What do you mean by “Leftist”?

Elsewhere on my blog, in the comments, the question was raised “What do you mean by ‘Leftist’?”  They went on to ask whether it meant Democrat, Socialist, Progressive, or what.

Let me expand a bit on the reply I gave there:


Most people–no matter what their position, on anything–don’t really give their positions a lot of thought. They go with what “gut instinct” (basically what sounds good to them) tells them or “if it was good enough for granddad…”

This is not really a criticism. Nobody has time for careful consideration of all the facts in every position about which they might be called upon to make a decision (even if it’s just “who to make that decision on my behalf”).  A lot of my own positions, I freely admit, are just that. I accumualted them over time as things that feel right or they were just things I absorbed when I was young.  (I touch on this a bit elsewhere.) I try to remember that and be amenable to alteration of such positions based on further information when needed.  And from time to time, as issues come up, I’ll take a position I hold, bring it out, examine it, and see if it still seems valid after careful consideration.  Sometimes it is.  And sometimes…it isn’t.  In the latter case, I have been known to change my position.  It just takes more than somebody ranting at me about how wrong I am and about how much they feel.

Generally speaking, there’s a certain comfort level for people to stay with beliefs they’ve long held, even in the face of contrary evidence.  Their beliefs have “worked” for them so they’re just not inclined to change.  And when they do change, it’s not sweet reason that converts them but emotion.  Humans are emotional, rationalizing beings, not “logical”.  Appeal to emotion may be a logical fallacy but in the social and political arena it is also good tactics.  When your goal is to persuade people, it works.  And this is something the political Left (bear with me, I’ll get to the term itself here shortly) has learned well.  They have generally been far better at couching their terms as emotional appeal (while pretending to be “fact based” and “logical” and “scientific”) than has been the Right (and I’ll include here things like Libertarianism that are neither Left nor Right but off in a different direction).

In politics most voters–Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Green, Independent, whatever–are “low information voters”. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.  And it’s not even that much of a criticism.  Most people just can’t spend all their time researching candidates and their positions and what effect various policies are likely to actually have.  They go with what they’ve always gone with.  Or they go with whoever produces the most appealing soundbites and promises (real effects of said policies need not enter into it).

However, there are some people, espousing “left wing” political views (and that’s a complicated issue itself because neither “left” nor “right” is well defined–has to happen when you want to take two things that have far more in common than they have differences and put them at opposite ends of the spectrum) that aren’t “low information”. They, for their own purposes–which can be truly “the good of the nation” or it can be, and most often is, the good of themselves–know exactly what they’re doing. (And, yes, I am well aware that the description applies to the “Right” as well as those off in a different direction positions, but the question was about “Leftist”.)

I use the term “leftist” to distinguish those folk from the honest but low-information who follow along in their wake. It includes “liberal” (as the term has come to mean in use as opposed to its original meaning), “Democrat”, “Socialist,” “Progressive” et al. The folk who are actually shaping those policies whether they are “true believers” or simply cynically using them for their own selfish ends. (Again, this applies to the “Right” as well–but the question was about “Leftists”.)

That’s what I mean by “Leftist”.


I am not at terribly fast writer as such things go.  One way I work with that is to have several projects going at once.  Each project goes a bit slower than it would if I were doing it alone but I produce more in total than I would otherwise..  Here’s a snippet from one of my current projects.  It’s tentatively set in my FTI Universe.

The airlock door slid open.  Tom Bardeau, captain and owner of the asteroid harvester Bardeau’s Bard, popped his helmet and drew in a deep breath of the air in Amphitrite station.  After eight months in the ship that also served as his family’s home the air smelled sweet and fresh.

“Hey, Da,” Tom’s oldest, Andrea said. “Can I. . . .”

“Go.  Go,” Tom said.

Andrea grinned and pushed off from the wall.  Tom watched as she sailed across the concourse.  She used a short burst from her wrist and ankle jets to duck a trolley then caromed off a push pole before disappearing into the distance, headed for the station clinic to complete the practical portion of midwife training.  A bittersweet smile caressed his face.  All too soon, she would be leaving, not for classes between trips to the deep but with a husband.

His headset beeped, announcing that it had negotiated protocol with the local network.

He scowled as his preset program ran and a string of numbers appeared in the holocrystal in front of his left eye.  He read the final tally of his local account.  That wasn’t right.

Tom turned to his wife, Merinda, “I’ve got to go to the claims office.  I think there’s been a problem.”

Merinda snagged Brendan, their youngest, before he could push away from the wall and began to strip him out of his suit. “Should I oversea resupply then?”

Tom started to concur then stopped.  The final tally of their account balance still floated in the holocrystal. “Better wait on that.  Until I get this cleared up, we’d better not spend any more than we have to.”

Merinda’s eyes glazed in the expression Tom knew meant she was reading her own display. “I see.  Then I’ll get the kids settled in temporary quarters.”

Tom nodded.

Merinda pursed her lips, “Still, there’s that engineering practicum….”

Tom sighed. “Do as you think best.” He tapped the holocrystal. “But….”

Merinda nodded. “Of cou—Tanith, stop that!—Of course.”


“What do you mean nothing has come in?” Tom Bardeau floated upside down in front of the claims office desk at Amphitrite Station. “I sent down three heavies.”

“I can’t speak to that,” the woman, her nametag said ‘[Guðrún]Steinsson”, said. “But nothing with your beacon has passed into our zone, nothing but the one you rode in with.”

Bardeau bit down on his anger.  He touched one of the palm switches controlling the air jets he wore at waist, wrist, and ankles, releasing a burst of compressed air to adjust his position. “Three asteroids.  Thirty meter class.  At least 35 parts per million platinum.”

“Maybe, but they haven’t arrived here.”

Tom scowled.  The occasional loss happened.  A beacon failed.  A rock sailed past the collection zone without being marked for pickup.  Or a navigation error put the rock into the wrong orbit and it never came near a collection station.  Three, however, was too much to credit.

Another burst of air to adjust position then Tom drummed the fingers of his right hand on his thigh and looked at Steinnson.  Station personnel cheating wranglers out of the proceeds from their rocks had happened.  The Aurora scandal had been the big one involving half Aurora station’s personnel and hundreds of tons of platinum value before being squashed.  That one had involved shorting the tonnage of processed asteroids, not crediting wranglers with the full value of their rocks.

Making complete rocks just disappear, though?

Steinnson shifted her eyes, unwilling to continue meeting Tom’s glare.

“You’re not the only one with missing rocks,” she said. “I don’t think anybody else has lost three, but the numbers of losses seem to be up.”

“All right,”

With quick eye motions, Tom activated his headset and flipped through menus to the comm function.  His second oldest, Aaron, had shop watch.

“What you need, Dad?”

“I want you to go through our beacons, every single one.  Pull every board and examine them under the microscope.  Anything, anything at all that isn’t right, you let me know.”


Tom sighed. “I know.  I know.  You need your down time too.  We’ll take this in turns.  But they never recorded our rocks arrival.  If we got a bad batch of beacons, we need to know it.”

Aaron hesitated a long time before responding.  He knew what three missing rocks meant to the family as much as Tom did. “Okay, Dad.  I’ll get on it.”

Tom switched off the comm and turned back to Steinnson. “Thank you for your time.

She spread her hands. “Sorry I can’t help you.”

As Tom left the office he checked his account balance once again.  He had enough to outfit for another trip out.  One.  But another disaster like this would break him.


Maintaining an asteroid harvester was an expensive proposition.  They were not large enough for bioregenerative life support so.  They could recycle water.  Electrochemical systems could recover oxygen from carbon dioxide, but they still needed reserves against losses and supplies of food.

The biggest expense was propellant, reaction mass for the ion thrusters and storable hypergolic fuels for the high thrust maneuvering jets and the small attitude control jets.

Not just money was needed, but time.  Life support systems to be scrubbed out.  Recovered volatiles sold back to the station.  Every system checked to ensure it was up to spec before they headed back out into the belt looking for more likely rocks.

Normally the process took two weeks.  In order to conserve funds, Tom had lowered the priority of his work orders, ordered several jobs on a “space available” basis rather than hiring a slot.  He put off buying fuel, keeping a sharp eye on prices and hoping for a drop before he absolutely had to load up.  The estimate was four weeks before they would be ready to go out again.  The extra rooming costs would eat up part of the savings, but they could spend part of that time back on the ship.

Tom completed his quick check of ship status and twitched his eye in the pattern that switched off the holocrystal display.

“I’m sorry, Sandu.” Tom sipped from his bulb, a peaty scotch.  Where had Sandu obtained that? “I got a bit antsy and checked on the ship.  You were saying?”

Sandu Sala laughed.  The captain of the harvester Kristo–or, as Tom had come to learn, former captain, had developed a bit of a paunch.  When he had learned that Tom was in station he had invited him to lunch at his quarters.

“Believe me, I understand,” Sandu said. “Back when I had the Kristo, I couldn’t go five minutes without checking on her progress while in station.”

“Speaking of that,” Tom snagged a French fry out of the container on his meal tray. “What happened?  I would never have thought you’d give up wrangling.”

“I didn’t.” Sandu scooped up a bit of casserole and, with a deft movement, transfered it to his mouth without a crumb escaping in the low gravity.  He swallowed. “Costs were eating me alive.  I took a loss three outings in a row.  You know how that goes.”

“I do indeed.” Tom nodded.  Every trip was a gamble.  When you went out, using a low powered ion drive, you swept section of the belt.  The goal was to find rocks dense with heavy metals, neither too big nor too small.  Too big and you would not be able to shift them into an orbit for one of the catch stations.  Too small and they just weren’t worth the time.  Divert the asteroid.  Slap on your identity beacon.  And collect your paycheck the next time you touch at a station.

There were millions of asteroids in that range of sizes, but scattered over such an enormous volume of space finding them, even with modern equipment, involved a certain amount of luck.

Second American Revolution? I Hope Not (An Updated Blast from the Past)

Normally, people assume that the Right is the group champing at the bit to arm up, kill or drive off their political opponents, and enthrone their political philosophy in the US.  Mind you, usually it’s a matter of warning people not to push things to the point where that becomes the only way people see that they can protect their liberty rather than anything they want to have happen, but in any case the vision is that the Right will be the ones to set it off.

After the events that prompted yesterday’s post, I have to wonder how much of that is projection?  In this case it’s people on the Left fantasizing about wholesale slaughter of their political opponents, and wanting to set of a hot civil war (a strong argument can be made that we’ve been in a “cold” one for years).

Well, I’ll tell them the same thing that I told others before:

There’s a problem with a “Second American Revolution”.

People always point at the American Civil War as this paragon of “proof” that civil wars cannot unseat the established US government.  However there have been a lot of civil wars in history.  Sometimes the existing government wins.  Sometimes the rebels win.  Sometimes the results are confusing at best.

This worship of the American government as some kind of unstoppable monolith would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic (because it’s leading toward exactly the same kind of disaster I’m warning against).

They aren’t.  Consider, the US military numbers under one and a half million people on active duty.  There are over twenty million military veterans in the civilian population.  There are over 100 million gun owners, with more than 300 million guns between them.  The term for that, even considering the “heavy weapons” of the military (which are of limited use in a civil insurrection–you think a government that ordered the carpet bombing of Des Moines would still be in power by the time the smoke cleared?) and even ignoring that a lot of the military would say “no way in hell”. is “adverse correlation of forces”. (Flip side: if you’re not of the political persuasion of not only the majority of the military, the majority of those civilian gun owners, and the civilian leadership who would be giving that military its orders, you might want to consider which direction “adverse correlation of forces” points.)

So what are you going to do with that many people?  You’re either going to need a lot of new prisons or a lot of new mass graves.  Either way, the rest of the population is going to notice.  This isn’t China or Russia, which have pretty much always lived under totalitarian regimes and accept it as the status quo.  If strong military action in the Middle East, would, as is often claimed, “create more terrorists”, what makes you think it won’t have exactly the same effect if applied internally in the US?

And then you need to consider that the whole idea of open field battles or even “hiding in the woods” is not how an insurgency would work.  It won’t be some guys hiding in the woods.  It will be some folk going about their daily business then, from time to time, pulling out one of those 300 million firearms (or one of the hundreds of millions of “improvised weapons” that would come up after the fact–guns are easy to make once you know how, as are explosives by the way) setting up somewhere and killing one or two politicians, or soldiers serving the “regime”, or influential backers of the regime, or people working for them.  Some will be caught.  Some won’t.

Those tanks the military has?  They won’t be fighting the tanks.  No, they’ll be avoiding them (mostly by mixing into the non-combatant population.  Yes, they will be “illegal combatants” by definition, which is a problem…if they lose).  If they need to take out tanks, it won’t be head on.  It will be by sniping tank crews when they’re not in the tank (can’t stay buttoned up 24/7).  It will be by hijacking trucks of fuel (or just blowing them up with improvised rockets) or blowing up pipelines.  It will be by poisoning food being delivered to the post where the tanks are stationed.  And it will be by assassinating the leaders giving the tankers orders.

There’s a book “Fry the Brain” about “urban sniping”.  It’s one of the things that was not uncommon in Northern Ireland and a practically daily occurrence in Beirut during the worst of it.  It would be ugly.  And it would be here.

Catching the insurgents?  They would not be using electronic media to communicate.  The cat’s out of that bag so the smart ones will know better (and the non-smart ones will either soon learn better or be culled).  Or if they do use electronic communication it will either be one-time pads (unbreakable if they’re truly “one time”) or mixed in with so many false messages that the authorities have to burn up so many resources chasing down all the false leads that they do the insurgents’ jobs for them.

Well, they’d have informants.  But I guarantee that very soon indeed policy among insurgents would soon become “you inform; you die.” Doesn’t matter if they dangled a million dollars in front of you.  Doesn’t matter if you honestly believed the regime was the “good guys”.  Doesn’t matter if they “beat it out of you”.  Doesn’t matter if they threatened your family.  You inform; you die.  And if that doesn’t work to keep the rate of informing down, it will become, “you inform, your family dies.”

It is not moral.  It is not ethical.  But history has shown that in existential wars morals and ethics are among the first casualties.

If you think I’m painting a rosy picture for the insurgents, think again.  Because once you start playing that game all civilized warfare goes out the window.  You think waterboarding is torture?  Waterboarding will be a refreshing warm shower compared to what will be pulled out to get prisoners to roll over on other insurgents.  Some innocents get falsely accused that way?  Well that’s just too damn bad but, hey, omelets and eggs.  At some point, yes, they will carpet bomb Des Moines to get a few insurgents because the equation becomes that or death.

Insurgency, revolution, civil war has its own inherent logic in the modern age.  And that logic is one of horror.  And the worse part of it is that whoever wins, both sides lose.  Whatever they set out to gain at the start, they don’t.  The Genie of violent suppression of opposing views is not easily put back in the bottle.

I desperately want to avoid anything like that because if it gets to that point, then whoever “wins”, the end result will almost certainly bear no resemblance to “liberty.”  Because one of the things that history has taught us is that the winners of revolution are rarely the “nice guys”.  It’s the people who are strong enough, who are ruthless enough, to squash all opposition.  The virtue minded who want to “save civilization” get pushed aside or outright liquidated (that’s an old euphemism for “killed” if you didn’t know).  The ones with the strength and viciousness to seize power for themselves rise to the top.  Exceptions are extremely rare.  The American Revolution is virtually unique in its outcome.  The close kin of The Terror and Madame Guillotine are the far more likely result.

Please don’t pull that trigger.  You wouldn’t like the result.  I wouldn’t like the result.  Nobody sane would like the result.


Las Vegas Shooting

I’m a little too angry to write much here.  I’m not going to go into the shooting itself.  For one thing, for the first 2-3 days you usually have more speculation and made-up nonsense than actual facts.  Instead, I’m going to go into the responses of some people to this tragedy.  So, let’s see that folk had to say:


Isn’t that just charming?

Let’s see what else is out there.  Oh, there’s this gem:


Leaving aside the factual errors (giving her the benefit of the doubt) in the statements look at the line “I don’t feel sorry or feel bad about what happened in Las Vegas”.


Only counting those who voted not those supporters who, for whatever reason, didn’t make it to the polls, that’s just under 63 million people “i am cassie” wants dead–over political differences.  Five times the total killed in the Holocaust, she wants dead because she doesn’t like their politics.

While I suspect none of these would have the stomach to do it themselves these are the people who would be perfectly willing to stand by and cheer while others load conservatives into boxcars and send them to “showers”.

And it’s not just a few disaffected people on Social Media.  The Vice President (former now) and Senior Counsel for CBS said that she wasn’t even sympathetic to the victims of the shooting since country music fans are often Republicans.  At least CBS had the presence of mind to fire her.  I imagine something like “As senior counsel your job is to keep us out of lawsuits, not lead us into them.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) said Monday that he won’t participate in a moment of silence on the House floor for victims of Sunday night’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.  Nope, not going to participate in a traditional expression of grief and mourning.

Normally, at this point I would make some statement to sum up the post but…I got nothin’.  There are just no words.


A snippet

From my story “Rainy Days and Moon Days” available on Amazon:

Jeff skidded to a stop the next day at the number twenty-seven airlock.  The rest of the group already waited, suited and helmeted.

“Mr. Brannock, how good of you to join us.” His teacher, Shazhad Patrick scowled at him.  Jeff completed most of his classes on computer but lab and other “practical” classes called for an actual teacher. Jeff rather liked Mr. Patrick although he would never admit it out loud.

The shower unit in the family apartment had gone wild, alternating freezing and scalding water in erratic bursts.  He’d needed time to find the faulty valve actuator and lock it down.  Not a perfect fix, but enough for a shower only slightly chilly.  Between that and running to the robing room to get into his suit meant he was already late to class. “I’m ready to go, sir.”

“Are you?” Mr. Patrick shook his head. “It doesn’t seem so.  Where’s your helmet, Mr. Brannock?”

Jeff held it up. “Uh, right here?”

“In your hands?” Mr. Patrick sighed. “I’m sure it does you a great deal of good there, Mr. Brannock.  But would it not, perhaps, do you a bit more good on your head?”

“Yes, sir!” Jeff set about securing the helmet to his suit’s neck ring.  Mr. Patrick always managed to rattle him.  Still, Jeff knew what Mr. Patrick was doing.  The work they did on the Moon had to be done right every time even when tired, afraid, or under stress.  And so, Mr. Patrick picked at Jeff, trying to frustrate or confuse him.

Knowing why didn’t make it any easier to handle.  And knowing that Mr. Patrick could kill his grade–he wouldn’t without cause, but he could–and with it his chance of getting into college, made the fear all too real.

While Jeff secured his helmet and ran the series of tests that ensured his suit was tight and ready to venture outside, Mr. Patrick donned his own.

“Today,” Mr. Patrick said via the suit radio. “We’ll be doing a bit of real work.  You’ve all studied the theory of explosive excavation and at least passed the written…Mr. Brannock, did I say something funny?”

“No, sir,” Jeff said. He had not laughed, giggled, or even hiccuped.  He put down the comment to another attempt by Mr. Patrick to get under his skin.

“Good, Mr. Brannock.  Now, as I was saying, You have all at least passed the written test.” Jeff knew that he had aced it. “Are there any questions?”

One of the other suited figures–Cody, by the name tag on the suit–raised his hand.  Jeff could see the cocky grin on Cody’s face inside the helmet.

“Yes, Mr. Cunningham.”

“Why?” Cody said.

“Why, what?”

“Machines do all the real work.  Drilling boreholes, placing charges for the shot, setting them off, that’s all automated,” Cody’s wave took in the entire construction site. “Why do we have to do it by hand?”

“Because, Mr. Cunningham, these machines occasionally go awry.  Someone has to see when that happens, preferably before a shot blows up something you don’t want blown up.  If you take the Selenian Engineering Course in college, should any of you make it that far, you will make thousands of shots before you are deemed fit to supervise excavation machinery.  You will, at least, have a basic familiarity before you pass my course.  Is that understood, Mr. Cunningham?”

“Yeah, sure.”

Jeff grinned, glad that the heat was on someone else for a change.


Four hours and three shots later, Jeff rode the slidewalk to his family’s apartment.  He had just enough time for a quick shower and to swap tanks before his shift at the solar farm.

Silence greeted him as he opened the door.  A message hovered in the Tri-vid. “Dinner out with Dad.  Don’t wait up.”

Jeff chuckled as he stripped out of his suit.  He hung the suit for a quick disinfecting and deodorizing mist in his room, planning to take it to the robing room later.  He climbed into the shower.  At least with efficient recycling they did not have to skimp on water.

A few minutes later, clean and dry, he stepped out of the shower.  The suit still needed some time to complete the deodorizing cycle so Jeff sat at his computer and checked his messages.  A teasing message from Cody about the “attention” Jeff kept receiving from their instructor.  A plea from Ginnie for help with the differential equations lesson.  Jeff found himself grinning as he read her message.  One message from the ad server reporting that three hundred sixty-two people had seen his announcement of the found data stick.

Jeff deleted Cody’s message, saved Ginnie’s for later, and left the auto reply in the queue.  By the time he had finished, the suit had completed its disinfection cycle.  He wriggled into it.  The suit felt clammy from the mist, but at least it did not stink.  Jeff pulled a fresh set of bottles from storage and shackled them to the back of the suit.  He grabbed his helmet and dashed out the door.

At the robing room, Jeff secured his helmet, then punched his code into the shift clock.  Just in time.  As he stepped into the airlock, the scheduling computer linked with his suit computer and gave him his assignment for the day.  He viewed the map in his helmet display and scowled.  That was a lot of panels for a single two-hour shift.  He broadened the map display.  Oh.  The section of panels was the one nearest the excavation practicum.  He guessed that scheduling figured if he messed it up, he should help clean it up.

“Sea of Rains, huh,” he said as the outer airlock door opened. “Maybe if it’s raining dust.”

“Crewman Brannock, what was that?”

Jeff winced. “Sorry.  Personal comment, not intended for broadcast.”

“Sure, kid,” the voice from EVA Ops said. “Please maintain comm discipline.”

Jeff tilted his head forward and thrust his chin out to work the transmitter switch in his helmet.  Once he heard it click into the “off” position he said, “Sure, whatever.”

A rack outside the lock held discharge brushes.  Another held extensions.  Jeff grabbed three extensions and shoved them into the thigh pocket of his suit.  He then took one of the brushes and set off in the direction of his assignment.

His long, loping strides, a technique called a “moon trot” carried him around a stack of air return pipes, big half-meter diameter ferrocement tubes, for the next stage of expansion of the construction station.  He rounded it and paused while he looked ahead to spot the section of solar panel that was his goal.

In the vacuum of the moon he did not hear the strap break.  His first warning was the stack of pipes shifting a moment before it began to collapse.  For a moment, Jeff froze, then he turned and ran.

At least, that was his intention.  He pushed a little too hard and his foot slid out from under him.  He landed on one knee, prepared to spring to his feet and continue but the lowest of the pipes, squirted out by the weight of those on top of it, caught him in the small of the back and knocked him to the ground.  His head snapped forward as he hit the ground, pain bursting through his nose as it struck the faceplate of his helmet.  For an instant, he saw red spattered on that faceplate before the falling weight pinned him face-down into the regolith, leaving him in blackness.  The pipes slammed repeatedly into his back as the stack continued its slow collapse.


Eventually, the pounding stopped.  A pipe lay across Jeff’s legs.  His left ankle blazed with pain, his left foot twisted back.  Something pressed his helmet into the regolith and pinned his left arm. He could move his right, in the gap, he guessed, between two pipes.

Jeff lifted his head to look at the instruments in his helmet.  Static roared in his ears.  He mentally put that aside for later as he mentally ran through the emergency checklist.  First, air consumption.  Normal.  Well, a bit high, but normal for the way he was gasping.  Not so high as to indicate any major leaks in his suit.

Temperature?  Holding steady.  Even with the radiators covered conduction through the pipe and ground appeared to be sufficient to carry heat away.  Power?  Usage was high, probably from the heating elements but power would last longer than air.

Something wet dripped from his nose, reminding him that his face hurt too, although not as badly as his ankle.  He tried moving his left hand.  He could only manage wigging his fingers.

He worked his jaw.  No pain.  Well, no new pain.  He thrust his jaw out and worked the chin switch for the radio. “Man down!  Man down!”

No reply.

Jeff drew a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “It’s okay,” he said softly to himself. “I’ve got fresh tanks.  That’s eight hours.” He glanced at his tank gauge. “Six hours?” He looked at the chronometer.  Two hours had passed.  Sometime during his self-inventory he must have passed out.

“I’m sure it won’t be long,” he told himself firmly. “I’m overdue.  Somebody will check.  They’ll find the fallen pipes.”

Fumbling blindly, he felt with his right hand for the pipepipe pinning his helmet. He shoved against it, trying to squirm backward, trying to push himself into the gap between the pipe sitting on his helmet, and the one across his legs.  Pain flared in his left ankle.  He managed to wiggle slightly in his suit, but the suit held fast.

He swore and let his arm fall.  His ankle throbbed.

“Somebody will be along.  They’ll check the fallen stack.  They’ll get me out of here.”  He licked his lips.  His nose still dripped.  Could you bleed to death from a bloody nose?

“Somebody?  Help?”

Jeff let his head sag forward, then picked it up again as his cheek touched the sticky wetness on the inside of his faceplate.  Then he sighed and lowered his head again.  Even in lunar gravity he could not hold his head up forever.  Well, not forever.  Just up to six hours.  After more than six hours it would not matter any more since he would be dead.

He licked at his lip.  Blood still trickled from his nose.  He could not tell how much blood he was losing except the puddle on his faceplate wasn’t too deep.  He didn’t think he would drown, or bleed to death.  No, running out of air was his biggest worry.

For now, he could do nothing.  He closed his eyes and settled in to wait.

$2.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Store

Jeff Bannock, while working his after school job at a construction outpost on the moon, merely wants to graduate and head to college. But a casual find of an obsolete memory chip leads to more danger than he ever bargained for.