You thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Setup some equipment and a few buildings. Easy money plus you would be doing it on the moon. A private space company wanted to build a way-station at the north pole of the moon, a jumping off point for further space travel. They wanted to cut costs so they hired you and four others, not as astronauts but as a construction crew. There were still a couple of months of training on the equipment you would be setting up and on the habitat construction. None on how to fly the ship or land on the moon. You were just passengers for that part. The ship was automated and had already made the trip several time dropping off supplies and equipment in advance of your arrival.
The trip was uneventful. You and the others made videos for the company’s blog. Standard stuff: flying around the cabin, floating things from person to person, personal interviews about space. And then you were there in orbit around the moon. You piled into the lander, sealed it shut, and strapped yourselves into the seats. One of you pressed the ‘launch’ button and you waited for the computer to launch.
Finally, you heard a faint thud as the lander detached. The ride down was mostly smooth, just a few bumps as the guidance system kept the lander on course. Then you felt the lander begin to spin. The bumps became lurches forcing you against your restraints. An alarm sounded, someone screamed, someone began to pray. You don’t remember if you did either, one, or both of these. A final lurch, a second of free fall, a hard bump, and you were on the surface.
Everything seemed fine until you noticed the lander was not within the landing zone. It took only a few minutes for all of you to realize it was too far to hike in your spacesuits to the supplies waiting for you at the landing zone. Attempts to radio earth were unsuccessful. One of the others began accounting for air, water, and food in the lander. There wasn’t much to count.
You gazed out at the lunar surface and wondered if this opportunity was worth your life.