical bay. I hated being so exposed as we walked down the hall, but I knew there wasn’t anything more I could do.

There were lines of hospital beds in the medical bay, several of them had other prisoners in them, all just as hairless, all wearing blue hospital gowns. Every one of them had an IV going into their arms, and they all appeared to be sleeping. “What’s going on?”

“Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Just lie back and I’ll take care of the rest for you. Let me help you get this gown on.”

“But why are they asleep?”

“It will be a few days before you leave for the moon, and a couple days in space. It’s better for everyone if you just sleep until you arrive on the moon. Don’t worry, you’ll be well taken care of.”

Her smile and voice was calming and inspired trust. What she said made sense, I guess. I followed her direction and lay down on the bed. I gasped as I felt the sting of the needle pushing into my vein at the inside of my elbow. “Now count backward from 100.”

“100… 99… 98…97…” That was as far as I made it.

Lunar Penal Colony – Part 4

I was awoken early the next morning by a guard sliding a tray of food through a slot on the floor of my cell. “We leave in an hour.” He said simply as he continued on his way.

Rubbing my eyes, I sat up, and looked across the hall to Beach Bum Barry. He was still asleep, a dry yellowish-white sliding down the side of his face. Odd color and consistency for drool. I looked a little closer. I didn’t see any motion from him at all. That was when I realized it wasn’t drool that I saw, but vomit. Sometime during the night he must have vomited in his sleep and choked on his own vomit. I quickly averted my gaze, no longer having the desire to eat.

After recovering from the initial shock of a dead man in the opposite cell, I sat down on the toilet to relieve myself. One good thing about Beach Bum Barry’s passing is I didn’t have an audience for the bodily noises that ultimately and embarrassingly surfaced.

The guard returned in what I can only assume was an hour, as I had no clock or watch to tell time with. I said nothing as he put the cuffs on me and escorted me out of the detention center. I was lined up with the other prisoners, a lot more than were on the bus yesterday. There were several guards, all holding knock-out-rifles, escorting us toward a large cargo plane sitting on the runway.

The inside of the cargo plane was fitted with bench seats, similar to what was on the bus. Like the bus, we were each chained to our seats, secured for our trip. I tried to count the number of prisoners on the plane, but lost track after twenty. My brain injury made it hard for me to keep focused. If I had to guess, though, I would say there were over one-hundred prisoners that were on their way to the moon.

I was squeezed in between Weeping Willow from the bus and a big burly man with wild hair and beard who I named Lumber Jack. Weeping Willow was still crying, but it was much more subdued than the bus yesterday. I guess she’s starting to accept her fate. Being stuck between an overweight woman and a big burly man made for a very tight squeeze for me, which only added to my discomfort. I pulled my arms in as close as I could, and hunched over slightly, eager for the flight to be over, and we hadn’t even taken off yet.

It wasn’t much longer before I felt the plane jerk as it slowly started to move. I could feel the floor and seat vibrating, and could sense the acceleration, despite not having any windows to look out. When the plane began tilting upward, and I could feel gravity pulling me against the back of my seat, I was suddenly thankful I hadn’t eaten the provided breakfast. If I had, it probably would have wound up all over me.

I focused on my breathing, slow and steady. I could feel the waves of nausea, but did not want to give in to them. The feelings of nausea subsided slightly when I felt the plane leveling off. How long were we going to be in the air? How long before we’re back on the ground again? I had no way to know, so the only thing I could do was to continue to focus on my breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out slowly. Ignore the lump in my throat. Just keep breathing.

Suddenly, the plane shook violently. Did we hit something? Maybe a flock of geese? Were we going to crash? Several of the prisoners cried out in fear. I think I was one of them. My heard raced, the lump in my throat got higher, and I could taste the bile on my tongue. My breathing quickened, I was going to throw up. No, I’m not going to make a mess. I forced my mouth to remain closed, fighting back the nasty taste of the bile.

It seemed to last forever, but it was probably only a couple minutes. I felt hot, sweat dripping down my forehead. I swallowed more bile, the nasty taste lingering in my mouth. Weeping Willow was crying harder again. Lumber Jack was just sitting calmly, as if nothing had happened at all. How could someone be so calm. I looked at him dumbfounded. He must have seen me looking at him, as he turned his head to look at me.

“What’s your problem? Can’t handle a little bit of turbulence?” He scoffed and turned away, looking forward again. “Just don’t puke on me, wimp.”

The rest of the flight was much the same. We had more of what Lumber Jack called turbulence, but at least this time I was more prepared for it. I still hated it, and it still brought the bile up, but I refused to let it out of my mouth. I was so thankful when we finally landed and were escorted off the plane into another detention center. Once in my cell, I let the meager contents of my stomach release into the toilet, and washed the taste away with water from the sink.

Lunar Penal Colony – Part 3

Dates will certainly pose an interesting challenge, from the way things are looking. As mentioned yesterday, I probably should remove references to actual dates, leaving only the reference to the birthday. Instead of “birthday tomorrow” it should probably be “birthday today.” That might help the narrative a bit. – Trasee

No food or drink was given on the bus. No one was allowed to get up or move around. We were stuck, chained to our seats, until the end of the day. I passed the time by counting each of my fellow prisoners as they were escorted onto the bus. For added amusement, I found some sort of odd quirk associated to them, and gave them a name related to that quirk. For example, the crying woman I gave the name Weeping Willow. When all was said and done, there were eleven of us being taken to the detention center, our next stop on our way to the moon.

I have no idea how long we were driving. Three, four hours, maybe? All I know is that it took forever to reach the detention center, and my bladder was painfully protesting the wait. The detention center was located on a military airstrip quite a distance away from any known civilization. Not that I cared about that. The only thing I cared about was getting to a bathroom before I peed my pants.

We were let off the bus in the same order we were brought on, so I was the third one off, after Weeping Willow. The large wet spot I saw on the back of her pants let me know that I wasn’t the only one struggling with a full bladder, but at least I had fared better than her, at least for now.

I was led to my cell and my cuffs were removed before the door was closed and locked behind me. There was a single bed, low to the floor, with a pillow but no blanket. A small table with a tray of food was next to the bed. Next to that was a toilet, with no privacy whatsoever, and a sink with no soap or towel. My bladder was screaming at me now, and the fact that there was no privacy was the least of my concerns.

Quickly, I unzipped my pants, pulled them and my undershorts down, and sat down on the toilet. Using my hand, I guided my birth defect down so I could urinate into the toilet properly. I let out a sigh of relief as my overfull bladder began to empty itself.

“What the fuck, man? What kind of dude sits down when he takes a leak?” I looked up and across to the cell opposite me. It was man I didn’t recognize from the bus, a prisoner that must have been here when I arrived. He was sitting on his bed, long blond hair a matted mess and the whites around his blue eyes blood shot. He was extremely thin, like he hadn’t eaten in days. Beach Bum Barry, I called him in my mind, but didn’t answer him. “Ok, don’t answer me, but that’s still fuckin’ weird, ya know?”

After I finished, I cleaned myself with a bit of toilet paper before washing my hands. I didn’t like the fact there was no soap, but I didn’t really have room to protest. With that done, I turned my attention to the meal. A piece of boneless fried chicken, some fries, and a piece of bread on a paper plate. Not a lot of food, but at least it was something.

“Hey weirdo. Whacha in for?” I looked up at him as I ate the chicken. I didn’t answer his question. I just wanted to eat in peace. “Me? Wrong place and wrong time, man. Was trying to score, only turned out I was buying from a cop. Was a major bummer, ya know? What about you? Still don’t wanna talk? I’ve been here since yesterday, man, I need to talk to someone, ya know? We’re in this together, ya know.”

“Tired. Just wanna eat and sleep.” My voice was distorted, I could hear it when I spoke. I hated the sound of my voice. Not only was it the voice of a man, but it was forced and drawn out from my brain damage.

“You really sound fucked up, man. No wonder ya don’t wanna talk. Did you not score your fix either? I bet you were snatched like I was. Those pigs can sure be tricksy, ya know?” Beach Bum Barry continued to ramble on but I stopped listening. I finished eating and lay down on the bed, closing my eyes, and trying to tune out his incessant ramblings. I don’t know when his voice faded, and when I fell asleep, but I was grateful for it. At least in sleep I could escape my fate for a night.

Lunar Penal Colony – Part 2

I need to change the dates around a bit. Two weeks until leaving is too long to move the story along properly. Should I mention dates at all? Birthday is still important, as it is a key point of focus for the main character. Does an actual date have to be tied to the birthday, though? I can’t see the actual dates having any significance in the overall story. Something to think about later. For now, I’m going to move forward as if the dates were never mentioned. – Trasee

After the verdict and sentence is handed down, I was escorted out of the courtroom by Biggs and Wedge. Those are the names I gave my two guard escorts, since I don’t know their real names. I don’t say anything aloud, though, I simply follow their directions and walk to the bus waiting in the parking lot behind the courthouse.
Biggs walked onto the bus in front of me, while Wedge followed behind. They show me exactly where to sit, then cuff my feet and hands to the seat. Another guard stood at the front of the bus, next to the driver, a knock-out-rifle in his hand. There were a couple other prisoners on the bus as well. First was a Cambodian with a shaved head and tattoos, probably gang affiliated. He looked quite angry, and ready to attack whoever got in his way. Good thing he was chained like I was. Then there was an overweight woman, apparently in her late forties, crying in the seat in front of me. I wonder what her crime was. Whatever it was, like the gang-banger and myself, we’re guilty and going to the moon.
The moon. I knew it was only a matter of time, no matter how much I tried to avoid it. How fitting it is that my trip to the moon falls on my birthday as well. How I hate my birthday. Everything bad that has ever happened in my life has happened on, or within a couple days, of my birthday. It may sound cliche, but even the day I was born was bad, probably the cruelest day of them all.
I was born Val Daniel Edelstein Jr, the son of Val and Danielle Edelstein. I was a perfectly healthy boy that weighed just under eight pounds. While that sounds nice, the problem was that I was born a boy, when I should have been born a girl. It’s such a cruel trick that nature played on me, and I was helpless to do anything about it.
My parents were wonderful. When I was old enough to begin to show my differences, they understood and accepted it. Oh, I’m sure they tried to make me a behave like a boy at first, but I would have none of that. It was so long ago, though, I don’t remember how it was. I just know they bought me pretty dresses, dolls, and anything else to make me feel like their little princess. They were even going to start me on hormones when I turned 13.
That was the year the birthday curse struck again. The three of us all got into the car to go to see the doctor. I was so excited, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I was going to get hormones, I was going to become a woman. I don’t remember what happened after getting in the car, I only know what I was told. We were on our way to the hospital when another car lost control and hit us head on. The driver of the other car and my parents were all killed instantly in the crash. I was in the back seat, and had a little more protection, but not enough. My legs, arms, ribs, and skull were shattered. One of my lungs had collapsed and my brain was swelling. I was in critical condition for more than a month, having barely survived.
I spent a year in the hospital, while the hospital slowly drained my parents’ bank accounts. Recovery was hard, as I had to relearn everything. I couldn’t think or comprehend as fast. I couldn’t even comprehend my parents had died for months. I was treated like a boy in the hospital, yet I still wanted to be treated like a girl, but my brain injuries made it hard to express.
On my fourteenth birthday, I was sent to live in a foster home. I had no money to my name, all the money that would have come to me had gone to the hospital to pay for my treatment. My new foster family, Bill and Andrea, with their biological son Steven, saw me as a disabled boy. When I tried expressing that I was a girl, they just thought it was related to my brain damage, and tried to reinforce that I was a boy.
Steven was a brat. He was older than me by a year, and always treated me badly. In his eyes, I was a just a “retard” who talked funny. I wasn’t retarded. I didn’t speak clearly nor did I learn quickly, but I was not, and am not, stupid by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just harder for me now than it was before the accident.
Because of my difficulties learning, I was considered “special needs” when it came to my education. When most kids were graduating when they were 18, I was in a special school until I was 21. That was when my birthday bit me again. Bill and Andrea did not want to be saddled with me anymore, so they threw me onto the street on my birthday. They probably would have done that three years earlier, but because I was considered “special needs” the law wouldn’t allow them to until I turned 21.
Thomas was my assigned case worker after I was kicked out. It was his job to get me to look professional, and to help me get a job. I told him I wanted dresses and makeup. He told me I could only have suits and ties. Even when I was on my own, I was being denied my true self.
My special needs status gained me extra leeway with my jobs, but my difficulties in speaking and learning caused me to lose my jobs every three months. A normal person would have been sent to the moon within a year, but because of my status, I was given until I was 25. This is why I find myself cuffed in the slowly filling bus of rejects about to be sent to the moon.

Lunar Penal Colony – Part 1

This is a first draft idea. I have no real thoughts on where this story could go. Just an idea for a penal science station on the moon. I have a rough beginning, and a couple ideas of what could happen, but no end or plot in mind. This could go well, or, most likely, go completely off the rails. Should be interesting to see it unfold. – Trasee

I looked up at the clock hanging above the door. It’s 10:55am on Friday, April 16, 2117. It’s my twenty-fifth birthday tomorrow, and in five minutes, the rest of my natural life is going to be decided by a jury of twelve of my so-called peers. I know what the verdict is going to be. I’ve known it from the moment I was arrested. I’m going to march in there, the judge is going to tell me to stand and then he’ll ask if the jury has reached a verdict. They’re going to say guilty, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

The door to the room I was locked in opened and a short woman in a blue dress entered the room escorted by two guards. Her name is Mabel, and she is my court appointed legal representative, since I can’t afford one of my own. It’s a mere formality, of course, because the law required it. My guilt was certain before they slapped the cuffs on my wrists barely two hours ago.

“It’s time. Come with me.” I took a quick glance back up at the clock as she spoke. It’s now 10:56. She’s wrong, it wasn’t time. I still have four whole minutes before I’m sent away for the rest of my natural life, however long that might be.

One guard stood to my left, another to my right, as I followed Mabel into the courtroom. I didn’t even have time to sit before the bailiff told everyone to rise as Judge Reggie Talbot entered the courtroom. The dark skinned judge would be the one to hand out the sentence immediately after the jury of my peers delivered the verdict. Again, a mere formality, as for the last 17 years, there has only been one sentence ever handed down.

“Mister Foreman, have you reached a verdict?”

So, it was to fall to the elderly Asian man to put the noose around my neck. I watched him as he pulled out a piece of paper to read in response to the judge’s question. “We have your honor. In the matter of the people vs. Val Edelstein, we find the defendant guilty of chronic unemployment.”

Yup, that’s my crime. Chronic unemployment. As hard as I tried, I could never hold down a job and I have no family to rely on for help. Now this is where I find myself, the day before my birthday.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the court thanks you for your time. Mr. Edelstein, in view of the guilty verdict, you are hereby sentenced to the Lunar Penal Colony. You will be given five years to make yourself a productive member of society at which time you will become eligible to return. The shuttle to the moon will depart on Monday, May 3, which will signal the official start of your sentence.”

With a bang of his gavel, my fate was sealed. He says my sentence is only five years. I know the truth, though. I’m never coming home. No one who is sent to the moon ever comes back to earth. No one knows why, and no one bothers to ask. They’re safe. They’re happy. No one’s living on the streets to make them uncomfortable. So, yep, in a couple weeks, I’m going to join the rest of the discarded souls on the moon. Happy birthday to me!