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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon The face on the Lunar ten-thousand ruble bill, visible beside Benjamin's finger, is Lavrenti Beria (a better picture of him is available here), the head of the precursor to the Soviet KGB and all-around James Bond villain. He wasn't a very nice person - in fact, he killed huge numbers of people - and it tells you something about the Lunar People's Republic that they put Beria on their money.

It also says something that nine hundred US dollars is enough to buy off a few people and still have money left over to catch a spaceflight from the Moon to the L-4 colony. Such a flight would cost at least a few hundred million dollars nowadays, and you would have to build your own spacecraft to do it.

Also, you may remember that someone else has an autofactory, several years after this flashback in the "current day." Hmmm.

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs Ehh, I'm sure it's just a meaningless coincidence.

The design sketch for the front of the 10,000 ruble bill is here if you want to see it; I'm kind of proud of how it came out. Here's a photo of Beria I used for reference; that's Stalin's daughter Svetlana on his lap (and note Beria's boss himself lurking in the background of the photo.) Creepy lookin' guy. The back of the bill, with its Glorious People's Revolutionary Cosmonaut Farmers staring determinedly and sightlessly into history, was busked on the spot when I remembered that pieces of paper usually have two sides.

Finally, speaking of building your own spacecraft, here's a gallery of photos from the SpaceShipOne launch a few weeks ago.