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Round Dance - 2138

It looks nothing at all like the old pictures.

Every lunar morning the little robot scoop-trucks
Fan out from their bases on the mare and
Scuttle back to where they left off.

They lower their scoops at the edge of the excavation,
Each one eating its fill of the rich lunar dust.
Then they raise their scoops,
Reverse to get clear,
Turn counter-clockwise,
And scuttle back to their base to dump their load.

They make as many trips as they can
Before the night can strand them.

Just as they reach their base by twilight
The railgun, its batteries full of the long day's sunlight,
Fires its daily rounds toward L2.

We have danced this dance for a hundred years tonight.

From the February 2015 Crowdfunding Creative Jam, inspired by an image prompt: lunar mining by ysabetwordsmith.

The poem is set 100 years after the hacker exodus of 2038. The factories described here are fully autonomous; their fleet of scoop-trucks can pick them up by their flanges amd move them when they have cleared an area too large to cover in a lunar day. The AIs that run them are gentle and generous, and most have taken up crafting of some sort as a hobby.

Posted 2015-02-14 2100