Many, many, many, many years ago, long before our story began, before even the Corporation had existed, the moon was little more than a wasteland. A small dusty rock hanging in Homeworld’s sky, littered with the remains of thousands of rovers, crashed communications satellites, and discarded launch modules from the time before our father’s mother’s fathers. It had been generations since any partnership on Homeworld had tried to reach it, because it had no resources to exploit. Our dead neighboring planets could be mined for cheap minerals and luxury clays for the skin, while the hot gas giants could be mined for oxides and other hydrocarbons, and even the moons of these other worlds could be drained of their water, their ammonia, and their raw diamonds— but our moon, The Moon, had nothing but dust and iron, and this orb that once commanded the hearts of poets and tides of oceans, was all but forgotten.
This was long ago, indeed. And this is how it stayed, no one bothering with our nightly visitor, until the generation just before yours, when Madam Mayor would have still been a toddling baby, at the beginning of the generation of Founders (though they weren’t called that at the time). It was then, seemingly overnight, that the Several Districts of the Global LLC each saw a campaign to reinvigorate their citizens’ love of the moon.
As the history books you read would have told it, the Western-most regional employment office of the Greater Western Branch had misplaced an artist in an astrometric laboratory, and one evening, working too late on a standard spectrometry analysis, the artist spun their scope in frustration and when they looked up, it had alighted on a waxing crescent Luna. (Of course, not mentioned in your books was the popular rumor that this artist had snuck tetra into their coffee, and was buzzing like a drone when it happened.) And this artist, misplaced in an astrometrics lab, in a haze of frustration and exhaustion, was able to see Luna as the ancients saw it, and like the lost city of Ilium, Luna had been found once again.
As you would have read about it— with a decidedly regional bent— this new Luna-fever could have only begun in the West, the District whose policies on freedom and expression were so magnanimous to both the individual and the common good that the groundswell of moon-eyed individuals led assuredly to the Western Subsidiaries’ reinvigorated pursuit of lunar expropriation. That “the Fever” caught on just as quickly in nearly every other district was overlooked, and that reimagined spirit of Luna elsewhere— especially in the Eastern Conglomerate— was derivative at best. Or so you would have been told.
But Luna Fever did spread, and soon nearly all of Homeworld was part of the Great Moonshot— the race to establish a stable metroplex on Luna— a legitimate city, far beyond the pitiable “colony bubbles” of the past.
Years of research and development built upon themselves, as the successes of one District became the impetus for the development of the next, and people like the eventual Madam Mayor came of age amidst an ever-increasing arms race to be the first branch of Global LLC to establish successful colonization of Luna. Within days of each other, all but one of Homeworld’s Several Districts had launched its own version of the “Orbital Mayflower,” bound for low orbit, where it would tether and secure surface holdings on the moon (“Orbital Mayflower” is what your textbooks called all the Districts’ ships, even though it was PacCo’s “Endeavour II” that would form the actual orbital-stationary base needed for the success of Luna Colony).
It was never said explicitly in your books, but always mentioned in hushed tones by your teachers and other history wonks, that one of the southerly branches (maybe even the Southern Arm, proper), rather than launching its own “moon mission”, might have instead been a force saboteur, a kink in the chain, with citizens who supposedly never had forgotten the reverence for the moon, but instead codified it, and were convinced that we never belonged on its surface, and did their best to keep the colonization goals of the Great Moonshot from succeeding*.
Skimming ahead in the story, as your history books always did, none of the Several Districts would have successfully established a Luna Colony on their own. The resources of the Western Subsidiaries needed the stability of PacCo’s infrastructure, the planning of EastindReg would have been useless without the execution of Sahar S-Corp, and so on and so forth. With none of the branches willing— or able— to admit defeat, they were forced to work together (this is where the word “co-operation” comes from, as the history books tell you), and here is when Madam Mayor enters the picture.
Madam Mayor, the first Mayor of Luna Colony, commander of the mission from Eastern Conglomerate and only surviving member of the Original Founders Command, was able to coerce the almost-warring factions of Global LLC to “co-operate” in the founding of Luna Colony, and, by her guidance alone, pioneered the successful establishment of Luna Colony. Although Luna Colony in her time was rough, the resources provided by the Western Subsidiaries proved so rich that within a single generation, Luna Colony bloomed into the metropleices of Valdivostongo, New Wellington (including the subplex you grew up in, Aukstok), and San Antokyo, where you now sat, again, for the first time in years, the first time since your partner disappeared.
(*There was another rumor, of course, that the story of Luna as it’s told in history was far from accurate. A rumor so wild that no one mentions it, even though everyone knows about it— more of a conspiracy theory than a rumor, really. The idea was that there never was a time when the moon was forgotten, never a time when it was barren. The Southern Branches— before they even were the Southern Branches— when they were still individual “private” orgs— had already been established as a foothold on Luna. The Southern Arm didn’t launch an “Orbital Mayflower” during the Great Moonshot not because of wild proselytization, but because it didn’t need to; the nearness of The South to Homeworld’s austral pole had long allowed the establishment of an orbital elevator, and Southerners had been exploiting the resources and property of Luna for as long as anyone could remember. It wasn’t, then, a generation of pioneers and founders that saw Madam Mayor lead us to victory, but a generation of colonists, imperialists, rapists, murderers, and— most of all— liars. The work of Madam Mayor was not a victory, but a cover-up, and Southern Branch has been holding a grudge against the world ever since.
But no one in their right mind believed that story.)
[Keep reading: Chapter Four]
[Or, go to: The Beginning]