‘A reenactment?’ Nonno almost gasped. ‘Of earth?’ Like Ganesh, he was staring at the blue planet that was rising to fill their attention. Swirls of white, which they knew were called clouds, masses of frozen water vapor of a sort they no longer had, curled around the planet like living growths.
‘On earth? It can’t be done. The First Protocol—’
‘I know what the First Protocol says, Nonnie. But we’ve been sending archaeological teams back for two hundred years. We’ve been taking atmospheric samples for a lot longer than that. Colloquium is talking seriously about letting tourist cruises dock there within the decade.’
‘We already reenact earth, anyway.’
‘We reenact earth activities, but i’ts sporadic and there’s no attempt to pull everything together. I do” publishing” mostly, but it’s only four weekends a year and it gets to be less and less fun. You dance.’
Nonno nodded. He was a well-known ‘ballroom’ dancer, had all the flickers of the age-old dancer Astaire, whom he imitated. He said, ‘I’ve been studying something called “jidderbug” for a change of pace. It’s fun. Athletic. But I’d hardly need to go to earth to do it.’
‘I’m not thinking of that. What I’m thinking of is—’ He sat back and folded his arms, his eyes still on the beautiful blue planet. ‘All of earth. Not literally all of it, but…density. A whole—’ His hands formed a slow, expanding flower. ‘A society. Dance, yes, and publishing, but” politics” and “social classes” and “commerce” and what were called “jobs” and—’
‘Nobody does all that.’
‘Yes, in fact, people do. “Politics” is a fad right now in the Mars colony. Moonbase people play “workers” a lot, also “employers”, and there’s a growing liking for “union-busting”. There’s a rage for “taxi drivers”, too, which were people who drove fuel-powered vehicles for hire. Some of them have built their own “cars”. As they were called.’
‘I saw something on skene about that.’
‘You don’t sound impressed.’
Nonno sighed. ‘I have enough trouble hand-sewing my “top hat and tails.” I had a shit’s own time getting the dancing shoes made, too. I had to give four credits! Those credits were going to take me to the Lakes.’
Making your own outfit was a necessary evil that all reenactors put up with, although there were a few who said they enjoyed it. Some programmed their printers and had the clothes printed out, but the printed ones were always treated snidely by the make-your-own crowd. For one thing, they lacked sewing marks, and trying to program the printer to create holes and thread was more headache than people wanted. The compromise – sewing fake seams by hand where they showed – was thought definitely farb.
‘The truth is, Nons, we already do a lot of the things we’d need for a full earth reenactment. Did you know that”criminals” and “detectives” are popular reenacting subjects?’
‘I’ve even seen some.’
‘Ever since the Paramus mound was dug. Forty-three flickers called “mysteries.” In disk form. They had to—’
‘I know, Ganesh,’ Nonno groaned. ‘We all know.’ He shifted to a lower pitched voice to imitate the news presenters on the skene. ‘Eleven long years were dedicated to the intricate and often seemingly insurmountable task of reverse-engineering the device upon which the Paramus hoard was originally played. Until the day when that device was perfected, the names of James Cagney, George Raft, The Thin Man and others of this genre had not been heard for hundred years! …’ He made the sound with his lips and tongue still known as a raspberry, although there had been no berries of that name for a millennium.