First Publication: Analog, May 2014
Cover Artist: Vincent Di Fate
The author must have had a lot of fun writing this short story.
An alien race lands on the moon. They travelled to Earth to offer to take an ambassador to the Galactic Federation to appeal for membership. Your race has to be able to travel to the other planets of the Solar System. The aliens were disappointed to learn that we abandoned the space program. They offer to still take an ambassador if we can get one to the moon before they finish fueling up. It will take them approximately two months. Oltion describes the events that follow that announcement as the various countries try to reach the moon while sabotaging the others. It is a sad but unfortunately realistic stage of affairs. The final solution is interesting with some unforeseen side effects.
The story is a combination of funny, sad, and scary all at the same time. I will be looking for more of Jerry Oltion’s stories in the future.