As a professor of Lunar Studies, I am often asked which city is my favorite. I always answer that it depends… I live in Sinus Medii because I love the lifestyle I have here. It’s very cosmopolitan, not just in a lunar sense but in a whole Earth-Luna system sense. I have a cousin who commutes between the Earth and the Moon a couple of times a year. One of my sons has his heart set on piloting an Earth-Luna shuttle someday.
But my favorite city to lecture on is Nova Moskva. We affectionately call it “The Cube” for obvious reasons; it’s a regular hexahedron with hardly any variation or ornament to differentiate one side from the other. The interior isn’t much better, although regularly-spaced public spaces and parks keep it from being completely industrial.
The Cube is under-appreciated. Yes, my Russian ancestors who built the city were efficient to the point of boredom. Yes, The Cube has a reputation for being the poor neighbor, the place you go to live if you can’t afford to live in one of the newer, nicer cities.
There is a reason for The Cube’s small, efficient living quarters and lack of luxuries, beyond its post-communist design. Just three years after The Founding, a primarily Chinese conglomerate was building Zhuólù, which we now know as one of the most affluent cities on Luna. Nova Moskva was almost complete. In fact, thousands of people already lived there. But the designers of Zhuólù were overly optimistic. They put off protecting the city from meteor strikes, choosing instead to concentrate on constructing their infrastructure and living quarters as quickly as possible. Several corporations had huge investments at stake in getting Zhuólù built on schedule, and, like Nova Moskva, they had several thousand people living there. Nova Moskva began with its outer shell and safety measures in place. When a meteor demolished the half-built city of Zhuólù, the survivors fled to The Cube.
There was no hesitation. Chinese, Russian, Saudi, Aussie…they were all Loonies. They had more in common than they had differences. Nova Moskva absorbed the refugees as well as the hundreds of new workers who were scheduled to arrive over the next few months. They redesigned the unfinished interior of The Cube to accommodate the larger numbers, creating small, efficient apartment blocks that could be manufactured en mass and installed quickly.
Zhuólù eventually recovered. In fact, they prospered in the years after rebuilding, while Nova Moskva continued to house more and more immigrants. It was profitable for builders to manufacture luxury homes, but by far the masses who were either born Loony or decided to become one demanded more reasonable accommodations. Nova Moskva remains densely populated to this day.
So, I live in Sinus Medii, but I take the truba four days a week to Nova Moskva to lecture at Gagarin University.
And like The Cube itself, my classes are always packed.