On April 18, 2027 a massive team of out-of-work scientists – including archaeologists, zoologists, astrophysicists, botanists, ecologists, and chemists – was rushed to the moon to investigate what the media, quoting an unnamed source, was calling “an intriguing, previously undocumented ‘underground network’ of vaguely interconnected tunnels in sector 8G-932, spanning between 1500m and 25km in total length, arranged in what seems to be a complicatedly unrandom pattern of a kind of quasi-organization.” Funding was provided by Raytheon Company, the world’s largest producer of guided missiles.
The team of overeager specialists, given no instruction except to “collect data”, worked quickly. Before a base camp had been established 78% of them had already confidently, they felt, identified the source – and begun to sense the meaning and pathos – of the unmapped system of passageways and chambers below them. Preliminary data showed distinct similarities, regarding the subterranean situation, with data collected by a prior team, in 2023, at sector 45k-901, where they’d discovered, as stated in their 895-page report, “a reverse-symbiotic, atypical mal-ecology of antisocial, hermetic ‘lunar hamsters’.”
As news of this unbankable, silly non-discovery reached Raytheon’s middle managers – via analysis of electromagnetic and neural fluctuations, detected by nanochips Raytheon had secretly implanted in most of the scientists – funding was immediately reduced to zero, and all 483 scientists perished soonafter. (Their spacesuits automatically shut down and remained off 3.2 minutes before violently absorbing the dead scientists with a slurping noise directly, by way of a single action converting mind and body into numeric value, into Raytheon’s quarterly earnings report. All 483 scientists, documents duly showed, had apparently signed “no fault” release forms stating they were okay – and actually preferred – this method of corpse disposal.) But not before tetrabytes of fragmented data had already been downloaded to Earth, where it was carefully organized by hundreds of passionate, lonely, self-described “hamster lovers” (based mostly in Japan and South Korea) into a single database from which, 5 or 6 hours later, emerged a fascinating and horrible map, telling a moving and, some maintain, blackly comic story of 3 hamsters who each wanted simply to be alone, with decent wi-fi, but couldn’t, because – among other reasons – they lacked the perspective of a simple, color-coded, 2D map.
…a brief introduction to the ‘lunar hamsters’ (named here, for practical reasons, after famous hermits throughout history) believed to have created the mangled-seeming, desperate tunnels at 8G-932. These portraits – and short, easy-to-read bios – are approximate renderings based on (1) DNA analysis (2) gamma scans of their corpses (3) transposed data from the 2023 discovery at 45k-901, which had also involved 3 unsuccessfully reclusive hamsters.