“Another blow in.”
I think the foreman would’ve spit, if he hadn’t been in an enviro suit. It’s kinda self-defeating to spit in a sealed system. Still, I think he was tempted just to be sure he registered his utter contempt for me.
“Where you from, blow in?”
“Here,” I said to irritate the prick. A mooner would never accept that. To them, if you weren’t born on the moon, you were a blow in. Didn’t matter if you arrived a month after you were born, you were a blow in.
And the term “blow in” is crazy when you consider the moon. Yeah, I get that the Irish once said that of anyone not of Mother Eire. Not in a condescending way, but the way a cubic zirconium is not a diamond. Still, there are no indigenous mooners. It’s an immigrant world. Why the hell do humans export this crap everywhere we settle? Seems like an awful burden to bring along.
Didn’t matter to this guy. I was new on his crew and he was going to assert his dominance. The rest of his crew enjoyed the show. Expected it.
“Here? Here, blow in?” The foreman flung me a shovel. (Yes, there are lots of shovels on the moon. That regolith doesn’t move itself.) “Here, dig yourself another hole.” He gestured towards the relay station where the new communications towers were going in.
I took the shovel—and the bait. “Sure, Mr. Mooner. Someday I hope to be one-sixth the man you are.”
Of course he jumped me. He was waiting to all along. Make an example of the blow in. The forever outsider. Problem was, he forgot he’d just given me a shovel. Reflexively, I swung it and the blade opened his enviro suit from belly to shoulder. The sudden decompression dropped him.
The crew was all trained to respond to enviro suit punctures and rips, but this was a catastrophic breach. Panicked, the other crew started applying their emergency patches, but there weren’t enough. The foreman would suffocate in about forty seconds unless the breach was sealed and new oxygen was pumped in fast. My fault. His bloodless death on my blow in hands.
I pushed the others away. Stuffed my glove and sleeve into the gash still remaining in the foreman’s suit. It plugged the gap. “Patch around my arm. Around my arm,” I yelled into our shared com channel.
They did. They got it. As they sealed my arm into his suit. I worked with my other hand to grab my wrist seal now embedded in the foreman’s suit. I had to pinch the release tab hard and twist painfully to get the glove to unseal.
With a pop my glove in the foreman’s suit finally released and oxygen from my suit whooshed into his. The crew and I tensed, holding our own precious breaths.
The emergency patches flexed.
Slowly, the foreman came round. Disoriented, he stared directly into my faceplate since we were bound tightly together. I tapped my faceplate against his. There were no hard feelings on my part. I jiggled my arm inside his enviro suit where my oxygen was flowing to him and whispered through his com, “How’s this blow in working for you now?”