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Published by Ian Holdeman
Science fiction story from IB HL English
Science fiction story from IB HL English

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Published by: Ian Holdeman on Sep 16, 2013
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By Ian Holdeman

The Terran landscape could only be described as cold. Every possible connotation of the word applied; it was barren,

freezing, lonely, depressing, and a biting wind blew throughout the land. The tundra of dust and photodegraded plastic and metal swirled and danced in beautiful, lonely attempts to impress the vast expanse of desert and ghostly remnants of sprawling cities. A haunting wind blew across the world unfettered by the tall, magnificent skyscrapers that once stood proudly amidst the

hustle and bustle of human and mechanical life. The streams of air were no more interrupted by majesty of concrete, steel, and glass as the wind’s erosive power proved its supremacy against man’s ever-continuous struggle to fit more offices, control

centers, homes, and stores into a single block of land. In the distant past, the skies above had always been one of the last frontiers on Terra. All land had been traversed; the entire surface of the expansive oceans had been sailed. The skies were the last place where man hadn’t polluted the serenity of pure natural existence. As a consequence, they turned to the seemingly Well, not infinite land expanse se, of but nitrogen and oxygen air for land.




purifiable space in which they could live out their lives. “The sky is exponentially larger in than the land it surrounds, we won’t ever fill the sky”, they proclaimed to the land-hungry masses of Terra. Of course, the people flocked to the properties for sale, for rent, for lease. A never ending stream of Terrans took to the skies in mega towers that rivaled the altitude of many-a-small cityhopper jet. The skyscrapers eventually grew to surpass even the highest of flyers. They once said that the sky had no limit; that the people could choke the land and pack it so densely that no more could reasonably fit but that the sky would never have that problem. It may have seemed that way to most Terrans early on, but humans breed exponentially too. Soon,

geologically speaking, there were so many humans in the sky it was like an airborne ant hill. Up, down, up again, down again; the elevators sped around delivering the ants to their homes. Eventually, possible humanity some accomplished of the more what most never thought persons




desperately prophesied; man had filled the sky. The sand made its way, in swirling calligraphy, across

plains, hills, and into caves deserted long ago. The mountains had long since disappeared from Terra and with them gone, the deep and fertile valleys below ceased to exist. The trees,

grass, and other life forgot to breathe and couldn’t stop the wind and its corrosive powers. The snow covered land to the south of Terra now was blanketed in an ice so thick and so flat. There, the wind accelerated and shot up from the south; a cold army to blow the sand around in the north. The wind made its way up past the once great mountainous regions in what used to be New Zealand; past the former location of Ayer’s Rock, now just a barely recognizable megadune in the vast sand pit that is now Australia; north, north to the Gobi Desert of the far east, which had grown larger and larger until it met with the

Rub’al’Khali of once-Arabia. Then, on its way around the world, the steady stream of nitrogen and oxygen blew north-west,

forward and left to the great expanse of former-Russia, and in its unceasing restlessness, moved the sand on to the rest of that deserted continent. Another wind, a stronger one, blew up from the south, this time in an opposite hemisphere. It forced its way up from the cold tundra regions of the extreme south, north to the Andean Mountains. The wind’s path eventually cut in two as the

beginnings of the rocky skyscrapers sliced the wind’s path with ease. Switching back and forth, to and fro among the peaks and valleys of the vast range of mountains and volcanoes, the wind

took the heat away from the spine of the Americas. The heat spread out in the various offshooting rivers of air that

branched off like the leaves of a corn stalk across the American continent.

Another day began in Trimni, on the fourth and closest hospitable planet from the star, NGC5139. It began like any other day, both NGC5139, or “5K” as it was locally named, and its twin disc of flame, 6K, came up from opposite ends of the horizon. The suns’ scorching heat was left unnoticed by the planet, their rays striking no life that day. It didn’t even permeate any of the small buildings huddled beside each other as they were sheltered by the high-tech solar absorbers that

protected the people busily working inside from harmful rays. Brian walked down the passage way to his barracks after

breakfast and pondered while he ambled down the hallway that he had walked countless times before. On Terra, or so say the history books, they thought their planet was flat. At one point the Terrans also believed strongly that Terra itself was the center of the entire universe. Of course, we all know how wrong they were. History books say lots of crazy things about ancient Terra and its people. Everybody knows nowadays that Terra in its eventually and the became the most solar




systems...key word: eventually. For a long time the Terrans were very slow on the uptake. I apparently have ancestors who were part of that group of “slow” Terrans. I shudder to think that, but that was back then, this is now. Come to think of it, that was waaaay back then. Over time a select few of those dull, Terran creatures discovered that education was in fact more necessary than they

all had once thought. Keep in mind that they were did not have enough foresight to see that better education was generally

beneficial to the human collective, but instead they only saw that education would give them advantages over others. Even

though it was for the wrong reasons, they rightly began a huge education-focused movement on Terra. Terra grew up after this movement caught on. It then had not just a select few superbly educated few, but its general public was composed of, relative to centuries past, veritable geniuses. Tertiary education went from being optional to

mandatory to where it didn’t need to be mandatory; everybody was educated at least a degree past high school. Also, dropout rates became non-existent. The mega-boost of education injected into Terran society dramatically increased the output of

technological advances. Humanity was finally able to travel at half the speed of light, able to recreate extinct beings through DNA mapping, and able to eliminate the need for paper copies of everything. The various space programs had also all found

incredibly suitable substitutes for Terra. Over the next couple hundred years, more and more of these inhabitable planets were discovered, visited, and colonized that soon, Terra was bare. When Terra was in its heyday, just before everyone left, Trimni was a flourishing metropolis; an exceedingly busy place. The 3-D modeling that I’ve seen of the city plans are

incredible. Like grey grass the structures shot into the air, sticking straight up in defiance to the strong World Four winds. Due to the than lower any gravity seen on World on Four, Terra. the Many buildings of them were were



constructed within a meter from each other in order to fit many buildings in the smallest area possible. Nobody walked between these buildings; no layman would dare escape a building. The winds were too strong in between the maze of construction that

The public library was second only to the University’s library. the University of World Four. they both graduated many of their lifetimes ago. instantly killed by the dust and rocks kicked up by the harsh winds in the air from outside the city. accountants. By many measures the Triminians were just as intelligent. if they managed to anchor themselves to the ground. World Four’s for rocky dust and desolate that landscape would made a perfect setting huge storms completely blacken the sky for miles around. They number constructed. 0’s. philosophers. The common Triminian. My parents both graduated from UWF. never had to think about these storms. the term Terrans for the used the a primitive. of and the late Terrans. were astrophysicists. as the inhabitants of World Four were called (due to the fact that Trimni was its only city). 2’s (tertiary technology) a device that early humans could only dream about in science fiction and stories. or more so. than out the of smartest 1’s. They knew about them superficially. The giving fooled. On the Standard Calendar. don’t They highly intelligent people. neuroscientists. Triminian gadget. but all of the flying around space made them remain young while time passed by more quickly for everyone else. but never really cared about it when they went about their lives in the great city. slang. astrobiologists. the most prestigious of all educational facilities.any living being would be either blown away or. But never be thought were outside. . a Triminians second these led a completely to what was indoor lifestyle. Trimni once had the largest library in the inhabited universe. psychologists. now Of course. and other professionals of all possible occupations. technicians.

and a governing body of the psychologists. You may be wondering the reason as to why the Triminians left their seemingly perfect lives and escaped to other planets in space. as the idea became more acceptable. you would be most wrong. the families moved there and the fad caught on.“holodeck”. More and more. A couple influential families with adventurous spirits hired teams to find them spots in the universe that would fit that order. philosophers. Some of the leading philosophers and some sympathetic historians at the time hypothesized that in order to live a fulfilling life. and statistics to find trends from the past and apply them to the future. This hologram reality simulator could recreate any image from any description. practice of scientists regulated “holodecking” from a central computer in the city’s center. If you believe the rumors that there was a horrible influenza epidemic and everybody escaped just in time or that there was some mad scientist from whom everybody ran away. This subject is my focus. They eventually found them. history. The owners could. the one thing around which most of my classes here revolve. Here in the New Trimni Academy I study psychohistory which combines macroeconomics. one must be able to express himself in natural surroundings and must commune with it. so the owners could experience life safely in whatever setting they wished. Basically the study of how groups of people react in similar ways as chemicals in test tubes. In reality. biopsychologists and other researchers came to even state that a life with time truly out of doors was physically and mentally healthier. psychology. Of course. fix “holes” and perfect each recreation. Relative to some of my friends who focused their last few years of education on more simple and refined areas like . from inside the holodeck experience. politics. the migration away from World Four was spurred largely by philosophy.

I still have to take all the traditional classes. Even though we don’t live in the abandoned city. you can't go outside without special breathing devices anyhow. the atmosphere close to the planet’s surface is mostly composed of . It’s a popular story among teachers here to tell people that on old Terra. Besides. We have to take all kinds of other courses that. given our respective focuses. both scientific and otherwise. do not look like anything we would ever need. the data disks we each carry around are fine with me. and some of their variations as well. They tell students who complain about the work that if they were on old Terra. it would not be too horrible. but some of these books apparently massed more than a kilogram! True or not. we don’t just narrow our scope to our chosen focus subject at all. with the lower gravity here on World Four. at first glance. It’s a freeing experience to not have classes and things to constantly worry about. there’s not much else to do. At the academy. Some of this may be just rumors to scare little primary schoolers. chemical physics. I’ve heard that on Terra before the second era of enlightenment students had to carry huge masses of paper on which things were written. my focus is incredibly difficult. In any case. I’m so glad I don’t have to hurt my back carrying those around. students would spend upwards of 20 years attempting to learn all of the things we learn in half that time.astrophysics. they’d have a long way to go until they finished it all. but in Trimni. This is my second to last year at the academy and my class just finished our last exams for this academic year. the winds outside there are still strong enough to be lethal. That scares them enough so they don’t complain again for a while. but in the long run greatly assist us in understanding what other people talk about in the news. biochemistry. physics. Of course.

most of us spend the down-time provided by the end-of-year holiday reading. or just thinking. Sometimes I hear rumors about how. at least. After the escape from Trimni. another place with rivers. far enough that visiting would take a lot more time than the holidays wish to provide for me. Normally I’m too busy to really look and embrace the and stark the contrast between vast the closed of and this narrow indoors seemingly openness relatively small planet. Now I'm not saying that I've never been outside here on this planet. but Trimni is my home. topography. One of these days. I sometimes imagine myself growing up there or on Terra. My relatives are farther off. luckily. the different nuclear families in my extended family moved to various planets. oceans. These rumors are true. all the things you hear about in Terran history books and in off-planet news. Some of the kids go off to see relatives somewhere on World Four’s five neighboring moons. So. for Whenever class or I need to perform like some I scientific put on the experiment something that. truly happy in the little desolate colony on the little desolate rock in a little desolate corner of the universe. plant life. I feel complacent with life. It’s all good and well for me to dream about all of that. I’d like to move away from Trimni to another place. there are vast seas of water whose opposite side cannot be seen with the naked eye or how the atmosphere is actually healthy to breathe.carbon monoxide. on other planets. But every time I go out and have a small bit of freedom from the mindless gathering of streams and streams of data. reviewing what we’ve learned in the past year. I know because once my parents and I visited some of their old friends on another world in the next solar system. . in the same solar system. necessary load of protective gear and extra mass and open the security doors to the outside.

We moved here when I was around 3 (that’s an interesting fact. I guess I was so incredibly terrified that my brain took a vivid picture of it all. as I venture outside more often for experiments of various kinds. we still use Terran years to calculate commonplace things like human age) so that makes that earliest memory to be from around 4 or so. I’ve been drawn back towards their majesty and power. Eventually those sandstorms became more frequent and commonplace for me and for a while I lost interest in them. my first memory. that nobody in Trimni is really from there as all its inhabitants were the first in the . seemingly out of nowhere. From what my parents have told me in the past. I would always ask about it as it was such a novel idea for me to be from a different place. I was looking out through the viewing screen in the main passage between my father’s labs and the barracks. we relocated to World Four from another planet in the solar system. I remember once. all the dust and rocks. But now. I know all the ins and outs of our little colony. It was a bit farther away from 5K that World Four. but he does not recall any of it. I have no memories of living on any other planets or anything before my family’s arrival at World Four.it’s where I grew up. When I was smaller. That’s the only memory that has stuck with me from that period of time. almost like my parents and I were alien on World Four. however. My father was there with me the entire time. just looking. I know every corner of the academy. Since I was only a little one it felt as if the swirling monster was heading straight at me. Then. and particles. gray and brown and red all elevated as if by complete magic and swirled and swooshed and sped toward the screen. not particularly interested in anything. it was the 9th planet from our shared sun. I remember. I later learned. my father had taken me to work because my mother was sick.

There aren’t any other species on World Four. The second system for conjuring up food is importing it from other. families have a certain number of these special orders that they can make.recolonization/research effort. We have some of the finest minds here working on the research teams. I ate some pretty exotic foods. fields of and are here The researching goal of in this their large respective science. oceans. it all can be ordered and shipped here. so we all eat vegetarian. eat. a meteorologist and a chemist respectively. and it’s illegal to ship meat through interstellar space. and all sorts of other machines and equipment to manufacture “Triminian” food. They have built aeroponics labs. so we don’t order more than what our research grants allow. as the inhabitants of a deserted planet. That’s why we moved here too. . with rivers. My father and mother are both scientists. H 2 O production facilities. This is what the off-planet supervisors are for. Every member of the committee has a say on what is brought in from the other worlds. an ingredient specifically from a certain world. closer planets. There are two main methods of obtaining food in this colony. Supplying the colony with food is the concern of a huge committee. You may be wondering what we. A certain type of interesting spice. The one time that I did take a short trip off-planet. collaboration of scientist is to eventually recreate World Four so it is livable for the next generations in the same way humans live on the other planets in the universe. and the ability to go outside without safety suits. consisting of all of the scientists and other professionals who work here and also a select few offplanet special supervisors food from who the assist atomic with the process of importing on the reconstruction machines nearby planets. The first method is to grow it or produce it ourselves. to see some of my parents’ friends. To regulate this.

and humans have the same muscle. In the end. air pressure. I haven’t had any meat and I don’t know if I could eat any meat now. all the fruits and edible plants. I ate all the types of food native to that planet. All had been . Humidity. twice deeper than life can naturally exist. stays takes in a disproportionally long one’s digestive system for a lot longer than vegetables or fruits. temperature. but others that I wouldn’t have ever figured out back then. It tested in vain the surrounding air for the telltale chemicals of life at sea. the closest planets.or so they seemed to me at the time. ultra violet ray intensity. everything checked by the infobot revealed nothing new. Somewhere down below the deepest underwater caverns. and the stars. Nothing of the sort could be found. The first reason is that meat is muscle. but I also had a taste of a kind of food that I never had any exposure to at all. The second is that meat. the infobot began to swim up to the surface of the deserted ocean. I've learned time in to digestive digest. Both of those facts totally gross me out. The sound was recorded so it could be analyzed for sound signatures of things other than the incessant crashing of waves. the experience was enjoyable as the spices and sauces made the meat very tasty. I had seen the cloned Terran cows that I presumed that the meat came from and I had to desperately try to think of other things while I chomped through the chewy meat. it biology. wind speed. It scanned for the positions of the moon. Since then. Not for the same reasons that I had back when I was a child. I ate some meat. The infobot took the opportunity to radio its colleagues at the top of K2 and at the top of Mount Chimborazo which took the same and more measurements from their respective locations.

to have the infobot cleaned every other week after each trip. It was nice. CSE. or the Coalition to Stay on Earth. It eventually sensed the substation hatch and slowed its downward advance. squid. As usual. its infrared sensors lazily checking for any fish. It was all dead they thought.the same or gradually worse for a few more than two thousand years. theses radicals formed underground coalitions and brotherhoods and made deals with not-so-prominent countries to make it possible to dig vast caves and form immense systems of infrastructure to support them under the Earth’s crust. had dug . The infobot turned about its axis and dove straight down. nothing got in its way through the murky. For the many thousands of years since humanity left Earth a select group of purists stayed put. Behind the backs of major nations and alliances. All of the cleaning and checking for biological and inorganic pollution on the robot was primarily a safety measure put into place by the humans who created the system thousands of years ago. It noticed any errors in its glide path and corrected them instantly for a smooth interception with the opening. the hatch sensed the intruder’s coming and slowly opened and let the robot carefully enter the decontamination area. Almost as a greeting. mammalia. though. anything that may obstruct its return path to the sub station. The infobot slowed for a minute so that the machinery in the decontamination chamber could fully inspect the mass of probes and sample containers and human ingenuity for foreign impurities and so it could normalize the pressure inside the chamber. brown black sludge of the ocean. By the time the majority of the Earthlings had left to the new colony. Nobody really expected there to be any hazards from Outer Earth biological or otherwise anymore.

The scientists working for the CSE also created. The CSE’s people.and been living several hundred miles below the surface of the planet. in those times of the highly educated. fled the planet. they totally redesigned if they were ever to be used by humans for extended periods of time. gravity so normalizers. much like their brothers were had to in truly space. in the beginning expected to live down under the water and earth only until the rest. the “undesirables” they called them. Of course. housing They built so close bad to the underground had to sites be of were though. They stole and adapted the designs for their infobots and their environment conditioning tools from several multinational companies who had used them for years and years providing homes and workspaces for their employees in the slightly less-thanhospitable places of Earth. These were used in corporate operation. just for gravity were normalizers these notoriously poorly designed and only replaced. Many people relocated down below to escape the excited masses boarding the ships so that. A special type of grass was grafted from samples several types of surface grasses that could survive down below. in all that friction. they wouldn’t somehow get caught up in the drift or scraped off of Earth in the hustle and . the gravity These was machines never perfected perpetually less than the gravity at the surface. the CSE could always find a sympathetic scientist to conjure up some device to make life under the earth a little bit easier physically and psychologically. These subterrestrial grasses chemosynthesized in nitrogen tanks until mature enough to photosynthesize in the “normal” subterrestrial environment. on their best days. maybe half of the surface gravity. Just like with the infobots in there place were and plans working and on schematics Earth.

and. aluminum. The living arrangements here haven’t taken much to get used to. See. Here. Because the tremendous amounts of manufactured goods and building permeated materials Earthling and other artificial had all. eroded. The day here consists of light blaring through the wall panels. in some cases. they hoped. the wall panels never displayed anywhere close to as much light as the ones at here at the camp. I was born on the transport vessel that brought my little family of two here to this quaint little planet. slowly get back to normal life. not much different from the environment on the ship. Then. they could come up to the surface. I am 191 years old. in paraphernalia the span of that that lifestyle century. but knowledgeable of the fact that they couldn’t do anything about it. great grandchildren stayed cooped up in the underground palaces. maybe a little more. Naturally. but I’m really only sixteen. Of course. they only expected to live down there for a generation. My name is Sarah. It feels quite like home…Everything except the daytime. By the Standard Calendar. recirculated air are constant. they’re so horrid I have to come out at night or I get insane headaches. My father and I are the new arrivals on Trimni. The artificial light. Earth did not look as they had expected a century earlier. photodegraded. the planet was not the same as they had wanted. things never go exactly according to plan and when the CSE sent its infobot on its first full detailed mission. in the ship.bustle of everybody leaving. the children and grandchildren and. and purified. . and biodegraded away into pieces ranging from sizable chunks to dust specs. Disheartened. like a bear waking up from hibernation. We just got here.

but Brian is the only one who seems to like the Trimni nighttime as well. Of course. It was also the first time I had ever even thought of getting away from the people and computers and wall panels. so I’d be comfortable but still able to see everything. I can’t jump. Because I was such a night person. we couldn’t go outside the ship as it was too dangerous to do so. It was just something I had never had the opportunity to do. Then through the window we could see the eerie green of the Triminian twilight. The suits were massive enough to keep us from flying away in the light gravity on Trimni. One time Brian took me on an adventure outside the workstation. It was the first time I had ever been “outside”.There’s another sixteen-or-so old person here. He seems like he’s been here forever. I try. Even going from the ship to the base on Trimni. I still had to take a headache pill from the base doctor. he took me out at twilight. we put on our mass suits and went in to the anti-gravity simulation room so we could get accustomed to the weird feeling of being pulled by less gravity. Brian wanted me to not only see. but I just can't stay off . the way he knows his way around. The pill that he gave me was specially designed for the headaches that they call “outdoor headaches” since so many people who come to the facility are in the same situation as I am. he tugged at my shoulder and we jumped through the portal. Before the suns began to go down below the horizon. there are all the little ten year olds who were born on the ship to keep me company. I didn’t venture outside the protection of metal walls. his name is Brian. but be totally immersed in the vastness of “outside”. So going outside in Trimni was a very big deal for me. Normally. Brian didn’t give me any time to marvel at the sight. but they did not simulate the gravity of the barracks or the labs inside the base.

I can jump far. I realized that I didn’t have a headache. I was glad . he said. I had to go back inside. Once. I guess I had doubted that the pill would work so well and was expecting even a small jot of pain here and there. I told him it wouldn’t be as dangerous as he thought because we would tie ourselves to a rope connecting us to base camp. near death experiences were interesting stories that he told me. Eventually. After maybe five minutes or so. That made me feel good. and joy all at the same time. The expanse of my surroundings amazed me. apprehension. Such space to run and jump in! “Wow” is all I could think to say. It was a little bit frightening during the first jump because it took me about a minute to fall back down to the ground. It was one of those things that bring amazement. the equipment outside hadn’t been damaged any more than it already was. I told him I had had a great time and that next time we should go out at night so I could show him some cool stuff through a telescope. I was very surprised. it was apparently the longest ever recorded storm on Trimni. The sandstorm lasted for days. but outside in Trimni. Brian outside the told me about His the other times that he has the gone most camp. I felt the pill’s effects wearing off. Once I landed. Sounds pretty awful to me! Surprisingly. he was out helping some of the technicians fix an instrument for the meteorologists that had been damaged during on of the sandstorms when they felt a tremble in the ground and all of a sudden they were chased into the gravity simulation room to take cover. and since it was still a small bit light out.of the floor for any length of time. He told me it was a good idea and that he had never thought of it before. I looked around.

taking more chemistry. but my father won’t let me. I’ve heard that sometimes people have a hard time transitioning to life here at the base on Trimni. Brian sometimes helps with their research I and with too. voyage. meaning kids under 18. So Brian and my father’s work quite closely with each other on meteorological projects. my mother found out that she was to die in the coming month so the doctors put little fetus me into a woman who was going to be on the ship with my father. Soon. My father is the reason I was born on a ship and why I live here now.to have somebody here who I could talk to besides the little ten year olds. . This is more often than not the older bunch who remember their home planets and have to really adjust to new things. himself mother. He is a meteorologist primarily and a geologist secondarily. who one He was of the leading and for then the meteorologists prepared Brian’s my accepted pregnant. I could legally help more than I do. me. I heard of some people almost going crazy from the routine and the close quarters of just about everything. however. I’m irony of probably this more qualified I’m to help though. For Brian. or the other students at the New Trimni Academy. He is the reason that my entire life has been spent onboard a ship. And then I was born and sixteen years later I'm here. he was contacted by the New Trimni Research Organization about a position with in the research team working around. the switch from close quarters in a ship to close quarters at base. Actually. can only give limited help to the researchers and professionals. would written bylaws of the New Trimni Constitution that minors. that’s the more situation. the ten year olds. A while before I was born. and alongside father. was easy. the but technicians apparently who it’s work with in the the equipment.

I was able to study astrophysics while onboard the ship online via the ansible machine. It also amazes me to compare what I think is big to the size of a star that looks so small. I love it. I find it ironic how parents teach their little ones about the constellations when constellations do not exist. Anyways. When you look at them they look miniscule. I learn some crazy new fact that just puts into perspective how unbelievable enormous the universe really is. I love how the geometry of it makes something so absolutely gigantic and distant look so incredibly tiny.physics. I’ve been studying astrophysics all of my life. Surely they could individually review forty cases. That’s why I like astrophysics. governing committees need an indiscriminant cut-off. there must be an unfathomable distance between the two objects. If I think the star is tiny but then think the planet I'm on is huge. I guess little kids aren’t mentally developed enough to think in the third dimension of depth. And if I think I'm pretty small compared to the planet then I must be positively atomic compared to even a dwarf sun let alone a red giant. I think the working age shouldn’t be defined at eighteen. There are so many different types and sizes of stars and they’re so far way from each other. All the time when I'm studying. All he’s taking are floppy classes like English and psychology. The ansible is the connection between all the computer stations in the universe. I understand that when there are a millions and millions of children who want to work but are under the legal age. it should be determined on a case by case basis. I’ll stop grumbling about it. there are only maybe forty kids in my age bracket. Anyhow. Trimni is different though. and more biochemistry than he’s taking two years after me and I have better grades in those classes. I can view public information from literally everywhere else on my . Just think how small must atoms be if suns are so big…Woah.

It was essential for me that I be able to continue working like nothing had ever happened. new theories and up to date information was sent to me constantly. I was always having to learn new concepts. I do not really know why this is possible or the details of the theory. Also. The ansibles allowed that to happen so incredibly smoothly. I began studying astrophysics from various ansible-based universities at a young age. the station here is remarkably well equipped with ansible access and teaching tools. It was fine by me though. but it was always snatched away with the thought that I was not a part of any of what was happening.computer. Due to the tremendous time warp we were in because of the ship’s speed. There wasn’t anything to do there since. I was deeply involved in a project that created insane amounts of stress for me. The basic theory is that when a philote. Watching the rest of the universe go about their business on the news stations gave me a crazy sense of immortality and power. I would have killed myself long ago. well. My schooling didn’t provide much . Even computers that are lightyears away can be sent and send information in a matter of seconds. a subatomic particle. When I arrived at the New Trimni Research Station. is split. an electromagnetic ray is created connecting the two parts the of the particle. I boarded. If it wasn’t for being able to constantly watch the news and the idea that hundreds of human years went by right in front of my eyes as I watched the computer screen. I expected a lot less. It was boring on the ship. like no major shifts were occurring in my life. and one This can ray can theoretically span entire universe transfer information along the ray almost instantaneously from point to point. but it definitely works. But anyhow.

Those make my day. Here on Trimni. Oh. She’ll pull a Pericles and try to control as much as she can. He wasn’t anything of the sort. and my name is Jason. I don’t really know why. actually. which is strange because every room and every hallway looked the same and the views outside every vision screen seemed to display the same view. Memorizing formations and densities and the chemical and physical properties of rocks is definitely not the definition of a good time. But anyways.of a relief from the boredom of life on a ship. She is a politician. Advise? Psh. He seemed to always know where he is aboard the ship. I merely get bored out of my mind very easily. The sheer power of the energy transferred through the quake is amazing. I know her too well. I'm not. she plans to “advise” the governor on her home planet. The destruction and chaos that ensues after they strike is a total thrill for me. He’s a computer technician with some navigational prowess. far from it. The only part of geology that was able to capture my attention at all during that voyage from hell was the subject of groundquakes. It isn’t like geologists get paid ridiculous amounts of money or anything. but there will be the added factor that she has absolutely no idea what the needs of her constituents may be at the time. my mother isn’t a geologist either. He “strongly suggested” that I become interested in it and pursue it in school. It can break a planet’s crust for goodness sake! What if we could harness that energy? What if we could identify how to start groundquakes? Now that would be a dangerous weapon. I got into geology because of my father and also the reason I’m came to Trimni. Geology is not quite the most entertaining subject in the universe. He isn’t even a geologist. on basically every count. My mom and I try . I disagree with the policies she represents. All this talk about power and weapons and destruction and chaos is starting to make me sound evil.

but then geology isn’t much of a blast either. “c” was the upper boundary of all speeds. I’m so glad that I arrived here on a new. I know ansibles back to front. Basically. your mass increases to infinity. For the most part. can defy this I never really law of figured simple physics.to not talk politics or philosophy or anything deep. It’s a good break from rocks. This journey would’ve taken me 65 years going at the speed of the older vessels. could be breached. so I just kind of accepted the fact that they can. I can fix them. or whatever. I don’t deal much with my parents. hyperspeed ship. My parents lived in a different galaxy than the one Trimni is in so it would have taken me almost a lifetime if I were travelling on one of the old fleet. So it surprises me that information can be sent across out how the the universe ansibles instantaneously. in time before I shot myself. I found it interesting that one’s mass increases as one goes faster and faster and faster. Thank goodness my ship was one of those new ships. I almost had to. my ship…sure) had had the same last name as a captain on an old ship that was going to one of the moons of a planet close by and since the control computers always tie the passenger’s and the crew’s last names to the last name of the captain. some guy in charge of inputting to the computer lists switched the two captains. . Man. if you increase your speed to approaching “c”. Apparently the captain of my ship (haha. Actually. or the speed of light. Other than that. build them. that would’ve been hell. I try my best to stay away from them. I try and find things to be interested in. Ansible technology was always something that captivated me and gave me rest from studying geology. or my parents almost had to. In all of my studies of elementary wave physics I never thought that the magic number “c”. I seriously would not have been able to make it to Trimni in time.

There is absolutely nothing to do here. Every day we go outside the base and mess around in our free time. Sarah.So now I’m at Trimni. Everything has pretty much calmed down at Trimni. but a solid guy. I was sadly mistaken. Sarah’s a cool girl. I dug up a design from the books on Terran history that I always thought was a pretty good idea. planet. but I’m sure she did it. Jason is a good guy too. Exploring the base is out of the question as it’s so small that everybody knows where everything is within a matter of days after arriving of here. So far. graduation we collaborated on projects with the aim of making our exploration safer and easier. Yeah. There’s three of us who have graduated from New Trimni Academy so far. So there are three of us now. and Me. We have no idea what we can do anymore. kind of strange and spacey. It isn’t like we get to do experiments all day. Brian. there’s been nothing really to do here since we all graduated. The idea was a good one in all respects but one really horrible component that took the Terrans . She’s incredibly smart and I can see why she was able to graduate so early and with honors to boot. And once again. They had these personal transport modules called “cars”. but that only takes up a certain amount of time. If I thought I was bored before graduating. To we keep explore our the minds off the After incredible boredom Trimni. of which we have a lot as nobody has much for us to help with. graduated with honors if I really wanted to. I'm bored. sometimes we can help some of the guys in an experiment. It’s never happened before. graduated Brian could have department with honors. Sarah with graduated I and I early from from from the the the astrophysics intergalactic psychohistory department geology department honors. but I got bored. We explore during much of our free time.

and high winds.more than a hundred years to fully perfect. we installed drills into the underbelly of the car so that if we happen to be out went a sandstorm hits. we chose the basic design of a “car” for our little project. Anyhow. we knew we would have to make this car safe for roll-overs. They encouraged us to publish it formally on the ansibles. Propulsion was not a difficult design step. Sarah and Jason left that duty majorly to me. we went out to explore Trimni many times. It didn’t take too long seeing as how . Also. We almost covered the entire planet. They powered the little things with a hydrocarbon that the cars themselves were not able to replenish. they finally refined their non-hydrocarbon fuel technology. we designed a wheel coating that works perfectly. Subatomic particles were used in most all of these technologies from straight electric motors to ones powered by the reaction of hydrogen ions and oxygen. Ansible and other communication access was a must for the cabin of the car. Basically. in case the car’s wheels roll over anything sharp. Next. We also had to make the car heavy enough that it would stay grounded when driving over bumps and miscellaneous rocks. It was quite a phenomenon. Our compact design and efficient use of space and technology and praise inside from the car brought every us world many with commendations practically ansible access. The scientists and researchers at the base loved our final product. We used magnetic repulsion-attraction engine units to power our little car. the cars ran on a highly flammable substance that would run out depending on the size of the tank and how much of the fuel was needed to power each car. Anyhow. Of course. we can drill spikes into the ground and stay put. As the push for education on Terra began in earnest. To explore effectively. as they are “straight scientists” and “cannot write” which is totally not true. sand storms.

but it was too complex and Jason and I are right anyway. I always thought Brian’s ideas were a little unconventional.Trimni wasn’t too big of a planet. dirt sample collectors . In one of his history referencers (of which he has hundreds). The three of us had many a captivating discussion on the formation of the many topographical interests on Trimni. he found some design for a transport module that he said used to be called a “car” a long. among millions of other things. the wind’s eddies that formed after the air passed over a ledge carried the sand and dust down and back. a little antiquated. but now I have an idea for the formation of the steps in the ground. we adopted this “car” to our own (ahem) slightly more modern world and installed loads of modifications. We found many geologically interesting sites like canyons and step-like patterns in the terrain. Instead of water or some other liquid eroding away the rocks it’s the high-speed sand and dust in the wind that does the erosion. and looked for all of the galaxies that were within visible range. Jason agrees with me on both fronts and he’s the geologist of the group. long time ago. I had no idea then. We made all sorts of observations. down and back until a step was built. We watched the stars. Thermometers. My theory on the formation on the canyons is the same as the theory of erosion by fluids. So Brian came up with this crazy idea for a way for us to explore the rest of Trimni. Hmmmm. But anyway. Car. barometers. Similar to how the wind and sand eroded the canyon. We gathered data from the tools built in to the car and made theories about the formation of Trimni. the extent to which life could not naturally exist. Maybe he’s got a bit too many history books. tried to memorize the locations of all of the nearby planets. I don’t really know what Sarah thinks.

Sure. Also. these television screens. Life is a pattern.with temperature probes on them. the car we ended looks completely not like what it’s supposed to. Life onboard the ship wasn’t much different though. and loads of others were added to the thing he called a “car”. homework. and more school. We didn’t have any of that. The front and back are both supposed to sport various lights of different reddish colors. and computer game antique cars. At least on the ship. consoles food filled trays. Actually. I knew that most people my age lived similarly repetitive lives because of school. Here. from taking data on the densities of Trimni’s crust to taking qualitative notes on the colors and types of reactions of Trimni’s atmosphere with various reactive metals. I’ve been thinking of what we could all do to get away. I have an idea already in the works. a tessellation to be repeated over and over again. presumably for some kind signaling for safety purposes. I guess I should be used to the humdrum of this kind of life. the activities of the day may differ some. The . It’s apparently supposed to look really smooth and have like. We really need to. the viewing screens always changed what the showed as we traveled through the stars. Sarah and Brian have to get bored of this life sooner or later. According to the pictures Brian showed Sarah and me. I would have kind of liked to have installed at least something to do while the other two take data or increase their knowledge of little facts about this wasteland of a planet. I really don’t like it here. I came up with it last time we talked about the Terran cars. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one may have cooled my need to vary my schedule. fins on the back on each side of the car. ambient molecule analyzers. Life here is so redundant. Not one ounce of comfort. The cars on Terra were filled with luxury. Mini-fridges. you get into a rhythm and it never stops.

thought didn’t actually occur to me until after we had crossed through the safety hatches out from the barracks into the desolate landscape. We’ll have none of the comforts of base camp.” I have yet to ask them what they think about the prospect of leaving Trimni. but there are some good reasons. We won’t be able to just fit back in! Hundreds of years will have gone by when we eventually get back to Trimni. What if something breaks down? There won’t be a replacement for lightyears! It just isn’t practical. Just think. we won’t be able to go back if we get into trouble. It was a bit out of the blue. chances are if we go to Terra. live with Brian and Jason forever. but I wouldn’t be able . presumably doing the same kinds of things that we do here. I mean. but Jason asked Brian and me what we thought about going away on a trip to Terra. But there. eat with. “Does Terra look like this?” Then I eventually connected the two ideas when we got into the car: “we should find out what Terra looks like. I wondered to myself. He wants to “explore” Terra. the three of us being the only life on the entire planet! I’d go absolutely insane having to talk to. we won’t come back to the lives we have now. It may be a little irrational. They’re good people. And he asked the question so casually! A trip to Terra? That’s like asking us to give up our lives here…forever. Hah. I would hate to be even a third responsible for any one of our deaths or injuries or mental eccentricities that we may develop on Terra. I’ll admit I am a bit scared about the prospect of going to Terra. If we ever do get back to Trimni! No. I’ve heard it’s even more desolate and dusty and the sun is brighter and no I really don’t want to go. I don’t like it.

in multiple generations. Going to Terra is a wonderful idea. Then it will be up to us to research and suggest a decent ship for our purposes. Then we will have to get our supplies checklisted and ready to get loaded onto the ship. . There’s also loads of red tape to get through from all the committees and such at the base.to stand it. We’d be taking the same kind of data but new data instead of just verification sets. There’s so much in the pre-space Terra that I read about that I could go and see for myself. And the history! I could bring my history referencers with me and really look at what I read about. so to speak. The data we’d be gathering wouldn’t have been taken for thousands of years! What has changed? Nobody on record has been to Terra in living memory. outfit the ship with our supplies. Of course. Terra isn’t just next door! So Jason came up with an interesting idea that has stuck in my brain for a couple days. no. We have to obtain initial approval by an appreciable majority of the committee on Trimni. why couldn’t we go to Terra and do exactly what we are doing now. Then that has to be approved. The initial approval won’t be difficult to get. Since we seem to be on an exploring “roll”. Then that has to be approved. What if we discover something previously unknown? It’s perfectly possible. It’s an amazing proposal that the committee will surely be interested in supporting. and millions of tedious little details like that. And that’s not counting the shipflight there. there are millions of safety and other concerns to deal with before we could ever set foot off of Trimni. That’ll take a long time too. Like I said. It would be a lot more interesting than doing it here. requisition a ship. have another car built.

if you don’t take them. I’m not too thrilled about the idea of leaving my parents either. This is completely understandable. . its not like we can't figure out how to get out of the trouble we might get into. Psychologically. on the other hand. we’d return to Trimni three hundred years after they died. Sarah thinks we’ll drive each other insane by ourselves on Terra. she’s probably half right. she’s younger than Jason and me. Well. we most likely won’t notice. They’ve been trying to convince me to not be totally against leaving for Terra. Then there’s the whole problem of our parents. leaving our parents will be a good thing in the long run. is going to take some work. I read somewhere that Terrans used to leave their parents’ house at the time that they began tertiary education. Well. This’ll be quite like that. it’s a combination between them convincing me and me naturally getting over the initial shock of resistance that I felt. you regret the choice for the rest of your life. I can tell she really would rather not leave her father here. It will force us to learn independence. it’s all about the safety of the Trimni researchers. I realized that we aren’t all that slow-witted and we could probably handle ourselves. I don’t know if we will or not. For the most part it has worked. but this opportunity is one of those that. We’re pretty well off intellectually. It’s understandable though. So Brian and Jason have been working on me the past few days. I don’t think Jason really minds leaving his parents. but if we do.loads of red tape. it seems like he’s been itching to get away for quite some time now. If we traveled to Terra and immediately came back. Sarah.

It hasn’t been even looked at for who knows how long! Completely untouched! Wow. but it hasn’t been very secret. I’m just making their lives harder. If it weren’t for me. Actually. It also gives me something to do. At first I really wasn’t but I thought of how I had really not ever had much of a relationship with him anyhow. but I can still get into the public records and find out exactly what they’ve been doing. It’s actually pretty fun. I’ve already made peace with the fact that I won’t ever see my father face to face again and surprisingly. we can just hop on the ship and go. they would have had so many problems already with this whole process. It should be absolutely fascinating to see the Terran landscape. Objectively. It’ll be great. my adolescence will not be negatively affected not having my father around. it wouldn’t make much of a difference to either of us in the long run. to occupy myself during the long hours of gathering data and taking notes about Trimni. So what do they then think that they have to do? They try and convince me more. Meaning. We need to stop doing that everyday. I doubt they would notice if I slipped up and accidentally let it . I’ve been monitoring their actions and I'm the reason their approval requests and equipment requisitions have gone without a hitch. I hate keeping my enthusiasm from Jason and Brian. All I have to do is say something about my father or potentially getting hurt on Terra and they immediately jump to the conclusion that I’m totally against going anywhere. I’m younger than they are. It’s pretty hard really. I'm okay with it. and I guess the only way to get them to do anything else is to go with them to Terra. I decided.They’ve been trying to secretly organize everything so when I finally get over my fears. Feigning ignorance is not hard for me.

Especially Jason. So what did I do today. I didn’t sleep either.be known that I'm excited. All of our equipment. I wonder what ancient Terrans did for entertainment to relieve their extreme boredom. the first day of the First Terran Expedition. The best way to get through these days is just to ignore the fact that things have to be done and not do anything. He did. That’s all that was going to happen that day and nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it but laze around. And that was all. and all of the rest of our supplies are packed already. you’ll be fighting the urge to just lie down and go back to sleep all day and you’ll be just as unproductive as you would if you had slept. but no. attempting in vain to accomplish something. It was one of those days where everyone is just in a mood to not do anything. since they’re so busy and spacey all the time. our many computers. doubles if not triples of our equipment. Otherwise. help us reinvent the car. Today everyone got up thinking that it would be a productive day. being the stubborn guy that I am? I took this golden opportunity to do absolutely nothing productive. Today was supposed to be the day of our launch. It was a sleepy day. Brian is always a good person to hit up for everything like that. Nothing. I ended up bumming around the barracks to find something I could do on the journey to Terra. So “what happened today?” you ask? Exactly what you would expect from one of these days. I just don’t think there’s anything in there that will be of any lasting entertainment for us. We pretty much have everything sorted out for the shipflight. Keywords: supposed to be. didn’t he? . after all.

no simple tricks. and Did phrase number spaces. You would have to find some kind of optimization between grammar. Number palindromes are special for one main reason. You have to be a complete genius to do that. you’d have to know what you wanted to say. Writing a palindrome story that makes grammatical sense. Then take those two numbers. I mean. For example. should let you pass any language classes that you’d ever need to take in school and give you the highest of marks for the work you did on your palindrome. Didn’t Brian say the Terrans used to race cars? R-A-C-E-C-A-R. So to look all smart and intelligent. palindromes. vocabulary.Hmmm… Car. you could cool ever be that’s notice written a a palindrome. I talked to Brian about them once and he told me scholars used to write poems and stories in the form of palindromes. but still. what vocabulary you’d want to use. There amazing. I would think. eight hundred and twenty eight and “rats live on no evil star” are palindromes of numbers and words respectively. how you could attempt to punctuate the sentences. You don’t get to have numbers. Just making up a phrase is hard. are other things with about the palindromes that are just especially number palindromes. or and I like that. It’s not that easy. It’s definitely easier as it’s on a much much much smaller scale and there doesn’t have to be any storyline or extravagant idea behind it. I think. I find palindromes quite amazing because of their rarity. There’s no subtraction. I just use other people’s genius. I mean I could never hope to create one. . and be writing the story from the beginning and from the end simultaneously. and ideas and that it’s not like you just take a derivative and set it to zero. without Hey. That’s crazy. Take any multiple digit number and then reverse it. No way. forwards backwards still mean the same thing? That is a palindrome.

That and its reverse add up to one thousand three hundred and fifty three. Well. Any number! Say you take seventy eight and eighty seven. You will then get a palindrome. These numbers don’t seem to be connected in any logical way except for the fact that they do not make palindromes eventually. you might find out that these numbers do in fact reach their palindrome. when you complete this last iteration of the algorithm. if the algorithm is repeated for enough iterations. There are two numbers between ten and one hundred that. The first Lychrel number. technically numbers. That and its reverse add up to seven hundred and twenty six. But those numbers are eighty nine and ninety eight. The palindrome for that set of numbers thirteen is huge. they add up to one hundred and sixty five. and add them together. but you’d have to calculate it until the twenty fourth iteration of the algorithm. since we talk about the number and its reverse as a single set. upon manual trials. when I first manually tried it out. was eighty nine. all numbers below ten thousand or so eventually become palindromes. Lychrel have proved these numbers . is actually one hundred and ninety six. you reach four thousand and eight hundred and eighty four. That’s mega. are. Every number between ten and one hundred can do this successfully within twenty four tries. you will eventually get a palindrome. These numbers are called Lychrel numbers. If you’re persistent. may seem like there they is one never pair reach of their palindrome. a perfect palindrome.the original and the reverse. If not. The second highest is eight hundred and seventy nine never and then one thousand that and ninety seven. Doing some research on this I found that apparently. All numbers do this except for a few strange ones. Then finally. in Mathematicians fact. which. it’s two eight hundred quadrillion and twenty eight three hundred and trillion thousand one hundred and eighty eight.

The thing with Jason and his guitars is that he failed to read anything about them. but we also can never disprove of their existence. His latest craze involved some ancient musical instruments that he had me dig up designs for. amplifiers. We can't have him distracting us from our important jobs. So secretly I requested a tuner be made for him. and wireless connectors redesigned and made from old schematics that I have access to. it’s just some . Isn't that neat? Something we can never disprove or prove so we’ll always be thinking about… Why is today so exhausting?? Now all Jason can talk to us about are guitars. His distractibility is really annoying sometimes. but they keep trying. by all He didn’t not realize also calibration means permanent and the calibration process would have to occur almost continuously.numbers seeing as Lychrel numbers do not have any special mathematical meaning and there’s no limit to how high they can search. Oh well. For him. He can't focus on the task at hand for any appreciable length of time. Jason made Brian order some musical devices the other day. He failed to read that the guitars’ strings must be calibrated to certain frequencies that this to make certain was pitches. sound quality modifiers. It’s a mystery because we can never prove that there are such things as Lychrel numbers. what we’re going to do on Terra. Just so that when he finally figures out that he kind of failed. that’ll get him out of Brian and my way when we go out on Terra. then he’ll be ok. I don’t think Jason really knows what he’ll do with them. It really is important. He then had guitars. Jason just does not seem to understand that.

Jason insisted we bring some entertainment for the trip and for our stay on Terra. Our supplies take up a lot of room. We only brought two cars on the trip. In the end we brought two of our cars. but there's a nagging feeling in me to let loose more of the time. scales accurate to the thousandth place. Seriously. and enjoy ourselves. which I guess it is in a way. right? I’m torn. be I guess near it’s any a good to idea fix considering we wont anywhere place anything. everything. that is true. So the ship is really cramped. beakers. But we have to have some fun on Terra. We will have lots of free time to explore. relax. My instincts tell me to look down on Jason and his distractibility and my head says that too. whether reconsider habitable or to leave it alone. All of it had to be wrapped in aerorubber so none of it would break during the voyage. I highly doubt she’ll see anything interesting that she hasn’t already seen either here or on her ship voyage to Trimni. but we kept adding things last minute. graduated cylinders. he packed it. I don’t know what non-literature entertainment he needs. we packed his guitars! Sarah just had to bring her telescopes with her. The telescopes aren’t small like our microscopes are. loads and loads of scientific equipment. Sarah and the committee all insisted we take triples of all of our tools that and equipment. way more than we expected. but whatever it is. But what we in do the while we’re there will to affect humanity’s Terra as decisions future.adventure. Especially while we’re on Terra. They haven’t changed much in principle from . They take up way too much room to have 3. We took measurements and estimations and we were able to fit all of the supplies we had originally expected into the storerooms of the ship.

clearer. he barely even paid any more attention to me today than he normally does. It was incredibly exciting. Brian says I overestimate Jason. Every time we confirmed and reconfirmed that. We have everything we could ever possibly need for any scientific experiment. Its definitely not a short intersystem flight. In all of this stuff we’re taking with us to Terra. in fact. he thinks Jason will be fine. In fact. Even Jason was content in having everything he needed to pass the time in his distracted sort of way. any unforeseeable predicament that could ever happen under our watch. With all the upgrades they’ve gotten bigger. Whatever. but we ran through checklists of all our belongings multiple times today. Today. everything was there. All three of us had a tingle of excitement in our stomachs all day. We all knew we had done it thousands of times before. as doing new things always is. though. We all awoke this morning with the slogan We Fly Today imprinted on our mind’s eye. At least for me. any safety hazard. and with better color quality than anything they ever had on Terra. They see farther. accounted for. I’d be moving out in .the ones on old Terra they just evolved into something way more technical and complex. there was also an overwhelming sense of almost disappointment that my father did not do anything to stop me from going on this mission. we’ve only packed things for Jason to do during the trip. We’ve been so focused on getting to Terra that Sarah and I haven’t really packed for the trip. I don’t think he has enough to sooth his distracted mind for the entire flight at all. we began our journey. I thought at least he would have a meal with me or stick around in the morning for a little bit longer to give me some fatherly advice.

The autopilot zipped us up in the transport pod to where the effects of Trimni’s gravity were negligible and where we would board our ship at the zero gravity launch station. We had to audiosign files in triplicate. The barracks in our small research camp decreased in size until it was just a dot on the surface of the orange sphere that was Trimni. and do all sorts of other tedious tasks that were “for our safety and legal security”. Also. And the many preloaded resources on the ship could teach us that.a couple of years anyway. which is extremely rare. This is a significant event in future history. I’m really glad we’ve finally shipped out of Trimni. Cool. recheck all of our luggage for the final time. our ship is outfitted with devices that enable it to be remotely controlled by low frequency electromagnetic waves. I'm just doing early what I would have done later. The autopilot was perfectly suited to do that job for us. It may be surprising to some that we did not have to take any last minute crash courses in launching ships while we were stationed at the launch base. Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One… nothing… said the control center into microphones into speakers . Our excitement was obvious to those who met us at the station above the planet. They said that landing was the only process that would require any skill and learned abilities from our end. in case something malfunctions with both the primary and secondary autopilots. We couldn’t help but become endlessly frustrated at all of the bureaucratic rigmarole that we had to deal with before we could fly. as if what we are doing will be in the history books a couple of thousand years in the future. The whole situation feels terribly momentous.

because they could not tell when the sun went down or came back up again. They couldn’t be sure of the day. The heavy silence seemed unbearable. They started out as huge (relative to the dots surrounding them). This was. and the surrounding planets that looked to me like the outline of a microscope. only for an instant as our ship traveled farther and farther away and as the planets and moons all moved in their respective orbits. To our collective relief. our home for the last while. imposing spheres ready to roll over any of the planets that orbited it. A pattern formed between Trimni. We were off.” With this. Brian and Sarah both got up to register but I stayed where we were near the vision screens to watch as Trimni. its moons. silent machine. The infobot had just left the substation for the surface to take its measurements. They could only guess. fear that came with the start of the voyage. in some cases I think. however. None of us wanted to break the sudden peace and. as to the date. “Please register yourselves in the ship’s computer database. the computer broke the silence for us. The last bit was from the complete lack of sound as the links that held the ship in place with the launch station released their grip on the massive. based on the number of seconds gone by. But they too got smaller and punier and all but vanished in the deep dark blanket of space. got smaller and smaller and smaller until it became one of the many orange-yellow dots in the distance. . the last of the bureaucratic filling in of forms was over. We were moving away from 5K and 6K so I was able to look at them straight on. “Welcome aboard!” the too cheery computer voice called. And they thought it was June 26th.and into the ears of the people standing around witnessing the occasion.

hopeful that just maybe the anomalies that he saw on last mission’s reports hadn’t just been flukes. when they performed the tests themselves. He grumbled his disappointment as he brought the robot in from the depressurization chamber and its reports flashed across his computer screen. He had heard from his supervisor that this kind of anomaly was not unheard of and that one time. it was up to the technicians in the control room to suffer the disappointment. Sadly. the infobot had come back to the sub station with a significantly higher “parts per million of O 2 in air” reading and a similarly higher reading of carbon concentration in the surrounding water. for the air above to test positive for any sign of life. the infobot would be past fatigued. this trip was unlike this fantasy of change. a team pre-maturely acted on the same kind of data then found. Last time. Generally peaceful of course. but there were no real ideological or political fights to counter the peace found under the Earth’s crust. the infobot’s readings went . for the water to be translucent. It would cry out for something to change dramatically. Since the infobot could not feel or express these emotions. totally and completely exhausted by the incessancy of completing the same trip again and again. nor anything old that had come back. for some submarine animal to block its path. There were the familial squabbles and minor quarrels between neighbors. however. The June 26th trip for the infobot revealed nothing new. He had been hopeful about this latest mission. Up and up some more it went until it reached the horizon and bobbed its head out of the water to look around. The infobot travelled up its usual path. If it were an organic being. that the infobot had been wrong.All was peaceful with the inhabitants of the substation. Jon Williams felt horrible when the infobot returned with no good news about the surface. The next week.

its economic system has to believe that it is capitalist but has to also incorporate some of the regulations and checks that keep the system from being abused and from hurting the country itself. communism. This had been an expensive process. really. It’s been three months since we shipped off. differing amounts of the latter two. both in money and labor and the sub station governing committee did not want to repeat that mistake. It’s quite a sad thing. for a regime to thrive. He taught me about different trains rule of political how on thought. The vital signs of the ship have stayed positive throughout the journey so far. Jon was so optimistic because. Brian has also been studying Terra. and different the forms depending regime. the old Terra. of the democracy. He also opened my eyes to a variety of psychological concepts like selective attention and perceptual constancy. past and further past. The committee then laid out a strategy to deal with these anomalies. for the last two weeks. Brian has taught me a lot about psychohistory. rebellion. Three whole months since I last saw anything outside that was bigger than a half of a period at the end of a sentence. that show the Earth changing in some way to warrant a human expeditionary force. and all sorts of interesting random things that he seems to know about. There would have to be a trend lasting a year or more with no more than two data points in disagreement. first can totalitarian incorporate. These last terms were ideas that I had always almost known but never been able to pin down and classify. He taught me about capitalism and socialism and how.back to normal. He says he’s been focusing on the histories and . he’d seen significant shifts from the normal results and that gave him a small bit of hope for the future of his little group of humanity.

He may play what he thinks is the right thing and actually wreck our ears with how bad it is. the actual oxygenation of the air. and the actual carbonization (indicating minor forms of life) of the water began almost two years earlier. Earth had already been through one set of multi- .stories behind large monuments. Brian could just let him read one of his referencers music. but about then music. He tells us that he’s on the verge of figuring out how to distinguish when the guitar is “out of tune”. He’s finally getting the guitars to make noises that sound the least bit decent. there has to have been a large lag time between these infobot readings and the actual slowing of the winds. The process was slowly picking up speed. more he specifically. For almost the entire first three months. also this time. He was right. Jason on the other hand has not been doing anything useful at all. indicative of a significant slowing of the superterrestial winds. Of course. Jon’s heart lightened with the news of the week after the blip in the new trend. We haven’t given him any tips for fear of what he might do with them. the carbon readings in the water similarly went up. The oxygen levels in the air went back up. Jon noted. the actually slowing of the winds. guitar-made who knows what might do. he and his guitars produced so much awful racket that Brian and I were forced to figure out how to program the ship’s computer into putting a sound barrier around Jason’s room. The next weeks brought exponentially less and less nervousness and fear about the stable-but-uninhabitable surface Earth. the levels of fresh sediment in the surface water went down. and. I think he wants to take a trip once we land.

He was. It grew as the levels of fresh sediment steadily decreased. his amazement and incredulity dulled the same way the sense of touch dulls when it’s exposed to the same stimulus for an extended period of time. give it some data. excrete a graph of habitability as a function of time. and. why shouldn’t it do another one? This time. going to be around when the computer model deemed it safe to travel up to the surface to explore. . The more the data followed the trend. A lot faster. In the upcoming weeks. he came up with an equation to model the rate of change of the earth. As a budding scientist and a dabbling mathematician. His computer then was able to take his modeling equation. the more he was assured that his predictions would be accurate. however. Earth decided to do it faster. digest it. This graph excited Jon. The excitement Jon felt was also diminished in the passing of time and lowering of fresh sediment levels. The rate of change of habitability is proportional at any given moment to the habitability at that given moment. It grew as the oxygen levels and carbon levels grew.billion year evolutionary processes. dh/dt=kh. Unfortunately for Jon. The computer’s graph predicted the normalization of the earth’s atmosphere and surface temperature predicted the complete restoration to pre-colombian conditions within a relatively short time frame. With every continuance of the apparent trend. Earth would not see the beginnings of the restoration of civilization until a long time after his death. Jon’s excitement grew and diminished at the same time. let it gobble it up. by the some electronic process of elimination. He noticed later that this was almost exactly an inversely proportional relationship.

The planet had not seen organic life in thousands of years. It’s just something we’ll have to take at face value. Jason quickly pointed out that if that were the case there would be B cards and C cards and so on. The air became the tiniest bit less dense with particles of rock. On the opposite side of the planet. Though it wasn’t as if there were any human’s there to try it. At first I thought it was the beginning of the alphabet and that’s why it was more valuable than the number cards. The hue. Jason hasn’t been the one annoying us. lack of things done to do that that is really have getting our We’ve everything we enjoyed. These storms by also the became winds less ferocious their over dunes created slowed constant transfiguration. The presence of algae was a big thing for Earth. A tint of green lashed at the shores of the islands. and ancient shell. in what so many centuries ago was called The Philippines. The color of the sandstorm clouds lightened the slightest time. . It’s the on constant nerves. Why the order starts at 2 instead of one or zero none of us had an answer for.The once-fierce winds above the middle of former North America showed distinct signs of slowing as they blew across the dusty desert plains towards their destinations. in comparison to other winds. A couple months ago Brian found some ancient games where you use cards with increasing values from 2 to A. and get used to. sand. not confuse ourselves with. Much to our surprise. it had turned into a mild breeze. the algae thriving quite nicely in the warm climate. the airstream let up so much that there it seemed. It became more and more possible to stand on a dune without being quickly engulfed in sand. And we likewise couldn’t figure out what A stood for. which is a good point.

If. we felt as though we were too tired from the drivel of ship life and did not want to think very hard. The harder games are a lot more fun to play I think because they required active participation. The object of the game is to get pairs of cards so they guess about is whether their opponents have the same number of letter as you. Jason programmed a random number generator for numbers from one to six. In go fish every player is dealt seven cards and then they take turns guessing about what other cards are in other people’s sets of cards. Games where one group of cards. It’s not too clear whether the true goal in this game is to get the most pairs or to run out of cards first. They were apparently played with an ivory cube. you could pretty much be certain of whether you would win or lose in the beginning. We learned to play more complex games as well. Some of the names for these games were pretty odd. and so on. which cards have been played. Bridge. but as we kind of live on a spaceship. you can add rules to make it harder. we would play the harder games. This one game called go fish was one of those. Pinochle. Jason did . as was the case during many of the long lazy days.Brian showed us some games that were really easy to get the hang of. You have to really watch what's going on. It seems kind of open-ended. if you thought hard and remembered the cards played during the course of the game. I guess since it’s such an easy game to understand and play. we would play games like go fish but on most days that we played card games. what strategy you should use. Rummy? Where did those come from? We learned some gambling games too. None of them seemed to really relate to the game. are deemed through a round of betting to be what’s called a “trump” suit. These games required more skill and generally. Instead. we don’t have one of those. Brian said they were called suits.

they did so many things that. Jason didn’t have the same problems with boredom as we did. It’s so tame compared to the other ones. with a single mistake. I do find it odd though that these things were sports but the Terrans also called such things as croquet a sport. They jumped off of bridges with only a rope attached to them. they raced cars at speeds that are definitely deadly. And these were their sports! No wonder I’ve always heard that the Terrans were a stupid race of people. I found that odd. For these kinds of games. he left it open ended so we could program in different parameters if the game called for the added results of two dice for example. Anyway. would kill them. well. Some of the games called for certain cards to be drawn from a hand of a certain quantity. So many of their sports involved great risk to life and limb. Brian and I have read basically every piece of literature that we could get our hands on that wasn’t handbooks or technical manuals and even some of those made their way onto our reading list. He’s been bored.an exceptional job with this. Jason was nice enough to program in some code for conditional probability. at least. Brian and the books he has recommended me have taught me loads of stuff and about could Terran probably culture. I’m a bit envious of his foresight. but definitely not as bored as Brian and me. and that’s saying a lot because those classes are incredibly difficult. . he’s stayed within his soundproof room when he practices his guitar and plays his video games. I’ve learned more about ancient Terra than I ever would have in a university class. bringing all of it has paid off for him. be Their as pastimes a are interesting studied separate anthropologic subject. The good thing is. For the most part. he isn’t rubbing our faces in it and getting as annoying as we predicted. Remember all the toys and guitars and stuff that he brought.

These clouds were white. The few trees above two meters bent slightly with a groan where the others looked up at them jealously. sheltered. If he doesn’t ask Jason I’m sure he’ll go insane. The patches of grass down wind from the trees turned from sandy yellow gray to faint green to full deep grassy emerald. on the coast of the once-Atlantic Ocean. They were puffy. the water eroded the sand away from the rocky coast.I actually think Brian is going to crack and ask Jason for something to do. They broke what was left of the wind and slowed it further. High in the sky. The baby trees grew and grew and provided shelter for other baby trees and so on and so forth they grew. I don’t blame Brian at all. plant life thrived. They slowly grew up and sheltered even more infant trees. On the banks of this river. They were bulging with water. Deep in the heart of the African continent the trees swayed in the gentle wind. a miraculous thing was about to take place. These were not the usual clouds. The trees brought up water from deep under the ground. clouds formed. clouds of yellow thick sand. I’ve seen him looking the external display screen with a sort of longing when Jason plays his virtual reality games. Instead of blowing fresh sand to where the sand was just washed away the water succeeded in replacing the sand. These were not going to be blown away easily. This happened over and over and a million times over again and a stream then a creek then a river was created. Across the ocean. A ways west. and grew some more and eventually created the first oasis in the second era of life on Earth. just waiting to . They were the few trees in existence. making it even more conducive to life. The pioneers of complex life.

Our ship’s internal navigator led us directly through a field of asteroids! Jason noticed in the middle of the night when he was up doing something. Well.burst and rain down with optimism and white lightning. Moving at considerable speed. It probably calculated the orbits of each of the asteroids in this group . The sand on the surface froze in the form of glass chucks of an infinite number of shapes and designs. but the ship knows where it’s going. but Hannah died about a month ago. According to him. The lightning shot down and made its first contact with the Earth’s surface for a geological age. I’m Peter. the normalization of the Earth’s surface whatevers. I see why he did that. He really wants to see the results of his trend in real life and not just as an inference from a bunch of data. according to his model that he made fifty three years ago. I didn’t know her. I’ve only been on the job for a couple weeks and it’s really awesome that I get to go up to the surface. he panicked first and did not know what to do. Jon’s supervisor. We had the most eventful day of probably our entire lives today. The old supervisor I'm sure wanted to see this little expedition through. I approve things he does and whatnot. I’m told Jon realized this trend. So Jon came up to me yesterday with some interesting news. But I think the only real reason that Jon is still here on the job is this trip. We get to go up and explore Earth’s surface in about two weeks time. early. it should be safe for us to go up there. But then I guess he rushed into our rooms one by one and violently woke us up. the high altitude winds pushed the storm above the eastern North American coast.

Soon there was a knock on the station front door. It will be quite the epic journey to the atmosphere. I was even contemplating trying my luck at Jason’s guitar setup. Jon was the last of the crew to arrive.” This is the big day. They said it would only take ten minutes and it had been seven before Jon walked in. Some of the engineers had to fix some last minute problem that they found with the something or other with the wiring in the cockpit of the submersible. But. Depending on where we are in our journey. This new type of spacecraft is the safest that there’s ever been. Yeah. My old texts on Terra say there was a distinct belt of asteroids in Terra’s solar system.before we even began this journey. we could very well be near to our destination.” I paged a command to Jon. I can last that long. The Terran solar system won’t take but day or so for us to traverse. “I’m coming up. it’s about the right time for us to be almost there so I'm sure it was the Kiuper Belt. “Report to the launch station. the day Jon has been waiting for for fifty years or so. But I am glad he woke us up. I was going crazy. Jason’s just worried and that’s understandable. the response came. I had nothing to do except play the occasional card game and book to read. This is the day we get to go up to the surface. I'm so happy we’re practically finally there. But anyways I just have to wait a single day and then we’ll start our work on Terra. As chief supervisor I get to sit in the cockpit with the captain and Jon and watch our rise to the surface. Almost immediately. .

We had a lot of room in the pod as our crew was so small. Soon we landed on a great sandy plain with dust and gritty particles flying around in a greeting. The heat did not affect us at all. It was happening. hurry up Jason! We’ll leave you up here on the ship if you’re not here soon!” I couldn’t wait to get down to the surface of the Terra and Jason was just throwing a wrench in the gears here. “So who’s going first?” Sarah asked. course. but Jason was already getting up to open the hatch to go outside. I was finally going to see Earth. The door that separated the launch station from the passenger cabin opened and closed after we went through. It also had better landing capabilities than the main ship. Of we got into we the pod and initiated the escape sequence. humanity has been waiting so long for this! I can’t wait. but the escape pod was the only safe way to get down to Terra through its atmosphere. weren’t really escaping in the sense that we needed to get away quickly. This seemed to scare Sarah but Jason was fixated with the view. I’ve been waiting so long for this! Heck. I guess that’s just his way of doing things. faster. Jason walked in. The pressure difference accelerated the vessel to such a speed that it shot out of the water when it burst its way above the surface of the ocean. Late. faster until we were burning up in the atmosphere. Anyways. Casually. The sub travelled extremely quickly up to the surface. Earth’s gravity pulled us down to Earth faster. The pods are usually made for full crews of twelve space officers not three skinny scientists.“C’mon. The stunned captain and crew waited in shock as . we could just see its power from the window screens.

Keeping within visible range of the crew and the captain I ambled over to a patch of ground that looked strange compared to its surroundings. like a big blanket that I couldn’t get rid of. On the beach. It looked darker and fluid. I couldn't follow orders. at least they looked like humans. It didn’t take long to find the distinct bulge on the horizon that signifies land. The sub had powerful engines so it flew through the water like air. Just like in the stories mothers tell their children before bedtime at home. I guess living indoors all my life has made me a little unprepared for this. The sky was really over powering. As I approached. I was the first to step onto the sand. On the banks of the stream the faintest shade of green showed in the brown wet sand. the captain started the engines. The crew and I were told quietly by the captain to crouch close to the sand. It looked to me that they were in a huddle. almost as if it were a tiny version of the ocean.human eyes witnessed the majesty of the skies from below for the first time in millennia. I shuffled through the sand for a while whilst the crew checked the submarine and their instruments. I saw what it was. I was transfixed by the thought that other humans. When it was found. It was a stream. Nobody had gone farther inland than I so I was surprised to find three figures in the distance. we changed our course and headed directly for it. They needed to find someplace to beach their craft and explore. I quieted them all down and pointed to the still visible figures. possibly discussing some issue. I looked up to tell the others and something caught my eye. As they started to settle on the calm sandy brown ocean. . They hadn’t noticed me so I took the opportunity to sneak back to my captain and his crew.

In one second. There was only one sun on Terra but it was sure bright. they were gone. . “We need to figure out what we need to do now that we’re down here and when we need to do it. there were humans. there was not much that could stop its forward motion. I ventured outside second and I had to coax Sarah out slowly. I say we should return to the main ship and get all of our supplies. At several tens of miles wide and solid iron. Some of the outer layers were forced off of the iron chunk. Terra seemed to go on forever. Shortly. In one the rediscovery of Earth occurred twice by two races of humans. there was a stream with new fresh grass growing on its banks. It zoomed closer and closer until captured by Earth’s gravity. part of a species that had not seen its home planet in thousands of years. This rock was huge. In the next second. A large rock from somewhere in the Earth’s solar system had gained tremendous speed. We hiked for a couple minutes and then Sarah called a meeting. one after the other they pointed into the sky. Jason stepped out onto the sandy plain and winced at the sun’s intensity. In one second. It pulled the rock into the planet’s thick atmosphere which then pushed back on it. she was a little nervous at the thought of being outside without special gear on. we were all outside ogling at the horizon in front of us and how far away it was.Suddenly.” “First. that the iron became red hot. then I think we-” Jason was pointing at something in the sky. The friction between the meteorite and the air was so powerful. but it could not be stopped.

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