He looked out of the window as the ground dropped away. Obviously he'd been on airplane flights before but never he'd never been in space. Still, it started so normally, an ordinary airplane, lifting off from the runway, wheels retracting, climbing into the air.

The engines drove his seat into his back. They had to lift him all the way towards the platform. The next stage in his trip: Suspended in the air, circling the Earth once everyday, the platform was both an airport in the sky and the base for the next part of his journey.

It had been constructed as a cheap, shall we say cost effective route to the moon, at least compared to the hideously expensive and wasteful rockets used at the end of the last century and the beginning of this. Someone had suggested it would be easier to get into space by building a huge tower like the one at mythical Babel. Then it was to be a chain stretched between the Earth and an asteroid. They settled on suspending the chain from the moon down to a platform, the very same platform he was about to land on. Planes could fly up to it whilst still in atmosphere. This limited what you could take to the moon but the capacities of the chain were a greater limiting factor. Also meant they could use it to bury nuclear fuel waste on the moon, another source of funding.

He didn't see the platform as they arrived, as he only had a side window. So he wasn't expecting the landing. He knew the platform was in mid-air but he'd expected some descent onto it. Maybe he just hadn't noticed it. First he noticed was the noise of the wheels howling as they connected with the runway. Then the roar the engines made as they struggled to slow the plane down, switching from efficient engines of motion to inefficient drags on the planes forward velocity. Quickly enough the plane came to a still, or rather it stopped relative to the platform, that was still hurtling through the atmosphere as it went round the planet once every day.

The plane crew warned their passengers that it was cold and windy outside, as they were so high up and still moving, they would have to descend quickly into the platform itself. They were hurried off the plane and towards the waiting elevators. He remembered going up the Eiffel Tower, how everybody queued up to get to the top, how it had several levels but you didn't stop until you got to the top – you could take in the view of the lower levels on the way back down. Like that tower, the platform had restaurants and viewing areas over the Earth below, but everybody was queuing for the elevators.

They were already waiting for them and so he found a seat. There were no windows so whilst he waited for the lift to take them to the next level he watched the TV commentary on the project. Propaganda on how it had been developed to further man's research of space in general and the moon in particular. Of course it had just become a tourist junket, with few going beyond the next level to the dull, grey moon above. It was a long journey and when you got there your space suit was so thick you could have been anywhere. You weren't allowed to enjoy the low weight as you were followed everywhere and constantly warned about the hazards of ripping your suit. Some people did go, but mostly for work purposes, which usually meant getting rid of nuclear waste. You didn't want to run into where they were storing that.

The doors opened and they all rushed to a viewing port.

Fortunately they were still close enough to the Earth to benefit from her gravity. The view of the Earth was amazing, and they just stayed and stared and stared.