Catacombs Moonbase Alpha Operational Guide


7.1. Working Requirements

The Moonbase operates using a 24 hour working day divided into three 8 hour shifts. Nonessential activities, including most scientific work, are usually only carried out in the main day time shift. Staff on essential and urgent projects that require evening and early morning shifts are generally assigned to each shift in a one or two month rotation. The precise times of shifts and breaks are flexible so that support staff are available at all times. As many staff share the same working hours greater professional and social contact between staff is encouraged.

The lunar clock is synchronised to GMT.

The working week is usually five days, though many work an optional extra half shift on a sixth day. Subject to cover requirements, staff are free to take any two days of the week as their weekend.

Staff health is continuously monitored by wrist monitors. Medical section gives all staff a physical check up every month, or more frequently for those in jobs with higher risk.

Staff should use English for all spoken and written communication, and, for measurement, SI units and their appropriate derived units.

7.2. Personal Goods

Staff can bring personal goods to the Moonbase, subject to safety, weight and bulk restrictions. Alcohol is permitted, but must not be consumed during duty periods and never to excess. Tobacco and all drugs not authorised by the World Space Commission Medical Authority are prohibited. The penalties for alcohol abuse and drug possession or use are automatic dismissal and substantial fines.

Staff are assigned to an individual living quarters, though a limited number of twin and double rooms are available. These are fully furnished with living area, shelf and cupboard space, and most have a bathroom. Some older quarters are smaller and share bathrooms.

Work-related clothes may be worn on duty. Otherwise, staff must wear the standard uniform with the correct section sleeve colour:


Note: The Security uniform includes a sash across the torso.

The uniform must also be worn when off duty. Patches and other insignia should not be worn on the uniform. To counter the threat of terrorism, all staff are issued with Identity badges. By special concession of the World Space Commission in response to popular demand, it is no longer compulsory that they are worn. This concession may be revoked during security conditions.

Staff are issued with a medical monitor to be worn on the wrist. It should be worn at all times. If it is to be removed, a key sequence should be entered on the owner's commlock and the monitor should be returned to the wrist within an hour.

Staff are issued with a commlock, a communications and access device. It should be worn on the belt, or be close at hand, at all times. At half hour intervals, or more frequently, it transmits data from the medical monitor to the base computer, concerning amongst other things heart rate, temperature and radiation exposure. Staff should become familiar with the functions of their commlock: a "User's Guide" is supplied, and screen help text is available using the keys on the lower section of the left side of the commlock.

7.3. Moonbase systems

7.3.1. Access:

All doors have control mechanisms which are operated either by commlock or the control panel adjacent to the door. A single key on either will open most doors. The control mechanism also allows the door to be locked and sealed, and heating and lighting to be adjusted. Certain areas have access restrictions. To operate these higher functions, personnel can use their commlock, or they can use the door control panel by first keying in their personal identification code.

A network of travel tubes links areas of the base. These are a rapid transport system, using electromagnetic propulsion to carry cylindrical Travel Units through tunnels. The interior of the Travel Units are 5 metres long by 3 metres wide and can carry six seated passengers or four with cargo. There are entry doors on either side, and one at the front of the Unit. Most tube tunnels are not connected with other tubes and are served by just one Unit. Several major routes are connected with Travel Tube Depots where the Units are switched between tunnels. Maximum velocity of the Units is 60 km per hour, with maximum acceleration at 3 m/s2.

Alpha is constructed on ten levels, two of them below ground. The Travel Tube Depots can switch Travel Units between two or three levels. Stairwells and passenger and cargo elevators are distributed throughout the base, often located near Travel Tube ports.

7.3.2. Communications:

A base-wide communications network includes all areas of the base and the commlocks of all staff, so that any individual can call any other by keying in their personal number. Comlocks can be programmed with short codes for any personal or room numbers commonly used. Privacy settings are allowed.

Most rooms have communications screens, in communications posts, wall units or desk VDUs. General announcements are made over these screens, or they can be used for personal communication.

Both commlocks and communications screens can be operated as terminals of the base computer.

Communications with spacecraft, satellites and Earth can be booked through the base computer. Permanent links to the satellites and Earth are available from screens near all Travel Tube ports.

7.3.3. Transport outside the base:

Airlocks to the lunar surface are located at launch pads and at peripheral locations. Moonbuggies are available at launch pads and selected airlocks. There are also a variety of lunar construction vehicles.

Eagle spacecraft operate regular shuttle services between Centuri, the Pegasus platforms, Moonbase Alpha and the Nuclear Waste Disposal Area. Eagles are also used for lunar surveys, astronaut training flights and cargo flights. They operate from five launch pads in peripheral locations around Alpha and are maintained in four underground hangars, which include construction bays for Eagles and components for other spacecraft.

Access to and use of these facilities are subject to authorisation.

7.3.4. Computing facilities:

Most Moonbase systems are monitored and controlled by the X5 computer, a distributed processing network which includes a Scitek Mark Ten Holographic Programming processor array and a Terau 21 supercluster with voice interface. The distributed architecture includes shadow and back up computers to support all principle functions (medical, life support, mission control and sensor/ scanner systems), eliminating any down time. Most communications systems, including commlocks and communications posts, can act as terminals to the X5 computer, using the basic menu driven screen interface. Workstations have user-scalable character mode screens with chordic keypads and touchpads, to minimise space and enhance data entry speed. Graphical user interfaces are available for specialised programs only; qwerty keyboards and mice are not available. Commercial software and access to external networks are not available. Executive terminals and commlocks can use the voice interface.

7.4. Emergency Procedures

Staff should always be familiar with emergency procedures, the location of the nearest emergency equipment lockers and evacuation routes.

In the event of any incident that causes injury or damage, or has the potential to do so, staff should first activate the alarm, using their commlocks or an alarm button. If time allows they should explain to the emergency or medical crews as fully as possible. Staff should do whatever immediate action is required, again advising emergency crews if possible. If evacuation is needed, doors and bulkheads should be sealed behind them as they leave. Operation Exodus is the emergency plan to evacuate the entire base.

Alarm buttons are located in most rooms with potential hazards. First aid and fire fighting points are widely distributed. Emergency lockers contain first aid and fire fighting equipment, bottled oxygen and spacesuits. All doors can be sealed, with primary and secondary bulkheads available to close off areas of the base. Escape hatchways lead to shelters of varying capacity which can be sealed against fire, pressure loss and explosion. They can sustain staff for between an hour and three days. Deep shelters provided in level D and in the catacombs under the base have large capacities and long endurance.

Security staff are responsible for emergency procedures. They provide permanent emergency crews on stand by at all times, with specialist damage control units, fire teams and rescue teams available from amongst their staff. Other sections provide staff and equipment available to be released from other duties. These include emergency medical units and repair crews from Medical and Technical and crash units which include Eagles and Reconnaissance pilots. Drills are held regularly, often unannounced, with a major exercise every two weeks.

7.5. Leisure Facilities

A wide range of recreational facilities are provided for staff off duty. Recreation centres are provided in each of the four accommodation areas, allowing social gatherings. One contains a small solarium. The largest Recreation Centre includes a sports complex, with a main sports hall suitable for various activities, swimming pool, gymnasium, bowling alley and courts for tennis, badminton and other sports. Adjacent to them is a theatre also suitable for cinema presentations and large meetings. Various other rooms can be made available for recreational purposes.

The technical library has an extensive selection of non technical books both on compact disc and on paper, from classic and modern fiction to special interests like history and travel. There is also a video and picture library.

Among the activities pursued on Moonbase Alpha are music, sculpture, model making, painting, and journalism. The monthly magazine Alpha-Scan is produced by off duty staff to keep personnel up to date on the on- and off- duty activities around the base, and for any other matters of interest. Occasional events that are organised include sports and arts competitions and exhibitions, music recitals and concerts, plays and lectures. Staff are particularly encouraged to participate in educational activities, and training courses exist covering all areas of science, technology, arts and sports. Some courses are run on a professional basis and can earn staff bonuses for completing them: these are the first aid, emergency procedures and basic astronautics courses.

A small chapel is available. There are active Christian and Muslim communities.

7.6. Discipline & Defence

Staff should note that gambling is discouraged, alcohol consumption should be modest, and possession and use of any unauthorised drug is prohibited. Suspicions of illegal activities, especially political/ religious terrorism, should be immediately reported to senior Security personnel or the Commander.

Since the Falcon 3 hijacking, it has been the policy of the Space Commission to respond severely to all terrorist activities. Security staff may use stun guns to subdue disorderly personnel. Stun beams are directional acoustics which induce neuronic concussion and thus unconsciousness, lasting between five minutes and an hour depending on range. A visible laser beam is used for targeting, causing air moisture in its path to scintillate briefly with a yellow glow. In some stun guns this can be switched to provide a lethal laser beam, leaving a blue air trail. Lightweight laser rifles, hand held armour piercing laser blasters and rocket projectors are also available in more serious circumstances. Some lunar surface vehicles originally used during the construction of the base have had laser cannons added. Plans exist for building a peripheral ring of fixed laser batteries around the base. Some Eagles still have laser cannons and retractable laser turrets from the 1994-1996 tensions. Should circumstances warrant, these weapons would be used against any terrorist activity.

7.7. Addenda:

Moonbase uniforms have been redesigned to include collars. Jackets in various colours and designs are being made available. Uniforms are no longer compulsory when off duty. Patches and other insignia may be worn. Identity badges must now be worn with uniforms, though there are frequent votes to have this order rescinded.

The four fixed laser batteries have been constructed.

© Martin Willey