Ulysses “Moose” Umbra is a Sergeant in the Naval Corps of Orbital Defense. He has been decorated with more than a dozen honors, including the Bronze Petal and the Arheim Award. He has been stationed on the Moon for the last six years, playing a pivotal role in keeping the peace on our turbulent satellite.
1) How long have you been in the Corps?
Almost twenty-three years. I’m a lifer, eh.
2) What made you decide to join?
My grandad was in the Corps. He had all the best stories, and people looked up to him. He did something great with his life, and he could be proud of that. I wanted that. I want to do something great, and to look back on my career with pride when I retire.
2) How did you get the nickname “Moose?”
Well, besides the fact that I’m a really big guy, we were training in Alaska back when I was a raw recruit, and I was riding shotgun in the Soovie. It was late at night, and the guy driving was going a lot faster than he really should have on those roads. I looked ahead and saw something big blocking the road, so I yelled “Moose!” at the top of my lungs. Well, it turned out to be a fallen tree, not a moose, but still, we could’ve been killed if I hadn’t yelled when I did. But they’ve called me Moose ever since.
3) What nickname did the other guy get?
We call him Shotgun, because we never let him drive again.
4) Were you stationed in Alaska?
I’m from Ottowa, and I was only in North America long enough for boot camp. I was stationed in Italy for a while, then I was on the Interbartolo station for a few years. I’ve been on the Moon for six years now.
5) Living and working in such a low gravity environment, how do you maintain your muscle mass?
The Corps doesn’t let you get soft. We work hard. Even on our days off, several hours are devoted to exercises that are designed to make sure we can function in any environment, no matter where we may end up being stationed.
6) Do the civilians on the Moon do the same?
It varies widely from colony to colony. Like in Looneyville, they feel like they’re a whole new race. They’re really proud of their physical adaptations, and the kids that are born there all just assume they’ll never leave. Other colonies, like the Mark Apollo station, make a point to cycle people up to one of the stations with gravity simulators on a regular basis.
7) How does the Corps function with so many different colonies with different governments?
Well, Earthgov might not be all powerful, but they do have enough influence to arbitrate all the petty little differences that come up.
Not every conflict is petty. There’s been some pretty serious hizups from the day the second colony was established, long before my time. Just because the US of A put a flag on the moon a couple of centuries ago didn’t mean that country got to decide the fate of the entire moon! As soon as humankind had the ability to go, lots of people went. And they’re not even necessarily associated with any government on Earth, either. Some started that way, and gained independence later, but others were founded by corporations or religious groups.
9) Would you consider settling on the moon when you retire?
That’s a long way off, I hope. But I miss the green hills of Earth. I want my kids to be able to play outside. Climb trees and stuff like that.
10) How many kids do you have?
None, yet! I don’t even have a girlfriend.
11) What are your hobbies?
I’m the tagger for our unit’s hopper team. And I fence. Like, with an épée, Olympic style.
12) Are you any good? Will we ever see you in the Olympics?
Ha! Yeah, I’m pretty good, but not Olympic material.
13) Anything besides sports?
I read a lot. Historical stuff. My Nana was French, and she was big on stories of the old Monarchy. She likes to say we’re descended from Louis XVI, even though only one of his children survived to adulthood, and she had no children.
14) How does she explain that?
The way the family legend goes, Louis XVI and Marie Antionette’s two young sons didn’t die of some illness. That was just a cover story. They really sent the boys away to live in hiding, away from the anti-monarchists.
15) Wow! I wonder if there’s any truth to that?
It’s just a legend. But it could be true… we’ll just never really know. 🙂
16) You were recently honored with the Arheim Award for your heroism during the Nehare Incident. What was it like, being there while it happened?
First of all, it was a great honor and I am humbled by the accolades that have been… just showered on me ever since. Really, people are making a lot more out of my part than I really deserve. My unit was the closest when it happened, and it was only our training and the cool heads of my entire team that helped us head off something that could have been much, much worse.
17) How are your new fingers working?
My brain still doesn’t recognize the hardware as mine. But they do everything they’re supposed to do, it just takes a while to get used to.
18) Did you ever think we would see this kind of conflict on what was once the most peaceful example of human habitation ever seen?
I just think there shouldn’t be bombs on the moon. I mean, we’ll never take that next step out to the stars unless we can make our lunar colonies work. I think people always thought that a “lunar colony” would be one big happy place. No one expected the moon to develop into a dozen individual colonies, each with very different ideas of what a lunar colony should be. Of course, there’s conflict. But, come on! We can do better. As a species, we as humans can do better.
19) Do you think the lunar colonies will unite?
I hope so. But I think they all need to maintain their individuality as well. It can’t be one just ruling the others.
20) Who shot first? Han or Greedo?
Ha! I shot first, and I shot the sheriff and the deputy too lol!
Every once in a while, there’s a scheduling snafu, and I fill in with a fictional interview. Moose is going to appear in this Monday’s chapter of What Would Have Been.
I’m killing him off.
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