He frowned. The moon had a new satellite, and their game was at an end. That wasn't quite true, but as no-one seemed inclined to fetch it, the players agreed via a series of shrugs to head back to base. Ignatius felt his head throb as the bottle of tequila exacted its price. In low gravity a creeping hangover was no less pernicious, particularly as each step he took propelled him several feet in the...for lack of a better word, 'air'. No-one spoke; there was nothing to say. Their lamplights had long since died, so they bounded in darkness across the scarified grey terrain, following the tracks of early mining operations.
The first fingers of Earthrise crept across the horizon, as a blue crescent appeared to the right of the base's angular silhouette. An auditory explosion in his right ear impelled him to stop and hunch over, falling in slow motion towards the bare lunar rock.
"Agh!" He exclaimed, trying to siphon some sort of meaning from the booming, crackling voice.
"...BASTARDS! YOU KNOW THE LINKUP'S IN TEN MINUTES. GET IN THE COMMCENTRE NOW!"
A foot landed clumsily next to Ignatius' visor, tilting awkwardly as its owner attempted to halt and peer inside.
Ignatius recognised the concerned face of crewman Derek, lit from above by a dim visor-light. He extracted his right arm from under his body and pressed together the tips of his index finger and thumb in a gesture he had first learned as a teenager, scuba-diving off Nassau.
Derek nodded, pausing long enough to see Ignatius on hands and knees before himself continuing on. Another figure sailed past, arms and legs extended front and back, in a comic impersonation of a ballet dancer. The most graceful drunken ambulation in history. Ignatius thought of the clumsy technician inside the suit and stifled a laugh. Bad move. His stomach retched. Ignatius froze and clamped his lips shut. His hand rebounded off the visor, instinctively trying to cover his mouth. Cold sweat beaded on his forehead and a drop rolled down, dripping off his brow. The wave of nausea passed and he relaxed.
The other two were at the hatch now, looking back at him from a distance of several metres. He could see Derek fumbling for his radio, and braced himself for another deafening burst. He should really see about adjusting his volume settings.
He pressed the transmit button on his chest,
"I'm ok. I'm ok. Just feeling a bit...Oh God!"
He lurched forward with the spasm and a yellow cloud of vile liquid filled his vision. Every part of him tingled with febrile discomfort ,tinged with relief. He blinked. The cloud floated slowly to his left, sinking behind his neck. He hoped it would stay there.
Derek was gesturing adamantly for him to come over. Adain, the impromptu ballet dancer next to him, was nearly bent double, pointing his way. As he straightened, Ignatius could see the whites of his teeth wide apart as he roared with unheard laughter.
Solemnly, he bounded towards them, wishing there was a more dignified way to do so. Adain was sitting down now, alternating beating his hand on the ground and pointing. Ignatius thanked whatever deity created the vacuum, so he didn't have to listen to that man.
The repressuring chamber was just large enough to accomodate two of them. Ignatius was glad of the brief respite from the joker, who remained outside. The hiss stopped and the green light came on. Ignatius couldn't get his helmet off quickly enough; the stench was unbearable. His face in the visor's reflective surface looked like death warmed up. In 5 minutes he would be watched by millions of Americans, including his proud parents; aunts and uncles. Wonderful.