[- What's on the backside of the Moon? -]This is, for the most part, a fictionalized account of a trip to the moon as carried out by members of an alien race for the benefit of the author. This is part of a much larger work, currently underway, called Beyond the Mulberry Tree. However, the section dealing with the USAF base on the backside of the moon is, incredibly enough, true. The United States Air Force has had a base on the Backside since the early 1970s. Somehow, the military forgot to mention it to the world. By locating it on the Backside, which is never visible from Earth, the USAF has the convenience of arriving and departing whenever it wishes. A craft named Nautilus, an evolved version of the TR-3B flying "Black Triangle," is the current vehicle of choice for the run to the moon and back. Additionally, no earth-bound telescopes are able to pinpoint its location because it is effectively out of range. Its purpose is shrouded in mystery, but an educated guess suggests that it is an evolving lunar habitat, capable of interacting with other off-world visitors in this solar system. This sounds very hard to believe, I realize, but many sources have confirmed it for me. ---Mr. Doug Parrish © 2009
Suddenly, Krahn stiffened noticeably when he looked at Jemner. I suspected that he had figured out who Jemner really was, but I didn't say anything.
"Are you OK?" I asked him and I tried to make a look of concern cross my face.
"Yes, it's simply that I wasn't informed about the draq." Krahn's alarm passed quickly, however, and we both sat down while the seat belt mechanism quietly went about its job of fastening us in. I sat on Krahn's right, Jemner on his left. Fortunately, there were three chairs looking forward in this probecraft, but maybe Krahn had conjured up one when he found out that there were two of us this time. Outside, through the window, I could see the tennis courts behind the rec center where Brog had landed last month and where I had taken my initial trip around the planet. I was ready for something a little headier this time.
"Where would you like to go, gentlemen?" Krahn asked us.
Jemner demurred so I said without any hesitation, "I'd like to visit an underwater base in the Pacific." Krahn looked at Jemner and then at me. He was quiet for a moment while he composed his thoughts.
"I'm really sorry, but all underwater bases are off-limits. The reason I say that is because of the unusual technology that is used to keep the seawater out of the work and crew areas. You would experience great discomfort if we simply moved in and then out again. So we have been instructed not to take you there. Again, I'm really sorry." Krahn looked as though he really meant it, so I took him at his word. Even though I had wanted to go there, his gentle explanation of why it would not be desirable seemed to answer my questions.
I looked at Jemner. "Any ideas?" I asked.
"I think it's pretty much up to you. This kind of travel is no big deal for me like it is for you." That was his only answer. And he was right.
"Krahn, how about piloting us off to the moon? Is that possible?" I asked, hoping that it would pass inspection.
"Of course. That's fine. I see no problem with that. Do you, Jemner?" He shook his head. "The front side or the back?"
"I've heard that the back side of the moon is being used. Is that true?"
"Yes, that's true. Would you like to see what's there?"
"Without a doubt. You don't even have to ask! Let's go," and I settled into the comfortable co-pilot's chair. Just as Brog had done, Krahn now took us up slowly at first, but soon the town was once again just a speck of light in the Michigan night below. This ascent was much faster than the one before, and soon the curvature of the Earth's horizon became noticeable. Familiar outlines resembling the maps of Earth quickly became apparent as well. In what seemed like only a few minutes, the curvature of the Earth became ever more pronounced until suddenly it was curving back upon itself and the entire planet was visible on the control screen. At that point, Krahn put the forward-looking screen up for view and a large half moon took the place of Earth. Krahn told me that the trip to the moon's back side would take only minutes, certainly not the three days it had taken NASA's astronauts in earlier years. We were traveling well under the maximum limits of the probecraft's capabilities, so there were no problems with causing some kind of gravitational distortion in the solar system.
We arrived at the Backside in less than thirty minutes. Krahn said that that had been slow by most standards, but he realized that I hadn't ever traveled what he called "these moon lanes" before, so he took it a little more slowly than usual to give me a chance to do some sightseeing along the way.
And what sightseeing there was! As we came in low over the Backside, it was not difficult to pick out the artificial structures which were located there. Many were simply located in the bottoms of craters. Occasionally, some would stretch up the sides of the craters themselves and crawl out onto the moonscape beyond. There were also several large interstellar vessels which Krahn said had "lunar-anchored" back here. None, of course, were visible from Earth, but I counted at least 15 ships that I could see at quite a distance. They must have been huge!
We approached one that resembled the monolith from the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Krahn told us that it measured 4,200 x 850 x 100 meters or about 14,000 x 3,000 x 300 feet! It looked perfectly flat from a distance but as we approached it, other details became obvious. The reflected light of the moon showed us that there were small bays and protrusions, some of which were covered with strange shapes or designs.
Then Krahn brought us on down closer to the lunar surface. We skimmed several small craters until a larger one loomed in the distance. In it there were several large triangular craft sitting on what looked like a landing pad of some kind. As we drew closer, it suddenly became crystal clear to me whose ships those were! There was the familiar stars-and-stripes pattern on top of the triangles along with rather large letters that spelled out "United States Air Force." So the TR-3B's did have a home away from Vandenberg Air Force Base after all.
"Are they expecting us?" I asked cautiously.
"Probably not us, but this probecraft is quite well known to them," Krahn answered. "That's why they are not sending up some kind of missile after us. In the early days, they were pretty jittery about all the craft they saw here, but we have become good friends since then."
"How long has this base been here?" I wanted to know.
"It was built in the early 1970's right after the first moon landing, and it has been updated continuously since that time. It's really a small city when you consider that it has been under construction for almost 40 years now."
"How many people are here?"
"At this USAF base or on the entire Backside?"
"Well, at this base, I guess," I replied.
"As far as we know, there are about 2300 people down here. Much of what you can't see is located under the lunar surface where it's warmer and the structures are not exposed to the harsh lunar environment," Krahn replied in a rather matter-of-fact way.
I thought about all the denials that the government had made down through the years in an effort to squelch any discussion of military interest in the moon. Of course, if I went back home and started talking about what I was witnessing here, no one would believe me anyway, so Krahn and Jemner had nothing to lose by showing me whatever I wanted to see. This was all designed for me and for me alone. I could sing like a caged bird and no one would be the wiser. Everyone would believe that I had taken leave of my senses, and I would be dismissed without even a second's thought. At least it began to answer the hundreds of questions that I had formulated over time, putting each little piece of precious information gained into some kind of giant mosaic.
From the forthcoming book, "Beyond the Mulberry Tree", by Doug Parrish.