“Mom, I’m ready to go, come down now!” – shouted Ezra, packing her brand-new GP100S gamma filter goggles into her daypack. It was her 60th birthday in Gunail years or 10th in Earth time. The goggles were a present from her father – a serving admiral of the Gunailian space observers, currently on a mission patrolling the GF7643 galaxy. Ezra dreamt about these goggles since she was 40, and today the present was just perfect. She needed them to visit the Great Crater on the 6th Moon and see the famous gamma-glow with her own light sensors.
Ezra’s mom Davan came downstairs dressed in the new Tantalum-coated Dacron-VII space suit. She reminded her to check for sufficient levels of argon in her suit reservoirs. They were going to the 6th Moon.
“I made sure to take 20 litres of argon, plus the ship will have some extra, don’t worry, mum. Let’s go catch our Spacebus, we only have 20 min and 12.67 seconds to get there!”. Ezra was a responsible kid and very excited that day. They rushed into the basement to get onto Alyn tube – a metro system built by the Gunailians in the city of Alyn on planet AL9127.
AL9127 was a telluric planet, orbited by 6 Moons in the galaxy of GF7643. Its atmosphere was pure argon, which Gunailians have evolved to consume to power their humanoid bodies. The biggest organ of Gunailians, carefully redesigned by biotechnologists from the human skin, consisted of multiple mechanically controlled pores that opened and closed in response to argon levels. From the open pores Argon filled millions of small cannels and diffused all over their bodies. The process was effective and completely senseless to the Gunailians. In fact, Gunailians inherited only 1 of the five Earthian senses since vision, hearing, taste, and smell were not evolutionary required in the era of fully integrated graphene sensory chips. But touch, touch was still critical to Gunailians to sense each other and their environment. Sensing in the Gunailian body was processed by a computed brain network hundred times faster and more efficient than that of the Earthians. But even in their precisely controlled biological existence there was still space for some feelings and emotions, necessary for their sociological existence. The rest could be found in the Earthian civilazation collection kept in the central galactic archive 800.000 light years away.
The program of the excursion Davan picked for Ezra’s birthday was going to take exactly 2 hours. They were going to get to the viewing platform on the latest Spacebus just before the sunrise, then view the Great Grater in the morning light for 10 minutes, observe 30 seconds of gamma-glow and return before the Moon falls back into darkness. Davan has never been on the 6th Moon even though she was a keen traveller. The 6th and the last Moon of AL9127 was a place of harsh environment being so close to the Sun and so exposed to the outer space. Plus, a vision of the Great Crater bulging out from the core of the planet, radiating, and bursting out the lava of the Moon’s liquid core frightened her greatly, and an apocalyptic picture once seen in the documentary about the end of the Earthian civilization of her ancestors stood before her light sensors. For Ezra the Great Crater of the 6th Moon was a dream site to visit because of the famous gamma-glow, seen almost nowhere else in the universe on regular bases and described so beautifully by her father.
In the Spacebus Davan was peacefully sleeping after taking a pill, dreaming of going for walks along the Great Methane Lake of the 1st Moon. Ezra was doing her humanoid physiology homework for the next class. The topic was atmospheric respiration. Humans of the Earthian civilisation had a complex respiratory system of organs helping them consume oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Back in the days they were surrounded by organisms called plants that produced oxygen and consumed carbon dioxide that on its own could poison humans. Nowadays plants were replaced with the robotic towers that are making argon from nitrogen for the Gunailians in the city of Alyn. Ezra knew these towers very well. They lived not very far from one of them, and Davan often commented on how nice it was to get some fresh argon every morning outside their windows. “Strange", thought Ezra, "I don’t even feel that I’m breathing. Why would the biotechnologists back in the days make such a simple process so complex? They designed a whole network of different organs and the diaphragm that is moving so humans could breathe…?!”
The announcement on board interrupted Ezra’s chain of thoughts: “Dear Gunailians and galactic guests we are now approaching the viewing platform of the 6th Moon, please zip up your spacesuits, check argon supplies and don’t forget your protective gamma goggles. We wish you a pleasant visit.”
“Look, mum, that’s it! That’s the crater!” – exclaimed Ezra, trying to wake Davan, having just detected a few photons reflected from the spaceship by the Moon’s surface. A huge bowl-shaped structure has appeared outside the window.
It was 2:15 Alyn time when the first rays of Sun struck the Great crater, slowly warming up its surface. In a few minutes the viewers saw the surface of the Great Crater slightly moving in and out of the Moon, the oscillations becoming more and more rapid, surface becoming hotter and brighter, perhaps even a few cracks were starting to form surface according to a few viewers with powerful scopes were reporting to each other. Soon the crater was going to stay bulging out with the liquid core trying to burst out but held firmly by the surface. In a few seconds the Moon would in one moment start glowing with a bright gamma-shine for exactly 30 seconds until the Moon rotates away from the Sun and turns back into its original dark form.
Ezra was fully absorbed by this view. She said no word and haven’t missed a millisecond of the event. She was fascinated by the breathing of the crater. It was so dynamic and so wanted by the Moon, like it couldn’t get enough of that energy. Back in the ship Ezra tightly hugged her mom. She was trying to feel the remaining 5 litres of argon moving around her body and use that energy to move her belly like the Moon moved the Crater. Not even the mechanical pore control in Ezra’s body gave any sensory response. All the way back home she was daydreaming. She was thinking about her Earthian ancestors who could feel their chest moving when breathing, about the 6th Moon that couldn’t feel anything but had so much energy, perhaps energy to live, to exist, and then about herself and what it means to be alive. How does it feel or should she feel it? Ezra decided to become a biotechnologist.