The discovery of a deserted city within the Moon was a secret for over forty years. Bringing it up to human living and working standards cost the governments of Earth enormous resources. The miracle was not just the city within the Moon, not just the co-ordination of its restoration. The true miracle was the fact that the project included every country on Earth working in harmony and in secret. Once the interior of the Moon was ready for residents it was time for the inhabitants on Earth to learn how to work together and share equally.
It was a once in a lifetime configuration of events planned over decades that ensured the success of the military and civilian coups responsible for the creation of the One World Government (OWG). It was a military coup that brought about the United Lands of North America (ULNA) where Angel and Cooper attended the first ever Sanity Session held that fateful year.
Those attending high school that first year spent the summer after graduation learning about the OWG and what each was required to contribute to the whole; the curriculum of each Sanity Session. Those not attending school – both young and old – were welcomed into Sanity Sessions during the first one held after their fifth birthday. The OWG soldiers shot anyone choosing to avoid Sanity Session attendance in any country; no age was exempt and no questions asked.
Angel and Cooper fell in love during their senior year of high school. Due to their exceptional intelligence and leadership abilities displayed during their Sanity Session during year one of the OWG they were among the one million new people chosen to work for the OWG within the Moon. Angel and Cooper were required to commit to a two-year term of service that they could extend if they chose to do so together or individually.
Once in the Moon they excitedly applied for the right to bear and raise a child but the gene pairing process showed the potential for their passing on a genetic disease if they mated and produced offspring. Therefore, the Office of Genetic Purity denied Angel and Cooper the opportunity to pursue parenthood together. Cooper was incredibly sad not to be able to have his child with Angel but he was grateful when the Office of Home-life allotted them joint living space. By OWG law, the two could co-habit as long as they underwent temporary sterility.
Their two-year term turned into a ten-year term for Angel and Cooper. His work in the crèches gave Cooper the opportunity to parent; even though the children he worked with were not his own. Angel’s work designing space-farms planned for construction within the century kept her work life filled with challenges. Their love brought them growth as mates. They lacked for nothing that was legal.
Meanwhile, on Earth, hundreds of millions perished during the first two years of the establishment of the OWG and the count reached one billion that first decade. A majority lost their lives through treasonous acts. A minority – about two hundred million – died of thirst, starvation, and/or disease before a fair and equitable distribution system was in place.
Cooper had planned a special event meal at lakeside of the Man in the Moon Café. He arrived a bit early and ordered two Berry Fizzes as he waited for Angel to arrive. They were non-alcoholic due to its being illegal, but the drinks would be a rare treat as the fruit allotment for Moon dwellers was only slightly over what was required for health. It was the tenth anniversary of their arrival in the Moon and he had news to share with her. It was enormously exciting for him but he was not sure how Angel would view it.
He spotted Angel striding long-legged down the ramp to lakeside. She looked beautiful as always even though clothing was by law, practical. She wore her best jump-shift and had her waist-length black hair in a French braid. He rose to meet her and they shared a long hug, a warm kiss, and he held her chair for her after she moved out of his arms to sit at the table.
“This is lovely, Coop,” Angel said with a loving smile. “It’s hard to believe it has been ten years since we first came up to the Moon.”
“It seems like yesterday, Angie. Now enjoy your drink and let us wait and see what the Chef has concocted for dinner.” Cooper leaned over the table and whispered conspiratorially, “I hear they sometimes serve dessert after the meal!” Angel’s eyes widened and they shared a childish grin of delight.
Cooper and Angel touched their glasses together in a silent toast and they both rolled their eyes and simultaneously let out an, “Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” of pleasure.
“This is heavenly, Coop,” said Angel. “I haven’t had berries in ages!” They both drew more of the drink through their cups and marveled at the taste like children with their first cones of cotton candy.
“I have some news, Angel,” Cooper said with such seriousness that Angel set her drink down and looked intently into his eyes.
“What is it?” Angel asked concernedly. “Are you ill? You’re perspiring.” Angel waited anxiously for Cooper to speak.
“No, no. It’s nothing like that,” Cooper assured her as he reached over the small table and held her hand. “I heard from the Office of Genetic Purity and they have found a one-hundred percent match for my gene and bond-mate application,” Cooper said excitedly as he looked expectantly into Angel’s eyes. “What do you think?” he asked.
Angel withdrew her hand from his and folded both of her hands in her lap and she sat rigidly in her chair. All of the humor and joy had left her and the chill hand of dread touched her heart. “I didn’t know you had an application on file,” she said in a monotone. “Have you decided to pursue this match?” she asked carefully.
Cooper saw this was going to go badly. True, he had not told Angel about his application and he realized it was the reaction he was getting now that had prevented him from being forthright with her. “Yes, Angel. I am going to pursue the match.” He waited for what was next.
“Will you be providing sperm and staying with me, or will you be bonding with your match and living with her as a full time parent and partner?” Angel asked quietly still looking intently into his eyes.
“Listen, Angel,” Cooper began, “You know I’ve always wanted a child…” She cut him off.
“I’ll be going to single quarters right away. Do me the courtesy of staying here and celebrating while I get out of your life.”
“But,” Cooper started.
“There are no ‘buts’, Cooper. I wish you well and I never want to see you again. I don’t know what love means to you, but it doesn’t matter now.” Angel stood and looked down at Cooper squirming and uncomfortable under her gaze. “I’ve loved you fully and it won’t just go away overnight. I’m not hurt, Cooper, I’m heartbroken and ashamed of how fully I misjudged you.” Angel walked purposefully away from the table and Cooper watched open-mouthed as she strode up the ramp and out of his life.
Cooper started to rise and then thought better of it. He would respect her wishes and give her time to clear her things out of their quarters. It would not take long as personal belongings were few and Angel was obviously going to get out as quickly as possible.
“She should have given me time to explain,” Cooper spoke aloud. He sounded like a petulant child. It was Angel’s fault thought Cooper. She was the one with the genetic marker that kept them from having a child together and she knew how much he wanted a child. Did she expect him to be a sperm donor and know he had a child somewhere in the Moon and never get to know him? That was just plain selfish of her and rushing away without giving him an opportunity to explain was rude.
It was just as well she was leaving he thought. He would miss her and he did love her but without children they could never really be life-mates could they? They were only twenty-eight years old. Did she think he could spend his life with her when she could not give him what he needed?
Cooper flipped his communicator open and spoke the name Clarice. “I’m at the Man in the Moon Café, love,” Cooper spoke smoothly. “Would you care to join me?” Clarice was his one-hundred percent match and now that he had broken the news to Angel, he and Clarice could spend time in public without fear of anyone thinking poorly of him. The past few months of secret meetings had been wearing on both of them.
He had a brief moment of regret, but he suppressed it and waited for his new partner to join him at the café. Perhaps she could move in with him that night he thought. Smiling he sipped his drink and ordered a fresh one for Clarice who would be arriving in a short time.
Angel Devore PhD arrived on Earth in the ULNA the previous day. She had transferred from in the Moon and was now working for the OWG as the lead Project Manager for the ‘Future is Space Farming’ project. Angel’s exemplary engineering work, her earned doctorate, and transfer to Earth with a promotion she accomplished over her ten years in the Moon apprenticing under Jaxon Weaver PhD.
Angel had unpacked and settled into the single quarters of the building fondly known as ‘Space Farmers United’; the OWG enterprise located on the west coast of what was once known as California. Angel queried her schedule and saw her first co-operation day volunteer work would be giving an overview in English of the OWG. Her students were from the English as a second language curriculum graduating from High School that afternoon.
Well that will be a good start, thought Angel. It will be fun to help educate a group of youngsters that evening and she laughed at herself feeling elder at twenty-eight. She felt a pang of loss remembering that Cooper’s rejection was the main reason she was on Earth and not in the Moon. However, she put her personal feelings aside and vowed to enjoy this new adventure on Earth.
The day passed in a blur of new sights, sounds, names, and places. Angel was at a point where she felt her brain was full and was thankful for the tone emitting from her communicator. It was time for her talk to the new graduates and she followed the lighted path that appeared on the floor leading her to the auditorium. It certainly saved time finding places when the technology was in place to lead her wherever she asked to be lead.
Angel entered the auditorium, stopped abruptly and looked up toward the podium asking, “What are you doing here, Jaxon?” They were alone in a room that would hold one-thousand students.
“How wonderful to see you, Angel,” Jaxon smilingly said as he walked down the stage stairs and opened his arms for a hug. Angel walked into his arms and returned his warm hug. “I heard you would be giving a talk and I came right away from the spaceport,” he stated as they moved apart and stood holding hands. Angel blushed and dropped his hands still wondering why he was there.
“Your talk has been re-scheduled, Angel,” Jaxon spoke softly. “You might want to have a seat here with me.” He took her arm and led her to a front-row seat and they sat down together. “I have some sad news,” he began.
“Is this about Cooper?” Angel asked quietly, her right hand moving to cover her heart.
“I’m afraid it is. I volunteered to bring his ashes down and deliver them to his parents because I wanted you to hear the news from a friend.” Jaxon looked at Angel with concern as the tears coursed over her cheeks and she remained unmoving in her seat. “Are you going to be alright?” he asked fishing a handkerchief out of his breast pocket to press into her hand.
Angel moved awkwardly into a hug from her seat over to his. She continued to cry without sound, but Jaxon knew he had delivered one of the biggest shocks a person ever receives when a loved one dies and you come to find out about it after the fact. Jaxon held her for a very long time until her tears came to a stop.
“What happened, Jaxon? Was it disease, an accident, what?” Angel’s anguished questions filled her eyes with tears once again and she dabbed her eyes to prevent them from spilling over again.
“No. It was none of those things. Let me tell you what happened and then you can ask me whatever you like, alright?” he asked.
“Please.” Angel said. “I’m at a loss.”
“When you and Cooper went to the Office of Genetic Purity he told you the two of you could not bear a child together due to the genetic marker you carried. Well, that was partially true. Cooper lied to you about who carried the genetic marker and he went to extraordinary lengths to make sure the records showed the flaw was yours.”
Angel jumped up from her seat and as she looked wide-eyed at Jaxon she loudly accused, “Cooper lied!” She stood straight up and seemed to stare inward. She looked at Jaxon and with complete disbelief she stated, “Cooper lied! Why would he do such a thing?”
Jaxon reached for Angel’s hand and drew her to him and as she looked down at him the expression on her face was of raw pain and it tore at his heart to see her looking so lost and betrayed. “Angel, please,” he said, “Come and sit down next to me.” Jaxon half raised from his seat in case she collapsed before hers was fully beneath her.
“What happened?” Angel implored. “I won’t interrupt again, I promise.” Her head down she seemed to be contemplating the flooring.
“When Cooper’s bond-mate Clarice discovered they would not be able to have a child she spread the news all through the Moon community and Cooper was vilified. He chose to take his own life rather than bear up under the scorn and ridicule. “Cooper related as he held tight to Angel’s hand and used his other hand to lift her chin to see the expression on her face. Angel looked into his eyes and wordlessly spoke her pain, loss, and grief without verbalizing one word of it.
“I knew how important he had been in your life and I asked to be allowed to deliver his ashes when I came here to discuss the ‘Future is Space Farming’ project with you. Do you mind?” Jaxon hoped she did not mind because his feelings for her were going to come out soon and his only chance of a positive outcome depended on how ‘over’ Cooper she was and whether Angel saw Jaxon in the same light as he did her.
“No, I don’t mind,” Angel answered and in a moment had her emotions under control and she could pass for someone who was a bit distracted rather than a grieving person. It felt good to put a lid on all of the drama Angel thought. Yes, Cooper was dead, but he was not hers to grieve for or plan for as that duty fell to his family under the current circumstances. We have been apart for over a year, thought Angel and after the initial emotional onslaught, Angel realized her sadness had gone. Well, the brokenhearted sort of sadness was gone because it should never have been there; the heart had already suffered that damage when she left Cooper.
“I’m really fine, Jaxon.” Angel assured him. “Do you mind if I go to the funeral?” she asked.
“We’ll go together. We can take public transportation to his hometown. It is about 500 Kilometers North of here. We can take a few days to get there and back. We can start on the project when we get back. “Just don’t tell the boss,” Jaxon joked and he and Angel stood and left the auditorium to return to their quarters to pack for Cooper’s funeral.
Angel and Jaxon returned to ‘Space Farmers United’ four days later and agreed to meet in the company cafeteria after settling back into their assigned quarters. Three hours later, they met outside of the cafeteria and walked through the sliding glass doors together. It was Angel’s first experience in the company cafeteria and she thoughtfully chose her calories from a wide list of foods containing her necessary nutrients. She saved a chunk of her calories for chocolate cake at the end of her meal. She was the epitome of a young, extremely healthy woman who was both svelte and beautiful. She wore her beauty innocently because she truly did not see how beautiful she was to other people. Jaxon followed suit with Angel even down to the chocolate cake for dessert. To explain his choices, Jaxon said, “I want to look as good as you do and if this is what I need to eat to help get me there then I’m following your diet,” he joked. Angel laughed and led the way to a table next to an indoor water feature.
When they had finished their meal and Jaxon had persuaded Angel to eat his portion of chocolate cake, they cleared their table and took their fruit drinks to go. Along the path, back to the living quarter’s area was a small park with a concrete picnic table set up under a weeping willow tree. It was next to a burbling stream where they sat and enjoyed the sounds of voices in the distance and water flowing just five meters away. Jaxon sat across from Angel and reached over and gently lifted her hand from the table and kept it in his. He rubbed his thumb across the top of her hand. “What do you think of your schedule? Two weeks on planet and two weeks in the Moon coordinating the project team,” Jaxon asked and then added, “With business and personal meetings as you continue to manage the project and eventually agree to be my bond-mate?”
Angel’s eyes opened wide as saucers and her cheeks blazed with color. “Are you asking me to consider a permanent living arrangement with you with the possibility of having a child?” Angel asked softly. Jaxon smiled his answer as he fed on the look of warm desire he saw in her eyes.
“Do you think you might come to think of me in the way I think of you?” Jaxon questioned her as she kept hold of his hand while she stood and moved around the table to sit next to him. As she sat, her free hand ran fingers through his hair and Angel rose slightly to kiss him ever so softly on the lips.
“You realize we will have to ask permission to date, co-habit, and potentially,” Angel added with a delighted smile, “become bonded?” They moved into one another’s arms and kissed passionately for several minutes before coming up for air. “Whoa,” Angel exclaimed pressing him back with her hands on his chest. “This is going a bit fast for me.”
Jaxon smiled and left one arm over her shoulders and continued to hold her hand. “I understand. I was being selfish. It has been an emotional week for both of us. Think about what I have proposed, yes proposed!” Jaxon laughed and he waited for Angel to speak.
It was just eight months later over the evening meal for that day when Angel agreed to become bond-mates with Jaxon and bring another soul into the Universe. It was a wonderful celebration for Angel and Jaxon and they made their first personal joint decision and agreed to continue living in the Moon.
A fleet of Space Farms was beginning to take shape in concept and Angel Devore PhD and Jaxon Weaver PhD would be many, many decades on a project that would be another century taking shape. It seemed as if their prospects held nothing but promise in a two-world consortium dedicated to keeping the human race sane and safe within the solar system; one person and dream at a time – collectively.