The Long Watch

Publication date:1949.12
Genre:Science fiction short story
Series:Future History
Preceded by:Delilah and the Space Rigger
Followed by:Excursus
Wikipedia page

“The Long Watch” is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein originally named “Rebellion on the Moon,” the story appeared in the December 1949 “American Legion” magazine.
While it is included in collections of “Future History” stories and appears on Heinlein’s timeline chart, “The Long Watch” does not appear to share continuity with the history, but with “Space Cadet” published a year earlier.


In 1999, Lieutenant John Ezra Dahlquist is a member of the Space Patrol, an international organization with the custody of all Earth’s remaining nuclear weapons. The base’s executive officer Colonel Towers and others want to overthrow the Earth government, and plan to use the bombs to destroy “an unimportant town or two” so Earth takes them seriously. John leads Towers to believe that he will cooperate, but he does not want his family to live under a dictatorship and plans to stop the coup by defusing the bombs.