Excerpt from THIRD WITNESS: The Alan Arthur Winston
Hypnotherapy Sessions with Edward Peterson
Copyright 1999 Joseph Robert Cowles. All Rights Reserved.
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ep: I see gray. It's gray here through the thick glass.
Everything is just so clear.
aaw: What else?
ep: I see the Earth. Way off.
aaw: And where are you?
ep: I am--on the moon.
aaw: What do you see?
ep: The air is heavy and dank and there's a condensation on the inside of the walls and I'm looking through a, like a, not like a porthole, but not like glass, and it's really, really, really thick. And there's dirt. And there's a slit in the dirt, it covers it all up, and I'm lookin' out and I can see the earthrise. That's very special, because usually we have to keep the shutters down--from all the radiation.
aaw: Do you do work there?
ep: (Clears throat.) I don't like this thick air, y'know. I like it better up at the station.
aaw: We'll go up there in--.
ep: But here's where I work. That's why I'm here. I get to open the glass 'cause nobody (laughs) knows I'm doin' it.
aaw: What kind of work do you do?
ep: I mine. I take oxygen out of the soil. It's good work. I gather up, and dig tunnels, and take all the material back to a smelter. I'm digging, digging, digging, and then I go dump it.
aaw: Are there others?
aaw: Lots of others?
ep: I have a crew of six.
aaw: What is your name?
aaw: Are you from--what country?
ep: I don't think Earth has countries anymore.
aaw: Where were you born?
ep: I was born at L5. La Grange Point 5.
aaw: Tell me about that.
ep: That's the fifth of the ten geosynchronous orbit points around the Earth between the Earth and the moon, wherein a space station or any other large ungainly object can be placed in permanent orbit.
ep: As the Earth and the moon move through space, at the L5 point, or the other L points, you're continually falling around the geophysical center of the gravitational pull of the Earth. And so therefore, in relative motion, you're still.
aaw: Is L5 a space station?
ep: Yeah. Sure.
aaw: And you were born there?
aaw: Okay. Albert--?
ep: Everybody calls me Al.
aaw: Al. Okay. Al-- what do you call the thing you're riding on?
aaw: And you use it to--?
ep: To dig.
aaw: And then what do you do with what it is you dig?
ep: We take and we dump it through the grate.
aaw: Then what happens to it?
ep: It goes into a furnace. It's smeltered, and we take out the--silicates are drained off and all the gasses are captured and recirculated through the inverter systems and then bottled and compressed and then we shoot 'em up to the L5.
aaw: When do you get out of here? How long is your shift?
ep: Shift? We come down here for about three weeks at a time.
aaw: You mean you stay down there for three weeks at a time?
aaw: Where do you sleep?
ep: In the racks.
aaw: Where are the racks?
ep: Back in the quonset hut.
aaw: In the--?
ep: Quon--in the hut.
aaw: The hut? Quonset hut?
ep: Yeah. We call 'em that 'cause that's how they look on the inside. Like big pipes, kinda.
aaw: Is it like a dormitory, or--
ep: Well, yeah.
aaw: --bunkhouse, or--?
ep: Everything's there, though.
aaw: Everything's there?
aaw: What about your cooking, your meals?'
ep: Yeah. That's where we do it all.
aaw: Do you cook, or does somebody cook for you?
ep: Oh, we all take turns.
ep: 'S not much to it. Y'just pop it in the microwave a sec.
aaw: Is it frozen?
ep: Some of it. Not all of it.
aaw: How is it--?
ep: Like freeze-dried.
aaw: Freeze dried.
ep: Little packets.
ep: Sometimes they rip and tear, and they're screwed up. You gotta look at 'em.
aaw: How many people did you say were on--?
aaw: Six on your team. Are there more than one team at a time?
ep: Never. Not in the tunnels. You don't go puttin' anybody into dangers you don't got to.
aaw: So one team at a time, and you stay for three weeks--
aaw: --and then the other three weeks, what do you do?
ep: It's three on, one off, three on, one off.
aaw: Three on, one off.
aaw: During that one, what do you do?
ep: We recreate. (Laughs.) That's a silly name for it, but you just, uh--
aaw: How long have you been doing this?
ep: What d' you mean?
aaw: This job--
ep: Oh. This is what I trained for.
aaw: You trained to do this?
aaw: Did--was it like going to school?
ep: I'm a reclamation analyst.
aaw: Say again?
ep: I'm a reclamation analyst. I run the team. I make sure that our quality is up. In other words, we don't want to ship any distorted gasses or anything like that, and we have to make sure all the pressurization is right in each of the tanks, 'cause if it's too high or too low when it goes through compression and ejection from the surface, it might blow up or spin, and you can't have a tank out there floatin' around, it'll bump into somebody or they'll run into it and that'll screw everything up.
aaw: Look around you where you are now--
aaw: --and describe the area in which you are working.
ep: It's like a tunnel, a half-tunnel. And as we go along, we dig, and then about every three meters or so we put up another cross-member, and bolt it together. Comes in three pieces. And we dig, and we keep going. And then, eventually--sometimes we join up with other tunnels--but then eventually, they come along behind us and start converting it into habitat, or put the grow lights in, start the farming.
aaw: All under the soil?
aaw: The ground. Is the soil--?
ep: 'S gotta be guarded from the radiation bursts an' stuff.
aaw: Radiation bursts? Where do they come from?
ep: From the sun.
aaw: Oh, like the flares?
ep: Yeah. Sun spots. You get big bursts of radiation. 'Specially if they're at this blocking from the magnetic field [undecipherable] the burst comes and the magnetic field will flux it out and away and then--it's like you're behind the Earth, in the shadow, see, and so then you're gettin' zero, and then you pop out into high concentrations, and so you gotta be real ready for that, you don't have much time sometimes.
aaw: Do you know when they're gonna happen?
ep: Oh, yeah. It's all charted out. But still, people screw up.
aaw: Do you like working here?
ep: I like working here because I think what I'm doing is good and important.
aaw: Are they colonizing the moon?
ep: Colonizing. That's an interesting word. But I guess--it's a good word.
aaw: Well, you said they're putting in grow lights and--?
ep: Yeah. They run lights down the middle of the tunnels.
aaw: Yes. And then--?
ep: Then you scoop the tunnel out. Kinda make it concave, but not round. Like the other half of the tunnel.
ep: And they bring in tiers. Take silicate. Pour it into forms, make tiers. And then they plant in the tiers. Run nutrient underneath. So that the whole system is sealed. You reclaim everything.
aaw: Hydroponics, sort of.
ep: Yeah. You gotta laz the ground to seal it off.
aaw: You have to what?
ep: Laz the ground.
aaw: What does that mean?
ep: We take lasers and superheat the rock and seal it off. We melt it just a little. It's kinda, it's heavy but delicate, sort of. 'S hard to--. 'S like you gotta have a touch. You can't just do it or you get big pock marks, you blow somethin' up. Then you gotta be careful how much gas you release, 'cause the laser releases gas.
aaw: Do you wear masks and gear when you do that? Breathing masks?
ep: When we're doin' that we're on full suit.
aaw: What about your regular work? Do you have protection against dust and things?
ep: Yeah. We're in suits, but we're exposed, y'know. They're just masks and stuff. It's not like a sealed suit.
aaw: D'you mind if I ask you some real personal questions?
ep: Hmm. No, why?
aaw: How--where do you go to the bathroom?
ep: In the tube.
aaw: What tube?
ep: There's a tube in the suit, if you're wearin' a sealed suit.
aaw: Yes. And then what happens? How does it get emptied out?
ep: You can change the suit, then you change your diaper.
aaw: Oh. Okay. I'd like you to tell me about what it's--.
ep: Gotta save it all.
aaw: What happens to it? What do you do with it?
ep: You reclaim it. Everything's reclaimed. All waste is reclaimed.
aaw: What do they do with it?
ep: They put it through separators. I don't know, that's other people's jobs, but they put it through separators, basically. All the fecal material goes back for composting and separation [undeciherable] and stuff like that. And then the urine's just pretty much saved. The diapers have silicone crystals in it, and then they use that stuff, you spread it out, and then the vapor comes off it, then they add something to it, I don't know, and reclaim the water, and then part of that's what's used to set up irrigation drips and stuff. Just, you got to keep the salinity content well under pH, though.
aaw: Are they planning to bring a lot of people to live here?
ep: There's already a hell of a lot of people here.
aaw: How many people are here?
ep: There's eight thousand, in the city proper.
aaw: How long has the city been there?
ep: Since after the war.
aaw: What war?
ep: I don't know the name of it. The war. We just call it the war.
aaw: What happened in the war? Where was the war? On the moon?
ep: No. The war was on the world.
aaw: On the world. Earth?
aaw: Was this a war between, well, a war from outside the Earth? Was it a war of the people on the Earth?
ep: Oh, yeah.
aaw: What was the result of that war?
ep: Lot of people decided it was a lot better off livin' up here than down there. Kooks got a hold of the bombs and stuff.
ep: Kooks got a hold of the bombs.
aaw: Kooks got the bombs.
ep: Yeah. You gotta be careful up here. They screen everybody, but occasionally we get some kooks up here.
aaw: With bombs, up here?
ep: Sometimes. What they like to do is split the air lock seals.
aaw: Explain that.
ep: They put little tiny cracks with razor blades in air lock seals, and so they can be gone a long time-- y'know, fifty, sixty, seventy hours. And then after awhile the seal breaks down, starts to crystallize, and it'll start a slow leak. And then, it's, so you gotta watch it, 'cause sometimes you think it's just a breakdown, so you go there, but then the minute you open the door the rest of the seal will blow off where it's all been cut. It's all crystalline. Once the rubber gets exposed at all to any of the radiation, or if dust gets in, it gets brittle. So we're always very concerned about it being brittle. You catch every little leak, like it could be somethin' major.
aaw: Do you have a security force up there that goes around--
ep: Um-hmm. Sure.
aaw: --and checks these things out?
ep: I don't know if they go around. It's like everybody's screened in. They're still--there's problems, but like there's no, uh--where the hell you gonna run, man?
aaw: What're the kooks trying to pull? What is their--?
ep: They think that we should all be down there on the world.
aaw: Are they originally from the world?
ep: Everybody's originally from the world.
aaw: Well, you said you were actually born--.
ep: On L5, yeah, but I mean we're all from the world.