Greenhorn on Luna Se7vn, a ficlet of Foedus Planetarum for Thimbleful Thursday

Set in the early days of Earth’s admission into the Foedus Planetarum. To the Thimbleful Thursday prompt for March 19, “Green as Grass.”

The maintenance team on Luna Station 7 were drawing lots. Johanna, Curtis, and Al had rotated back home – or, in Al’s case, onto the space liner he’d been trying to get onto forever. That meant they were getting three new workers, and while two of them were maintenance veterans, none of them had worked Se7en, with its particular peculiarities, before.

“Oh, come on.” Angie stared at the green button. “I do not want the greenhorn again. Every time. Every time.” There were rules about how long you could stay at a particular station. Angie, Clyde, and Taylor had managed to avoid all of those rules, while Emily was coming up on the end of her time and had yet to come up with a suitable workaround. “Why is it always me?”

Clyde wasn’t going to tell her that he’d learned to feel the differences between green, white, and black buttons, and if he wasn’t going to tell her, Emily wasn’t going to point out that they made different sounds. “It’ll be fine, Angie. You’re so good with the new ones. You scare them just enough. And besides, it’s not like this one’s new-to-space.” Emily flipped through the dossiers on her tablet. “Kalienkari Shefor. Last tour of duty as a bureaucrat on Jacoba Two, right at the edge of Earth space. So he-or-she will have their space legs.”

“Well,” Angie grumbled, “better than Curtis, at least. All right, bring them in.”

They cleared the buttons off the table, and Emily, as junior, went to get the newbies. By the time she led them in, she was clearly trying not to laugh.

They knew that other variants than Terran humans worked the stations. Being Luna, however, they’d always gotten Terrans. “Angela Rodriquez, this is Kalienkari Shefor, your new trainee.”

The man, for he was certainly that, had skin the brown of tree bark and hair – and even Angie had trouble not laughing – hair as green as grass.

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