EAGLE'S EYE VIEW by David Alan Wright
The earth rose, flooding the lunar landscape with light it did not generate, but passed on, like sunlight off a hand mirror. The planet was in gibbous phase, waxing, approaching fullness. Some might wonder if a full earth is as romantic as its satellite, if they thought of things like that. Carl had no time to be romantic. Aiming his camera home, he could see the outline of the Atlantic coast, mostly obscured by clounds and storm fronts. Off Cuba, a tropical storm whirled, preparing to give Castro his annual bath a month early.
It was almost time. He started the camera clicking at half-second intervals. Finally, the earth sparkled like a Christmas tree, or a firefly in heat. New York flashed. Washington. Moscow, L.A., New Delhi -- the important places, the major tourist attractions, now craters. Soon, the film ran out, but it was enough. The last shot would show a grey disk with no distinguishable features, easily mistaken for Venus.
Carl packed the camera. He skirted the settling mist that was his captain just before the man heard the message and removed his helmet.(1) The astronaut entered the cramped Life Support Environment, lit a red light, and developed the pictures. After they dried, he arranged them in chronological order on the captain's bunk. He didn't worry that they'd deteriorate while waiting for someone to read their story; the vacuum would keep them fresh after the opened the windows.(2) But there was plenty of time.
He climbed into bed and read three chapters. He'd just started the book, but the stores held enough food for him to finish it, and five others waiting to be read. He turned off the light and slept.
(1) I had forgotten when I wrote this that with no atmosphere, particles don't settle, they drop immediately. Also, hard vacuum doesn't work like that.
(2) I didn't consider that the photos might be messed up by the rushing air.