LATE BREAKING NEWS
by Thomas Wm. Hamilton
"And now, Al Jazeera takes you to our special studio for space doings, with Far East Bureau Chief Khalid ibn Maghrebi and reporter Omar al Kitabi, who covers events in space."
"This is Khalid ibn Maghrebi..."
"And Omar al Kitabi..."
"...reporting on the fast breaking lunar developments."
"Right, Khalid. So far in the past five days the People's Republic of China has landed six unmanned cargo carriers, all within four kilometers of one another, in Sinus Medii on the Moon."
"We now have word that the Deep Space Tracking Network reports that three more, even larger spacecraft are on their way to the Moon. Would you have any idea what these are, Omar?"
"These are manned spacecraft, Khalid. No question about it. The first should be landing on the Moon in about ten minutes, and the last in just over an hour, assuming that they are all headed for the same Sinus Medii region as the cargo carriers."
"Is there anything special about that part of the Moon?"
"Well, they appear to all be headed for a small crater, about 4 kilometers diameter, called Seeliger A. It is almost precisely on the Moon's equator and very nearly the center of the lunar side facing Earth."
"I have some international reaction. Japan says that as long as there is no interference with research and work by its robotic observatory in Mare Crisium, they are always glad to see more activity on the Moon. The European Space Agency released a statement congratulating China. They must be disappointed at losing their informal race to land a crew on the Moon, though. Russia says they are proud of their ally. No word from the United States, but since they closed down their Shuttle program ten years ago, Americans have virtually abandoned all space work."
"Khalid, I'm getting a signal from the control room that we are taking a short interruption for coverage of other news, commercial announcements, and other things."
"But we'll be back shortly with more coverage of China's big move on the Moon."
"This is Khalid ibn Maghrebi..."
"...and Omar al Kitabi returning with more news on China's lunar landings."
"Since we last spoke to you, all three manned vessels have landed in the small lunar crater of Seeliger A, where China had previously landed half a dozen cargo ships. A total of twenty four people, apparently half men and half women, have landed."
"Now the Chinese are about to make an announcement. The commander of the lunar expedition, identified by the New China News Agency as Wu En Lai, is about to speak. The next voice you hear will be the translator carrying his words."
"Greetings to the peace loving peoples of Earth from the workers and peasants of the People's Democratic Lunar Republic. The residents of the Moon have met and named a Central Committee to govern the People's Democratic Lunar Republic. I was named to be chair of the Central Committee. We are advising all Earth powers that, borrowing the proclamation two centuries ago of American President Monroe, the Moon is closed to all forms of colonization or foreign exploitation. Earth interests wishing to visit the Moon, either with people or by sending unmanned robotic ships, must apply to the Central Committee of the People's Democratic Lunar Republic for permission to land or enter orbit around the Moon. Failure to apply for permission will be treated as an unfriendly act, and offending vehicles will be destroyed."